One of the greatest war comedies of all time was McHALE’S NAVY which ran for four seasons from Oct 11, 1962 until April 3, 1966. In many ways it was much like a Navy version of THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW in which Phil Silvers played Sgt. Bilko, an outlandish scheming Army officer who constantly broke the rules. Both military comedies were true fan favorites. Here’s some great McHALES’S NAVY trivia.
* Actor Billy Sands played Machist Mate Harrison James “Tinker ” Bell in McHALE’S NAVY and Italian-American Pvt. Paperelli(although Sands was actually Jewish in real life) on Sgt. Bilko. Bob Hastings was the other actor to appear on both shows.
* For a time, Ernest Borgnine was one of Hollywood’s oldest living actors, where lived to the age of 95, but later died of kidney failure.
* Although comic actor Joe Flynn played Navy officer Captain Wallace “Wally” Burton Binghampton, in real life he drowned in a swimming pool accident at the young age of 49.
* Joe Flynn was a failed Republican candidate for political office who decided to enter acting. In one early movie role he was murdered in a horror movie. The scene was supposed to be serious, but audiences laughed at his acting, which prodded Flynn towards giving up serious dramatic acting in favor of comedy.
* Actor Gary Vinson who played the young and handsome blonde-haired Quartermaster George “Christy” Christopher killed himself with a self-inflicted gunshot wound before he was to go on trial for sex charges. According to some claims of some claimed victims, the angel-faced Vinson was actually a monster who sexually abused children, where a few persons have posted claims of being victims of Vinson.
* The famous PT 73 from the show had been on display for many years at Universal Studios, had U.S. markings on one side and German markings on the other side, reused in several war films as either a U.S. or German vessel.
* Carl Ballantine had a comedy magic act for many years, along with Billy Sands, were the only two Jewish actors on McHALE’S NAVY, compared to THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW which was a creation of writer-producer Nat Hiken, with much more Jewish oriented humor and actors.
* Actor Gavin McLeod managed two big roles after McHALE’S NAVY, including on THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW and as the ship’s captain on THE LOVE BOAT.
* Yoshio Yoda might have been very funny playing the lovable POW “Fuji”, but in real life was a very savvy businessman, becoming a vice president of Toyota and eventually becoming a corporate leader of Toyota in Hawaii and an American citizen.
* The late great character Actor George Kennedy had a minor role as “Big Frenchy” in some episodes.
Have some great McHALE’S NAVY trivia? Then add a few of your own in the comments section by all means…