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M*A*S*H (TV series)
MASH
The Title Screen of M*A*S*H

Started

September 17, 1972

Ended

February 28, 1983

Network/Country

CBS-TV (United States)

Co-Starring:

Alan Alda
Wayne Rogers
McLean Stevenson
Loretta Swit
Larry Linville
Gary Burghoff
Mike Farrell
Harry Morgan
Jamie Farr
William Christopher
David Ogden Stiers

Followed by/Related show(s):

Trapper John, M.D., AfterMASH, W*A*L*T*E*R

Runtime:

24-25 minutes

Seasons/Episodes

11 Seasons, 256 episodes

Developed for TV by:

Larry Gelbart with Gene Reynolds

Inspired by the 1970 20th Century-Fox film of the same name, M*A*S*H was an American television series about a team of medical professionals and support staff stationed at the 4077th MASH in Korea during the Korean War. The series originally aired on CBS from September 17, 1972 to February 28, 1983, but can still be seen in syndication. The series spanned 251 episodes and lasted four times as long as the war which served as its setting.

Behind the scenes, those most involved with the show were Larry Gelbart, Gene Reynolds, Burt Metcalfe, and star Alan Alda.

Much like the movie, it combined elements of comedy with a darker antiwar message. Many of the stories in the early seasons were based on real-life tales told by hundreds of real-life M*A*S*H surgeons, interviewed by the production team. Some said the series seemed to be more about the Vietnam War (still in progress when the series began), given the attitudes of the characters, than the Korean War. The show's producers have said that it was really about war in general.

Although primarily an ensemble show, M*A*S*H became centered around Alan Alda's character, Hawkeye Pierce, especially as other founding characters left. Alda wrote and directed some episodes; additionally, during the last few seasons, Alda and Metcalfe were listed as the show's "Creative Consultants". The show's tone changed over the years. Initially, it placed most of its emphasis on the "zany" elements, but later focused on more serious topics and character development; however, both the serious and the comedic sides were present throughout. Alda's increasing prominence both inside and outside the series led to a change in focus, with more serious topics.

The cast voted (by a majority) to end the series following the tenth season, but CBS and 20th Century Fox offered the actors a shortened eleventh season, permitting an opportunity for the show to have a grand finale.

The series had three spin-offs, the short-lived "AfterMASH", which featured several of the show's characters reunited in a midwestern hospital after the war, the more successful Trapper John, M.D. (which a court later ruled was actually a spin-off of the original film), and an unpurchased television pilot, W*A*L*T*E*R, in which Walter "Radar" O'Reilly (played by Gary Burghoff) joins his home town's police force.

SynopsisEdit

A letter to TV Guide written by a former M*A*S*H doctor in about 1973 stated that the most insane jokes and idiotic pranks on the show were the most true to life, including Klinger's crossdressing. The hellish reality of the M*A*S*H units encouraged this behavior out of a desperate need for something to laugh at. (Another former M*A*S*Her, though, pointed out later that a habitual crossdresser wouldn't last long in such a place; real women were too scarce.)

Gary Burghoff ("Radar" O'Reilly) was one of two M*A*S*H actors to reprise his role from the movie, and the only main character (the other was G. Wood as "General Hammond"). Radar retained his extraordinary ability to detect the arrival of choppers transporting wounded long before anyone else could hear a thing. Radar appeared to have a knack for premonitions, could usually anticipate orders well enough to recite along as they were given, and kept the business end of the 4077th running extraordinarily smoothly. Burghoff left the series in 1979, and rather than adding a new character to replace him, the company clerk role was taken up by Jamie Farr as Corporal (later Sergeant) Klinger, whose antics never got him the discharge he wanted. Radar's departure meant Klinger's (and Farr's) role was expanded, his attempts at being discharged were downplayed, and he almost never wore women's clothing anymore. (Klinger even shaped up well enough to get a promotion, and the camp counted on him as a "scrounger", who could obtain nearly anything.)

The show survived many personnel changes. Of all the starring characters, only Hawkeye, Major Houlihan, Klinger, and Father Mulcahy were in the show for its entire run. (Klinger and Mulcahy, in fact, were listed as guest stars for the first few seasons of the show; George Morgan, cast as Mulcahy in the pilot, appeared briefly in the 10th season episode "That's Show Biz".)

McLean Stevenson left the show at the end of the third season, and his character Henry Blake was discharged and sent home. In the final scene of his last episode, Abyssinia, Henry, it was reported that Blake's plane had been shot down over the Sea of Japan and he was killed. None of the cast (with the exception of Alda, who wrote the scene) knew about that development until a few minutes before Burghoff was told to go in and have Radar report that Blake had died. Up until then, as far as anyone knew, they were going to get a message that Blake had arrived safely home. This development garnered a barrage of angry mail from fans. As a result, the creative team behind "M*A*S*H" pledged that no other characters would leave the show in tragic fashion. Stevenson died in February of 1996 of cardiac arrest.

Wayne Rogers (Trapper John McIntyre) left the series after the end of season three due to disagreements about his character. He felt that his character was never given any real importance, that all the focus was on Alda's character. Rogers has also mentioned that he was told to sign a "morals clause" on his contract renewal, which he refused to do.

The fourth season was in many ways a turning point for the entire series. At the beginning of the fourth season, Hawkeye was informed by Radar that Trapper had been discharged while Hawkeye was on leave, and audiences did not see Trapper's departure. At the same time, Colonel Sherman T. Potter was assigned to the unit as commanding officer, replacing Blake, while B.J. Hunnicutt was drafted in as Trapper's replacement. The series, while still having an element of comedy, gradually became more emotionally rounded. Major Houlihan's role continued to evolve during this time; she became much more friendly towards Hawkeye and B.J., and had a falling out with Frank. She later married a fellow officer, Lieutenant Colonel Donald Penobscot ("I could never love anyone who didn't outrank me"), but the union did not last for long. The "Hot Lips" nickname was rarely used to describe her after about the mid-way point in the series. Loretta Swit wanted to leave the series in the 8th season to pursue other acting roles (most notably the part of Christine Cagney on Cagney & Lacey), but the producers refused to let her out of her contract. However, Swit did originate the Cagney role in the made-for-TV movie which served as the pilot.

Larry Linville, frustrated with the lack of development of his character, left at the end of season five. During the first episode of season six, Frank Burns had suffered a breakdown, was transferred stateside, and was promoted, all off-camera. Linville passed away due to cancer in April of 2000. Major Charles Emerson Winchester III (David Ogden Stiers) was brought in as an antagonist of sorts to the other surgeons, but his relationships with them was not as acrimonious, although he was a more able foil. Unlike Frank, Winchester did not really care for the Army and was a very highly skilled surgeon whom the others respected professionally. At the same time, as a Boston "blueblood", he was also snobbish, which drove much of his conflict with the other characters. Still, the show's writers would allow Winchester's humanity to shine through such as in his dealings with a young piano player who had partially lost the use of his right hand, or his keeping a vigil with Hawkeye when Hawkeye's father went into surgery 8,000 miles away, or his continuing of a family tradition of anonymously giving Christmas treats to an orphanage.

GFAtitle

Title card for "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen," the series finale to M*A*S*H

"Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen"Edit

Main article: Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen

Goodbye, Farewell and Amen is a television movie that served as the 251st and final episode of the M*A*S*H television series. Closing out the series' eleventh season, the 2½-hour episode first aired on CBS on February 28, 1983. Written by a large number of collaborators, including series star Alan Alda, who also directed, "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" surpassed the single-episode ratings record that had been set by the Dallas episode that resolved the "Who Shot J.R.?" cliffhanger. From 1983 until 2010, "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" remained the most watched television broadcast in American history,[1] passed in total viewership (but not in Ratings or Share) in February 2010 by Super Bowl XLIV.[2]

The episode's plot chronicles the final days of the Korean War at the 4077th MASH and features several storylines intended to show the war's effects on the individual personnel of the unit, and to bring closure to the series. After the cease-fire goes into effect, the members of the 4077th throw a closing party before taking down the camp for the last time. After tear-filled goodbyes, the main characters go their separate ways, leading up to the iconic final scene of the series. The episode drew 121.6 million[3] American viewers, more than both that year's Super Bowl and the famed Roots miniseries. It still stands as the most watched finale of any television series. While the M*A*S*H series ended with this episode, three of the series' main characters (Sherman Potter, Maxwell Klinger, and Father Mulcahy) would later meet again in 1983–1985 spin-off series AfterMASH.

The episode was added to the syndication package for the series in 1993.

Change in toneEdit

As the series progressed, it made a significant shift from pure comedy to become far more dramatically focused. In addition, the episodes became more political, often appearing to "preach" to its viewers. This has generally been connected with Alan Alda taking a more involved role in production, and many of the episodes in which this change is particularly notable were written and/or directed by Alda. Another significant factor was the change in the cast, as Henry Blake, Trapper John, Frank Burns, and Radar gradually left the show. Still another change as the series progressed was a greater focus on the supporting cast as opposed to the top-billed characters.

Some fans prefer the more serious and dramatic tone of the later seasons over the more chaotic humor of the early years, but many other fans consider the tonal shift or the change in cast members to be an instance of jumping the shark. Harry Morgan, who played Colonel Potter, admitted in an interview that he felt "the cracks were starting to show" by season nine, and the cast had agreed to make season ten their last. In the end, they decided to extend the show for an additional year, making for a total of eleven seasons.

FactsEdit

  • The series lasted eleven seasons, while the actual Korean War lasted only three years.
  • Many episodes were based on information from interviews by real life Korean War veterans, including doctors, nurses, soldiers, and helicopter pilots. Burt Metcalfe later admitted that towards the end of the show much of their source material had dried up, with many new interviews only yielding past information, which hurt the show since it was locked in a specific time period.
  • Two episodes of M*A*S*H focused on interviews with the 4077th personnel. The interviewer in both of these episodes was Clete Roberts, who was chosen for the part because he had been a Korean War correspondent in real life.
  • The character Spearchucker Jones was dropped after only a few episodes when research revealed that there were no black surgeons serving in the M*A*S*H units during the Korean War. Jones's bunk was left unclaimed (except by visiting officers) for the rest of the series. Usually Sidney Freedman chose to sleep in the Swamp, to be closer to the on-going poker game, and to more closely observe the surgeons.
  • In the first episode of the third season, Harry Morgan made a guest appearance as a crazy major general named Bartford Hamilton Steele who wants to move the 4077th unit closer to the front line. Fortunately, his request is ignored when it becomes apparent that he is mentally unstable. Specifically, at a preliminary hearing to a court-martial, Steele requests that a black soldier break into a song-and-dance number, before doing so himself on the way out of the tent. At the end of the episode, Steele is promoted to lieutenant general, transferred to the Pentagon and placed in charge of operations for the entire Asian theater. A year later, Morgan joined the cast of M*A*S*H as the stern, by-the-book but decent, warmhearted Colonel Sherman Potter, replacing McLean Stevenson's inept yet affable Henry Blake. At the time of filming the episode, it was well known to the cast and crew that Stevenson was leaving. After filming the episode, Morgan was offered the role of Potter. He said that he would if he was available
  • Most of the doctors drafted into the MASH units were between the ages of 21 and 28, usually just out of medical school, chosen because they were young, were less likely to have families of their own and easy to control. In the novel, Hawkeye is 28 when he arrives at the unit in November, 1951. Duke Forrest is a year older. On average, the doctors did one year's tour of duty and were then discharged. Almost all of the actors on M*A*S*H were over 30 when the series began and were well over 40 by the time the series ended. In one episode, Potter's comment that Hawkeye is okay except for being young seems doubly ironic, given that Alan Alda's black hair was starting to turn gray.
  • In the first episode, Trapper is seen wearing a red robe in the swamp while Hawkeye wears a bright orange kimono. In the next episode, Hawkeye inherited the red robe while Trapper took to wearing a yellow robe (ketchup and mustard), and the orange kimono is never seen again. B.J. Hunnicutt would wear a blue robe.
  • Harry Morgan has stated that Colonel Potter was one of his personal favorite characters and said he felt he could have "gone on forever" playing that character. When M*A*S*H ended, Morgan, William Christopher and Jamie Farr headlined a short lived spin-off titled "After MASH", which took place in Potter's home town of Hannibal, Missouri, where Christopher and Farr assisted Morgan in the local hospital.
  • At the end of its first season, the show was 46th of 86 in the ratings. CBS responded by moving the show to Saturday night, between hits All in the Family and Mary Tyler Moore. As a result, M*A*S*H would end the next nine of ten seasons in the top ten.
  • The show's theme song was "Suicide is Painless" (by Johnny Mandel), an instrumental version of the song (with lyrics by Mike Altman) used in the film. Due to the nature of the lyrics, the producers couldn't use the original version for a television series theme.
  • In the TV series, Hawkeye Pierce is the unit's Chief Surgeon and a thoracic surgeon to boot. In the original book and film, however, Trapper John McIntyre is the unit's Chief Surgeon and thoracic surgeon. This change in Trapper's credentials, an essential part of his identity, was one of many signs that Trapper was being relegated to a sidekick and one of the reasons why Wayne Rogers, who played Trapper, left the show after only three seasons.
  • BJ Hunnicutt, Sherman Potter, and Charles Winchester all outlasted the characters they replaced: Trapper John McIntyre, Henry Blake and Frank Burns, respectively.
  • Alan Alda and McLean Stevenson shared a medical book during the early seasons to maintain accuracy in their operating room performances. One day, Stevenson happened by a car accident with a bleeding victim on the side of the road and, drawing upon his research for the show, he was able to keep the victim alive until an ambulance arrived.
  • The producers wanted the show broadcast without a laugh track, but were overruled by CBS; eventually, as a compromise, the operating room scenes were shown without a laugh track. The show as first seen in the United Kingdom was broadcast by the BBC without a laugh track, although the Paramount Comedy satellite channel later rescreened the series there in the U.S. version. The DVD releases offer a choice of soundtracks with or without laughter. As the series progressed, Alan Alda and the producers were allowed to produce a number of episodes without laugh tracks. One of the more notable of these episodes is Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler, in which a bomber comes to believe that he is Jesus Christ.
  • Gary Burghoff said in an interview that he realized it was time to leave the show when he was relaxing in his pool. He heard a plane fly overhead and froze, like his character would do on the show. In truth, he was seriously beginning to suffer from the early stages of burn out, which was taking a toll on him and his family life. Though Radar was only 18, Gary was nearly 30 when he was playing Radar.
  • When Gary Burghoff announced that he was leaving, Mike Farrell tried to talk him out of it by pointing out the unsuccessful careers that McLean Stevenson and Larry Linville had when they left.
  • Gary Burghoff has a couple of fingers on his left hand that are smaller than normal. Realizing that it's unusual to get drafted with such a hand, Gary Burghoff always managed to hide this from the audience, by covering his left hand, or holding something with it.
  • The "T" in Colonel Potter's name is never revealed, leaving fans to theorize that it could stand for anything from Thomas to Timothy to Tyler. Harry Morgan himself admitted that he didn't know what the T stood for, but once suggested that it could have stood for Tecumseh. It might just as likely have just been the initial, like Harry S. Truman.
  • One of the most asked questions about the series is the name of Radar's teddy bear. The series never revealed the bear's name, or even whether the bear has a name. When Radar is discharged, he leaves the teddy bear, which is buried in a time capsule in the second to last episode of the series.
  • The cast actually did bury a time capsule on the set in the hopes that it would be found many years after the series ended. This plan was thwarted when 20th Century Fox sold the land shortly after the series ended. A construction worker found the capsule soon after the sale and thought that the cast would want it back. When he tried to return it to them, Alan Alda told him to keep it. [1]
  • In the series finale, Dr. Freedman repeats a line from one of his first appearances: "Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice: pull down your pants, and slide on the ice."
  • Whenever a character left, the producers intentionally filled the gap with a character who was wholly dissimilar from his predecessor:
    • Trapper John McIntyre, every bit as much a womanizer and prankster as Hawkeye, was replaced by B.J. Hunnicutt, a devoted family man who tended to take life in stride (though he had a knack for practical jokes).
    • Lt. Colonel Blake, a buffoonish but likable and friendly draftee placed in charge of the M*A*S*H despite a thorough lack of command skill, was replaced by Colonel Potter, a career soldier who commanded a great deal of respect from the 4077th.
    • Major Burns, an almost incompetent doctor and rather unintelligent person in general, but fiercely loyal to the military, was replaced by draftee Major Winchester, who not only is as skilled a surgeon as Hawkeye, but frequently outwits the other doctors as well as showing more humanity than they give him credit for having.
    • Radar O'Reilly began the series as a wise-to-the-ways-of-the-Army-and-the-world teenage boy who was forced to become a man by the war (the way the character was portrayed in the book and feature film), became over time a pure and innocent midwestern youngster with an unflappable ability to keep the M*A*S*H running like a well-oiled machine. This incarnation was replaced (in his job function) with Maxwell Klinger, who was already well known to lie and scheme on a daily basis and who was the epitome of disorder, but learned to handle the day-to-day affairs of the unit tolerably well, though never up to the standard set by Radar.
  • Unlike many other series where characters that left the show are never referred to again, Henry Blake, Trapper, Frank Burns and Radar O'Reilly are regularly referred to in the rest of the series.
  • Hawkeye (Alan Alda) is the only character to appear in every episode, by virtue of the episode fittingly titled "Hawkeye", in which none of the other characters appear. The episode consists of Hawkeye doing a monologue while in the home of a Korean family, to avoid falling asleep with a concussion.
  • McLean Stevenson, who played Lt. Col. Henry Blake, died of a heart attack on 15 February 1996. The next day, Roger Bowen, who played Lt. Col. Henry Blake in the movie, died of the same cause.
  • Loretta Swit as Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan, and Alan Alda as Hawkeye Pierce are the only two actors who appear both in the first episode and the last episode. Their two characters, along with Father Mulcahy, all appear in both episodes; however, Mulcahy was played by George Morgan in the pilot, while being played by William Christopher for the rest of the series. The checker-styled hat sometimes worn by B.J. Hunnicutt (Mike Farrell ) also appeared in both episodes, but worn by different men, one being unnamed, and one being Hunnicutt.
  • The series was groundbreaking in its use of language, being one of the first network series, and certainly the first comedy series, to allow the phrase "son-of-a-bitch" in dialogue.
  • Nearly all the stars of M*A*S*H have guest starred on Murder, She Wrote, The Love Boat, and Pyramid.
  • The piece of music Charles is teaching to the Chinese musicians in the last episode is the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings (K. 581) by Mozart.
  • In the episode "Edwina", the female nurses refuse to be intimate with the men unless one of the men date the clumsy nurse Edwina. Yet in other episodes nearly all the nurses refuse to date Radar. Of course all the women nurses were officers while Radar was an enlisted man. An episode where Radar DID date a nurse led to possible court martial but ended in transfer of the nurse.
  • Radar usually goes after Nurses who aren't interested, yet on at least two occasions (episodes Lt. Radar O'Reilly and Springtime) when faced with a woman who wants to get romantic, Radar turns chicken.
  • We never knew if Radar's Uncle Ed was his mother's (Mrs. O'Reilly's) brother or brother-in-law.
  • On March 30, 1981, American President Ronald Reagan was shot in an assassination attempt. CBS covered the story until Reagan was safely out of surgery, resuming regular programming at 9 p.m. Eastern time. The M*A*S*H episode scheduled to air in that time slot, "The Life You Save," involved Major Winchester having a close brush with death when a sniper's bullet passes through his hat. Because of the uncomfortable similarity of the plot to the real-life assassination attempt, CBS hastily substituted a repeat of an earlier episode, and "The Life You Save" was finally broadcast on May 4th.
  • Richard Hooker, who wrote the novel that inspired both the film and television versions of MASH, did not like the TV series based on his book, and in particular, he did not like the way Alan Alda played Hawkeye. Robert Altman, who directed the film, also greatly disliked the series, complaining that what his film accomplished through subtle humor the TV series assaulted with loud, obvious speeches, thus defeating the purpose of depicting people acting absurdly to stay sane against an insane setting.
  • Hot Lips Houlihan was based on a real life Korean War Head Nurse known as Hot Lips Hammerly, also a very attractive blonde with a similar personality and also from El Paso, Texas.
  • Captain Duke Forrest, who appeared in the original book and in the film was played by Tom Skerritt, never appeared in the TV series. In fact, he was intentionally left out in order to keep from having too many characters crowding the screen. In the second season, when asked in one episode what happened to "that surgeon you had from Georgia", Trapper chimed, "He got sent stateside!" Second, Tom Skerritt had reportedly turned down the offer from 20th Century Fox Television to reprise his role as Duke on the M*A*S*H TV series because he did not think that a television adaptation of the film would be successful.
  • After the news of Lt.Col. Blake's death shocked the world, the very next night on The Carol Burnett Show, the opening shot was of McLean Stevenson in a smoking raft, waving his arms, hollering, "I'm OK! I'm OK!"
  • In the pilot episode, Blake wears his vest over his army green shirt, this is the only episode which he does.
  • In one of the last season episodes, a North Korean pilot defects while the conflict still goes on. A NKP did defect, but that was in September 1953-which was 2 months after the July 1953 cease-fire.
  • Another of the last season episodes was when Hawkeye crashes into the Peace talks to get them going again and the top U.S. negotiator is an Admiral. At the time of the July 1953 cease-fire the top U.S. negotiator was Army General Mark Wayne Clark.
  • A last season episode has the PA announce about the French besieged at Dien Bien Phu; that happened in 1954.
  • A third season episode had a gun toting GI forcing doctors to operate on his wounded officer. Although this incident happened in real life, it actually occurred in 1944 during Operation Market Garden, and is depicted in the movie A Bridge Too Far (in a role played by James Caan).
  • Author Paulette Bourgeois credits an episode of M*A*S*H in which character Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce was afraid of being in dark cave as the inspiration for the first work in the children's book series Franklin.

Continuity errors and anachronismsEdit

M*A*S*H is known for a number of continuity errors and anachronisms. This is not surprising, as the producers never anticipated a run of 11 seasons and no effort was made in the early years to maintain an internal continuity. That the errors continued, and compounded, after the 4th or 5th year, is more striking.

  • In his first appearance in the series, Dr. Sidney Freedman's first name was Milton.
  • Mrs. Blake's (Henry's wife) name was Mildred in the early episodes; later it was Lorraine.
  • Early in the series, Hawkeye mentions spending Christmas at home in Vermont, shows Trapper a sweater that his sister knitted, and writes a letter home to his father where he tells him to "give my love to mom and sis". Later in the series he makes numerous references to Crabapple Cove, Maine as his boyhood home, indicated that he was an only child, and tells Radar that his mother died when he was a child and his father had never remarried.
  • Early in his stint at the 4077th, Colonel Potter mentions going home to Nebraska. Later, Hannibal, Missouri became his hometown.
  • When Colonel Potter arrives at the 4077th he drives up in an M38A1 Jeep. The M38A1 was first produced in 1953.
  • When Colonel Potter arrives to take command of the 4077th, the announcer gives the date as September 19, 1952. The Novocaine Mutiny also gives October 1952. In another episode Potter remarks that the Gloucestershire Regiment fight without helmets. This Regiment was in Korean Conflict 1950-1951 not 1952.
  • Also when Potter arrived at camp, he explained that he lied about his age in order to fight in World War I. He later said in the episode Pressure Points that he was 62 years old. If that was the case, he would have been at least in his early twenties when World War I began.
  • The season 9 episode A War For All Seasons takes place over the full year of 1951, depicting such things as an electric fireplace in the swamp (ordered from the Sears catalog) and a vegetable garden planted by Father Mulcahy, which do not appear in any other episodes whose content place them in 1951. Potter appears at the camp's New Years Eve party held on December 31, 1950, in conflict with the first season M*A*S*H Christmas Episode. Klinger and Winchester lose bets after the Brooklyn Dodgers lost the National League to the New York Giants in 1951 - an episode filmed after the "Novocaine Mutiny" of 1952! Major Houlihan's hairstyle remains constant throughout this episode, even though it had varied considerably across the series and other episodes ostensibly set in 1951.
  • In episodes prior to the above, the Public Address system reports that Douglas MacArthur replaced by Matthew Ridgeway which happened on April 21, 1951 and Hawkeye asking if Vice-President Nixon was going to marry Elizabeth Taylor. Richard Nixon was elected Vice-President on November 4, 1952 and did not take office until January 20, 1953.
  • Numerous references to pop culture items such as Godzilla, the Blob, Mickey Mouse Club and Spider-Man are made throughout the show, even though they did not exist until after the Korean War.
  • At the beginning of Der Tag (episode #4.17), Radar has an issue of The Avengers lying on his bed. The Avengers comic book debuted in 1963. Further, between shots, the exact issue changes between two radically different covers (one with the older '60s logo, and another with the later '70s "A" with an arrow logo.)
  • In The Incubator (episode # 2.12), Colonel Lambert (played by actor Logan Ramsey) makes reference to the B-52 bomber, which made its first flight in 1954 (a year after the war ended) and did not enter service until 1955.
  • In one episode from the second season, a drunken Hot Lips tells Henry he looks like her father before he died. However, her father later appears in the series, alive and well. Though she was drunk and drunkenness can make people act strange.
  • From the overhead establishing shot during the opening credits, the C.O.'s office windows should face the Post-Op room. However the view outside the window is sometimes the Post-Op room, sometimes an exterior of the camp. This opening overhead shot remains constant throughout the series, but never truly matches the groundplan seen in the episodes.
  • It is mentioned twice (at the end of the third season and at the beginning of the seventh) that the doctors can be sent home depending on how many points they rack up. In reality, this point system had been used only in World War II and was discontinued before the Korean War began.
  • In the Christmas 1950 episode, Hawkeye is shown in a red Santa Claus outfit being lowered from a helicopter to a foxhole under fire; however, in September-December 1950, the fighting line was at the Pusan Perimeter and the Chosin Reservoir, whereas M*A*S*H 4077 was supposedly located near Uijongbu near the 1953 DMZ; furthermore, that winter was one of the coldest on record, whereas the foxhole scene is clearly filmed in summer.
  • MacArthur visits the M*A*S*H in 1950. In fact, MacArthur visited the Korean front from January to March 1951. MacArthur is shown in his olive drab uniform; in Korea he wore an overcoat.
  • In the series, Maggie Higgins visited in the latter part of the Korean War. In fact, she was in Korea from summer to December of 1950.
  • In one episode, Hotlips goes down the road to deliver a baby; Klinger forgets where she's gone and Colonel Flagg almost activates an Airborne Division to search for the missing Hotlips. Of three US Parachute units in 1950-1953 (the U.S. 17th Airborne Division, the 82nd Airborne and the 101st Airborne) none were in Korea. The 187th Airborne R.C.T. (Regimental Combat Team, not Division) made 2 combat jumps in Korea, but those took place in 1950 and 1951; see Airborne Forces.
  • When B.J. Hunnicut arrives in Korea, he tells Hawkeye that his wife was 8 months pregnant when he received his draft notice, and that he was ordered to report to ship out just after his first night out with his wife after Erin's birth. Much later, in the episode following Radar's departure, we are told that he arrived stateside to be met by B.J.'s family, and Erin called Radar "daddy", placing this episode at least 18 months after her birth. See above concerning A War for All Seasons (Hunnicut is present throughout 1951) and the date of Potter's arrival (Hunnicut arrived only a short time prior).
  • In one episode Klinger refers to the "black hole of Korea". The term "black hole" was not coined until 1967 by physicist John Archibald Wheeler; however, it is more likely that Klinger is referencing the infamous "Black Hole of Calcutta" rather than the type found in space.
  • In one episode Major Winchester turns down Klinger's idea to invest in a hula-hoop prototype. In an earlier episode, well before Winchester's arrival, Klinger says at a poker game that he'd wear hula hoops in his ears if it would get him out of the army, when a comment is made at a poker game about his hoop earrings. The Hula-hoop came into being in 1958. See Hula Hoop.
  • Frank's birthday moves from winter to summer. In the episode "For Want of a Boot", Hawkeye throws Frank a birthday party in what is clearly wintertime with wind, snow, and everyone wearing winter gear. In a later episode, when Hawkeye and BJ have a fight as a "gift" for Frank's birthday, it is obviously sunny, dry, and B.J. wears a short-sleeved Hawaiian shirt.
  • In several first-season episodes, characters refer to Korea being in the Southeast Asia field of operations. Korea is in Northeast Asia.
  • During many scenes filmed inside the Officers Club a sign on the wall that reads "Air Ambulance" has a silhouette of a Huey helicopter on it. The Huey wasn't used until the Vietnam War.

Main charactersEdit

Note: Arranged alphabetically by actor. Years in parenthesis mark when the character appeared on the show; those without years were on the show for the entire series.

* The only regular character portrayed by the same actor as in the film version.
** Played by George Morgan in the pilot episode.

Recurring charactersEdit

The M*A*S*H series frequently used recurring characters, as either supporting staff or visitors to the 4077th. While they were not given "star" credit, their familiarity to the viewers is an integral ingredient to the success of the show.

Notable guest starsEdit

.

  • Philip Ahn as "Father" In "Hawkeye" {episode 418} ; "Grandfather" in "Exorcism" {Episode 518} and "Mr Kim" In "Change Day" {Episode 68}
  • Anthony Alda, brother of Alan Alda in "Lend a Hand" (episode 820}
  • Robert Alda, father of Alan Alda, as "Dr. Anthony Borelli" in "The Consultant" (episode 317) and "Lend a Hand" (episode 820)
  • Joan Van Ark as "Lt. Erika Johnson" in "Radar's Report" (episode 203)
  • Ned Beatty as "Col. Hollister" in "Dear Peggy" (episode 410)
  • Ed Begley, Jr. as "Pvt. Paul Conway" in "Too Many Cooks" (episode 801)
  • Jason Bernard as Captain Quentin Rockingham in "The Tooth Shall Set You Free" (episode 412)
  • Andrew Dice Clay as "Cpl. Hrabosky" in "Trick or Treatment" (episode 1102)
  • Barry Corbin as "Sgt. Joe Vickers" in "Your Retention Please" (episode 907)
  • James Cromwell as "Bardonaro" in "Last Laugh" (episode 603)
  • Blythe Danner as "Carlye Breslin Walton" in "The More I See You" (episode 422)
  • Brian Dennehy as "M.P. Ernie Connors" in "Souvenirs" (episode 522)
  • Laurence Fishburne as "Corporal Dorsey" in "The Tooth Shall Set You Free" (episode 1014)
  • Ed Flanders as "Lt. Bricker" in "Yankee Doodle Doctor" (episode 106)
  • Teri Garr as "Lieutenant Suzanne Marquette" in "The Sniper" (episode 210)
  • Charles Hallahan as "Colin Turnbull" in "Taking the Fifth" (episode 909)
  • Gregory Harrison as "Lt. Tony Baker" in "The Nurses" (episode 505)
  • Mariette Hartley as "Dr. Inga Halverson" in "Inga" (episode 716)
  • Edward Herrmann as "Capt. Steven J. Newsome" in "Heal Thyself (episode 181)
  • Ron Howard as "Private Wendell Peterson" in "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet" (episode 117)
  • Robert Ito as "Lin" in "To Market to Market" (episode 102)
  • Makoto Iwamatsu (aka Mako) as "Dr. Lin Tam" in episode: "Rainbow Bridge" (episode 303), as "Major Choi" in episode: "Hawkeye Get Your Gun" (episode 510), as "Lt. Hung Lee Park" in episode: "Guerilla My Dreams" (episode 803) and as "Li Chan" in episode: "The Best of Enemies" (episode 901)
  • Alex Karras as "Lyle Wesson" in "Springtime" (episode 306)
  • Bruno Kirby as "Pvt. Lorenzo Boone" in "Pilot" (episode 101)
  • Mary Kay Place as "Louise" in "Springtime" (episode 306)
  • Clyde Kusatsu as "Kwang Duk" in "Officers Only" (episode 215) and in "Henry in Love" (episode 216), as "Sgt. Michael Yee" in "Goodbye, Cruel World" (episode 821) and as "Capt. Yamato" in "The Joker Is Wild" (episode 1104)
  • George Lindsey as "Capt. Roy Dupree" in "Temporary Duty" (episode 621)
  • Shelley Long as "Lt. Mendenhall" in "Bottle Fatigue" (episode 816)
  • Richard Masur as "Lt 'Digger' Detweiler" in "The Late Captain Pierce" (episode 404)
  • Noriyuki "Pat" Morita as "Capt. Sam Pak" in "Deal Me Out" (episode 213) and "The Chosen People" (episode 219)
  • Leslie Nielsen as "Col. Buzz Brighton" in "The Ringbanger" (episode 116)
  • Soon-Tek Oh as "Mr. Kwang" in "Love and Marriage" (episode 320), as "Korean Soldier" in "The Bus" (episode 406), as "Dr. Syn Paik" in "The Korean Surgeon" (episode 509), as "Ralph" in "The Yalu Brick Road" (episode 810) and as "Joon-Sung" in "Foreign Affairs" (episode 1103) {Besides Phillip Ahn, Soon-Tek Oh is one of the few ethnic Koreans to play a Korean on MASH}
  • John Ritter as "Pvt. Carter" in "Deal Me Out" (episode 213)
  • Jack Soo as "Charlie Lee" in "To Market to Market" (episode 102)
  • Susan St. James as "Aggie O'Shea" in "War Co-Respondent" (episode 823)
  • Richard Lee-Sung as "Cho Man Chin" (episodes 407 and 501), "Sang Nu" (episode 615), "Ham Kim" (episode 723), and other characters (episodes 303, 608, 804, 1007, 1021)
  • Patrick Swayze as "Pvt. Gary Sturgis" in "Blood Brothers" (episode 918)
  • Jeffrey Tambor as "Maj. Reddish" in "Foreign Affairs" (episode 1103)
  • George Wendt as "Pvt. La Roche" in "Trick or Treatment" (episode 1102)
  • Larry Wilcox as "Mulligan" in "The General's Practitioner" (episode 520)

ReferencesEdit

Episode 203 credits CNN.com article about Alan Alda and his favorite episodes

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

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