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 was loosely based on the 1960 film starring Jack Lemmon and Ricky Nelson, which itself was a fictionalized account of a real wartime vessel.

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
ComposerNelson Riddle
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes29
Executive producerHarry Ackerman
ProducersHerbert Hirschman
Joseph Dackow
Running time45–48 minutes
Production companiesHerbert 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)

Although often referred to as a comedy series, the show violated three unwritten rules that 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 series is set in the Pacific theater of World War II and centers on the crew of the USS Kiwi, a leaky, wooden, twin-masted schooner whose mission is to place spies behind Japanese lines. Its old-fashioned, noncombatant appearance works in its favor, and it sails under false colors (the Swiss flag) when in enemy waters. The Kiwi is jointly commanded by Army Major Simon Butcher (Jack Warden), who is in charge of shore operations, and Navy Lieutenant, junior grade, Richard "Rip" Riddle (Gary Collins), who is in command when the vessel is afloat. The crew consists of:

Notable guest starsEdit

Guest stars included:

Production notesEdit

The theme music and scoring were 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 during World War II. 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

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1"Shakedown"TBATBASeptember 19, 1965 (1965-09-19)
2"The Sisters"TBATBASeptember 26, 1965 (1965-09-26)
3"Goldbrickers"TBATBAOctober 3, 1965 (1965-10-03)
4"The Day the Crew Paced the Deck"Robert StevensSam Perrin & Arnold BelgardOctober 10, 1965 (1965-10-10)
5"The Colonel and the Geisha"TBATBAOctober 17, 1965 (1965-10-17)
6"Bottoms Up"TBATBAOctober 24, 1965 (1965-10-24)
7"The Stowaway"Richard C. SarafianJack SherOctober 31, 1965 (1965-10-31)
8"Boomer McKye"Joseph SargentMarion HargroveNovember 7, 1965 (1965-11-07)
9"Vive La Kiwi"TBATBANovember 14, 1965 (1965-11-14)
10"The Lady and the Luluai"TBATBANovember 21, 1965 (1965-11-21)
11"A Shade of Kaiser Bill"TBATBANovember 28, 1965 (1965-11-28)
12"And Tyler, Too"Murray GoldenSam Perrin & Arnold BelgardDecember 5, 1965 (1965-12-05)
13"Last Path to Garcia"TBATBADecember 12, 1965 (1965-12-12)
14"I'm Dreaming of a Wide Isthmus"TBATBADecember 19, 1965 (1965-12-19)
15"The Lamb Who Hunted Wolves: Part 1"Robert TottenStory by : Robert Buckner
Teleplay by : John O'Dea & Arthur Rowe and Robert Buckner
January 2, 1966 (1966-01-02)
16"The Lamb Who Hunted Wolves: Part 2"Robert TottenStory by : Robert Buckner
Teleplay by : John O'Dea & Arthur Rowe
January 9, 1966 (1966-01-09)
17"What is Honor-a-Word?"Harmon JonesStory by : Danny Arnold
Teleplay by : Julian Barry
January 16, 1966 (1966-01-16)
18"Hail the Chief"TBATBAJanuary 30, 1966 (1966-01-30)
19"Liberty Was a Lady"Mark RydellJohn O'Dea & Arthur RoweFebruary 6, 1966 (1966-02-06)
20"My Father's Keeper"TBATBAFebruary 13, 1966 (1966-02-13)
21"Brother Love"Robert TottenHerbert MargolisFebruary 20, 1966 (1966-02-20)
22"And Two If by Sea"TBATBAFebruary 27, 1966 (1966-02-27)
23"The Ghost of Lord Nelson-San"Claudio GuzmanStephen KandelMarch 6, 1966 (1966-03-06)
24"Voyage to Never Never"E. W. SwackhamerJohn O'Dea & Arthur RoweMarch 13, 1966 (1966-03-13)
25"The Girl in the Polka-Dot Swimsuit"TBATBAMarch 20, 1966 (1966-03-20)
26"Chinese Checkers"TBATBAMarch 27, 1966 (1966-03-27)
27"My Island"Claudio GuzmanStory by : Danny Arnold
Teleplay by : Julian Barry
April 3, 1966 (1966-04-03)
28"Fun Has More Blondes"TBATBAApril 10, 1966 (1966-04-10)
29"Routine Assignment"TBATBAApril 17, 1966 (1966-04-17)


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

External linksEdit