Sunday, July 15, 2012


Quinton McHale could be considered a multiversal character - his presence first came to our notice on television, of course. But he was also seen in the movies and even in comic books!

When it comes to the TV Universe, McHale was a lot like TV Crossover Hall Of Famer Lou Grant (March, 2007) in that he was seen in both a comedic as well as a dramatic light. We may know him best from the sitcom 'McHale's Navy', but that wasn't the first time we saw "McHale and his pirates" (as Captain Binghamton would later describe them) on television.

McHale started out as the lead character of a one-hour drama called "Seven Against The Sea" which aired as part of the anthology series 'Alcoa Premiere', hosted by Fred Astaire. (Also in that cast were Gary Vinson as Christy Christopher and John Wright as Willy Moss who were transferred over to the sitcom as well.)

After his South Pacific PT Boat Base is destroyed in a Japanese raid, a Navy Commander is reluctant to risk the lives of a handful of survivors (Toobworld note: only 18 out of 150 survived.) when a Navy Lieutenant is sent to make the base operational again.

The episode reaches its climax on April 25, 1942. Nearly a year passes before the sitcom joins the Toobworld timeline. In that time, the base on Taratupa was rebuilt and McHale's squadron was replenished with new men - besides Christy and Willy, the PT 73 gained Happy Haines, Tinker Bell, Lester Gruber, Virgil Edwards, Ensign Parker and their houseboy Fuji. The camp got a new commanding officer, Captain Binghamton and his aide, Elroy Carpenter.

As for the others from that original episode, I'd like to think that Lt. Durham got his own PT boat to command and he took Bosun Gallagher to be his first mate and "Plumber" Harris to keep the boat running.

While the sitcom was in production, a theatrically released film was made, also called "McHale's Navy" and starring the original cast. Toobworld Central has absorbed this movie out of the Cineverse and into the TV Universe, along with its sequel, "McHale's Navy Joins The Air Force". (However, that doesn't count in Quinton's qualifications for entry into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame since Ernie Borgnine didn't appear in it.)

There is a third movie - a remake - from the late 1990's, in which Tom Arnold played McHale. Borgnine does make a cameo appearance in the film as McHale's father, although he's referred to by a code name - "Cobra". However, unlike with James Garner in the movie "Maverick", we are not claiming that he is the original Quinton McHale. Let that movie stand as belonging solely to the Cineverse. Toobworld Central can be magnanimous about it since the TV Universe already purloined the earlier two movies.

I'm surprised the 'McHale's Navy' gang didn't appear in commercials for their sponsors like the casts of other sitcoms did back in those days. But if McHale had been in such a commercial, it would have added to his qualifications.

As it is, he makes the grade:
  • 'Alcoa Premiere' - "Seven Against The Sea"
  • 'McHale's Navy'
  • "McHale's Navy"

It has been our policy this year that those who are deserving of membership, but who have passed away before they can be inducted, will automatically be granted entry into the Hall. 

Sadly, that has happened with the passing of Ernest Borgnine.

Welcome aboard, Skipper......

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