Ensign O'Toole is a military comedy that aired on NBC from September 23, 1962, to May 5, 1963, with 31-year-old Dean Jones in the title role of a nonchalant United States Navy ensign during the early 1960s. Jones, born in 1931 in Alabama and a Navy veteran of the Korean War, played an officer aboard the fictional U.S. Navy destroyer USS Appleby, which roamed the Pacific Ocean.
Ensign O'Toole was based on "All the Ships at Sea" and "Ensign O'Toole and Me," two books by William Lederer, who served as a consultant on the series. Though there was no second season of production, Ensign O'Toole was repeated on NBC through September 15, 1963, and ABC aired reruns of the show from March to September 1964.
The real-life U.S. Navy destroyer USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754), which was launched on October 3, 1944 and commissioned on February 3, 1945, portrayed Appleby. On June 3, 1969, Frank E. Evans was cut in half in a collision with the Royal Australian Navy aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne with the loss of 74 of her crew. Her bow sank almost immediately, and her stern was sunk as a target in Subic Bay in the Philippines.
Ensign O'Toole was aired opposite CBS's long-running Lassie at the 7 p.m. Eastern time slot on Sundays. ABC that season aired repeats of Robert Young's Father Knows Best in the same time slot
After Ensign O'Toole, Dean Jones starred in numerous Disney films from 1965 to 1977.