The Wackiest Ship in the Army (TV series)

The Wackiest Ship in the Army is an American comedy-adventure series that aired for one season on NBC between September 19, 1965, and April 17, 1966. Produced by Harry Ackerman and Herbert Hirschman, the series is loosely based on the 1960 film starring Jack Lemmon and Ricky Nelson. Although often referred to as a comedy series, the show violated three unwritten rules which unofficially defined TV sitcoms at the time: it was an hour in length (almost all comedy series were only a half-hour, and the few attempts at hour sitcoms were unsuccessful), it had no laugh track, and characters were sometimes killed in it.

The Wackiest Ship in the Army
Created byDanny Arnold
Herbert Margolis, based on the story "Big Fella Wash-Wash" by Herbert Carlson, in the July 1956 issue of Argosy
StarringMark Slade
Jack Warden
Gary Collins
Theme music composerHoward Greenfield
Jack Keller
Helen Miller
Composer(s)Nelson Riddle
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes29
Executive producer(s)Harry Ackerman
Producer(s)Herbert Hirschman
Joseph Dackow
Running time45–48 minutes
Production company(s)Herbert Margolis Productions
Joseph M. Schenck Productions
Screen Gems
DistributorScreen Gems
Original networkNBC
Audio formatMonaural
Original releaseSeptember 19, 1965 (1965-09-19) –
April 17, 1966 (1966-04-17)


The series is set in the Pacific theater of World War II and centers about the crew of the USS Kiwi, a leaky wooden twin-masted schooner whose mission was to place spies behind Japanese lines. It achieved this by (apart from the ship's non-combatant appearance) sailing under false colours (it would fly the Swiss flag) whenever it entered enemy waters. The Kiwi was jointly commanded by Army Major Simon Butcher (Jack Warden) who was in charge of shore operations and Navy Lieutenant, junior grade Richard "Rip" Riddle (Gary Collins) who was in charge afloat. The crew consisted of:

Notable guest starsEdit

Guest stars included:

Production notesEdit

The theme music and scoring was by Nelson Riddle.


The USS Kiwi was based on the real-life USS Echo, a 40-year-old schooner or scow that was transferred to the United States Navy from the government of New Zealand. It was returned to New Zealand in 1944.

In other mediaEdit

A paperback based on the series, by Lee Bergman, was released in 1965.[1]

Episode listEdit

# Title Original airdate
1-1 "Shakedown" (pilot) September 19, 1965
1-2 "The Sisters" September 26, 1965
1-3 "Goldbrickers" October 3, 1965
1-4 "The Day the Crew Paced the Deck" October 10, 1965
1-5 "The Colonel and the Geisha" October 17, 1965
1-6 "Bottoms Up" October 24, 1965
1-7 "The Stowaway" October 31, 1965
1-8 "Boomer McKye" November 7, 1965
1-9 "Vive La Kiwi" November 14, 1965
1-10 "The Lady and the Luluai" November 21, 1965
1-11 "A Shade Of Kaiser Bill" November 28, 1965
1-12 "...and Tyler Too" December 4, 1965
1-13 "Last Path To Garcia" December 11, 1965
1-14 "I'm Dreaming Of A Wide Isthmus" December 18, 1965
1-15 "The Lamb Who Hunted Wolves" (part one) January 2, 1966
1-16 "The Lamb Who Hunted Wolves" (part two) January 9, 1966
1-17 "What Is Honor- A Word" January 16, 1966
1-18 "Hail the Chief" January 30, 1966
1-19 "Liberty Was A Lady" February 6, 1966
1-20 "My Father's Keeper" February 13, 1966
1-21 "Brother Love" February 20, 1966
1-22 "And Two If By Sea" February 27, 1966
1-23 "The Ghost Of Lord Nelson-San" March 6, 1966
1-24 "Voyage To Never Never" March 13, 1966
1-25 "Girl In the Polka-Dot Swimsuit" March 20, 1966
1-26 "Chinese Checkers" March 27, 1966
1-27 "My Island" April 3, 1966
1-28 "Fun Has More Blondes" April 10, 1966
1-29 "Routine Assignment" April 17, 1966


  1. ^ "TV Tie-in Book Collection, 1945-1999". Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library. Retrieved November 5, 2017.

External linksEdit