McHale- Hail and Farewell

Posted on July 9, 2012

I just wanted to mention that we had a great time at the Lake in the Hills Rockin' Ribfest yesterday!With slightly cooler temperatures than we've had to endure lately,and, in spite of having a slightly rough throat, we managed to survive quite nicely. We arrived late due to some nasty traffic and a few wrong turns, but arrived to find our fans waiting patiently in line- and without a single complaint or cross word, which shows how nice you guys are! We made sure we signed for everybody, had a great band next door playing hits from the band Chicago,and truly enjoyed our time at the Ribfest- even if we never got to the ribs! More Sven appearances coming next weekend-and we'll hit them tomorrow here in the blog... Yesterday, on our way back to the station from Ribfest, we heard via the radio that another classic TV actor had passed away- Ernest Borgnine,best known to so many viewers as Lt. Commander Quinton McHale,the commander of the PT 73 on "McHale's Navy"! Borgnine was an amazing actor with a long career in movies and TV- he won an Oscar for his role as "Marty", played plenty of tough guy villians in films like "From Here to Eternity",dabbled in horror films like "Deadly Blessing" and "The Devil's Rain", and appeared in blockbusters like "The Poseidon Adventure".Some TV viewers got to know him from his work on "Airwolf" (by the way, PLEASE don't post a comment with the usual "you forgot he was in..."-I didn't forget- I'M JUST NOT POSTING EVERY ROLE HE EVER DID!...okay- rant over.)With over one hunderd movies and countless TV roles,he had a prolific career.Borgnine passed away at the age of 95-just 5 years shy of reaching 100. I may have told this story before, and I wish I could remember all the details- but I did "work" with Ernest Borgnine once!Back when I was doing "The Koz Zone" at Fox, we went to Universal Studios Orlando to shoot a week's worth of shows at the theme park's grand opening.There were things that weren't working (the King Kong ride kept breaking down, and the "Jaws" ride was so messed up they didn't even attempt to open it) and the "Psycho" house had been repainted for a prequel and was actually a bright yellow- but we wandered the park,shooting various segments, with a park worker as our guide who had previously worked for Disney, and spent most of his time putting down their theme parks while actually preventing us from shooting a lot of stuff. We learned to distract him or have him go try to get permission to shoot certain things, and, while he was gone, shooting it anyway. He'd return and say "No, they won't let you do that" and we'd say "oh-okay". We were just trying to make the park look cool and exciting- even the stuff that wasn't quite cool and exciting yet- and they didn't seem to grasp that.. But I digress- as we were wandering by one store, we saw Ernest Borgnine walk into it! Our lovely producer, a pretty Irish lass, went in to try and charm him into shooting a quick show intro with us. She explained what we were, how we were from Chicago and big fans- but Ernest didn't seem to commit.She came out, and we discussed what to do instead- and out walked Borgnine, asking "Where's Chicago?" (Not meaning where the city was, but where the crew from Chi-town was!) I introduced myself to him, and we went over what we'd do- a brief intro to the "Muppet Babies" cartoon- he'd say "I love the Muppet Babies- I watch them whenever I'm in Chicago!" I'd then ask him "How often are you in Chicago?" - and he'd reply (the big punchline) "...Never." I'd do a Jack Benny take, and pitch it to the show. So- we rolled tape- I introduced Ernest, and said next up was "Muppet Babies"- instead of doing his line, he asked in a confused voice "...Muppet Maybes?" I tried to lead him to his big punchline- he went nowhere near it- and ended it with "...but I watch!" I did a take to the camera, pitched to the show- then turned to thank him- and he was completely gone!? Somewhere I have a tape of this- if I ever find it, I'll give you the actual dialogue we had-but I guess now , I'll never know if he was just goofing with me, or totally lost. It really doesn't matter. McHale- hail and farewell.You leave a heck of a legacy.

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