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The Wackiest Ship in the Army
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The Wackiest Ship in the Army (1960) More at IMDbPro »

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The Wackiest Ship in the Army -- During WW II, Lt. Rip Crandall (Lemmon) commands the USS Echo, a run-down ship with the archetypal inexperienced, motley crew, assigned to deliver an Australian observer to a Japanese-held island. Jack Lemmon is in dazzling comedic form as he captains this rickety Navy vessel and ironically, they become a major factor in the winning of a strategic WWII battle.


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Richard Murphy (screenplay)
Herbert H. Margolis (screen story) ...
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Release Date:
29 December 1960 (USA) See more »
RiCKY NELSON Your No. 1 Singing Star hits the high C's in...The WACKiEST SHiP in the ARMY See more »
Lieutenant Rip Crandall is hoodwinked into taking command of the "Wackiest Ship in the Navy" - a real... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
A film of two halves – neither of which are awful but neither of which are any good See more (19 total) »


  (in credits order)

Jack Lemmon ... Lt. Rip Crandall

Ricky Nelson ... Ens. Tommy J. Hanson

John Lund ... Lt. Cmdr. Wilbur F. Vandewater
Chips Rafferty ... Patterson
Tom Tully ... Capt. McClung
Joby Baker ... Josh Davidson
Warren Berlinger ... Radioman 2nd Class A.J. 'Sparks' Sparks
Patricia Driscoll ... Maggie
Mike Kellin ... Chief Mate Jack MacCarthy

Richard Anderson ... Lt. Dennis M. Foster
Alvy Moore ... Seaman J. Johnson
Joseph Gallison ... 'Cameo' (as Joe Gallison)
Teru Shimada ... Maj. Samada
George Shibata ... Capt. Shigetsu
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Phillip Adams ... Crewman (uncredited)

John Anderson ... Sailor (uncredited)
Tom Anthony ... Crewman (uncredited)
Nesdon Booth ... Chief Petty Officer (uncredited)
Naaman Brown ... Cpl. Goroka (uncredited)
Henry Faber ... (uncredited)
Fuji ... Japanese Sergeant (uncredited)
Clive Halliday ... Australian Major General (uncredited)
Gavin W. Harper ... Seaman (uncredited)
Dale Ishimoto ... Japanese Pilot (uncredited)

Roy Jenson ... Shark Bait - USS Echo Crewman (uncredited)
Lloyd Kino ... (uncredited)
Richard Quine ... Narrator (uncredited)
Hudson Shotwell ... Adm. Hathaway (uncredited)
Sid Tomack ... Arthur, Bartender at Kangaroo Club (uncredited)
Richard Torrence ... Horse (uncredited)
Ron Veto ... Native (uncredited)
Russ Whiteman ... American Colonel (uncredited)
Mose Wilson ... Sailor (uncredited)

Directed by
Richard Murphy 
Writing credits
Richard Murphy (screenplay)

Herbert H. Margolis (screen story) (as Herbert Margolis) &
William Raynor (screen story)

Herbert Carlson (based on a story by)

Produced by
Fred Kohlmar .... producer (as A Fred Kohlmar Production)
Original Music by
George Duning 
Cinematography by
Charles Lawton Jr. (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Charles Nelson 
Art Direction by
Carl Anderson 
Set Decoration by
Louis Diage 
Makeup Department
Helen Hunt .... hair styles
Ben Lane .... makeup supervisor
Robert J. Schiffer .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Sam Nelson .... assistant director
Sound Department
George Cooper .... sound
Charles J. Rice .... recording supervisor
Phil Adams .... stunts (uncredited)
Joe Byrne .... stunt double: Ricky Nelson (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Richard H. Kline .... camera operator (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Ralph James Hall .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Arthur Morton .... orchestrator
Other crew
Lucius H. Chappell .... technical advisor (as Rear Admiral Lucius H. Chapple U.S. Navy Ret.)
Frances McDowell .... script supervisor (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies
  • Department of Defense  we wish to thank for their willing assistance in the production of this motion picture
  • Panavision  photographic lenses by
  • Popular Publications  originally published by (as Popular Publications, Inc.)
  • U.S. Navy, The  we wish to thank for their willing assistance in the production of this motion picture

Additional Details

Also Known As:
99 min
Color (Eastman Color)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound Recording)
Australia:G | Finland:K-8 | Germany:12 | UK:U | USA:Approved (MPAA rating: certificate #19722)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

The song that is played at the beginning of the movie is a comedy song named "The Walloping Window Blind' a.k.a."Blow Ye Winds Hi Ho". It was originally a poem by Charles Edward Carryl.See more »
Anachronisms: The aircraft that flies Lt. Crandall (Lemmon) from the carrier to his new assignment on the Echo appears to be an S-2 Tracker or it's variant, the C-1 Trader. Both planes first saw service in the mid 1950s, several years after the time frame of the movie.See more »
[first lines]
Narrator:If you remember Pearl Harbor, you'll recall that in the year that followed the Japanese were almost invincible. Early in 1943, however, they were checked. Stopped cold by the Marines at Guadalcanal, the Navy in the Coral Sea, and the Allied armies in New Guinea. This was a period of far-reaching decisions, desperate strategies, and incredibly daring counter-strokes - not the least of which involved two bright young naval officers...
See more »


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6 out of 13 people found the following review useful.
A film of two halves – neither of which are awful but neither of which are any good, 10 July 2004
Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom

When Lieutenant Rip Crandall is offered his first command he jumps at the chance. However when he arrives at his 'ship' he finds that the Echo is more of a tub than a destroyer – being practically a yacht! With an inexperienced or inept crew and a second officer who has barely ever been on water for any length of time, Crandall is ready to drop out until guilt gets the better of him and he decides not to leave the young Ensign Hanson carrying the bag. After a few days of intensive and quite unsuccessful training, Crandall's ship sets off on its mission.

Starting out with a credit sequence and opening 10 minutes that suggests that the film may be as 'wacky' as the title suggests, it gradually settles into humour that is rather basic but passable before going for a more traditional plot that lacks humour and fails to really be that interesting. In some regards the turn away from the 'wacky' first few minutes was a relieve because I really don't like things that knowingly describe themselves as 'wacky' (personal ads with the words 'bubbly' or 'wacky' are generally my idea of hell) and the humour at the start of this just seemed too forced. However once it settles, it settles into humour that isn't very funny but is amiable enough. This continues with the usual 'training' stuff and 'mishaps' that passes for entertainment just about but then in the final 30/40 minutes it tries to actually have a plot – and falls to pieces as a result.

By this point I didn't really care about the plot more than a basic description and it was too late in the day to try and suddenly become engaging or exciting. The film also completely drops the humour (for what it was) and creates such a sudden change of tone that its like watching another film – something that damages it even further. Of course, its not awful, its just a film of two halves, neither of which are much cop but neither of which are really bad. The cast doesn't help much either since most of them are fairly average and just play to the level of the humour. Lemmon tries hard but cannot do much other than his usual stuff – which isn't as good when it is built on material like this. Nelson is about as wooden as you could get and only has presence when he is given a musical number – he was a singer after all and never really convinced me as an actor. The support cast are pretty average and you can see their basic characters in almost any other 'useless ensemble crew' movie that you can pick.

Overall this is a strange film that doesn't really work. It tries to be wacky and funny but the material is weak and it never really gets going, with the humour tailing off with every passing minute. When it eventually drops off altogether, the plot becomes more of a traditional war story but by then it is too hard to really care what is going on and it more or less fails too. As a total film it is a strange split; neither of the two halves really work but neither of them are bad. The end result is a film that is just about passable but one that will disappoint many who view it regardless of their expectations.

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