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A War for All Seasons (TV series episode)

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M*A*S*H episode
“A War for All Seasons”
A war for all seasons
Potter and the rest of the MASH personnel usher in 1951.
Season 9, Episode # 6
Number (#204) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Jeff Maxwell
Laurie Bates
Carl Freed
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: Z-409
Writer(s) Dan Wilcox & Thad Mumford
Director Burt Metcalfe
Original airdate December 29, 1980
IMDb logo IMDB A War for All Seasons
Episode chronology
← Previous Next →
"Death Takes a Holiday" (Z‑408) "Your Retention, Please" (Z‑406)

(broadcast order)

(broadcast order)

"Death Takes a Holiday" (Z‑408) "Tell It to the Marines" (Z‑410)

(production order)

(production order)

Season 9 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

A War for All Seasons was the 6th episode of Season 9 of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, also the 204th overall series episode, Written by Dan Wilcox and Thad Mumford and directed by Burt Metcalfe, it originally aired on December 29, 1980.


As the year 1950 comes to a close, the 4077th staff and surgeons hope 1951 is "a damn sight better" and hopefully they'll be going home. The year 1951 is not uneventful: Klinger makes a bet on a baseball team Charles is sure will lose, Hawkeye and B.J. build a kidney machine, Margaret knits a scarf which soon becomes a bed sheet, and Father Mulcahy plants a garden. By the time New Years Eve rolls around again, they all hope 1952 will be a "damn sight better" and that they will be returning home.

Full episode summaryEdit

This episode opens with the 4077th closing out 1950 and welcoming in 1951. Col. Potter, as Father Time, offers a toast to the new year, and hoping that everyone will be home before its over.

We see a series of related events that took place over the course of 1951: everyone wants a shot at the Sears catalog: Margaret wants to order a winter jacket (something the Army unhelpfully didn't provide her with), Father Mulcahy orders some gardening supplies, Klinger orders a baseball glove, and Hawkeye and B.J. order parts to build their very own kidney dialysis machine.

Klinger and Potter enter in a bet about who's going to win the World Series. Klinger predicts the entire league against the Dodgers, 2-1 odds! When Potter says he's willing to offer up $50, Winchester, sensing the chance to make a lot of money, covers Klinger's side of the bet.

As the year progresses, Winchester is now suddenly interested in baseball, and keeps trying to rope more people into the bet, going so far as to offer 6-1 odds, which Potter can't resist, betting $100!

Come October, it's the Dodgers versus the Giants in the National League tie-breaker. With everyone having so much money at stake, the final game of the series is broadcast across the P.A. It seems all but certain that the Dodgers are going to win, except--this is the famous game where Bobby Thomson hit the winning home run for the Giants: "The Shot Heard 'Round the World."

As the announcer yells the iconic cry, "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!", Winchester is left laying on the ground, devastated, his Dodger hat laid across his chest.

The episode ends with the 4077th having yet another New Year's party, this time welcoming in 1952. Col. Potter makes another toast, and wishing, once again, that they all be home before its over.

Later when a fildem of Thomson's home run is shown, Winchester goes berserk and slashes the screen with a knife and screams "WHERE IS THAT LEBANESE MONGOOSE????"

Fun FactsEdit

This is another format-busting episode: covering the events of an entire year in just one show.

The only problem is, the timeline on display makes my head explode: we see Potter, Winchester, and the rest welcoming in 1951--which means that the previous eight seasons of the show took place in just twelve months (less, actually, since the war didn't start until June)! How long were Trapper and Henry at the 4077th, two months? Likewise Dear Dad Has the orginal MASH cast celebrating Christmas of 1950!

Additionally, the timeline is absolutely broken. When the P.A. system announces the actors and characters when Colonel Potter's character is first announced to join the show, it also announces that the date is September 19, 1952. According to this piece of information, it wouldn't be possible for Potter (and Winchester) to even be there for any parts of this episode. Potter's arrival Change of Command (TV series episode) is episode 4/3; furthermore Timeline shows 4/20 The Novocaine Mutiny (TV series episode) takes place in October 1952 and 4/4 " The Late Captain Pierce (TV series episode) takes place in December 1952 {Eisenhower vistt to Korea after he elected PRESIDENT};;Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler (TV series episode) 4/10 has a timeline mistake-Dr Friedman claims the latest news is the Marines Landing at Inchon-which happened in September 1950; Col. Flagg also refers to General Douglas MacARthur {Who was dismissed in April 1951-before Col Potter took command{!} Later Friedman also claims that Captain Chandler has been fighting for 2 years {1952} {Note Chandler alleged B-29 Squadron either the 420th and 428th Bomb Squadron{s} did not exist 1950-1953; they did not have B-29s{!} . The 9th season Goodbye, Cruel World (TV series episode) shows the President As Harry S Truman--Yet the Present after The Late Captain Pierce (TV series episode) was Dwight Eisenhower! Likewise in 4/15 Mail Call...Again (TV series episode) Radar remarks on Sygman Rhee was reelected again-which happened in July 1952 and Potter didnt arrive until Sept 1952; in 4/24 Deluge (TV series episode) The Chinese come into the War-in November 27, 1950! Another examples the timeline is mixed up: in "Excorism" there was a battle of a Hill 205-in November of 1950! See also a way the timeline is mixed up is in 4/11 Dear Peggy (TV series episode) In which Hawkeye reads Elizabeth Taylor marriage to N-and thinks its Vice President Richard Nixon; it fact Taylor married Conrad "Nicky" Hilton May 6, 1950 yet BJ didnt arrive in Korea until Sept 1952 and Nixon became Vice President after Dwight Eisenhower was elected December 1952! It is more mixed up of correct timelines Soldier Of The Month (TV series episode) is 4.13 refereing to President Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon yet Eisenhower and Nixon didnt take office until December 1952 which is in The Late Captain Pierce 4/4 and 4/20 The novicane Mutiny takes place in October 1952! Likewise the West Point Cheating Scandal in "Solder of the Month" took place after April 1951! In episode 4/22 Smilin' Jack (TV series episode) is hopelessly mixed up -Smilin Jack refers to both the Yalu {which occured in Nov/Dec 1950} and MacArthur headquarters {MacArthur was relieved from command April 17, 1951} while Battle of the Imjin River and the fighting by the British Gloucester Regiment took place in April 1951; yet neither Potter or BJ came to MASH until September 1952! Change of command In 7/16 B.J. Papa San (TV series episode) Hawkeye claims to General Prescott that Major Winchester could never be the General's personel physcian-mentioning Douglas MacArthur who was releived from command in April 1951 while Winchester arrived in MASH 4077 after September 1952! {It would have been more funnier if Winchester part had been played by Frank Bruns who indeed tried to become a General physican in 5/21 The General's Practitioner (TV series episode) ! Likewise Winchester couldn't have been in MASH Oct 9,1952 "Our Finest Hour" {Burns was still at MASH 4077 December 1952 "THe late Captain Pierce"      

For the record Bobby THOMPSON Home Run took place October 3, 1951-yet in episode 2/3 Radar's Report (TV series episode) the date is given as October 17, 1951 When Frank Burns and Trapper John are still at MASH! Likewise in 10/5 Give 'Em Hell, Hawkeye (TV series episode) Hawkeye writes a message to President Harry S Truman-even though 4/4 "The Late Captain Pierce" the President is Eisenhower--and Hawkeye had already sent a message to President Truman in 2/5 " Dr. Pierce and Mr. Hyde (TV series episode)

Another way the historical Timeline is broken In MASH is BJ HUnnicut arrived in Korea September 1952 yet one character he nearly has a affair with was Aggie O'Shea {who was loosely based in female war Correspondent Maggie Higgins-who was in Korea only from summer to December 1950!} 

Likewise when did Winchester become part of MASH? It Couldn't have been before December 1952 when Frank Burns was still at MASH 4/4 The Late Captain Pierce (TV series episode). In 10/17 Where There's a Will, There's a War (TV series episode) Major Winchester claims to have been part of a Battalion AiD Station at the Battle of Pork Chop Hill which started in MArch until July 1953...Even if Winchester was only at the Battalion Aid Station for a month at the beginning of the Battle....if MASH had kept to a real Timeline...Winchester have only been at MASH 4077 about 4 months until July 1953! Winchester came to MASH by at least February 1953-he was certainly there when BJ -who came in September 1952-had already been in MASH six months 7/6 None Like It Hot (TV series episode). He was certainly there in April after Potter's arrival {8/25} April Fools (TV series episode) in order to play a joke on Houlihan. Winchester is also present in 6/22 Potter's Retirement (TV series episode) when Potter considers retirement during the Ky Derby which only takes place in May/July-Winchester claims he was in MASH for 6 months-which means Burns went Bonkers in December 1952-altough Winchester claims he was at the Battle of Pork Chop hill of March-1953-which means Winchester was only at MASH for only 4 months -until July 1953! Likewise in They Call the Wind Korea and out of Gas Mash 4077 is shown to been in howling cold windstorm--which happened in Novemeber/December 1950!!

In 9/4 Father’s Day (TV series episode) takes place in the 3rd Sunday in the month of June. In 11/6 Bombshells (TV series episode) Baseball star Ted Williams goes home June 1953; the episode about the movie The Moon is blue 11/8 The Moon is Not Blue (TV series episode) this movie wasnt released until just before the armistice in July 1953...too late to have gotten to MASH! Likewise in real life Winchester could not have particpated in either the Halloween 11/2 Trick or Treatment (TV series episode) or in Thanksgiving 8/10 The Yalu Brick Road (TV series episode) or Christmas episodes 9/5 { Death Takes a Holiday (TV series episode)} nor could he have been their as the Canadain Princess Pat Light Infantry which was in Korea from 1950 to 1952! 9/9 Taking the Fifth (TV series episode)

note In real life Potter could not have been in 11/2 trick or treatment since the battle of heartbreak ridge actually happened during the Korean war but it happened in sept/October 1951 and potter didn't arrive inkorea until September 19, 1952! (lastly BJ acts more like Trapper John....his juvenille trick with the lamp would have been more funny with the superstiticious Frank Burns as the dupe!)

Lastly as Potter arrived Sept 19, 1952 and Winchester was in KORea by March 1953 neither of them could have participated in Summer 1952 MASH Olympics 6/11 The M*A*S*H Olympics (TV series episode) {It Would have been funnier if the CO in the "Olympics" had been Col Blake; Frank Burns in place of Penobscot and Trapper John in place of BJ} Nor could Potter or Winchester have been in MASH treating the Gloucestershire Regiment which was in Korea in April 1951! 6/18 Tea and Empathy (TV series episode) nor could Potter or Winchester have been in MASH 4077 in 1951 in 8/15 Yessir, That’s Our Baby (TV series episode) {Blake would have been in command and Radar, Trapper John and Frank Burns would have been in MASH; of course the timeline had to be broken as it shows WInchester actually have compassion for an abandoned baby; Burns would have been his usual selfish inconsiderate self} LAStly neither Winchester or BJ arrived in Korea before Douglas MacArthur releived from command in April 1951! B.J. Papa San (TV series episode). Nor could Potter or Winchester have been in korea in "Point of View" as the date on the unfinished letter is 9-15-1951 (September 15, 1951) !!, (Likewise Potter claims to have been married 35 years..thus he would have been married in 1916...when he was 15 to 16 years old!!!,) According to IMDB Goofs on "Images" "Potter says he has been married for 38 years since 1913. In a previous episode he claimed to be in WWI (1917-1919) at age fifteen. That makes him 11 or younger when he got married." Lastly in "bombshells" Marilyn Monroe didn't get Korea until 1954! In 5/25 Margaret's Marriage Margaret has known Penobscot for 8 months--yet when she thinks she is pregent-that would be at least 9 months--yet Jan-July 1953 is seven months-----and Margaret wasn't pregnet when she got married....{ a drunk Frank Burns claims Houlihan was in the army 18 years--not her 10 1/2 yeaars in service!} In Death Takes a Holiday Winchester is shown celebrating Christmas--when in December 1952 Frank Burns was still at MASH 4077!

An illogical that a Bostonite such as Winchester would bet on a New York Team--The Boston braves would have been his hometown team!!! 

When everyone is celebrating the Dodgers win, Father Mulcahy is so excited he plants a kiss on Margaret. The next time you watch the show, look how surprised she looks--part of me thinks it was an ad-lib on William Christopher's part!

Likewise Igor is shown be playing Frank Burns part as the CAMP Idiot..such as creaming corn instead of serving it on the cob--although you'd think Mulcahy would have TOLD Igor to roast instead of Creaming it..unless IGOR WAS too stupid to remember such a simple instruction!

For more MASH anachronisms see Anachronisms in M*A*S*H

also see

Guest stars/recurring castEdit


Winchester to Klinger: "...If I WIND UP IN DEBT, YOu'll WIND UP IN TRACTION."

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