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Why McHale isn't in the movie
Ernest Borgnine was off making The Flight Of the Phoenix when this picture was made. It's a very good film. I highly recommend it.
I was wondering why the great Carl Ballantine didn't make the cast either. He's the actor who played Gruber in the series and the first film.
I had forgotten how awful the movie actually was until both McHale's Navy films ran in tandem on the satellite the other night. I saw both of these films as a child and they were basically long versions of the TV show. The first one is the better.
Tim Conway's physical humor is the only thing that keeps this movie afloat. He did much better stuff as part of the Carol Burnett Show later on.