McHale's Navy

Season 1 Episode 22

Washing Machine Charlie

Aired Thursday 9:30 PM Mar 14, 1963 on ABC

Episode Recap

A bothersome Japanese pilot – Known as 'Washing Machine Charlie' – Has been terrorizing the Taratupa base in his Zero on a daily basis. In a meeting, after one of Charlie's raids, Binghamton informs McHale that, per Admiral Reynolds' orders, all leaves have been cancelled. Reynolds is out to get Charlie, and has ordered McHale to attend a meeting at FleetCom, to discuss the situation. McHale is pretty upset, for his boys have been eagerly looking forward to their upcoming leave, in New Caledonia. But he gets Binghamton to agree that, if they bring Charlie down, he and his Crew can go on their leave. Back on McHale's island, the 73 Crew are excitedly preparing for their long-overdue liberty, and are quite disappointed when McHale informs them of the situation with Washing Machine Charlie. Before he leaves for FleetCom, McHale orders Parker to take the 73 out on a hunt for Charlie's base, hidden on a remote island, somewhere in the area. Parker and The Crew head out, but their search turns up nothing. Meanwhile, time is running out for Gruber, and the rest of the crew. They've gathered up some valuable Japanese souvenir articles that will bring big bucks from the Convoy Sailors on leave, in New Caledonia. But the Convoy pulls out in three days, giving them very little time. As they talk about their troubles, the air raid siren sounds, and Charlie is on his way, again. They boys rush out, and man their guns, determined to bring him down, but are unsuccessful. Then, Gruber comes up with the idea of faking Charlie's demise. Shortly later, in Binghamton's office, Binghamton is reprimanding Parker for breaking radio silence during the search mission, when Gruber comes in, and reports to Binghamton that Charlie has been shot down. He even produces evidence, in the form of a wingtip, supposedly from Charlie's Zero, which is actually a part of Gruber's souvenir inventory. Binghamton happily allows the 73 Crew to continue on with their leave, and the boys go back to the island, to pack up for the trip, while Binghamton reports the news to Admiral Reynolds. Later, McHale returns from FleetCom, and has already heard the news about Charlie. But it seems the boys can't get their story straight, on how Charlie was shot down, and McHale is soon on to them. Meanwhile, Binghamton, too, has discovered their little scheme, having found that the wingtip is from an American plane. He makes the trip to McHale's island to confront them about it, but, just as he threatens Court Martial, McHale reminds Binghamton that he, personally, confirmed the shooting down of Charlie, and that he will be in as much trouble as they. So, Binghamton gives in, and allows McHale and the boys to go on another hunt for the hidden airstrip. McHale happens to know of a possible location for Charlie's base, and he and The Crew head out. Later, the 73 arrives at the remote island, and McHale and the boys go ashore, fully armed. McHale soon spots evidence of a Jap presence, so he and Parker scout ahead, while the boys hang back. Later, as they make their way in, Gruber is excited to find a Jap helmet, along with some other souvenirs, such as a bayonet, and an ammo belt. But, when he finds a Jap rifle, he and the others are shocked to find a Japanese Soldier on the other end of it. Meanwhile, McHale and Parker have located Charlie's plane, and, just as they begin to wonder what's keeping the boys, they see Gruber, Tinker, Willy, and Virgil being marched in by several Japanese Soldiers, and confined in a nearby hut. McHale quickly comes up with a plan, and tells Parker to watch his back, as he moves in. He sneaks over to another hut, and peers inside. There, taking a bath in a wooden tub, is none other than Washing Machine Charlie. McHale quietly enters the hut through a window, and knocks Charlie cold with his scrub brush. Parker soon sneaks in, and joins McHale in the hut. Shortly later, Charlie has come to, after McHale has bound and gagged him. Parker has donned Charlie's flight suit, and McHale has worked out a plan. Parker is to make his way over to the hut where the boys are being held, and let them out. Then, they are all to make their way to the 73, make their getaway, and come back that night, for the hit. Parker is reluctant, but heads out of the hut, with his goggles on, and head hung low. The Mechanics, who have just prepared Charlie's Zero for takeoff, are fooled by Parker, and think that Charlie is coming out for a flight. Parker tries to get out of the situation, but, before he knows it, he's wearing a parachute, and the Mechanics hustle him into the cockpit of the Zero. The engine is started, and the Zero heads down the strip. Meanwhile, McHale has left Charlie's hut, and hidden in the brush, nearby. He watches, in shock, as Parker – Who, of course, is not a Pilot – Barely clears some trees, on takeoff. Shortly later, Charlie gets loose, and rushes out of the hut, wearing nothing but a sheet, and alerts the others to the situation. The Japs man their machine gun, and try to take Parker down, but are unsuccessful. McHale uses the diversion to make his way to the hut, where the boys are. He lets them out, and they rush to another machine gun, where, after Virgil fires a warning burst, the Japs drop their weapons, and surrender. Meanwhile, Parker is fighting to keep control of the plane, while, back at the base, in Binghamton's office, Admiral Reynolds wants to see the wingtip of Charlie's plane. Binghamton tries to stall him, just as the air raid alarm sounds. It's Charlie's plane, again, but this time, it's Parker at the controls. Binghamton and Reynolds rush outside, as the Sailors man their anti-aircraft guns. This time, they score a hit, and Parker must jump for it. Later, as Binghamton and Reynolds approach the crash site, they are quite surprised to find Ensign Parker hanging from a tree, in a parachute harness.
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