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Captain B.J. Hunnicutt

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B.J. Hunnicutt
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M*A*S*H character
Vital information
Rank Captain (O-3), U.S. Army Reserve
Job/Role in unit: Surgeon at the 4077th M*A*S*H
Home Same as birthplace
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Blue
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 185 lbs.
Family/Personal Information
Born: 1924 (?)
Birthplace: Mill Valley, California, U.S.
Nationality/Race:
Spouse: Peg
Relatives/Children: Bea Hunnicutt (mother)
Jay Hunnicutt (father)
Peg {wife}
Erin (daughter)
Floyd Hadden {father-in-law}
Appearances
First appeared in: "Welcome To Korea, Part I" (Season 4)
Last appeared in: "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" (Series finale film, 1983)
Series/Film
appeared in:
M*A*S*H (TV series)
Played by: Mike Farrell

Captain B.J. Hunnicutt (played by Mike Farrell) is a fictional character in the TV show M*A*S*H, which ran from 1972-1983 on CBS.

Hunnicutt resided in Mill Valley, California before he was recruited to join the US Army to fight in the War. He is a third generation doctor in his family and was educated at Stanford University {A goof-Stanford Medical department didn't become part of the University until 1959{!} and was a member of the Tau Phi Epsilon fraternity. B.J. is married to Peg Hadden (who writes scores of letters to him while he is in Korea). The couple has a daughter, named Erin. {The series is never consistent on Erin age-she is either an infant who was born or about five or six when her father goes to Korea}. His father-in-law Floyd Hadden fought the Germans in World War I and is a farmer in Quapaw, Oklahoma.

When he came to MASH 4077 in September 1952 he was 28 years old {4/1} and according to {6/3} had been married and in practice for ten years-which means BJ went to Medical School at 14; graduated at 18 and missed being in World War II! Snobbish Major Winchester privately concedes Hunnicut is a personable chap -although he can't help but sneer that BJ was born, raised and took his degree in California-in contrast to a east Blue blood such as himself!


Captain Hunnicutt first appeared on the show in 1975, after Trapper John McIntyre was allowed to return home from the 4077.

NameEdit

His full name remained a mystery throughout the series. He claimed (in the Season 7 episode "Lil")—perhaps in jest—that he was named after his mother Bea and father Jay (hence Bea-Jay = B.J.). Hawkeye, for one, did not accept that explanation. Everyone one believes this is true though.

PersonalityEdit

In addition, he tended to be much less aggressive in his crusades than Hawkeye, usually preferring to be a quieter voice of reason to his friend. For instance, when Hawkeye tried to print a letter protesting an unfeeling Marine commander's treatment of a Dutch immigrant soldier in the military press, the letter was killed by the commander and Hawkeye was almost arrested for arguing with the commander about it. Hunnicutt, on the other hand, watched the drama from a distance until he calmly suggested that Hawkeye take his letter to the civilian press train in Seoul which is beyond the commander's control, thus frustrating the officer. Unlike Trapper, who was a class clown, B.J. was used more as a straight man to Hawkeye's antics.

Relationship with wifeEdit

He often frustrated his bunkmate and best friend, Captain Hawkeye Pierce, with his traditional values and steadfast loyalty to his wife and his marriage. The enforced separation from his family was a habitual source of turmoil. In that regard, the missing of important family moments and the apparent neglect of his own domestic responsibilities were particularly upsetting to him while also taking insults to his familial loyalty very personally. In the fifth season episode "Hanky Panky" (2/1/77), B.J. unexpectedly comes close to having a one night stand with nurse Carrie Donovan, putting him in great shame and anguish. "I'm a happily married man!" he lamented, "Not like Frank Burns is happy because his wife owns real estate." He almost told his wife but Hawkeye advised against it, and B.J. eventually straightened things out and made peace with Carrie. Another time when a young attractive news correspondent comes to MASH 4077 and makes advances to him BJ again goes through the near temptation of having an affair with her {War Co-Respondent 8/23}. In fact despite his joking and drinking the anguish of being separated from his family causes BJ to hit Hawkeye and have a nervous breakdown{Period of Adjustment 8/6}. However when he was brought on the show he was intended to be another Trapper John-one episode shows BJ and Hawkeye singing a duet about how they work on patients throughout the day and on nurses throughout the night-which is more consistent with Trapper John's attitude toward marriage than BJ relationship with his wife ever was. Another Indication of BJ was just another repplacement for Trapper John is that the one of the first epiodes of MASH showing the surgeons Hawkeye and Trapper are waiting in Hawaiin Shirts  and lounge Chairs for "5 O'clock Charlie" to fly over their camp; Later in the "Bug Out" epsiode the surgeons Hawkeye and BJ are wearing Hawaiin Shirts and sitting in lounge chairs

As a doctorEdit

Hunnicutt is an excellent doctor with strong morals and is always looking to do the right thing. This was displayed in "Preventive Medicine" (2/19/79) where Hawkeye and B.J. spike the drink of a bloodthirsty commander to make him medically unfit to lead an unnecessary battle. Hawkeye unexpectedly ups the ante by claiming he has appendicitis and must be operated upon, a trick he and Trapper John once used to put Colonel Sam Flagg temporarily out of commission. This time however, B.J. objects to this needless surgery as human mutilation and a violation of his oath so he refuses to cooperate after a heated argument with the adamant Hawkeye.

As a soldierEdit

In "Bombshells", B.J. is in a helicopter and forced to cut a rope leading down to a wounded soldier he and the pilot were trying to rescue from enemy soldiers (effectively abandoning him to capture or death). He receives a bronze star for bravery for the act, but announces to Hawkeye that he cannot go on thumbing his nose at authority any more, and that the act he had committed turned him into a soldier.

Later episodesEdit

At the start of the seventh season (1978-79), Hunnicutt grew a mustache, which he would wear for the remainder of the series. He is also portrayed as a motorcycle enthusiast in at least two episodes, including the final episode "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen" (2/28/83). His final line in that episode (and the series) is not spoken. Hawkeye was upset at B.J. for refusing to say 'goodbye' to him; B.J. did not like saying goodbye and sensed that both men knew they would not see each other after the war, given the distance between their homes. One of the final scenes of the episode is Hawkeye getting into a helicopter to fly out of the camp site on the first leg of his journey home, and seeing B.J. standing on the helipad below him as the chopper lifts off. The word GOODBYE is spelled out in white rocks on the ground. B.J. then gets on the motorcycle he had gotten from the Chinese POWs and rides off.

TriviaEdit

  • Prior to his joining M*A*S*H, Mike Farrell's then-wife, actress Judy Farrell, appeared on the show in the early seasons playing various nurses. When he joined the show, he had B.J.'s daughter Erin named after his own daughter with Judy.
  • B.J. was referred to in passing in the TV hospital drama St. Elsewhere as a one-time drinking buddy of Dr. Craig while he was in Korea. The series writers were fond of inserting such inside jokes from time to time. How this might challenge the authenticity of the whole series (in lieu of St. Elsewhere's final revelation) is never addressed.
  • A goof in the series is him being shown as a Captain; according to the US Army Alamac 1959 {.p.149} Captain's rank could only be acheived after 7 years service; in fact he would probably have been a 1st Lt. {3 years}
  • During production of M*A*S*H, Mike Farrell met doctor Patch Adams, who served as a technical consultant on the show. Farrell later produced the biopic Patch Adams, which starred comedian/actor Robin Williams.

Personnel of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital
Commissioned Officers
Lt. Col. Henry Blake | Major Frank Burns | Augustus Bedford "Duke" Forrest | Major Sidney Freedman | B.J. Hunnicutt | Oliver "Spearchucker" Jones | Captain "Trapper John" McIntyre | Father Francis Mulcahy | Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce | Colonel Sherman T. Potter | Walter "Painless Pole" Waldowski | Charles Emerson Winchester III | Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan | Nurse Margie Cutler | Nurse Ginger Bayliss | Nurse Kellye Yamoto | Nurse Peggy Bigelow | Lieutenant Maria "Dish" Schneider
Enlisted
Sgt. Maxwell Q. Klinger | Corporal "Radar" O’Reilly | Sergeant Zelmo Zale | Pvt. Igor Straminsky | Sergeant Luther Rizzo | Sergeant Major Vollmer | SSGT Gorman | Corporal Judson | Private Lorenzo Boone

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