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There are major differences between the book and its subsequent adaptations into the MASH film  and the M*A*S*H TV Series.  In the case of the film, there were also differences between the screenplay and what subsequently emerged in the finished product.

Most of the changes involve the dropping of characters or including of new ones. Existing characters where carried over were portrayed differently. Some plot lines in the book were depicted in the film and TV versions but others were dropped totally. Some of the changes were points of contention between the franchise's various creators. Richard Hooker, the author of the novel, liked the film but not the TV series. Ring Lardner, Jr., author of the Academy award-winning screenplay, was disappointed with the final film. Robert Altman, director of the film, also disliked the TV series. Wayne Rogers, the actor who portrayed Trapper in the TV series, complained about the role reversal between his character and the Hawkeye character and ultimately left the series after its third season.

1968 novel
M*A*S*H: A Novel About Three Army Doctors
1970 film
M*A*S*H
1972-83 TV series
M*A*S*H
"Suicide is Painless" Created for the film, not related to the book. The song has lyrics and several verses. Instrumental: suicide deemed inappropriate for an American sitcom.
Pierce and McIntyre/Hunnicut role reversal Pierce has blond hair, is married and remains faithful to his wife.

McIntyre has dark hair, is trained in thoracic surgery, serves as Chief Surgeon and is single.

Pierce has blond hair, is married and fools around with nurses.

McIntyre has dark hair, is trained in thoracic surgery, serves as Chief Surgeon and is single.

Pierce has dark hair, is trained in thoracic surgery, serves as Chief Surgeon and is single.

McIntyre has blond hair, is married and fools around with nurses. Hunnicut remains faithful to his wife (except once).

Supporting characters Bandini, Klinger, Potter, Hunnicut, Winchester, Freedman, Flagg, and Zale do not appear.

Burns is a captain.

Henry stutters when upset.

Margaret Houlihan and "Knocko" McCarthy are the only named nurses.

Vollmer is a Supply Sergeant

Radar's full name is not given.

Boone's first name is Lorenzo.

Spearchucker's middle name is Wendell.

Rizzo's first name is Pete.

Father Mulcahy's nickname is "Dago Red".

Carroll, Danforth, Klinger, Delong, Potter, Hunnicut, Winchester, Freedman, Flagg, Zale, Rizzo do not appear.

Maj. Hobson and Capt. Burns are combined into one character.

Henry stutters when upset.

Besides Margaret Houlihan and "Knocko", there is "Dish", Leslie and Wilma Scorch

Vollmer is the sergeant-major

Radar's full name is not given.

Boone's first name is Warren.

Spearchucker's middle name is Harmon.

Father Mulcahy's nickname is "Dago Red".

Waldowski, Forrest, Delong, Carroll, Danforth, Bandini, Vollmer do not appear.

Maj. Hobson and Capt. Burns are combined into one character.

Henry does not stutter.

"Knocko" appears only once, "Dish" only twice. Leslie and Wilma Scorch are combined into Leslie Scorch.

Spearchucker, Ugly John, Gen. Hammond appear a few times in Season 1 and then are written out.

Many other named generals, nurses, and dentists are seen throughout the series.

Radar's first and middle names are revealed.

Boone eventually becomes Igor.

Spearchucker's middle name is not given.

Rizzo's first name is Luthor.

Father Mulcahy is referred to as "Red" only in the pilot episode.

Burns' Fate After making ribald jokes about Burns' and Houlihan's liaison, Burns assaults Hawkeye. Soon after, he is led away for psychiatric treatment.

Trapper quips "If I lay Hot Lips and jump Hawkeye, can I go home too?"

Much the same as in novel version, except it is Duke who asks Henry, "If I nail Hot Lips and punch Hawkeye, can I go home?" After Margaret marries Col. Penobscot, Burns begins to act erratically, and goes to Seoul for R&R. After a number of mistaken identity incidents -- which end with him jumping fully clothed into an onsen bath where a general and his wife are bathing.

Frank is taken away for psychiatric evaluation, sent home, promoted, and given charge of a veteran's hospital, prompting a jealous outburst from Hawkeye and BJ.

Chapter 4 The Swampmen lash a Protestant chaplain (who sends letters to the families of fatally wounded soldiers saying all is well) to a wooden cross and make him believe they intend to burn him alive. Omitted from film version. A line about Canadians taking Hill 55 is used in the pilot episode. A visiting cardinal pressures Mulcahy into sending a letter saying all is well to the family of a patient who almost dies.
Poker A perpetual game is almost always in session at the Painless Polish Poker and Dental Clinic. The game is seen in Painless' office, himself said to be an avid player. There is a weekly game, usually on payday, featured in many episodes.
Chapter 6 The hidden microphone gag is not in the book. A microphone is hidden inside Hot Lips' tent and she and Burns are heard engaging in sexual intercourse over the P.A. In the episode "Major Fred C. Dobbs," a microphone is hidden inside Hot Lips' tent and she and Burns making goo-goo talk to each other is later broadcast over the P.A.

In the episode "No Sweat," while Major Houlihan is trying to get a disoriented Colonel Potter to authorize medicine to treat her prickly heat, Klinger accidentally switches the P.A. on. This results in the entire camp hearing about Margaret's condition and Potter's response.

Chapter 7 Ho-Jon is drafted, subsequently wounded and sent back to the 4077th for treatment. After rehabilitation, the Swampmen arrange to have him sent to Hawkeye's old college. To raise funds, Trapper grows a beard, dresses up like Jesus Christ, and autographs thousands of photos which the Swampmen sell for a buck apiece. Ho-Jon is drafted, and Hawkeye drives him to the induction center. The doctor who examines Ho-Jon discovers that Hawkeye has given him stimulants to quicken his heart rate.

In the screenplay, Ho-Jon is wounded and sent to the 4077th. However, his surgery is unsuccessful and he dies. The final film omits this storyline, although a few of the scenes remain with overdubbed dialogue.)

Hawkeye arranges to have Ho-Jon sent to his old college. To raise funds, he raffles off a weekend to Tokyo accompanied by Nurse Dish.
Hot Lips' shower scene The shower scene is not in the book. Hot Lips does threaten to resign if the Swampmen continue harassing her. This scene takes place after she has been in the shower, implying that something unpleasant has occurred. The Swampmen collapse the shower tent while Hot Lips is showering. The entire camp jeers and applauds. She threatens to resign. There are numerous shower-tent gags throughout the series (sans nudity). Hot Lips frequently chews out Blake and she twice put in for a transfer (the episodes "Major Fred C. Dobbs" and "Hot Lips and Empty Arms.")
Tea and peritonitis Ugly John complains about British soldiers being given tea when wounded. This issue is not brought up in the film. Hawkeye complains about British soldiers being given tea when wounded.
Chapter 11 While Henry is in Tokyo, Hawkeye has an argument with a Colonel DeLong about delaying surgery for a patient until he is stable. Hawkeye is later proven right and impresses DeLong.

When the Swampmen get bored, to get away for a few days they lead the colonel to believe they need psychiatric evaluation.

Omitted from film version. In "Chief Surgeon Who?" Hawkeye has an argument with General Barker about delaying surgery for a patient. Hawkeye is proven right and impresses Barker.

While Henry is in Tokyo, Hawkeye gets bored. To get away for a few days he leads Burns to believe he needs psychiatric evaluation.

Chapter 14 To keep the Swampmen busy Henry has them train new recruits in the short-cuts of "meatball surgery". Omitted from film version. When Winchester arrives he has to be trained in the short-cuts of "meatball surgery".
Chapter 15 When Duke and Hawkeye go home, the two continue to drink and cause trouble all the way to Chicago. They part ways and rejoin their families. Duke and Hawkeye are discharged and the film ends. Henry and Trapper are sent home before Hawkeye and Burns. Henry is killed.

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