McHale's Navy

Season 1 Episode 20

The Confidence Game

Aired Thursday 9:30 PM Feb 28, 1963 on ABC

Episode Recap

Parker is fed up with the lack of respect from The Crew, and goes to McHale with a transfer request. He explains his situation to McHale, and adds that he admires McHale for the way he gets the boys to follow orders. McHale then suggests that Parker's problem might be his voice. He tells Parker that, if he lowers his voice, and makes it more 'gutsy', he'll get a better response from The Crew, and coaches Parker on his delivery. Later, after telling the boys about the situation, McHale issues a strict order that, when Parker barks an order, they're to snap to it, as if the order came from Admiral Halsey. Virgil soon rushes in with a warning that Parker is on his way, and McHale hides. Parker steps in, and, using his new voice, issues several orders, which the guys immediately follow, with great enthusiasm. Parker immediately has a much better opinion of himself, and later, when Binghamton pays a visit, the boys are all 'spit and polish', leading Binghamton to believe that something shady is going on. But McHale explains that he and his crew have changed for the better, and that the credit should go to Mr. Parker. Binghamton doesn't buy it for a minute, but proceeds with the reason for his visit. It seems that The Fleet has been plagued with a lot of faulty torpedoes, and The Admiral has chosen McHale to run a sample test on a new shipment of torpedoes, recently received. Binghamton orders McHale to pick someone to go to the main base to pick up the torpedoes, and Parker volunteers. He climbs into the motor launch, and Binghamton follows. As Binghamton issues a final warning to McHale, the operation gets off to a bad start, when Parker orders the Seaman to shove off without untying the boat, dumping Binghamton into the drink. Later, after a chewing out from Binghamton, Parker's confidence has been torn down again. McHale and the boys are feeling sorry for him, and McHale decides that they must do something for him, to build up his confidence once and for all. Soon, McHale comes up with the idea of putting Parker in charge of the torpedo test mission. He pretends to have an attack of beriberi (A tropical disease, once common among Sailors, caused by a poor diet), and asks Parker to take over the torpedo test mission. Parker immediately snaps back into his 'tough guy' mode, and assures McHale that he can count on him to take over. He orders Willy to stay behind with McHale, and he and the rest of the boys put to sea. Later, during the mission, the tests have gone well, until Parker issues the order to fire the final torpedo, which gets stuck in the tube. Parker panics, and gives the order to abandon ship. The boys reluctantly take to a rubber raft, with Parker, but the torpedo doesn't blow. Now unmanned, with her engines still running, the 73 is too far away for Parker and the boys to get back to her, and she gets away, another terrible blow to Mr. Parker's morale. Meanwhile, back on McHale's island, McHale and Willy are enjoying a game of gin rummy, and McHale orders Fuji to whip up some food for a party for Mr. Parker, to celebrate his success with the torpedo mission. But the plans are cut short, when Binghamton arrives, unexpectedly. Fuji heads for the hills, and Willy and McHale hide. But Binghamton finds McHale, and, of course, wants to know why he's not out on the torpedo mission. He adds that he's been trying to raise the 73 on the radio, all day, and McHale tells him that he ordered Parker to maintain radio silence. Binghamton is livid about McHale's putting Parker in charge of such an important mission, but McHale explains about his attack of beriberi, and how he ordered Parker to take over. Binghamton doesn't like it, but orders McHale to have the test report on his desk by 1800 hours (6 p.m.), or to be in his office at 1830 hours (6:30 p.m.) for the court martial. Meanwhile, Parker and the boys have rowed ashore on a nearby island, and been captured by the crew of a Japanese PT boat. While Parker tries to remember his Navy serial number, McHale and Willy, back on McHale's island, are beginning to get worried about what's keeping Parker and the boys. Willy scans the sea with some binoculars, and comes across a very unusual sight. He reports to McHale, and, when McHale takes a look, he confirms with Willy that they had seen the PT 73, unmanned. They take a motor launch out to it, and McHale, upon seeing the hot torpedo tube, soon has his answer as to why they abandoned ship. They deduce that Parker and the boys must be on the island of Hanaoku, which lies in the area where the test was to take place. Knowing that they must find Parker and the boys before Binghamton finds out about the situation, McHale and Willy head toward the island, in the 73. They arrive, shortly later, and McHale takes a rifle, and goes inland, quickly finding Parker and the boys. Parker, still trying to remember his serial number, is driving the Japanese lieutenant crazy. The lieutenant has had enough, and, quite frustrated, orders his men to confine Parker and the boys to the Jap boat, until they can be taken to a P.O.W. camp. McHale goes back to the 73, and quickly comes up with a plan. Willy dons some snorkeling gear, and swims to the Jap boat. He cuts it's rope, and ties it to a rope from the 73, then swims back, and climbs aboard. McHale secures the tow rope, then fires up the 73, and motors calmly past the Jap PT boat. As the Japs give fire, McHale guns the engine, and makes off with the Jap boat, throwing a Jap guard into the drink, in the process. Once aboard the prize, McHale orders his men topside, and Parker is pretty hard on himself. But, after McHale fills him in on what Parker has actually accomplished, Parker feels good about himself again, and carries the mission a step further.