One in a Million
Swiss miss wins ’36 Olympic skating medal, who burned down the Grand Palace Hotel and tried to blow up the premier is a mystery pondered by the Ritz Brothers as “the horror boys of Hollywood” (Lorre, Laughton as Bligh, Karloff as Frankenstein’s monster) and the toreador with a two-headed coin vs. the bilked bull.
“Very entertaining,” said Variety, and “Pavlovaesque”. “Moonshine” to Halliwell.
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The stunning analysis is looked at one remove away and from three angles.
The cook’s brother perishes on the moor, the doctor and his wife subscribe to the legend and conduct a séance, the anthropologist traces his lineage from ancient times, as it were.
The filming is altogether as successful as may be imagined, Lanfield’s control of the material on ideal sets is perfect.
Mr. Holmes sells Blakean musical instruments at Dartmoor, as part of his disguise.
The great artist of Bergen, Minnesota comes to Hollywood for a screen test to be the heroine of a best-selling novel (Girl of the North is the title, she’s the four-hundredth-and-odd), the Consolidated Pictures publicity department casts her in a romance with another up-and-comer who’s happily affixed, the newspapers are full of them, word breaks and the girl goes home to Bergen, followed by the publicity man who loves her, he marries her and brings her back.
Irving Berlin wrote the songs that carry the surface up to Sonja Henie’s skating, the equal marvel is the deep satire of the film that squares everything, all right, to do with a million-dollar picture for a major studio.
Victor Fleming’s Bombshell is the assured basis.
Girl of the North couldn’t get better notices “if we wrote ‘em ourselves,” Frank S. Nugent practically offered to rewrite this film in his New York Times review, “no better than a faint ‘fair.’”
You’ll Never Get Rich
The dazzling screenplay construction explains why critics have always shunned this film and slighted the performances. It is Sandrich’s Top Hat upside-down, from Broadway to an Army guardhouse and marriage as strong as a tank or Petruchio’s sword.
Wilder’s The Apartment is a general, useful analysis. The theater owner (Robert Benchley) uses his choreographer (Fred Astaire) as a beard for a dancer (Rita Hayworth). The choreographer is drafted and punished, the theater owner brings the show to the camp to win an import (Osa Massen), the choreographer engineers a wedding.
The dancer’s beau is a captain, the choreographer borrows a captain’s uniform. The “military wedding” number gets a real preacher, Top Hat upended.
The tunes are by Cole Porter.
The Meanest Man in the World
Many is the film critic who has made a name for himself by abuse and vindictiveness aimed at the cinema, therefore George M. Cohan’s vehicle on a Pottsville lawyer who can’t make a dime in New York until he turns rotten ought to have struck a chord, and probably did, not that it matters very much when T.M.P. of the New York Times denounced Lanfield’s film as “wholesome, unsophisticated”, and Halliwell’s Film Guide says it’s “very minor”, these are dead giveaways.
The difference between New York and Pottsville is one of degree, there are even more ambulance-chasers and big shots out to hire them for dirty work, that’s all.
Jack Benny and Priscilla Lane meet in a bar after “a spat”, each too drunk to recognize the other, and commiserate in a memorable scene amongst the rest.
The Shavelson-Hartmann-Rose vaudeville on Damon Runyon, full of lines like, “dames, go figger ‘em, they act like a bunch of women,” and, “what’s an orphanage? It’s like a big poolroom for kids.” This variant combines two themes to settle the hash of a gangland outsider, and comes to a conclusion about the good life that can’t be beat.
The Lemon Drop Kid
This time it’s Hartmann, Tashlin & O’Brien with a lift from Shaw’s Chocolate Soldier, in a Runyon escapade venturing a bet on widows and orphans and Santa Claus against, well, the rest of it.
A Purple Heart for Gruber
Capt. Binghamton’s laundry is attended to by Seaman Gruber at prices always increasing “because of the war” (McHale tells Gruber, “if this war goes on long enough, you’ll own it”). But the quality is good, the captain even suspects McHale of having a washing machine hidden away somewhere.
Gruber and his mates have a system. The captain’s bête noire, Ensign Parker, takes PT 73 out on regular drills, while it’s towing the laundry astern in a perforated oil drum (detergent and bleach inside). The ensign acts out mock battles, the crew pass the time.
A Jap submarine misses the boat and torpedoes the laundry, Binghamton’s worsted dress whites are flittered, PT 73 is credited with a submarine kill on the strength of flotsam observed.
Cmdr. McHale goes after the submarine, making repair work sound the boat’s location dead in the water, eluding a torpedo and rapidly firing depth charges.
The initial engagement left Gruber not without a scratch, on his finger. Parker passes on the Purple Heart form, which Binghamton sees and signs once he’s shown the uniform worn by Gruber in action, the captain’s dress whites. “It’s a wonder he’s alive,” says Binghamton.
A surreal history of WWII in the Pacific, as told by a writer with the gift of gab and thankfully on our side, Lanfield likewise.
McHale and His Seven
Gruber volunteers his gefilte fish for Fuji’s teriyaki, “it’s an American delicacy,” McHale explains, “caught off the coast of Flatbush.” The lieutenant commander saws down the legs of a chair for the object of Ensign Parker’s affections, a very tall nurse, Parker is further disadvantaged by taking the wrong seat. Brandy peaches are served, the ensign gets loaded, cites the great men of little stature who went before, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Davy Crockett, Julius Caesar. “Davy Crockett was six foot four,” she says.
They send him to the hospital as a case of battle fatigue under her care, and write letters from his supposed girlfriends. “The only French I know is bonbons and lingerie,” says an able seaman, “and I can’t figure out how to work ‘em both into a sentence.” McHale encourages him, “Keep tryin’, boy, keep tryin’.”
She’s married. Parker gets two weeks in Sydney, medical leave. Gruber and Tinker get the same symptoms.
Three Girls on an Island
Everywhere The Tyler Sisters go on their Pacific tour, they get the same routine, engine on the blink, stuck. So when the admiral’s plane goes down transporting them to a dinner by Binghamton, who has to send PT 73 (“As the gambler used to say,” says McHale, ‘The wheel is crooked, but it’s the only wheel in town’”), and the men arrive with the same ploy in mind, the trio put their foot down.
Back at the base, Admiral Reynolds tries the same stunt with another plane scheduled to fly them on, but McHale reports, “It won’t work.”
The dinner is waylaid by the crew of PT 73, who on their own initiative rifle the warehouse of pineapples and shrimp, expecting to steer the girls their way. Capt. Binghamton and a squad of marines search their quarters and recover a case of soy sauce.
He and Lt. Carpenter follow them to the island in a PBY, but find only beer cans and a pair of stockings. Fearing the worst, Binghamton is too distracted to seat himself in the raft, and reports to the admiral dripping with seawater.
The men play volleyball, in anticipation of the weekly luau aboard ship, where in the first scene (McHale wears a Hawaiian shirt, straw hat and lei) they interrupt the wine, women and song to rescue a downed pilot.
Morale is down, men are fighting each other, Nurse Molly is painfully aware it isn’t “Paris, Waikiki or Cape Cod”, there’s no place to go on liberty, no reason to grant it.
Captain Binghamton gives McHale the “dull, thankless job” of reconnoitering Takajima. He and his crew find an abandoned coconut plantation, furnished and with a piano. They transport a mash tub and still, call it McHale’s Island Paradise, a going concern.
Binghamton isn’t fooled by its appearance in the guise of a base hospital, on inspection. He and McHale drink to the latter’s impending court-martial. The island is shelled by the Japanese.
Back at the base, Capt. Binghamton is awarded a commendation for engaging the enemy. He has to decide which looks better on his record, and drops the charge against McHale.
The Battle of
A Japanese soldier aims his pistol at the camera, this is Fuji demonstrating Gruber’s line of souvenirs at a “spring clearance sale”.
Capt. Binghamton proposes to build an officers club on McHale’s island, “like Schickelgruber marching through those little countries,” says Lt. Cmdr. McHale, adding, “we’ll strike back!” PT 73 sinks the barge holding the construction materials, the plans are ruined. Binghamton commandeers the crew’s quarters.
They move back to the base, convince him they are turning it into “a floating geisha house”. He orders them out on nightly patrol.
Adm. Reynolds dines at the officers club. A Japanese attack (Fuji) is repulsed by McHale and his men, Gruber’s souvenirs are found on the beach.
“You left your flank uncovered,” says the admiral to the captain. McHale is ordered to man the island as an outpost against further attacks.
A résumé of the European conflict, like “A Purple Heart for Gruber” on the Pacific.
The Day They Captured
The Buena-Loa Mission School and Shelter looks to Lt. Cmdr. McHale for Christmas, he and Tinker fly in on a Catalina as Santa Claus and Jack Frost, PT 73 sails over with reindeer ornament, gifts and roast turkeys. The Japanese capture the lot, but are dissuaded from not keeping Christmas by a British warship’s guns.
A UP reporter catches Binghamton up in the story. “Let them eat chipped beef,” the captain declares, when asked about the officers club dinner he’d planned with those “hot” turkeys.
McHale in suit and beard tells his captors he has come to bring them turkey dinners as his prisoners, all PWs receive them on Christmas, “Could we do any less for you poor boys?”
“What’s going on here,” asks the Japanese CO, Shimura, “what, what, what?”
Capt. Binghamton arrives on PT 73, with the crew dressed as Brownies, and demands, “Now where are these underprivileged little tykes, I have a speech for them.”
Beauty and the Beast
A lady war correspondent arrives for one week on a PT boat. There is a great rivalry for her presence, the crew go to heroic lengths against Lt. Carpenter’s PT 116. McHale knows the lady, an imperious professional woman who wants his “shanty” for her darkroom. She’s taken on a canoe trip, to see the sights, and dunked in the lagoon.
Her beautiful assistant is used as bait for Carpenter, who very nearly falls for it at the Taratupa Officers’ Club. Capt. Binghamton unwittingly foils the plan, identifying her. The correspondent vows revenge, two weeks on PT 73, but goes to sick bay with a cold. Her assistant fills in.
Captain Binghamton is tired of hearing about battles fought by rivals in the Officers Club (Coral Sea, Midway, “Guadalcanal, that was rough”), he puts on a helmet, straps on a .45, takes carbine in hand and commandeers PT 73 for some action. A torpedo drill goes well enough for make-believe, until Virgil’s loose .50-cal. fires wildly in the captain’s hands (“you get your swivel tightened!”).
Fuji wants to lodge a complaint under the Geneva Convention, “I got rights!” Gruber suggests they sell Binghamton to the Japanese. Christy’s plan is to have Capt. Binghamton capture a Japanese scout on “the quietest island in the area.”
Fuji misses the boat, Tinker goes ashore wearing his uniform and thick glasses. Japs are everywhere, an officer drags him along to mess, but he can’t use chopsticks. PT 73 departs under rifle fire from the shore, Tinker’s uniform is to be explained later, Capt. Binghamton fires a torpedo at a cargo ship docked nearby. The torpedo goes up the beach and explodes a truck. “The whole island’s going up,” exults the captain.
He tells the tale of battle at the Officers Club, interrupted by Ensign Parker requesting weekend passes for the crew. Request denied, would the captain like Ens. Parker to provide his guests with details of the battle? All business can wait, says “Old Forty-Knot Binghamton”, until the men return on Monday.
All this is related by Ens. Parker to McHale, back from New Caledonia, in a flashback. Old Forty-Knot is a feisty foe, “Where are those Japanese,” he asks from the bridge, “don’t they know there’s a war on?”
Send Us a Hero
Congresswoman Clara Carter Clarke of Massachusetts is on a junket to bring back a War Bond hero. The crew of PT 73 lobby her on behalf of “the tiger of the Pacific, Quinton McHale”, as their song goes for her benefit.
McHale rejects “all that hero malarkey, puttin’ on stiff collars and makin’ speeches,” but his men deserve a Stateside tour, he goes along with the idea (his arm is in a sling from a volleyball injury).
He is selected, not his crew, even though he’s from Michigan. Lt. Carpenter has “too much polish” and is from Illinois. “Stinky” McHale makes a play for the congresswoman, “maybe it’s the way your eyes glisten like two pools.” She parries, “I have a sinus condition.” He threatens to dance drunk before Congress in a hula skirt, she is unmoved.
He’s ready to depart at 0700 for six weeks on the circuit. Congresswoman Clarke has found a replacement from her home state, the skipper of PT 109, it’s an election year.
The Confidence Game
Parker is put in command of a torpedo test run, he needs a shot in the arm, no-one listens to him.
A torpedo tube jams, he gives the order to abandon ship, it’s a dud, they make land and are captured.
Parker can’t remember his serial number, one digit always seems wrong, “I’m even a failure as a prisoner.”
After interminable tries, the Japanese commander says, “let’s be reasonable.”
PT 73 motors home, McHale and the rest of the crew tie a rope to the Jap PT boat, haul it and its captives away.
A medal is in the offing, Parker suggests they go back and take prisoners.
The Mothers of PT 73
The Navy Secretary gets a letter from Capt. Binghamton, carelessly dictated by Ens. Parker as OOD, recommending mothers be shipped out to visit their sons on active duty. The Secretary thinks it’s a good idea, three mothers of PT 73 crewmen arrive for Mother’s Day.
This coincides with McHale’s First Annual Gaming Festival, invitations have been sent to the fleet on the back of Mother’s Day cards, for camouflage.
Capt. Binghamton goes along for the publicity, and because he’s caught by surprise. Mrs. Gruber compliments McHale on his Filipino houseboy Irving (Fuji), and invites the young man to “Long Ireland”.
Arriving servicemen are alerted to a change of plans, the Gaming Festival is delayed for bingo and messages to sweethearts back home, conducted by Mrs. Parker, Mrs. Gruber and Mrs. Bell (whose son’s real name is Harrison), dispelling Binghamton’s suspicion that these mothers are McHale’s idea of “a front for one of his orgies”.
McHale jumps at the bait offered by Capt. Binghamton and finds himself permanent liaison officer to the Royal Navy at Sydney, rather than on duty there for a month with the crew.
He bludgeons the British with a display of riotous drunkenness, they are unmoved, Admiralty orders.
Ens. Parker is a collegiate thespian, had the lead in Lady Windermere’s Fan, puts on a beard and plays Rear Admiral Carruthers-Smythe of Royal Navy Intelligence. Admiral Sir Percy Campbell is so amused he rescinds the order.
“Lord Nelson’s blood,” Carruthers-Smythe tells Binghamton, “men have been flogged for less than this!” And, “Very well bean, old put.”
A Wreath for McHale
The worst side of Capt. Binghamton is mercilessly exposed, he wants to be on the front page badly enough to dispatch PT 73 to Kalakai while a war correspondent from United Press visits Taratupa in search of a story, and besides, the crew have joined in native dances on Malakura, that’s out.
McHale takes the boat there anyway, though the captain will be madder than a wet hen. “As far as I’m concerned, he can lay himself a wet egg.”
Kalakai is overrun by the Japanese, the fleet counterattacks. PT 73 is reported missing.
It returns in time for a memorial service, the crew hear of Binghamton’s “love”, especially for McHale, who says, “I’ll be the seventh son of a seventh son.”
A court-martial is avoided by having Binghamton with war correspondent in tow rescue his men on Panoy Island where the Japs are not, but they are, so McHale gets his picture taken, and Binghamton is interviewed by a correspondent from the Mission School newspaper. “Somebody up there hates me,” the captain tells Lt. Carpenter.
Portrait of a Peerless
The range of Capt. Binghamton’s craftiness (“my finest hour,” he calls this) is shown in his plan to ship McHale Stateside as an instructor. Binghamton caves in, arrives at McHale’s birthday luau, asks “Quinton” why he wasn’t invited, sends “Elroy” back for champagne, “a case from the base”, dances to hep music and asks one favor. He’ll be promoted to commodore and sent to ComFleet if PT 73 passes inspection by a captain from Washington. “You mean,” McHale asks, “if we shape up, you ship out?”
Over a couple of McHale’s Whammies at the Taratupa Officers Club (made with hospital alcohol or torpedo juice in season), Capt. Wilson reveals his true intent, and furthermore declares the drink to have “more authority than the Secretary of the Navy”.
Next day, he goes on patrol with PT 73. Willy gets a false sub ping, McHale falls to pieces, the run is a shambles. A real sub is identified closing fast, a brainstorm is needed. McHale grabs his birthday present from Binghamton, a framed photo of “Wally”, and asks it for advice. It tells him exactly what to do, the sub is hit by a depth charge and surfaces, its crew surrender.
Capt. Wilson isn’t fooled, he admires the tenacity. McHale sends Binghamton a reciprocal gift fore and aft, a framed photo of himself with one on the back as well.
Camera, Action, Panic
Photographer’s Mate Sweeney is sent by the Pentagon to film PT boats in action for the benefit of critics at home.
Gruber borrows the camera to sell home movies of sailors dancing with the native girls, this gets mixed in with footage of PT 73 sinking a Nip PT boat.
Using Gruber’s souvenirs and “the greatest technical advisor on Japanese boats you’ve ever seen,” Fuji, McHale plans to re-shoot the film and save Sweeney.
In Japanese uniforms and markings, PT 73 and the crew sink a Japanese submarine. The film is screened for Admiral Reynolds, who queries Capt. Binghamton’s earlier report on “pictures of my boys sinking a Japanese PT boat.”
“Can’t you tell the difference,” the admiral asks him, “between a PT boat and a sub?”
Alias Captain Binghamton
Binghamton’s character is further divined by a perfect likeness to Seaman Smoot, assigned to PT 73. Scared by the natives, whom he takes for cannibals, the sailor is victimized by the crew in disguise, only it really is Binghamton, searching for their still and disguised as a sailor himself.
A court-martial is ordered, Smoot impersonates Binghamton to quash it. Still in the captain’s uniform, the sailor carouses in the Officers’ Club and is captured au naturel atop a diving board by a visiting LIFE photographer, while Binghamton has knocked himself out shaking a palm tree “like a hurricane” to demonstrate his wrath to McHale, a coconut falls, sending the captain to sick bay.
Confronted with the photos, Binghamton relents and then goes back on his word, but McHale has kept the real negatives.
An adoption is in view, little Kim Su has come ashore on her way to an orphanage, the crew do their best to accommodate her imperious sense of propriety, lights out at nine, no slipping off to carouse, but Mr. and Mrs. Halakai are the perfect couple.
Two Navy psychiatrists join Binghamton on a tour of the island, suspiciously dark and quiet. All are in bed, the captain is caught out.
A second visit discovers the nursery, which Parker claims is his quarters, obviously a mental case. The crew dispute the ownership, however, the whole affair is seen through, the orphanage is called off and the adoption approved once Binghamton is looked at for a “persecution complex”, he cuts the red tape.
Counterfeit Jap trash seized from a plane crash, “the Nazis printed millions of this stuff at the beginning of the war”. $4,000,000 actually rifled from the Bank of Manila.
Chief Urulu drives a hard bargain for trinkets, he plans to sell wholesale to the convoy and “cut out middleman”. The pile of bills is traded as an “art collection”.
It has to be won back at cards, Ens. Parker is the stooge, Urulu has seen him play. “What a shnook, like to get him on slow boat to Samoa.”
The chief’s hut is papered in currency, he wears a coat of it, more is sacrificed to the earthquake god “in lousy mood, him sick and tired of trinkets”.
Capt. Binghamton calls McHale “the male Ma Barker” and laments, “oh, why did I ever join the Sea Scouts?” An earthquake is staged, “the old double shuffle”, the charge is a dud, there is a real earthquake, Parker wins. “Earthquake god mad, who care about money, got to scram.”
The Hillbillies of PT 73
Binghamton the forty-knot yachtsman is set to ship Willy out, the mountain man from Tennessee has been ditched by Effie May back home for a 4-F civilian and is so melancholy that his still blows up in his face and he doesn’t even notice.
The new nurse is “a sweet-talkin’ pea-picker” bees would leave honey for, Willy takes his booster shot and mopes some more.
COMINCHPAC alerts the captain to an inspection by Congressman Joyner, ranking member of the Appropriations Committee, while the crew of PT 73 dress up like Dogpatchers to console their shipmate.
A general square dance is interrupted by furious Binghamton and the congressman, who represents the State of Tennessee.
“Like a banshee I could scream,” says Capt. Binghamton, and joins reluctantly in.
The centerpiece of this episode is the humanity of Capt Binghamton brought out when he must gladly suffer Ens. Parker as his aide because the ensign’s uncle is Vice-Admiral “Bulldog” Parker, ranking member of the Promotions Board. “Rear Admiral Binghamton”, the captain muses.
The first act has the crew’s casino destroyed by Japanese planes. They rebuild in a bomb shelter, the admiral discovers it. McHale is off to New Caledonia, the “nitwit” and “peabrain” of a nephew is blamed. For his own safety, he’s shipped Stateside.
McHale returns, PT 73 rescues Parker from his sinking dinghy en route to a ship during a second air raid.
Having inspired such affection and loyalty, Parker must have the right stuff in him, somewhere, the admiral concludes.
McHale and the crew are recommended for a decoration.
The Binghamton Murder
A loud, annoying bird wakes up the crew well before noon each day and has to go, by pistol, rifle and grenade.
Binghamton gets the idea that he’s disliked intensely, it takes hold at the Taratupa Officers’ Club from tales of skippers done in by sailors deprived of beer and movies.
It’s a birthday party he’s lured to on McHale’s Island by a fetching nurse (“I’ll sing,” says Tinker, “but not good”).
The bird alights near Binghamton’s window.
McHale and His Schweinhunds
Parker’s cowardice is cause to lament. “I get butterflies big as bats,” McHale admits, “gutsy is as gutsy does.”
The ensign runs an engine check and spots a U-boat, of all things. His two torpedoes alter an island’s topography. Capt. Binghamton prepares a court-martial.
“Well done,” says Adm. Reynolds to the captain, referring to Parker’s exploit, “sink that U-boat!”
Binghamton goes aboard, “I’m tired of you hogging all the glory.”
The Japs have fuel oil for the sub, McHale paints depth charges as oil drums. “Whappo!”
Fuji serves wienerschnitzel. “Oh, wie schön ist’s!” The situation figures in Eastwood’s Heartbreak Ridge.
Is There a Doctor in the
Adm. Rogers wants to see Rita Howard perform at Taratupa, she’s touring on New Caledonia. Capt. Binghamton wants to be his chief of staff. The crew of PT 73 want to sell off their souvenirs on New Caledonia. Christy is made Rita’s cousin, Binghamton orders them away.
Col. Pryor is due back at Pearl Harbor with his charge, the plane is rerouted to Taratupa, the passengers inspected for kookaberry fever, Ens. Parker plays doctor.
HOWARD: You think that thermometer was in long enough, Doc?
ENS. PARKER: Oh sure, it’s the latest thing, instant mercury. Normal!
RITA HOWARD: Thank heaven!
Pryor is examined in a vaudeville by Parker, Tinker and Gruber, while Rita sings the whole nine yards of “Shoo Shoo Baby”.
Capt. Binghamton is obliged to defend his Navy doctor against a threat of action from the Army. So is Adm. Rogers, “nearly in hysterics” with the plan told by Rita, “sheer genius... wanted to put that stuffy colonel in his place,” all glory to McHale on Binghamton’s plea of innocence.
Have Kimono, Will Travel
The crew have disguised themselves as Kabuki players, the female costume goes to Capt. Binghamton, who does a Chaplin back-kick in his turn onstage. This is to distract Japanese soldiers while their fuel dump is rifled.
The men on Taratupa are “starved for entertainment”, nevertheless Binghamton has “rung down the curtain” on The PT 73 Follies. The boat transports him instead to ComFleet for a logistics conference. A Japanese fighter strafes it, the fuel tank is hit. Hence the stratagem on an enemy island.
The costumes and makeup belong to a troupe from Osaka. McHale introduces the performers in Japanese, his accent is thought to come from Okinawa.
To win a nurse’s love, Tinker embarks on a secret mission with the crew of PT 73 ordered by FDR and Churchill but actually existing nowhere save as scuttlebutt.
In the event, it’s carrying a boxed-up refrigerator to Adm. Walters on Bangalora. Imperial Japanese Navy Headquarters gets wind of it. Attacked by Zeros, ringed by subs, PT 73 jettisons its cargo. A torpedo bomber showers the deck with ice cubes, convincing even the crew who have started to believe their own scuttlebutt.
They sink a sub and win Tinker a Bronze Star. The girl has dumped her dashing pilot for a chestful of medals.
August Teahouse of McHale
Capt. Binghamton observes McHale trading rifles for coconuts from a Japanese sailor, the Marines are called in.
The captain’s headaches force him to lie down, Ens. Parker’s cot has a pillow-activated sleep teaching method for Japanese lingo, Binghamton raves in both languages for the benefit of his Navy doctor.
Operation Gaslight is meant to convince even Binghamton that he needs a rest. Monsoon rains appear and disappear, Imperial Commander Quintoshi Mchalekawa has an Imperial Japanese Naval Base on McHale’s Island, the captain is on his way to New Caledonia.
He stops in to apologize and finds the crew entertaining lonesome Fuji with a Japanese tea party (the coconuts he had picked, the rifles were to be cleaned and divert him from the preparations), the captain flees.
The Happy Sleepwalker
Capt. Binghamton issues a shoot-on-sight order against fraternization with nurses. Happy isn’t affected, he’s bald and shy and sleepwalks collecting pinups.
A psychiatric nurse double-dates with Ens. Parker and a colleague, Happy’s fitted with a Marine sergeant’s toupee, Virgil lends his secret rendezvous, “the fire shack next to the ammunition dump.”
Binghamton and Carpenter show up, McHale feigns a fire in the ammo dump, the captain expresses his tearful gratitude at being rescued.
Happy loses the toupee but she doesn’t mind. Parker jumps off a pier to escape a second date.
My Ensign, the Lawyer
A glorious parlay twice confers on Adm. Rogers’ printing press a saving grace.
It multiplies by emulation when Capt. Binghamton orders one to publish his own directives, Gruber waylays it for ten-dollar headlines to the fleet, TORPEDOMAN GETS DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS, that sort of thing. Tinker is caught hanging fresh sheets out to dry, Binghamton presides at his court-martial for grand larceny.
The first order of business is the appointment of Ens. Parker as defense counsel.
The admiral’s press is substituted as evidence, case dismissed. It squirts Binghamton in the eye, so does the one he finally gets from the Navy.
A Medal for Parker
Ens. Parker has sunk the Yakamura in his war novel, the crew send his girl a chapter in response to her “Dear Chuck” letter.
The Chagrin Falls Gazette salutes its hometown hero, Congressman Fogelson flies out to present a medal, the Yakamura attacks in retaliation and is sunk by B-29s, a plan by Naval Intelligence to draw out the ship using Parker’s letter. He really did sink the Yakamura, Adm. Elliott explains.
In his next work, the ensign destroys Tokyo, an avalanche hits Jap HQ, etc. McHale deep-sixes it.
Babette Go Home
The Navy wants to buy M. Bergerac’s island to use as a supply base, his daughter stows away on PT 73, having “thought it would be fun to be here with Virgil and the boys.” That means “playing air-raid” with a .50 cal., which sinks Binghamton’s gig.
Her father is impersonated by Ens. Parker to avert a court-martial, he accuses the captain of shanghaiing the girl from New Caledonia and tears up the papers, “no-one will know of this shame.” The real Bergerac is accosted by Binghamton as an impostor, the deal is off.
Babette goes “for a ride” on the boat, torpedoes the island and crashes into the dock. M. Bergerac apologizes, spanks her and concludes the deal.
The Novocain Mutiny
Wheelchair races in sick bay as a betting sport cause sick call to quadruple, Admiral Harris makes a personal inspection.
The crew of PT 73 try every possible way of relieving Fuji’s toothache, the boat fails to pull the tooth, Fuji is brought to the dental office in a head bandage as Tinker “on a life raft for seven days” amidst the inspection, he’s even switched for a sailor in the chair.
Capt. Binghamton is finally in the chair unconscious. Fuji is smuggled out in a gunnysack and dropped once on the way to the boat, that is enough to remedy his ailment.