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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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Down 20% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
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 »
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User Reviews:
Richard Murphy's The Wackiest Ship in the Army 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 carrier from which Crandall flies at the beginning is CV 20. This is the USS Bennington and she was not commissioned into service until 1944, over a year 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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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
Richard Murphy's The Wackiest Ship in the Army, 12 June 2002
Author: Charles Tatum from North Dakota

In this WWII comedy, Jack Lemmon plays a young lieutenant who

finally gets command of his own ship- a small sailboat with an

inexperienced crew. Rick Nelson is his second in command, and

the ship must sail. This lightweight comedy is not terribly funny, but

not bad, either.

The breezy feel of the film is helped by an almost complete lack of

plot. Lemmon takes the boat through dangerous waters watched

by the Japanese, picks up an Australian spy who tracks Japanese

navy positions from the jungle, and sails him to the jungle. The

ship is captured, but our heroes escape and return back to base.

Aside from the Japanese, the only other conflict is between

Lemmon and the ageless Richard Anderson, who plays a hard

nosed commander ready to take over the sailboat.

The film works mostly because of Lemmon. He is so good and so

likable here, you forget little things like a romantic subplot that

never pans out. Nelson even finds a chance to croon a song,

giving us a break from the loud, unsubtle musical score.

Despite the title, most of the humor here is derived from the men's

war situation; not anything terribly wacky happens. There are

laughs, two running gags involve people knocking themselves on

the head, and a funny one involving Lemmon's quest for a decent

cup of coffee. Another light moment that is not pounded into the

ground- the men dress as natives, complete with grass skirts and

coconut shell bras, to fool the enemy into thinking they are a local

trading ship. The scene is funny without being racist and offensive.

The suspense about the mission is often undermined by a

reliance on stock footage to show battle scenes. This is a comedy,

yet we are watching actual footage of war, and this is a little

unsettling. When director Murphy is allowed to shoot his own

action sequences, they work, especially the cruise through the

mined harbor.

"The Wackiest Ship in the Army" spawned a television show, and

that is about the level of the script. This is nothing that will change

your life, but watching Lemmon's comic skills and good nature

make this an enjoyable enough time filler. I slightly recommend it.

This is unrated, and contains some physical violence, some gun

violence, and mild adult situations.

Was the above review useful to you?
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