No Time for Sergeants (1958): Mervyn LeRoy’s Service Comedy, Starring Andy Griffith

Produced and directed by Mervyn LeRoy, No Time for Sergeants is a comedy starring Andy Griffith, and featuring some members of the original Broadway cast, such as Myron McCormick and Don Knotts.

John Lee Mahin’s script was based on Ira Levin’s stage play, which in turned was adapted from the novel by Mac Hyman.

Griffith plays Will Stockdale, a Georgia backwoods rube, drafted into the US Air Force. He is joined in training by the dim and unhappy Ben Whitledge (Nick Adams),  who favors the infantry where his six brothers served, and obnoxious bully Irving S. Blanchard (Murray Hamilton).

At boot camp, Stockdale locks horns with Master Sergeant Orville C. King (Myron McCormick), who wants his barracks to be quiet and orderly. In exasperation, the sergeant places Stockdale on full-time latrine duty. Stockdale believes his new position of “P.L.O.” (Permanent Latrine Orderly) to be a promotion.

Rushing him through testing, King bribes Stockdale by promising to give him his wristwatch if he can pass. Stockdale takes a dexterity test from Corporal John C. Brown (Don Knotts), a psychiatric test from Maj. Royal B. Demming (James Millhollin), managing to get by after driving them all crazy–and getting the wristwatch as a reward.

Released on May 30, 1958, the movie was a huge commercial hit, the year’s fourth top grosser, earning $7.5 million in domestic rentals.

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