Monday, October 14, 2013

What Might've Been: Ensign O'Toole (1962)

While Four Star was best known for its line of Westerns and crime dramas, the studio's seeming weakness was its sitcoms.

It was Four Star that gave the Smothers Brothers their first TV series, a half-hour sitcom that we'll discuss another time. It, like our next subject, Ensign O'Toole, lasted but one season.

Ensign O'Toole was Four Star's answer to McHale's Navy, which Revue/Universal made for ABC and got four seasons out of. The big difference was that O'Toole looks like it was in a post-war setting, remaining stateside. Dean Jones is better remembered for his work for Disney (i.e. "The Love Bug"), but this was his first starring vehicle, and it would take another 9 years before he'd get another (Chicago Teddy Bears, which he co-produced, lasted one season as well, in 1971 for CBS, and we reviewed that a while ago). The supporting cast, as you'll see also includes Jack Albertson, years before Chico & The Man, and Harvey Lembeck, who later became a filmmaker, and also is better known for his role in the beach movies with Frankie Avalon & Annette Funicello, plus having two children follow him into acting (son Michael & daughter Helaine).

The only time I remember seeing this show was when it aired on a Saturday afternoon on WRGB in syndication in the 70's. I think what hurt the show was ratings, more than anything. No rating, as I don't remember enough to properly rate it.

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