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McHale’s Navy Season 1

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McHale’s Navy, Season One (1962) starring Ernest Borgnine, Tim Conway, Joe Flynn
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Editorial Review of McHale’s Navy, Season One (1962) starring Ernest Borgnine, Tim Conway, Joe Flynn—courtesy of

buy McHale's Navy season one from Something of a cross between M*A*S*H* (it’s set in wartime) and Sgt. Bilko (the emphasis in on ensemble acting, with a ringleader and his band of merry pranksters), McHale’s Navy isn’t on a level with those two immortal sit-coms. But this amiable show, debuting on DVD with all 36 black & white episodes from its first season (1962-63) on five discs, stands the test of time surprisingly well.

Not that there’s any important new comedic ground broken here. These half-hour episodes are pretty much all about the same thing: Lt. Cmdr. Quinton McHale (the always reliable Ernest Borgnine), skipper of Navy PT boat #73, and his crew are stationed “somewhere in the South Pacific, 1943.” They’re capable sailors, engaging the Japanese enemy when duty occasionally calls, but most of the time they hang out on their own private island and have a good time–much to the chagrin of their blustery commander, Capt. Wallace Binghamton (Joe Flynn), who’s constantly trying to rid himself of the regulation-defying McHale and his fun-loving band of miscreants. In that respect, McHale’s Navy is much like Bilko. But unlike the latter show’s brilliant Phil Silvers, Borgnine isn’t really a comedian; with his unmistakable cackle, the actor’s McHale, while not above taking part in a good-natured prank, is a less a Bilko-esque con artist than a regular guy, a kind of cheer- and ringleader intent on looking after his boys. The real laughmeisters on this show are Tim Conway, who brings his whole bag of shticks to the role of the bumbling Ensign Charles Parker, and Flynn, who’s consistently hilarious. Among the crew, Carl Ballantine stands out as fast-talking Brooklyn native Lester Gruber; TV lovers will also recognize Gavin MacLeod in his first extended TV role before moving on to The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Love Boat.

It’s always a bit strange to see war scenes played for laughs–the Pacific Theater in World War II was hardly comedy central, after all. But they are pretty funny. And while the Japanese characters are treated fairly stereotypically, it could have been a lot worse, considering the show’s pre-political correctness provenance; hell, many of the roles are actually played by Japanese actors, which was not a given (then or now), and in one episode (“Movies Are Your Best Diversion”), they speak un-subtitled Japanese. Fact is, McHale’s Navy is just too mild and good-natured to offend anyone. The sole bonus feature is a dull reunion interview with Borgnine, Parker, and some other cast members.–Sam Graham

Product Description of McHale’s Navy, Season One starring Ernest Borgnine, Tim Conway, Joe Flynn


From 1962 to 1966, McHale’s Navy was ABC’s must-see comedy series. With an amazing cast, including Academy Award winner Ernest Borgnine (“Lt. Commander McHale”), comic genius Tim Conway (“Ensign Parker”), the one-of-a-kind comic talent of Joe Flynn (“Captain Binghamton”) this series remains second only to M*A*S*H as a truly funny military sitcom.

Veteran seaman Quinton McHale is commissioned into the Navy Reserve at the start of WWII. He becomes Skipper of the Torpedo Patrol (PT) Boat #73 stationed on the island of Taratupa in the Pacific. Assigned to his command are six free-spirited, good-hearted swabbies who love to have fun. McHale and his men are constant irritants to their base commander, Captain Wallace B. Binghamton. Binghamton is forever trying to find a way to get rid of McHale and his rule-bending crew, while McHale & Co. are forever scheming to keep him from succeeding. Despite their hilarious party-boy shenanigans and utter disregard for Navy regulations, when duty calls, the crew of PT 73 does its job and does it well.

With its talented stars, great writing and solid supporting cast, including Gavin McLeod (Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Love Boat), McHale’s Navy is classic television at its finest and funniest.

Special Feature:
THE CREW REUNION – Ernest Borgnine, Tim Conway, Carl Ballantine, Bob Hastings and Edson Stroll reunite and share their memories of the show.

Contents of McHale’s Navy Season One DVD

Disc 1:

  • “An Ensign For McHale” (10/11/1962)
  • “A Purple Heart For Gruber” (10/18/1962)
  • McHale And His Seven Cupids” (10/25/1962)
    • McHales convinces Parker that he’s suffering from battle fatigue so that he’ll be sent to the nearby hospital, where a pretty young nurse is working.
  • “PT 73, Where Are You?” (11/1/1962)
  • “Movies Are Your Best Diversion” (11/8/1962)
  • “Operation Wedding Party” (11/15/1962)
  • “Who Do The Voodoo?” (11/22/1962)

Disc 2:
“Three Girls On An Island” (11/29/1962)
“McHale’s Paradise Motel” (12/6/1962)
“The Battle Of McHale’s Island” (12/20/1962)
“The Day They Captured Santa Claus” (12/27/1962)
“Beauty And The Beast” (1/3/1963)
“The Captain’s Mission” (1/10/1963)
“Send Us A Hero” (1/17/1963)

Disc 3:
“The Captain Steals A Cook” (1/24/1963)
“The Ensign Gets A Zero” (1/31/1963)
“The Big Raffle” (2/7/1963)
“One Of Our Engines Is Missing” (2/14/1963)
“The Natives Get Restless” (2/21/1963)
“The Confidence Game” (2/28/1963)
“Six Pounds From Paradise” (3/7/1963)

Disc 4:
“Washing Machine Charlie” (3/14/1963)
“Nippon Nancy Calling” (3/21/1963)
“One Enchanted Weekend” (3/28/1963)
“The Mothers Of PT 73” (4/4/1963)
“H.M.S. 73” (4/11/1963)
“A Wreath For McHale” (4/18/1963)
“Portrait Of A Peerless Leader” (4/25/1963)
“Instant Democracy” (5/2/1963)

Disc 5:
“Camera, Action, Panic” (5/9/1963)
“Alias Captain Binghamton” (5/16/1963)
“Parents Anonymous” (5/23/1963)
“McHale’s Millions” (5/30/1963)
“The Hillbillies Of PT 73” (6/6/1963)
“The Monster Of McHale’s Island” (6/13/1963)
“Uncle Admiral” (6/27/1963)

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