James Madio, the actor who portrayed Frank Perconte in the series, watched the premiere with him.
“It’s incredible how these guys operate, because the minute the show ended, the first thing he asked was why he didn’t see enough of his best friend, George Luz. He wasn’t worried how he looked, he was worried about the guy who was at his side throughout,” Madio said.
Madio and Mr. Perconte became close friends, and a few years after the release they and some of the men Mr. Perconte served with went to Normandy on the anniversary of D-Day.
Afterward they retraced Mr. Perconte’s route through Europe. It was the first time Mr. Perconte had returned to many of the battle sites, but Madio said Mr. Perconte remembered the events of more than 60 years earlier vividly, even pointing out the window from which a sniper had shot him in Bastogne.
When they stopped in Eindhoven, Netherlands, a town Perconte helped liberate, he was greeted by a crowd of children thanking him with cards on which they’d drawn paratroopers falling from the sky, Madio said. “They were truly looking at him as a hero, and it was a beautiful moment.”