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Boatniks, The (1970)

It was hi-jinks at the harbour in this 1970 Disney comedy/crime flick, a sort of Gilligan’s Island meets The Pink Panther. Robert Morse filled the bumbling sailor role, playing against Phil Silvers (TV’s Sgt. Bilko) as the leader of a gang of hapless bad guys.

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When bumbling Coast Guard Ensign Thomas Garland (Morse, appearing in his last film role before a 17-year hiatus from the big screen) gets assigned to busy Newport Harbour, he unwittingly crosses the paths of jewel thieves Harry Simmons (Silvers), Max Mason (Norman Fell) and Charlie Long (Mickey Shaughnessy).

The three are after comely Kate Fairchild (Stefanie Powers), the attractive proprietor of a sailing school who accidentally dropped their stolen jewels into her picnic basket.

Madcap slapstick follows as Harry, Max and Charlie try to recover the jewels, Ensign Garland tries to woo Ms Fairchild, and exasperated  Coast Guard Commander Taylor (Don Ameche) tries not to strangle his inept subordinate.

The Boatniks followed the long-standing Disney tradition of talented ensemble comedy and was a respectable hit in cinemas. Thanks to Disney’s long-running series of TV shows, the film continued to be enjoyed by audiences for years after its release.

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Ensign Thomas Garland
Robert Morse
Kate Fairchild

Stefanie Powers
Harry Simmons

Phil Silvers
Max Mason

Norman Fell
Charlie Long

Mickey Shaughnessy
Jason

Wally Cox
Commander Taylor

Don Ameche
Lt. Jordan

Joey Forman
Pepe

Galindo Vito Scotti
Wagner

Tom Lowell
Chief Walsh

Bob Hastings
Garlotti

Sammy Jackson
Tina

Judy Jordan
Bert

Al Lewis