In the series opener, the crew of the Appleby has been given 48 hours liberty in Kowana Harbor. The men have been ordered to be on their best behavior. Chief Petty Officer Nelson (familiar-faced character actor Jay C. Flippen) is looking for a poker game and a hip Japanese storekeeper (familiar Asian character actor Victor Sen Yung, Hop Sing in "Bonanza") tells of the action at Kowana Gardens. Ensign O'Toole (later Disney star Dean Jones) slick-talks Nelson into the game. Through the language barrier, Nelson has mistakenly gambled away the ship. O' Toole enlists the help of Lt. Rex St. John (Jack Mullaney, Hector in "It's About Time") to make the Japanese man, Kumagae (Mako, Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto in "Pearl Harbor" and Sakamoto in "Memoirs of a Geisha") feel at home on the ship without their superiors knowing. O'Toole tries to steer him away from the ship's helm. It's an enjoyable episode if you're not expecting a whole lot, and is certainly pale in comparison to other military sitcoms of the time such as "Sgt. Bilko", "McHales Navy", and "Hogan's Heroes".
Ensign O' Toole ran on NBC for only 32 episodes during the 1962-63 season with reruns continuing through September 1964. It aired Sundays at 7:00 p.m. opposite CBS' "Lassie" and reruns of ABC's "Father Knows Best". The show was based on the books "All the Ships at Sea" and "Ensign O'Toole and Me" both by William Lederer, who served as a consultant on the series. The action took place on the fictitious "Appleby". The ship was portrayed by the real-life U.S. Navy destroyer USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754), which was commissioned on February 3, 1945. Tragically, a few years after the series, the ship was cut in half in a collision with the Royal Australian Navy aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne on June 3, 1969. Her bow sank almost immediately, and her stern was sunk as a target in Subic Bay in the Philippines. 74 of the crew perished. Following the series, star Dean Jones went on to be a top Disney star from 1965-77.
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