C.P.O. Sharkey

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C.P.O. Sharkey
Don Rickles CPO Sharkey 1977.JPG
Sharkey winds up in a Tijuana jail after trying to bail out his men.
FormatSituation comedy
StarringDon Rickles
Peter Isacksen
Elizabeth Allen
Harrison Page
Richard X. Slattery
Country of originUSA
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes37
Production
Running timeapprox. 0:30 (per episode)
Broadcast
Original channelNBC
Original runDecember 1, 1976 – July 28, 1978
 
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C.P.O. Sharkey
Don Rickles CPO Sharkey 1977.JPG
Sharkey winds up in a Tijuana jail after trying to bail out his men.
FormatSituation comedy
StarringDon Rickles
Peter Isacksen
Elizabeth Allen
Harrison Page
Richard X. Slattery
Country of originUSA
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes37
Production
Running timeapprox. 0:30 (per episode)
Broadcast
Original channelNBC
Original runDecember 1, 1976 – July 28, 1978

C.P.O. Sharkey is an American sitcom which aired from 1976 to 1978 on NBC.

Premise[edit]

The series starred Don Rickles as a Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy. C.P.O. Otto Sharkey was an abrasive, sharp-tongued veteran in charge of a company of new Seaman Recruits on a San Diego naval base. Rickles is famous for his jokes about various ethnicities and this show provided him with a vehicle for his politically incorrect humor. The young company consisted of Daniels, a black American, Kowalski, a Polish-American; Skolnick, a Jewish-American, Mignone, an Italian-American and Rodriguez, an Hispanic-American. Sharkey's best friend on the base was Chief Robinson (Harrison Page) who was black. C.P.O. Sharkey was not Rickles' first role in that Navy position; he had played C.P.O. Ernie Schmidt in the 1961 episode "Professional Sailor" of the CBS military sitcom/drama, Hennesey, starring Jackie Cooper.

Rickles as Sharkey put his insult humor to good use with the other characters. Sharkey's assistant, Seaman Lester Pruitt (Peter Isacksen), was 6' 7" and simple-minded. His immediate superior was the smug and buck-toothed Lt. Whipple. The base commander was the female Capt. Quinlan (Elizabeth Allen), whom Sharkey never insulted to her face. In season 2, Capt. Quinlan left and was replaced by Capt. Buck Buckner (Richard X. Slattery), a by-the-book Captain whom Sharkey feels is a man's Captain, until he socks it to Sharkey "loud and clear", then he gets second thoughts on Buckner. But Sharkey was really a nice guy beneath his harsh exterior and often went to extreme measures to help his recruits with their problems.

In the first season, Sharkey's first name was never revealed until in one episode, he referred to himself as "Seymour". In the second season, he was named Otto.

The series featured an early American primetime TV depiction of punk rock, with San Fernando Valley punk rock band, The Dickies, making a guest appearance.[1]

Running gags[edit]

The cigarette box incident[edit]

The series is often remembered for an incident that occurred on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson during December 1976. Rickles appeared on The Tonight Show, speaking with guest host Bob Newhart. During the segment, Rickles slammed down the cigarette box Carson kept on his desk while joking with Newhart, and accidentally broke the box. When Carson returned the following night to the show and discovered the broken box, he took a camera crew to the adjacent studio where Sharkey was being taped. Carson disrupted the taping in order to tease Rickles about it, to the delight of the studio audiences of both shows. Carson imitated Rickles' insult comedy style by calling him a "big dummy" and teasing Harrison Page by speaking to him in an exaggerated jive accent. As Carson prepared to exit the stage, Rickles looked at the audience and said, "Ladies and gentleman, Johnny Carson!" With mock disdain Carson glared at Rickles and said, "They know who I am!"

The incident was often replayed in Tonight Show retrospectives and was considered a highlight of the 1970s era of the show, and the incident was also featured in the documentary Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project.

Reruns[edit]

Reruns aired on Comedy Central in the early 1990s.[citation needed]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

Brooks, Tim; Earl Marsh (2003). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-45542-8.