Thursday, October 11, 2012

Classic TV: C. P. O. Sharkey (1976)

In the 60's, producer Aaron Ruben turned the Marine Corps on its ear by introducing them to Gomer Pyle, USMC in a spin-off from The Andy Griffith Show. More than a decade later, Ruben decided to go after the Navy.

The premise of C. P. O. Sharkey, set in San Diego, was a tough but lovable Chief Petty Officer training a racially diverse group of recruits. So Ruben thought it was a genius move to cast insult comic Don Rickles as Otto Sharkey. Rickles' brand of humor was as politically incorrect as you could imagine back in the day, though he was actually an equal opportunity offender. If remade today, it'd have to be retooled to appease the PC Police, that much is certain. What Ruben was looking for was to blend together various ethnic characters similar to the police comedy, Barney Miller, over on ABC. He got 2 years, while Miller lasted 7 (and Gomer, as memory serves, went for 4 or 5, as star Jim Nabors decided to move on and do a variety show). So what went wrong?

From what I remember, Sharkey aired on Wednesdays, an often difficult night to program. Here's the intro:

Rickles hasn't had a series gig since, other than his regularly appearing on The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast.

Rating: B-.

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