M*A*S*H episode
“The Winchester Tapes”
Angry Charles viewing painting of him
An angry Charles, after arguing with Col. Potter over being permanently assigned to the 4077th, views a Potter painted portrait of himself in "The Winchester Tapes".
Season 6, Episode # 6
Number (#128) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Thomas Carter
Kimiko Hiroshige
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: Y-107
Writer(s) Everett Greenbaum & Jim Fritzell
Director Burt Metcalfe
Original airdate October 18, 1977
IMDb logo IMDB The Winchester Tapes
Episode chronology
← Previous Next →
"War of Nerves" (Y‑106) "The Light That Failed" (Y‑108)

(broadcast order)

(broadcast order)

"War of Nerves" (Y‑106) "The Light That Failed" (Y‑108)

(production order)

(production order)

Season 6 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

The Winchester Tapes was the 128th episode of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H. The episode, which was the fifth episode of Season 6, was written by Everett Greenbaum and Jim Fritzell and directed by Burt Metcalfe. It originally aired on October 18, 1977.


Charles tells the story of the 4077th through his eyes in a tape to his parents back home.

Full episode summaryEdit

The newly-arrived Major Winchester dictates a letter home to his parents, telling them about the 4077th and its deplorable conditions.

Hawkeye, presented with an unexpected opportunity to spend a weekend in Tokyo with a nurse, begs Winchester to take his Officer of the Day duty for him. At first Winchester refuses but after a bout of pathetic begging, he relents.

He agrees to sit for a painting by Col. Potter, and subtly tries to suggest Potter transfer him back to Tokyo. After that fails, he flat out demands to be transferred, leading Potter to bark at him that that's not going to happen.

Seeing that Radar carries a lot of weight in the unit, he tries to butter him up a bit so Radar will patch a call through to Col. Baldwin in Tokyo for him. Despite the gift of a case of Grape Nehi, Radar says he's not allowed on Col. Potter's orders. Winchester, furious, takes back the Grape Nehi.

He also tells his parents about Margaret (who he seems to have some sort of flirtation with, only for it to fall apart awkwardly), Father Mulcahy, and B.J., who was "touched" by Winchester's sudden loss of weight over the last few weeks.

What Winchester doesn't realize is this is an elaborate practical joke on B.J.'s part--he swapped out Winchester's pants with those of a fatter man's, making Winchester think he's lost weight. Then, after getting him to gorge on food for a month, they swap out the pants again for a skinnier man's, making Winchester think he's gained a ton of weight.

Winchester, concerned about his weight gain, jogs out of the Swamp to get some exercise, delighting Hawkeye and B.J. to no end. B.J. reveals that he has further plans for this prank- telling Hawkeye "Starting tomorrow, [Charles] gets taller!"

After a long session in O.R. (where he receives grief for taking too long with each patient), Winchester wraps up his recording. As he does so, he pours himself a cup of tea. But when no hot water comes out of his kettle, he stops recording to open the lid.

Pulling out the kettle's contents--a rubber chicken--he concludes the letter with a passionate "Get me the hell out of here!"

Research note/Fun factsEdit

  • Hawkeye finds a dead rat in his tent, which he disgustedly picks up by the tail, tossing it out of the tent.
  • The 4077th has a cockroach collection which takes an hour to see.
  • Klinger wears a yellow scarf/bandana. In a previous episode, Dear Dad Frank Burns insisted that Klinger take off a scarf which his mother had sent him, causing him to go mad and threaten to blow himself up with a grenade. That scarf was red.
  • Winchester's descriptions of his colleagues:
    • Myopic farmboy - Radar
    • Tough, bandy-legged mustang - Col. Potter
    • Would-be lothario - Hawkeye
    • Relatively inoffensive chap although he was born born, raised and studied in California- BJ
    • Transvestite corporal with dreadful taste in clothes - Klinger
    • Head nurse who is part seductress and part Atilla the Hun - Margaret
    • Spiritual guide through this Oriental purgatory, cock-eyed optimist who sounds like Dennis Day - Father Mulcahy
  • The title is taken from a popular Movie about tape recording by law enforemwnt agenices during a building robbery--The Anderson Tapes

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit

External linksEdit