1 9 6 5 – 1 9 6 6 (USA)
29 x 60 minute episodes
This NBC comedy series (based on the 1960 movie of the same name) was set in the South Pacific during World War II aboard a commandeered 70-year-old two-masted schooner (the Kiwi).
Obsolete and badly in need of repairs, the ship was staffed with a token crew while the US Navy tried to figure out what to do with it. They soon discovered that it possessed certain unique qualities that made it a useful espionage weapon . . .
Its wooden hull did not show up on radar, its sailing power did not register on sonar, and its shallow draft allowed it to travel in waters not deep enough for larger ships. And so the Kiwi went to war.
Tough veteran Army Intelligence Major Simon Butcher (Jack Warden) was put in charge of the operation while Navy lieutenant Richard ‘Rip’ Riddle (Gary Collins) skippered the boat.
The crew posed as neutral Swedish sailors thus allowing them to sail into enemy waters and observe Japanese movements, assist allies and inform US officials of enemy strategy.
While Butcher was Riddle’s superior on land, he was subordinate to the skipper while onboard the vessel – yielding to the younger man’s orders with dry sarcasm. Their methodology differed greatly.
The series aired on Sunday nights at 10:00 pm where it had stiff competition from the second half of The ABC Sunday Night Movie, and Candid Camera and What’s My Line? on CBS. Sponsors included Alberto-Culver and Liggett and Myers Tobacco.
Gary Collins died on 13 October 2012 at the age of 74.
Major Simon Butcher
Lt Richard ‘Rip’ Riddle
CPO Willie Miller
Gunners Mate Sherman Nagurski
Ship’s Cook Charles Tyler
Radioman Patrick Hollis
Machinist’s Mate Seymour Trivers
Admiral Vincent Beckett