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That's Show Biz (TV series episode)

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M*A*S*H episode
“That's Show Biz”
Thats show biz
The USO troupe put on show in post op during an unscheduled stopover at the 4077th.
Season 10, Episode # 1 & 2
Number (#219/220) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Gwen Verdon
Danny Dayton
Gail Edwards
Karen Landry
Amanda McBroom
Richard Molnar
Kellye Nakahara
Freddie Dawson
Brian Byers
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: Z419, Z420
Writer(s) David Pollock & Elias Davis
Director Charles S. Dubin
Original airdate October 26, 1981
IMDb logo IMDB That's Show Biz
Episode chronology
← Previous Next →
"The Life You Save" (Z418)
(Season 9 finale)

(broadcast order)
"The Life You Save" (Z418)
(Season 9 finale)
(production order)

"Identity Crisis" (Z423)

(broadcast order)


"Blood Brothers" (Z421)
(production order)


Season 10 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

That's Show Biz was an hour long story-arc written by David Pollock and Elias Davis and directed by Charles S. Dubin. Originally produced during Season 9, it was held over for broadcast as part of Season 10, first airing on October 26, 1981 as the Season 10 opener. It was later split into 2 episodes for syndication and assigned the production codes Z419 and Z420 which come from the Season 9 Z-series. In production order it came just after "The Life You Save" (Z418) and just before "Blood Brothers" (Z421).

Plot synopsisEdit

A touring USO show brings an unexpected touch of vaudeville to the 4077th when the star showgirl requires an emergency operation.

Full episode summaryEdit

A USO troop gets caught in the middle of an artillery barrage, and one of them, a young girl named Marina (Gail Edwards) has an inflamed appendix. She's taken by chopper to the 4077th, where Hawkeye literally sweeps her off her feet, carrying her to a jeep.

The rest of the troop arrives in camp to catch up with Marina--a comedian named Fast Freddie (Danny Dayton), two musicians named Sarah (Karen Miller) and Ellie (Amanda McBroom), and a stripper, Brandy Doyle (Gwen Verdon). They ask if they can stick around and do a show, but Freddie says they're on a tight schedule and have to move on. But, after some prodding, Freddie agrees. Freddie is an awful, hackneyed comedian, but for some reason Winchester finds him hysterical, much to Winchester's enduring embarrassment.

Meanwhile, Marina falls hard for Hawkeye. She is not subtle about showing Hawkeye how she feels, but he continually tries to keep her at arm's length. Each member of the troop makes their own personal connection with someone from the 4077th--Fast Freddie and Klinger bond over their mutual love of horrible jokes, Brandy Doyle takes quite a shine to Col. Potter, who is flattered and then flustered at the level of attention.

Sarah is searching for a pair of ballet shoes carried by her brother, killed in combat. They were from his fiancée, a ballerina, and Sarah hopes to recover them.

Ellie makes friends with Winchester, who is impressed when she shows an ability at and appreciation for classical music. She explains that she plays the accordion ("An overgrown concertina" as Winchester calls it) because that's how she can make a living playing music.

After putting on a show, the troop packs up to leave, but heavy artillery in the nearby area closes off all the roads, forcing them to stay at the 4077th a little longer. Everyone is happy at the news, except for Hawkeye and B.J., who are driven out of the Swamp in the middle of the night, unable to sleep due to the hysterical cackling of Winchester and Klinger over Fast Freddie's jokes.

Over the next day or two, Father Mulcahy helps Sarah track down the ballet shoes, and Brandy makes friends with Margaret, bonding over their hard times with men. The travel restrictions are finally lifted, and Hawkeye tells Marina that she's well enough to leave with them. She doesn't want to go, insisting she can stay behind so she can get closer to Hawkeye. Even after he runs himself down repeatedly, Marina still wants to stay, But Hawkeye gently insists, saying they're simply too different to have a relationship. Marina unhappily accepts this, and tearfully promises to send him a postcard on New Year's Eve.

The next day, the troop packs up and departs, singing a song and waving goodbyes as their truck makes it way down the road. Later that night, everyone is a little down, now that all the excitement is over. Klinger finds himself barred from the Swamp, on account of his bad Fast Freddie-inspired jokes. He promises to cut it out, and Hawkeye, B.J., and Winchester skeptically let him in. Klinger bursts in, showing off his new passion: the accordion!

Research notesEdit

The Music in the episodeEdit

  • Shrimp Boats by Paul Mason Howard and Paul Weston.[1] Sung by the troupe on the truck at the beginning of the episode.
  • Cuddle up a Little Closer, Lovey Mine by Karl Hoschna, lyrics by Otto Harbach. Brandy sings and dances to this song in post-op, accompanied by Ellie on the accordion.
  • Lady of Spain by Tolchard Evans, lyrics by Erell Reaves, accordion arrangement by Robert Hargreaves and Stanley J. Damerell.[2] Played by Ellie on the accordion in post-op and dedicated to Winchester, "a swell guy with a head to match". Later on, at departure time, the troupe sings this tune with the words "People of MASH we adore you...."
  • Sweet Molly Malone, traditional Irish folk song. Played on the guitar and sung by Sarah Miller in post-op.
  • Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, op. 13 (Pathetique), 1st movement by Ludwig von Beethoven.[3] Played by Ellie on the piano in the O Club.
  • Beer Barrel Polka by Jaromir Vejvoda. Played by Ellie on the piano in the O Club. It would have been nice if she had played something by Brahms or Dvorak as she has just told Winchester that these two eminent composers also wrote folk dances.

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit

GalleryEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Shrimp Boats on Youtube
  2. Lady of Spain on Youtube
  3. Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 8 in C minor, op. 13 (Pathetique), 1st movement on Youtube. The segment by Ellie starts at about 1:25 in

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