CLASSIC COMIC EXPLOITS OF AN ACID-TONGUED CHIEF PETTY OFFICER IN THE NAVY
For two seasons (1976–1978) and 37 episodes, Don Rickles brought his distinctive brand of comedy to NBC television as the star of CPO SHARKEY. His targets were many, and his aim was true. Rickles’ character, CPO Sharkey, was politically incorrect before the term existed! As a 24-year naval veteran, CPO Sharkey had pretty much seen and heard it all.
The recruits he whipped into shape at the San Diego naval training center received most of his shards of wisdom. Since all the men under his command seem to be from different racial and cultural backgrounds (black, Polish, Hispanic, etc.), Sharkey has plenty of ammunition for his insults and putdowns. He's actually very fond of his men though, and usually must protect them from mealy-mouthed boss Lt. Whipple and gruff base commander Capt. Buckner. The men of Company 144 may have been hockey pucks, but they were his hockey pucks—ready, willing and able to endure one verbal shark attack after another.
The 15 episodes in THE COMPLETE SEASON 1 find the new captain proposing to shape up "the chief with the biggest beer belly," a pretty fair description of the outraged Sharkey while visiting Marines cause havoc at the training base as their behavior tests the patience of Sharkey and the sailors.