[March 17, 2020] Looking through the “free new movies” section of Netflix last night, I ran upon the movie All Hands on Deck (1961) starring Pat Boone, Buddy Hackett, et al. Decades ago, when it first came out, my dad gathered up our entire family to see it at a drive-in on a hot and humid evening in Louisiana. Watching the recent political and social gyrations about the Coronavirus outbreak made me think more about the serious meaning of the phrase, all hands on deck.
Certainly, a phrase from the navy, it means to ready everyone for an emergency. Everyone participates; everyone is part of the solution. There are no observers, just actors in a big event. Good! With the Coronavirus, we see this to a degree. I recently had surgery to remove one big-ass kidney stone, and the doctors and nurses were pulling out all the stops to prevent the spread of this virus from infecting their hospital. Now is not a good time to be in a hospital, and I hear they are postponing elective surgery, restricting visitors, ramping up additional bed space, and increasing staffing.
All hands on deck, while a navy phrase, is not that different from the foot soldier phrase ride to the sound of the guns. The latter has a long history and is a catchphrase of militaries around the world. It is an appeal to aggressive action at the point of the battle and is a central idea in great leadership. All hands on deck is also part of the leadership standard; we leaders are the trumpet to call everyone for duty.
Good leadership is also what will be bringing out all the resources to both fight the spread of the Coronavirus and help keep everyone’s head in the game. It’s no time for panic (although I did see some of this at the grocery store today) since panicking will serve no worthwhile purpose. U.S. Vice President Pence has stepped into the U.S. lead in charge of the virus Task Force. He has performed well so far, and his credibility is essential. He does that by being straight forward, talks to the heart, keeps his facts straight, doesn’t misled, and is honest in his assessments.
In the movie, All Hands on Deck, we see the story of a U.S. Navy ship with a Captain obsessed with catching a fish, a singing executive officer wanting to get married, and an Indian with a turkey as a pet. I laughed at the comedy as a kid. Seeing it again last night, I just thought it a bit ridiculous. Maybe my tastes have changed, but perhaps the movie could have been better, and it certainly did not entertain me in any way. The movie is not recommended.