Old Lead Bottom

Military nickname of Captain Wallace “Wally” Burton Binghamton USNR (Joe Flynn) on the WWII comedy MCHALES NAVY/ABC/1962-66.


The rowdy misfit crew of the PT Boat No. 73 stationed near the South Seas island of Taratupa nicknamed Captain Binghamton  “Old Lead Bottom” because he received from a bullet wound in his butt, and because he was constantly plotting (unsuccessfully) to get Lt. Cdr. Quinton McHale (Ernest Borgnine) and his con artist crew members (“McHale’s Pirates”) transferred from his command.

Born in 1902, Binghamton hails from Youngstown, Ohio. Before the war, he was the commodore of a yacht club on Long Island  and the editor of a yachting magazine.

His wife (Ann Doran) lives in San Diego. She calls Wallace “Teddy Bear” and he calls her “Pumpkin.” As for Binghamton, his self-proclaimed nicknames are “Square Rig Binghamton” and “Forty Knot Binghamton.”

Old Lead Bottom’s catchphrases were “What in the name of the Blue Pacific,” “What in the name of Nimitz (or Halsey)?”, “What is it, wha’, wha’, wha’, what?!”,  “Somebody up there hates me!”, “Why me? Why is it always me?” and his favorite, “I could just scream.” His nemesis, McHale is often heard saying “Knock it off, you eight-balls” to his undisciplined crew.

Toward the end of the war in 1944, Captain Binghamton, (and to his chagrin the entire PT-73 crew) were reassigned to the coastal town of Voltafiore in Southern Italy where McHale’s crew continued to raise Binghamton’s blood pressure and pull off scams.

Note: Captain Binghamton, aka “Old Lead Bottom” also appeared in the sequel movies   McHale’s Navy (1964), McHale’s Navy Joins the Air Force (1965) and McHale’s Navy (1997) with Dean Stockwell playing Captain Wallace B. Binghamton.



Born in Philadelphia, Jerome Alphonse Holst worked 30 years as a librarian. He has since retired and lives in Greensboro, North Carolina. Mr. Holst is also the author of the children’s books “Norman the Troll,” "Norman the Troll and the Haunted House," and "Gretchen and the Gremlins." In addition, he penned the fantasy novel “The Adventures of Glinda Gale,” a retelling of “The Wizard of Oz" and the reference text “The Encyclopedia of Movie and TV Insults.” .

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Posted in Insulting Nicknames, Military

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