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The Wackiest Ship in the Army

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The Wackiest Ship in the Army (1960) starring Jack Lemmon, Ricky Nelson
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The Wackiest Ship in the Army (1960) starring Jack Lemmon, Ricky Nelson

The Wackiest Ship in the Army is a World War II comedy/drama starring Jack Lemmon, who’s tasked with taking a floating hunk of junk across the ocean on a top secret mission …

Lt. Rip Crandall: This hulk is commissioned? As what?
Ens. Tommy J. Hanson: It’s unclassified, sir.
Lt. Rip Crandall: Uncla-? I can believe that! 


With a title like “The Wackiest Ship in the Army“, you might be expecting a screwball comedy. But, you’d be wrong. It’s equal parts comedy and drama, as a reluctant military officer is persuaded to take an old sailing ship across the ocean. “Persuaded” is a polite term. Cajoled, browbeaten, politely threatened …

But he does take it — and he finds out that the Navy crew has no experience with a sailing ship! Which, in the 1940’s isn’t surprising. He’s given only a few days to get to basic competence. And getting the boat out of the harbor is equal parts comedy and harrowing adventure. Which is true for the rest of the film as well.

Product Description 

Jack Lemmon and Ricky Nelson get that sinking feeling when they pilot THE WACKIEST SHIP IN THE ARMY in this hilarious comedy adventure. During World War II, the Army recruits Navy Officer Rip Crandall (Lemmon) to command a battered old Schooner for a top secret mission. Masquerading as a Japanese fishing boat, this nautical nightmare must smuggle a spy through the mine-infested waters of the South Pacific. Unfortunately for Crandall, he has inherited a wild crew of butter-fingered landlubbers, including First Officer Tommy Hanson (Nelson). Can the dedicated Lieutenant whip these comically inexperienced gobs into shape in time to carry out their perilous mission? For gales of laughter, take a riotous cruise aboard THE WACKIEST SHIP IN THE ARMY!

Cast of characters

  • Jack Lemmon (The Apartment) … Lt. Rip Crandall
  • Ricky Nelson (Rio Bravo) … Ens. Tommy J. Hanson
  • John Lund (The Perils of Pauline) … Lt. Cmdr. Wilbur F. Vandewater
  • Chips Rafferty (Mutiny on the Bounty 1962) … Patterson
  • Tom Tully (The Caine Mutiny) … Capt. McClung
  • Joby Baker (Gidget) … Josh Davidson
  • Warren Berlinger (The Cannonball Run) … Radioman 2nd Class A.J. ‘Sparks’ Sparks
  • Patricia Driscoll (The Adventures of Robin Hood TV) … Maggie
  • Mike Kellin (At War with the Army) … Chief Mate Jack MacCarthy
  • Richard Anderson (Forbidden Planet, The Six Million Dollar Man) … Lt. Dennis M. Foster
  • Alvy Moore (Green Acres) … Seaman J. Johnson
  • Joseph Gallison (Days of Our Lives) … ‘Cameo’
  • Teru Shimada (Revolt of the Zombies) … Maj. Samada
  • George Shibata () … Capt. Shigetsu

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