The character actor Bob Hastings made his biggest impact as the bumbling Lieutenant Elroy Carpenter, opposite Ernest Borgnine in the American sitcom McHale's Navy. In a varied career, which began on the radio when he played the role of Archie Andrews in a series based on the Archie comic book series, he also provided voices for numerous cartoons.
Borgnine had played Lt-Cdr Quinton McHale in a one-off drama, Seven Against The Sea (1962) the story of the crew of a US Navy torpedo boat whose Pacific island base is bombed by the Japanese. The men survive by going into hiding on the island, assisted by the friendly locals.
Seven Against The Sea effectively served as the pilot for McHale's Navy, which became wackier in tone. Its producer, Edward J Montagne, had enjoyed great success with The Phil Silvers Show – in which Hastings appeared – and McHale's Navy was to all intents and purpose a maritime version, centring on McHale's schemes to get money and girls. The series ran from 1962 until 1966.
Most of Hastings' work was on television, including numeous guest appearances in comedy shows like Car 54, Where Are You? and Dennis the Menace, as well as soaps like General Hospital. He also became a regular fixture on the Universal Studios lot, paid, along with other actors, to spend time at the studio and talk to tourists. His voice-over work included the role of Commissioner Jim Gordon in the popular Batman: The Animated Series and its various spin-offs, such as Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. µ EVE THOMAS
Robert Francis Hastings, actor: born Brooklyn, New York 18 April 1925; married 1948 Joan Rice (four children) died Burbank, California 30 June 2014.