M*A*S*H episode
“The Most Unforgettable Characters”
The Most Unforgettable Characters - Radar and Potter
Colonel Potter reading Radar's "literary masterpiece" in "The Most Unforgettable Characters" episode.
Season 5, Episode # 15
Number (#112) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Jeff Maxwell
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: U818
Writer(s) Ken Levine & David Isaacs
Director Burt Metcalfe
Original airdate January 4, 1977
IMDb logo IMDB The Most Unforgettable Characters
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"Hawk's Nightmare" (U804) "38 Across" (U821)

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"Ping Pong" (U817)  "Souvenirs" (U819)   

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Season 5 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

 The Most Unforgettable Characters is the 112th episode of M*A*S*H, the 15th in the fifth season of the show, which originally aired on CBS-TV on January 4, 1977. It was directed by Burt Metcalfe, and written by Ken Levine and David Isaacs.


Radar becomes an aspiring writer after ordering a flier from a comic book, and Hawkeye and B.J. give Frank a surprise birthday present that only he will appreciate.

Full episode summaryEdit

Radar has decided to take a correspondence course on how to be a writer, and his first efforts are with the daily report, where we hear him adding all kinds of purple prose to what is supposed to be a military report.

Col. Potter notices this and tells him that the daily report is not a place for "expressing yourself creatively." Radar assures him this course--"just $50, plus a $5 student activity fee"--is worthwhile, but Potter seems none too sure.

Radar moves on to the second assignment in the course, relating an amusing anecdote. He turns to Hawkeye and B.J. for a funny story, and Hawkeye tells one about learning how many bones are in the human hand (28) from a very erudite squirrel.

They turn to Frank for a story, but he's more sour than usual. After telling a terrible story about a childhood pal who lost control of his wheelchair and smashed into Frank's father's car, he blurts out that it's his birthday, and no one seems to care.

Hawkeye and B.J., later on, decide to give Frank a present--fake a fight between each other, which they figure will entertain Frank to no end. They squabble in the Swamp, screaming and hitting each other with a laundry sack. Frank is overjoyed.

But then a real problem arises. Hawkeye is actually a little upset over some of B.J.'s supposedly fake criticisms, especially over B.J.'s observation that Hawkeye always has to get in the last word. This leads to a confrontation outside, where Hawkeye tries to prove B.J. is wrong, but nevertheless can't stop getting in the last word, leading B.J. to storm off in frustration.

Meanwhile, Radar tries one more time to inject a bunch of big words in the duty log. Col. Potter tears the paper out of Radar's typewriter, barking at him to knock it off. He tells him that he doesn't think much of Radar's writing, because it's so inauthentic. Potter tells Radar that the first rule of being a writer is: "Be yourself."

Later on, he wanders into the Swamp, looking for ideas for stories. Hawkeye and B.J. begin to snipe at one another again, but at this point (after their dispute earlier) their jabs are real. Radar, sensing the tension in the room, tells them how seeing them fight makes his chest feel tight. He proceeds to explain how he admires Hawkeye and B.J's genuine friendship, ignoring Franks interjections.

After listening to Radar, Hawkeye says that they're not really mad at each other, asking B.J. to make sure. B.J. decides to accept Hawkeye's subtle, hidden apology, (effectively ending their fight) and they reveal that it's all an act: a birthday present for Frank. Frank admits he loved it, and angrily yells at Radar for ending the charade.

Later, Radar gives up writing, instead taking up magic. He tries the old "smashing the watch" bit, but Frank takes over, destroying his own watch before Radar had the chance to slip it into his pocket. Frank chases him out of the Swamp, with Radar screaming "It was just a rehearsal!"

Research notes/Fun factsEdit

  • Camp atmosphere, reminiscent of the earlier seasons of the series. Lots of activities which give an authentic atmosphere to the camp in this episode: A nurse cuts a man's hair, some nurses doing PT, MASH personnel play baseball and basketball.
  • The narrative format in the episode is that of the familiar "letter home" where a few other small plot ideas are woven into the main narrative. So we hear Margaret tell Radar about a "romantic interlude" she had, Radar's voiceover narrates an incident where Klinger tries to capture a few P.O.W.s in the belief that it would help him gain points towards an early discharge, and Potter turns the tables on Klinger's latest Section 8 ploy where he supposedly pours gasoline over himself and threatens to strike a match.
  • Burns apparently buyes a new watch from a Korean that runs backwards [See Bug out episode]

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit

External linksEdit