McHale's Navy

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ABC (ended 1966)

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McHale's Navy

Show Summary

A Lively, Light-Hearted Romp Through The Pacific Theater Of Operations –

An experienced South Pacific sea dog, by the name of Quinton McHale, was commissioned as a Lieutenant Commander into the U.S. Navy Reserve, at the start of World War II, and made the Skipper of the Torpedo Patrol (PT) Boat #73, stationed at the U.S. Naval Installation on the island of Taratupa, in the Southwest Pacific. Assigned to his command were 6 free-spirited, good-hearted Swabbies who loved to have fun, but who – Though they usually ignored Navy regulations – Did their jobs, and did them well, when duty called. The 73 'Family' included, among others, a con man and amateur Magician, a womanizing hunk, a dedicated Family man, a guitar-picking, moonshine-making Tennessee good ol' boy, and even a deserter from the Japanese Navy, who was an excellent cook. Second in command, was Ensign Charles Parker, a young spit-and-polish, by-the-book Officer from Chagrin Falls Ohio, who was somewhat of a klutz, but who always managed to come out on top of a situation, usually with the help of McHale and The Crew.

McHale and his men were under the command of Base Commander Captain Wallace B. Binghamton (Known as 'Old Leadbottom' to McHale and his men), in whose side, McHale and his Crew were a constant thorn. Most episodes centered around Binghamton's trying to find way to get rid of McHale and his rule-bending 'Pirates' (One would be hard-pressed to see an episode of this series without the military term 'Court Martial' being mentioned, at least once), with McHale and his fun-loving 'Eightballs' scheming to keep Binghamton from doing so, their exemplary performance in battle, more times than not, getting them out troublesome situations.

McHale's Navy was first presented a straight action drama, on ABC's Alcoa Premiere anthology series, in April of 1962. The pilot episode – Entitled Seven Against The Sea – Found enough of an audience that it was converted to a comedy series, which premiered on the ABC Television Network on the evening of Thursday, October 11th 1962, at 9:30 p.m. EST. It got off to somewhat of a slow start, opposite NBC's popular Hazel, but held it's own, and gained a small following. It cracked the top 25 in it's 2nd season ('63/'64), on Tuesday nights, in the 8:30 time-slot, with a strong lead-in from ABC's Combat, landing at #23, with a Nielsen rating of 22.8. But, from that point on, it was all uphill for McHale. In it's 3rd ('64/'65) & 4th ('65/'66) seasons, in a losing battle with CBS's powerhouse Red Skelton Hour, it was soon on it's way out. An attempt to boost it's sagging ratings, by moving McHale, his Crew, and Captain Binghamton to a base in Italy, in it's 4th and final season, proved to do more harm than good, and resulted in the cancellation of the series, in 1966.

The series was popular enough with the public to prompt the production of two full-length theatrical-release motion pictures, during it's run. McHale's Navy, released by Universal Pictures in June of 1964, featured all the regular cast members from the series, and McHale's Navy Joins The Air Force, in July of '65, this one sans Borgnine. Both were 90-minute extended episodes of the series, and mildly popular, at best. A 1997 big-budget movie, based on the series, and with Tom Arnold as McHale, was a total flop. All three are available on VHS or DVD.

Lately, it's been tough to catch McHale's Navy on TV. Programming Managers don't seem to realize just how many loyal fans the show still has, and just how many new fans the show would doubtless make, were more people allowed to experience it. However – McHale fans, rejoice! – Shout! Factory came to the rescue, and began releasing McHale's Navy, on DVD, in boxed sets, beginning on March 20th, 2007, with Season 1. Season 2 was released on September 11th, 2007, Season 3, on March 18th, 2008, and Season 4, on November 18th, '08.

With a highly talented cast including Academy Award® winner Ernest Borgnine, comic genius Tim Conway, the one-of-a-kind comic talent of Joe Flynn, and a solid supporting cast, McHale's Navy was – And is – TV comedy at it's very finest.moreless
  • R.I.P.

    Ernest Borgnine Has Passed Away at 95

    The star of McHale's Navy and Airwolf died of kidney failure today in Los Angeles.

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  • Ernest Borgnine

    Ernest Borgnine

    Lt. Cdr. Quinton McHale

    Joe Flynn

    Joe Flynn

    Capt. Wallace Burton Binghamton

    Tim Conway

    Tim Conway

    Ensign Charles Parker

    Carl Ballantine

    Carl Ballantine

    Lester Gruber

    Gavin MacLeod

    Gavin MacLeod

    Joseph "Happy" Haines (1962-1964)

    Billy Sands

    Billy Sands

    Harrison 'Tinker' Bell

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    More Info About This Show

    Categories

    Comedy

    Themes

    60s, laugh track, money making schemes, tropical backdrop, war hero