Truly, I have not watched McHale’s Navy for more than five minutes. And I can’t tell whether it was making fun of the Navy or not. Still, Ernest Borgnine passed away today:
“McHale’s Navy,” in which Borgnine played Lt. Commander Quinton McHale, ran from 1962 to 1966, and spawned a movie.
“I didn’t have to reach very far for McHale because, I’ll tell you, I spent 10 years in the Navy,” he said. “Now, I had seen some rough and tumble officers and I also saw some officers that didn’t want to get their little panties wet, you know, and I played the rough and tumble kind.”
The show may have been a success with TV viewers, but the Navy wasn’t amused, at least not at first.
“We had a technical expert that came down the very first day, you know, and he was standing there and at the end of the first day he said, ‘Ernie, what are we making here?’ I said, ‘McHale’s Navy.’ He said, ‘Yeah, but this isn’t the Navy.’ I said, ‘It’s McHale’s Navy.’ And he said, ‘Don’t call me, I’ll call you,’ and he left.”
But Borgnine said that when it became clear how popular the show was, he got an invitation to Washington from the Navy’s top brass.
” I was invited down to Washington one day and was invited by the secretary of Navy to come to his office, where he congratulated me personally for having so many men join up into the Navy simply because they had seen ‘McHale’s Navy,’ and hoped that there was a McHale’s Navy somewhere that they could join,” he said.
Officers that didn’t want to get their little panties wet? Never been one of those.
RIP Shipmate. . .