|Episode no.|| Season 1|
|Guest star(s)||Karen Philipp|
|Original airdate||September 17, 1972|
|← Previous||Next →|
|None; Series Premiere||"To Market, to Market"|
Pilot was the first episode of the M*A*S*H television series. It was originally shown on September 17, 1972 and repeated twice, on April 1 and August 5, 1973. It was written by Larry Gelbart and directed by Gene Reynolds.
The Swamp's Korean houseboy, Ho-Jon, is accepted to attend school at Hawkeye's alma mater. The camp raises money to send Ho John to Maine by raffling a weekend in Tokyo with a nurse, much to the chagrin of Hot Lips and Burns.
Detailed story Edit
It is Korea, 1950. Army personnel are milling around, keeping themselves busy in between sessions in the O.R. Trapper John McIntyre and Hawkeye Pierce are playing golf when one of Trapper's shot lands in the mine field and blows up. Lt. Colonel Henry Blake, the company's C.O. is popping a bottle of champagne with a nurse. Radar is playing catch with a football, when he turns and says, "Here they come!" Somebody replies, "I don't hear nothin'," to which Radar replies, "Wait for it." Choppers arrive shortly thereafter.
Hawkeye starts a letter to his father trying to describe living and working in Korea during the Korean War. During the O.R. session, Hawkeye propositions the nurse assisting him. Frank Burns gets into an argument with Nurse Ginger Bayliss about which instrument the doctor asked for versus which one he really wanted. After the session, Burns and Major Houlihan accost Pierce and McIntyre about their behavior in the O.R..
After blowing off Burns and Houlihan, Pierce and McIntyre head to The Swamp where Ho-Jon serves them martinis using gin from their still. Radar brings the mail around, and Pierce receives a letter from the dean of his alma mater that says that Ho-Jon is accepted into the school. Now all they have to do is come up with the $2,000 for travel and tuition. McIntyre suggests selling Spearchucker, but Pierce comes up with the idea of raffling off a weekend pass for two in Tokyo with a nurse for company.
Pierce and McIntyre go to Blake's office to propose the idea to him. While not complete trusting the surgeons, Blake agrees, but wants to know which nurse they have conned into going. Pierce suggests the only obvious choice, [[Lieutenant "Dish" Schneider|Lieutenant Dish]]. Blake says that she will never go for it, but Pierce is confident that he can convince her.
Later in the Swamp, Pierce and McIntyre count up the money they have collected, but it only comes to $600. Pierce decides to collect Burns' donation without Burns knowing. While Pierce is thumbing through Burns' bible, Burns walks in and demands to know what is going on. Pierce claims that he was just borrowing Burns' bible. Burns then goes on a tirade about how Pierce and McIntyre are corrupting Ho-Jon, about their snide remarks towards him, about how they are turning the camp into a brothel and about the fact that they are operating a still. Burns then grabs the still and runs across the tent. When Pierce and McIntyre corner Burns, he throws the still on the ground and breaks it.
Pierce and McIntyre go to Blake to complain, but Blake informs them that the raffle and party are canceled because he doesn't want Burns to complain to Brigadier General Hammond. Blake also tells them that he has to go to Seoul and wasn't happy about having to miss the party.
As Blake takes off in a helicopter headed to Seoul, Radar hands Pierce two weekend passes. While they are walking down to the camp from the helipad, an announcement comes over the PA system informing the camp that everyone will be confined to duty and that all other activities are canceled by order of acting commanding officer, Major Burns.
The surgeons come up with several ideas on how to deal with Burns but none of them are good enough. Then, in the recovery room, Pierce tells Burns to listen to somebody's heart. When Burns bends over the patient to listen to his heart, Pierce injects him with a sedative. A bandage is wrapped around Burns' face and Pierce leaves orders that the "patient" should be given a sedative every hour, on the hour.
At the party Houlihan approaches Pierce, who is dancing with Dish, and asks where Burns is. He says he doesn't know and that she should enjoy herself by giving somebody a dancing physical. Houlihan calls General Hammond to complain about Pierce and then checks in on the patients. When she pulls one patient's pants down to give him a shot, she recognizes Burns.
Pierce announces that they have raised $1800 for Ho-Jon and then has Dish draw a name for the raffle. He guides her hand to an entry taped to the bottom of the jar. Radar, hearing a helicopter, goes up to the helipad and greets General Hammond and Blake. As Hammond enters the party, Pierce announces that Father Mulcahy is the winner of the raffle. Houlihan enters with Burns, bandages still wrapped around his head. Hammond greets Houlihan with the nickname "Hot Lips". She exclaims, "Those two, they're ruining this war for all of us!" Hammond demands that Pierce and McIntyre be arrested, but they say they can't because the helicopters that Hammond is about to hear are going to be filled with Canadian casualties and that they have to stay and operate.
After the session, which Hammond participates in, he tells Blake that Pierce and McIntyre are the two best surgeons that he has ever seen and that Blake needs to be sure not to lose them, even to Hammond. Hammond leaves just as Pierce and McIntyre come out of the O.R. handcuffed to each other.
Spoilers end here.
Pierce to Houlihan at the party: "Look, Hot Lips—Why don't you stop worrying about Elmer Gantry? Grab yourself a partner and give him a dancing physical." The reference to Elmer Gantry is probably a reference to the 1927 novel by Sinclair Lewis, later made into a 1960 movie, starring Burt Lancaster. In it, Elmer Gantry is a con man who teams up with a female evangelist to sell religion to small-town America.
- Many viewers have noticed a guest at the party wears a Darth Vader-esque helmet and consequently thought it was an anachronism. However, Star Wars wasn't released until nearly five years after the episode aired, so the similarity must be a coincidence. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that 20th Century Fox owns M*A*S*H and has major distribution rights for Star Wars. However, it is actually a Japanese samurai helmet, which the design of Vader's helmet is based on.
- When going through the tickets they have acquired, Hawkeye mentions that one is for "the Painless Pole." This is a reference to Capt. Walter Koskiusko Waldowski, a character from the film MASH that didn't make the television series. Since this is the pilot episode, it may have not yet been decided to drop the character.
- Actor Bruno Kirby can be glimpsed playing Boone in a scene in post-op. He has no lines. The Boone character appeared in a couple of more episodes, played by a different actor, and then was dropped altogether.
- This is the only episode in which a scene takes place in the United States. Margaret places a call to General Hammond, who has a quick flashback to a romantic encounter with her at Fort Benning.
- This is the first and only episode to feature George Morgan as Father Mulcahy, who would later be played by William Christopher until the final episode.
Guest cast is Karen Philipp as Lieutenant Dish, Patrick Adiarte as Ho-Jon, G. Wood as General Hammond, Timothy Brown as Spearchucker Jones, Linda Meiklejohn as Lt. Leslie Scorch, Laura Miller as Capt. 'Knocko' McCarthy, George Morgan as Father John Patrick Francis Mulcahy, Odessa Cleveland as Lt. Ginger Bayliss, John Orchard as Capt. 'Ugly John' Black and Bruno Kirby as Pvt. Lorenzo Boone.