Dean Jones is best known for multiple roles in Walt Disney films; He played Ensign O'Toole in a NBC comedy series from 1962 to 1963.
Jack Mullaney played the wealthy and vain Lieutenant Rex St. John on Ensign O'Toole.
Ensign O'Toole is a military comedy that aired on NBC from September 23, 1962, to May 5, 1963, with then 31-year-old Dean Carroll Jones (1931-2015), an Alabama native, in the title role of a nonchalant United States Navy ensign. The series ran for thirty-two episodes.
Another military comedy, McHale's Navy, starring Ernest Borgnine (1917-2012) aired its first season on ABC while Ensign O'Toole was also on the air.
The Appleby's crew included:
- Jack Mullaney (1929-1984) as 33-year-old Lieutenant Rex St. John, wealthy, handsome, and ambitious but vain
- Jay C. Flippen (1899-1971) as the cantankerous Chief Petty Officer Homer Nelson
- Jack Albertson (1907-1981) as Lieutenant Commander Virgil Stone, the ship's executive officer who delivered orders from the ship's unseen captain, heard only over speakers
- Harvey Lembeck (1923-1982) Phil Silvers' Sergeant Bilko series, portrayed Seaman Gabby Di Julio
- Beau Bridges (born 1941), son of Lloyd Bridges, as Seaman Howard Spicer, nineteen episodes
- Robert Sorrells (1930-2019) as Seaman Claude White
- John McGiver (1913-1975), a popular character actor who later starred on CBS's Many Happy Returns, appeared as Stone's brother-in-law, the psychologist Arthur Ainsley, who argued that the ship's crew was unhappy and hiding deep-seated depression.
Ensign O'Toole was based on All the Ships at Sea and Ensign O'Toole and Me, two books by William Julius Lederer, Jr. (1912- 2009), who served as a consultant on the series. Though there was no second season of production, Ensign O'Toole was repeated on NBC through September 15, 1963, and ABC aired reruns of the show from March to September 1964.
The real-life Appleby was the U.S. Navy destroyer U.S.S. Frank E. Evans, which was named and launched on October 3, 1944, and commissioned on February 3, 1945. On June 3, 1969, Frank E. Evans was cut in half in the Melbourne–Evans collision with the Royal Australian Navy aircraft carrier, the HMAS Melbourne. with the loss of seventy-four of her crew. Her bow sank almost immediately, and her stern was sunk as a target in Subic Bay in the Philippines.
Ensign O'Toole was aired opposite CBS's long-running Lassie series at the 7 p.m. Eastern time slot on Sundays. ABC that season aired repeats of Robert Young's Father Knows Best sitcom in the same time slot.
After Ensign O'Toole, ended, Dean Jones starred in numerous Walt Disney films from 1965 to 1977.
During her tour of duty, Appleby anchored in numerous ports: Hong Kong, South Korea, Arctic Ocean, the South Pacific, and its home port, San Diego, California. The opening episode entitled "Operation Kowana" introduces the cast. The sailors are given shore leave with a stern warning to mind their behavior when they land in the Japanese port of Kowana.
The second episode, "Operation Model T" (September 30, 1962), Terence O'Toole buys a Model T on a French island in the South Pacific and camouflages it in pieces aboard the ship. After reaching California, O'Toole has the car reassembled, and an admiral, who is an antique car collector, sees it on the dock and thus foils the ensign's plans.
In "Operation Benefit" (October 14, 1962), while the Appleby is in South Korea, Dick Powell (1904-1963), the owner of Four Star Television, which produced the series, guest starred in the episode. At the time of his appearance on Ensign O'Toole, Powell had fewer than three months to live.
Soupy Sales guest starred in "Operation Jinx," (October 21, 1962), as Seaman Jerome J. Johnson. Chief Nelson warns of trouble because Johnson is believed to be a bad-luck omen.
Harry Morgan (1915–2011), later the fictitious Colonel Sherman T. Potter on CBS' M*A*S*H, played Charlie in "Operation Mess" on November 18, 1962. O'Toole is puzzled why the crew is grumbling about the food when Charlie was previously considered a superior chef.
In "Operation Potomac" (December 9, 1962), with guest star Richard Eastham, O'Toole tries to determine why someone sent him a dress while the ship is in port near Washington, D.C. The unsolicited gift inspired lots of ribbing from his fellow crew members. Eventually, O'Toole learns the dress was for a female naval officer with the same name assigned to the same installation.
"Operation Gaslight" on December 16, 1962, featured Steve Franken (1932-2012), known also as Chatsworth T. Osborne, Jr., in CBS's The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, as Ensign Bender, a by-the-book sailor from the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. O'Toole decides to "initiate" Bender by convincing him that he has contracted an unusual nautical disease.
In "Operation Swindle" on December 30, 1962, Rosemary Shirley De Camp (1910-2001), who played the sister of Bob Cummings in an earlier NBC comedy series, guest starred as a southern belle who strips Chief Nelson of his bank book.
In "Operation Stowaway" on March 24, 1963, Nita Talbot (born 1930) appears as Grapunia, a young girl who stows away on the Appleby, as the crew goes overboard to win her favor.
In "Operation Tubby" on April 14, 1963, Stubby Kaye (1918-1997) guest starred as Tubby Mason, a compulsive eater on the verge of being discharged from the Navy for obesity. He is ordered to go on a crash diet.
The final episode, "Operation Geisha," stars the comedian Jack Carter (1922-2015) as a con man who must return money to an irate victim. He and a partner open a reverse geisha house.
- Ensign O'Toole. Classic Television Archive. Retrieved on May 8, 2021.
- Ensign O'Toole (TV Series 1962–1963) - IMDb, accessed May 8, 2021.
- Tom Frame (1992). Pacific Partners: a history of Australian-American naval relations. Rydalmere, NSW: Hodder & Stoughton, 127. ISBN 0-340-56685-X. OCLC 27433673.
- 1962-1963 American television network schedule.