Insult comic Don Rickles found the perfect vehicle for his humor in this situation comedy, in which he was cast as Chief Petty Officer Sharkey of the U.S. Navy.
Sharkey, a 24-year veteran of Navy service, was stationed at the Navy Training Center in San Diego, California. He was in charge of a company of new recruits, and it was his job to make sailors out of a collection of diverse ethnic types, most of whom had never been away from home before.
The various ethnic backgrounds and stereotypes were all targets of Sharkey’s verbal barbs, but beneath that harsh, nasty exterior, was the heart of an old softie, especially when he sensed the suffering of a recruit who either could not take his bluster or was suffering the problems of adjusting to life away from home. Sharkey’s immediate superior was the long-winded and over-bearing Lt. Whipple; the base commander was Capt. Quinlan, who was, of all things, an attractive woman.
When C.P.O. Sharkey returned in October 1977, to replace the short-lived The Sanford Arms, Sharkey had a new, and male, commanding officer in Capt. “Buck” Buckner.
USA / NBC / x25 minute episodes / Broadcast December 1, 1976 – July 28, 1978
Creator: Aaron Ruben / Producers: Aaron Ruben, Gene Marcione / Director: Peter Bildwin
Don Rickles as Chief Steve Sharkey
Harrison Page as Chief Robinson
Elizabeth Allen as Captain Quinlan
Richard X. Slattery as Capt. Buck Buckner
Jonathan Daly as Lt. Whipple
Peter Isacksen as Drill Sgt. Pruitt
David Landsberg as Recruit Leon Sholnick
Tom Ruben as Recruit Kowalski
Evan Kim as Recruit Shimokawa
Barry Pearl as Recruit Mignone
Richard Beauchamp as Recruit Rodriquez
Jeff Hollis as Recruit Daniels
Philip Sims as Recruit Apocuda