McHale's Navy

Season 1 Episode 34

The Hillbillies of PT 73

Aired Thursday 9:30 PM Jun 06, 1963 on ABC

Episode Recap

The boys have their still fired up, and are cooking up some hooch, using Willy's recipe for 'mountain dew'. But Willy's mind isn't on his work, for his girl – Effie May, back home in the hills of Tennessee – Hasn't written in 3 weeks. When Christy comes with the mail, there's a letter for Willy, from Effie May, but the news isn't good. Seems Effie May is about to get married to a 4-F by the name of Luke Higgins. Willy is devastated., and, to make matters worse, McHale soon returns from mainside, with an order for Willy to report to the main base radio shack, to take over for the regular Radioman, who has taken ill. Parker then tells McHale the bad news about Willy, but before they can help, McHale and Parker must first attend a staff meeting in Captain Binghamton's office. In the meeting, Binghamton informs the Officers that a Congressman Carl Joyner – Ranking Congressman on the Naval Appropriations Committee – Is due to arrive, some time the following week, to inspect the base for any possible financial cut-backs. Binghamton has sent a message to Captain Dryden at ComIChPac (Commander In Chief, Pacific Fleet), for some details on the Congressman's visit, and Dryden calls Binghamton during the meeting. Seems that Willy – His heart broken over Effie May – Has let his feelings get into his radio messages, and Captain Dryden wants to know why messages from Taratupa include the name 'Effie May'. Binghamton promises Dryden that he'll get to the bottom of it, and calls Willy in. Binghamton tells McHale that Willy will be shipped out, as soon as a replacement can be found, and McHale tries to cover for Willy, but Binghamton won't listen. He warns McHale that if he or his crew mess up during the Congressman's visit, they'll all be shipped out to the Aleutians. Later, at McHale's island, Gruber suggests putting in a good word for Willy with Admiral Reynolds, who has always been impressed with The 73 Crew's combat record. McHale decides to go through with it, and is successful in getting Willy off the hook. But Binghamton isn't happy about McHale going over his head, and says that Willy can stay, only if he can pass the Radioman Ratings Test. The Communications Officer is coming in a couple of days, meaning that Willy must study hard, to pass the test. On their way out, McHale and Parker decide that what Willy really needs, to pick up his spirits, is a woman. But Willy's taste in women runs toward hillbilly girls, and they figure that there's little – If any – Chance of finding a 'peapicker' on Taratupa. But, who should walk by, at just that time, but a sweet little Southern Belle Nurse by the name of Cindy Bates (Brenda Wright). Cindy asks McHale and Parker how to get to the Officer's club, and when they hear her accent, they are more than happy to escort her there, where they explain Willy's problem to her. Later, McHale brings Willy to the infirmary to get a shot, and Cindy is the administering Nurse. She turns on her hillbilly charm, but Willy – Still broken-hearted over Effie May – Just isn't interested. Back at McHale's island, later, the boys try to think of a way to cheer Willy up. Tinker shows them a picture of Effie May, discarded by Willy, earlier, and when he sees that Effie May is quite the hillbilly, a light bulb goes on, over McHale's head, and he decides that a good old fashioned mountain hoe-down – Complete with hillbilly costumes and music – Is just the thing to bring Willy out of the dumps. The boys get their costumes together, and invite the Nurses from the main base, including Cindy. Mr. Parker goes to Willy's hut, where he has been boning up for the Radioman's test, and invites him to the party, just as the Girls – Also dressed in hillbilly outfits – Arrive. Meanwhile, Binghamton is watching McHale's island from the main base, and suspects they're up to something. But, before he can go to investigate, Lt. Carpenter comes in to tell Binghamton that Congressman Joyner has arrived, earlier than expected, for his inspection tour. Captain Dryden (Henry Hunter) comes in and informs Binghamton that the Congressman – Having heard about the 73 Crew's outstanding combat record – Especially wants to visit McHale's island. Meanwhile, everyone is having a good time at the hoe-down, and Willy and Cindy are hitting it off. Binghamton, Dryden, and Congressman Joyner (Don Harvey) arrive during the party, and Binghamton is, of course, very upset. He rants and raves about McHale and his men being 'Dressed up like a bunch of stupid hillbillies'. But Willy, as well as McHale and the 73 crew, are saved, when the Congressman speaks his mind on the subject of 'Stupid hillbillies'.