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.
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.
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.
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!!"
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.
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.
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".
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.
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".
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.
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.