Robert “Bob” Francis Hastings (April 18, 1925 – June 30, 2014) was an American radio, film, and television character actor. He also provided voices for animated cartoons. He was best known for his portrayal of annoying suck-up Lt. Elroy Carpenter, on McHale’s Navy.
Early life and career
Hastings was born in Brooklyn, New York, a son of Charles and Hazel Hastings, Sr. His father was a salesman. Hastings started in radio on “Coast-to-Coast on a Bus” (NBC). Hastings served during World War II in the United States Army Air Corps. After serving in World War II as a navigator on B-29s, he played the role of Archie Andrews in a series based on the Archie comic book series on the NBC Red Network, later just the NBC Radio Network, after NBC divested itself of its Blue Network in 1942. Archie Andrews was sponsored by Swift & Company food products.
Hastings later moved to television in 1949, performing in early science-fiction series, including Atom Squad. His first recurring role was as a lieutenant on Phil Silvers’ Sergeant Bilko television series in the late 1950s. At that time he guest starred on Walter Brennan’s ABC sitcom, The Real McCoys.
Most of his career has been spent in television, including two episodes on CBS’s Green Acres as an Air Force officer and as a sheriff. Hastings was cast as Lt. Bolt in the 1960 episode “Space Man” of the CBS military sitcom/drama, Hennesey, starring Jackie Cooper. Hastings guest starred in the ABC/Warner Brothers sitcom, Room for One More, starring Andrew Duggan and Peggy McCay, on the Robert Young CBS sitcom/drama, Window on Main Street, and on the NBC police sitcom, Car 54, Where Are You?.
In 1962, Hastings played a railroad executive in the episode “Substitute Sheriff” of the NBC western series, The Tall Man.
He appeared five times on CBS’s Dennis the Menace, with Jay North, most notably as Coach Gilmore in the 1963 episode, “The Big Basketball Game”. He appeared three times from 1961 to 1962 on the CBS sitcom, Pete and Gladys, with Harry Morgan and Cara Williams.
Hastings portrayed the aide to Captain Binghamton (Joe Flynn), the yes-man Lieutenant Elroy Carpenter on ABC’s McHale’s Navy, humorously called “Carpy” and “Little Leadbottom” by McHale and his men. Hastings played Captain Ramsey on ABC’s General Hospital. He was also the voice of The Raven on episodes of CBS’s The Munsters. He briefly hosted the game show Dealer’s Choice and had a recurring role as bar owner Tommy Kelsey on All in the Family.
After McHale’s Navy, Hastings was a regular on the Universal Studios lot, where Universal paid actors during downtime to be on the grounds and talk to tourists. According to an interview on Time Travel Radio, he got along so well with the people that he became one of the few regulars on the tour.
Hastings played “Cousin Phantom of the Opera” in the television movie The Munsters’ Revenge. Hastings was in the 1968 Universal film Did You Hear the One About the Traveling Saleslady? starring Bob Denver. Hastings was cast in the 1971 comedy movie How to Frame a Figg, starring Don Knotts. Hastings also was in the movie Harper Valley PTA in which he played Skeeter Duggan, a member of the PTA board who had been kidnapped at the orders of its dishonest president to commit election fraud.
In 1967, Hastings recorded an LP for Home Records Inc. entitled Bob Hastings Sings For The Family (HR-101), with 12 songs arranged and conducted by Bob Caudana.
Hastings has also done voice work for animation and commercials, including Beany on Beany and Cecil, The Raven on the Munsters series, Superboy in the The New Adventures of Superboy cartoons of the 1960s, D.D. on Hanna-Barbera’s Clue Club, and the voice of Commissioner Jim Gordon in the popular Batman: The Animated Series and its various spinoffs in the DC animated universe, such as Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures and several Batman video games.
His earlier work in animation includes doing the voice Henry Glopp on Hanna-Barbera’s animated series Jeannie in 1973 and additional voices on Challenge of the Superfriends.
Personal life and death
Hastings is the older brother of longtime As the World Turns star Don Hastings. He was married to wife Joan (Rice) Hastings for 66 years and had four children, 10 grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren. He toured the country as a participant in various Old-Time Radio Conventions, reading scripts for such shows as Archie Andrews and The Bickersons. He appeared at the 2013 Cincinnati Nostaglia Expo, the Radio Enthusiasts of Puget Sound Showcase 2013 in Bellevue, Washington in June, and at the Friends of Old Time Radio Convention in Newark, New Jersey in October 2010.
He died on June 30, 2014, from prostate cancer at the age of 89.
- April, 18, 1925
- New York
- June, 30, 2014
Cause of Death
- pancreatic cancer
- Forest Lawn Memorial Park
- Los Angeles, California