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McHale's Navy (TV Series 1962–1966) Poster

(1962–1966)

Trivia

Sometimes, Admiral Rodgers' first name is given as John. At other times, he is called Bruce.
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Throughout the series, whenever something was amiss or trouble was brewing, Fuji would exclaim, "Oy vay!" This is not a Japanese expression; it is a Yiddish one meaning, "Oh woe!" He said it so regularly that in one episode McHale said, "It's just like Fuji would say if he was here.." and the crew said in unison, "OY VAY!!"
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In later years, Tim Conway stated in interviews that he and Ernest Borgnine had a wonderful working relationship on set and got along famously off the set as well.
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Sometimes a character mentioned an unnamed commander of torpedo boat PT-109. PT-109 was the boat commanded by then-President John F. Kennedy during World War Two.
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Mister Parker often mentions that he is from Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Tim Conway grew up in Chagrin Falls in real life.
During the first season, Ernest Borgnine was the only one of the cast to appear in the opening credits. From the second season on, Tim Conway and Joe Flynn also appeared.
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During the final season, McHale and his crew, along with Capt. Binghamton and Lt. Carpenter, were shipped from the Pacific theater of operations to the European theater. In reality, transfers of this nature rarely, if ever, occurred.
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The crew's duties were:
  • "Christy" Christopher - Quartermaster


  • "Tinker" Bell - Motor Machinist's Mate


  • Lester Gruber and "Happy" Haynes -Torpedoman's Mate


  • Willy Moss - Radioman


  • Virgil Edwards - Gunner's Mate


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The vessel used for shots of the PT-73 underway was a 72-foot type II Vosper MTB (Motor Torpedo Boat), a British design built under license in the U.S. for export to Russia. The war ended in August 1945 before the boat--the real number of which was PT-694--could be sent to the Soviet Union. The boat was then purchased by billionaire businessman Howard Hughes and used as a chase boat for the one and only flight of his Spruce Goose aircraft. The boat was then sold to Universal Pictures--as there were few other real PT boats left in existence at the time--and some liberties were taken in reconfiguring it to look like a PT Boat. Vosper PTs did not have machine gun turrets on either side of the pilot house (though ironically, the real PT-73--a Higgins design--did) as the PT-73 in the show did. Other irregularities are the main mast aft and a small mast right in front of the cockpit. Shots of the crew aboard the PT-73 were filmed on a full-scale mock-up in a soundstage. "PT-73" was later sold to the mayor of Hawthorne, California, and was converted to a sport fishing boat. It was destroyed when it broke loose of its mooring near Santa Barbara and washed up on the beach during a storm. The real PT-73 was a 78-foot Higgins boat assigned to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 13, which saw service in the Aleutians and in the Southwest Pacific theater. On 15 January 1945 it ran aground and was destroyed to prevent it falling into enemy hands.
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Happy Haynes (Gavin MacLeod) was the only one of McHale's crew who was non-rated (Seaman). All the rest were first and second class petty officers.
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It was quite unusual for PT-boat captains to hold staff rank, as McHale does (he is a lieutenant commander). Usually, the captain of a PT-boat would be a lieutenant or junior lieutenant.
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The hull section prop of the PT-73 can be seen on an episode of the TV show Emergency! titled "Ouicker Than The Eye" (1974). In the segment, an employee of a movie studio becomes trapped under the hull of PT-73 when it is being moved on the studio back lot and the crew from Station 51 came to rescue him.
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The entire Pacific Ocean naval base was built on the back lot of Universal Studios. For many years after the show went off the air, the sets were used as an attraction on the studio tour.
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According to Ernest Borgnine in an interview with Robert Osborne for Turner Classic Movies, the PT boat used for the series was owned by Howard Hughes.
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Captain Binghampton got his nickname "Old Leadbottom" from a war wound that he got on his posterior.
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This was initially conceived as a straight military action show.
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One of the crew's favorite liberty ports when they were in the Pacific was New Caledonia.
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Although all of the officers, including McHale, wore dress khakis, none of them wear ribbons of any kind. Although, when they were in Italy, General Bronson and Colonel Harrigan wore them.
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The name of the naval base where the show takes place is Taratupa.
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Although they were popular at the time, none of the officers, including McHale, ever wears a garrison cap.
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McHale often referred to his men as "8 balls". The men referred to him as "Skipper" or "Skip".
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Capt. Binghamton's middle name was Burton.
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The name of the town where McHale and his men were stationed at in Italy was Volta Fiore.
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Captain Binghampton's job before the war was running a yacht club on Long Island Sound.
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In some early episodes, McHale referred to Ensign Parker as "Charlie", although in later episodes he called Ensign Parker "Chuck". McHale was the only one of the crew to refer to him in that way. The rest of the crew called him "Mr. Parker".
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Binghamton referred to McHale's men as "his bunch of pirates".
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Whenever one of the crew's elaborate schemes calls for President Franklin D. Roosevelt's dog, Fala to bark, they sometimes bark like a big dog and then bark like a smaller dog. FDR had six other dogs besides Fala - Meggie, another Scottish Terrier and five others that were large breed dogs - Tiny, an Old English Sheepdog, Winks, a Llewellyn Setter, Blaze - a Bullmastiff, President, a Great Dane, and Major - a German Shepherd.
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The hull of the PT-73 prop boat can be briefly seen on an episode of Columbo titled "Fade To Murder" (1976). The hull is visible in the background during a scene when guest star William Shatner is walking across the back lot of a fictional TV studio.
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Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway went on to voice the characters of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy on the cartoon Sponge Bob Square Pants.
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Besides handling his duties as radioman, Willie also doubled as a sonar man, often relaying to McHale when a Japanese sub came up on sonar.
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The phonetic flags shown at the opening credits are in order C for Charlie, H for Hotel, K for Kilo and L for Lima... which spells out CHKL or chuckle.
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The scenes of the Japanese subs exploding when hit by a torpedo was reused footage.
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Whenever McHale's crew did laundry, they put the clothes into a barrel with holes in it, threw in the laundry soap, and dragged it behind the PT boat.
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Whenever McHale's crew attacked a Japanese sub, it either exploded on the surface when hit by a torpedo or surfaced and exploded when hit by a depth charge.
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The only extra included with any of the DVD sets that were issued beginning in 2007 was a reunion video featuring five of the surviving cast members as of that year: Ernest Borgnine, Tim Conway, Carl Ballantine, Edson Stroll, and Bob Hastings. (Joe Flynn died in 1974, Gary Vinson committed suicide in 1984, and Billy Sands also died in 1984) the other cast members who did not appear in the video are apparently alive as of 2016.) As of 2016, the only surviving member of the group featured in the 2007 reunion is Tim Conway.
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McHale and the crew often used the PT-73 for water skiing.
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McHale often referred to Lieutenant Carpenter as "Carpy".
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"Christy" Christopher's real first name was George.
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"Happy" Hayne's real first name was Joseph.
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"Tinker" Bell's real first name was Harrison.
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Two recurring characters on the show were the Polynesian chief Urulu (Jacques Aubuchon) and Big Frenchy (George Kennedy).
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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