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

(1962–1966)

Trivia

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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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 hull section prop of the PT-73 can be seen on Emergency! (1972), season four, episode eight, "Quicker Than the Eye". 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 backlot, and the crew from Station 51 came to rescue him.
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During the first season, Ernest Borgnine was the only one of the cast who appeared in the opening credits. From the second season on, Tim Conway and Joe Flynn also appeared.
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The hull of the PT-73 prop boat can be briefly seen on Columbo (1971) season six, episode one, "Fade In to Murder". The hull is visible in the background during a scene when William Shatner is walking across the backlot of a fictional television studio.
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Ensign Parker often mentioned that he was from Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Tim Conway grew up in Chagrin Falls in real-life.
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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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Captain Binghamton (Joe Flynn) got his nickname "Old Leadbottom" from a war wound that he got on his posterior.
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The vessel used for shots of the PT-73 underway was a seventy-two-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 seventy-eight-foot Higgins boat assigned to Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron 13, which saw service in the Aleutians and in the Southwest Pacific theater. On January 15, 1945, it ran aground and was destroyed to prevent it falling into enemy hands.
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This was initially conceived as a straight military action show.
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Throughout the series, whenever something was amiss or trouble was brewing, Fuji (Yoshio Yoda) 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 (Ernest Borgnine) said, "It's just like Fuji would say if he was here." and the crew said in unison, "Oy vay!!"
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Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway voiced the characters of Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy on the cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants (1999).
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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 entire Pacific Ocean Naval base was built on the backlot 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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It was quite unusual for PT boat Captains to hold staff rank, as McHale did (he was a Lieutenant Commander). Usually, the Captain of a PT boat would be a Lieutenant or Lieutenant (junior grade).
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McHale often referred to his men as "8 balls" or "schlockmeisters". The men referred to him as "Skipper" or "Skip".
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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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Sometimes a character mentioned an unnamed commander of torpedo boat PT-109. PT-109 was the boat commanded by John F. Kennedy during World War II.
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During the final season, Lieutenant Commander McHale (Ernest Borgnine) and his crew, along with Captain Binghamton (Joe Flynn) and Lieutenant Carpenter (Robert Hastings), 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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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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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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Captain Binghampton's job before the war was running a yacht club on Long Island Sound. In other episodes, his job was editor of a yachting magazine. In one episode, the Captain is seen wearing a sweatshirt that says "San Diego Yacht Club".
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Sometimes, Admiral Rogers' (Roy Roberts') first name is given as John. At other times, he is called Bruce.
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Captain Binghamton's middle name was Burton. In earlier episodes, his name was R.F. Binghamton. Later on, his name changed to W.B. Binghamton.
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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. Roosevelt 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 name of the Naval base where the show took 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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Besides handling his duties as radioman, Willie (John Wright) also doubled as a sonar man, often relaying to McHale when a Japanese sub came up on sonar.
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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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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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McHale and the crew often used the PT-73 for water skiing.
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The name of the town where McHale and his men were stationed in Italy, was Volta Fiore.
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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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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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"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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The crooked Mayor of Volta Fiore, who was always trying to get money out of Captain Binghamton, was Mario Lugatto. He was played by Jay Novello.
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Ensign Parker often spoke of his mother. However, he rarely, if ever, spoke of his father.
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In early episodes, Quartermaster George "Christy" Christopher's (Gary Vinson's) wife was named Gloria. In a later episode, her name changed to Ruth.
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During the Adam-12 sixth season episode "Hollywood Division" the Voltifiore set from the final season can clearly be seen as well as the actual PT-73 which is on chocks in another town square.
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During the fourth season, Ernest Borgnine played a double role on the show. He played McHale's cousin Giuseppe in "Giuseppe McHale" (S4 E4) and "The Return of Giuseppe" (S4 E15). Joe Flynn also played a double role in "Alias Captain Binghamton" (S1 E31) playing Captain Binghamton, and a just transferred seaman to McHale's outfit named Smoot.
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During an interview, Ernest Borgnine related that when he was initially approached by his agent with an offer to star in the pilot for the show, he turned it down. (That show was actually a drama, called "Seven Against the Sea," which was retooled into a comedy when the series was picked up by ABC.) Not long thereafter a boy showed up on Borgnine's doorstep selling candy. The boy told Borgnine that he looked familiar but that he couldn't place him. Borgnine, who had already won an Oscar for his role in "Marty," asked the boy if he knew who played the lead character Paladin in the television series "Have Gun - Will Travel." The boy said, "Richard Boone." He likewise was immediately able to remember the names of several other television series stars, even though he couldn't remember who Borgnine was. After the boy left, Borgnine called his agent to ask if that Navy pilot was still available. When told that it was, Borgnine told him to accept - and so became a part of what eventually would be his signature television series.
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Captain Binghamton referred to McHale's men as "his bunch of pirates".
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In some episodes, Ensign Parker mentioned that he had a pet frog named Albert. Later, his frog's name changed to David.
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The scenes of the Japanese subs exploding when hit by a torpedo was re-used footage.
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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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Captain Binghamton had an allergy to goldenrods.
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Ernest Borgnine was forty-five-years-old when the show started.
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See also

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

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