Question: Whatever happened to that funny show The Wackiest Ship In the Army? My cousin says there was never such a show. I say there was and there was a cute guy with a last name like Smoltz. Who's right in this family melee? B.J., Carlsbad, N.M.
Televisionary: Why, you are, of course. The Wackiest Ship in the Army ran on NBC's schedule for a year beginning in September 1965.
Based on the true story of the Echo, a sailing ship of questionable seaworthiness given to the U.S. by New Zealand in 1942, the show focused on an old two-mast schooner commanded by the Navy's Gary Collins at sea and the Army's Jack Warden in its home port. (Whichever one wasn't in command reported to the other, and, of course, they didn't agree on much.)
Others in the cast included Rudy Solari, Don Penny, Mike Kellin, Charles Irving, William Zuckert and, as you say, Fred Smoot (though I can't back you up on the "cute" part that's in the eye of the beholder, of course).