Bob Hastings is one of the more familiar faces of classic TV, and his passing on June 30th left many sad longtime fans. Hastings is perhaps best remembered for his portrayal of Lt. Elroy Carpenter on TV’s “McHales Navy” from 1962-1966. As the stammering sycophant of Joe Flynn’s Colonel Binghamton, Hastings made an indelible mark on this timeless classic of the small screen.
Hastings also had recurring roles on “The Phil Silvers Show” (aka “You’ll Never Get Rich”), “Dennis the Menace,” and “The Munsters” (uncredited as the voice of the Raven), and “All in the Family” (as tavern owner Tommy Kelsey).
Staring out in radio as the voice of Archie Andrews (based on the popular comics), Hastings used his voice skills to do work in cartoons like “Beany and Cecil” (as Beany) and “Batman The Animated Series” (as Commissioner Gordon, a role he also voiced on several other series, including “Gotham Girls). Along with his early radio career and his many TV appearances, Hastings also found time to appear in the movies “Airport ’75,” “How to Frame a Figg,” “The Bamboo Saucer,” and “The Boatniks.”
Hastings also appeared regularly on the soap opera “General Hospital.” He is the brother of actor Don Hastings, who was on the soap “As The World Turns” for 50 years.
But it is his work on “McHale’s Navy” that best represents his work and will likely remain his legacy. The show itself benefited from a top level ensemble cast. Hastings played a character that was timid, fawning, easily duped, and ultimately overtaken. He ingratiated himself to Joe Flynn as the comic heavy and foil. Flynn’s portrayal anchored the narrative of each episode, and Hastings’ character helped enhance that. Back in the 60s while he was active on television and films, Hastings also took time to make appearances on the Universal lot, signing autographs for fans taking the studio tour.
Bob Hastings remained active into the 21st century, continuing to make appearances as recently as 2010.