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All About M*A*S*H Since 1999

FX Marathon Promo

Here’s a promotional spot for the “0800-0100 M*A*S*H Marathon” on FX, which aired on Sunday, September 23rd, 2001. I don’t have a full schedule for the marathon but I do know it included “Welcome to Korea” (split into two episodes for syndication), “Change of Command,” and “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen.”

The day after this marathon aired, FX revamped its evening schedule with the addition of dramas Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, Ally McBeal, and The Practice from 7-10PM. If I recall correctly, one of these shows replaced M*A*S*H (the series continued airing during the day) but within a few months M*A*S*H was brought back due to low ratings for either Ally McBeal or The Practice.

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This promo was originally included in my M*A*S*H In Syndication article but I’ve moved it here to the blog where it will hopefully be seen by more people. I recently went through a VHS tape with seven or eight episodes of M*A*S*H from FX airings and found a few other promos dating back to 1999. Look for them in the coming weeks.

Name That Episode III #204

The Name That Episode game is played Tuesdays and Thursdays, with images posted randomly between 12PM and 6PM Eastern. Players can participate as often as they like. An archive of past rounds can be found here. Today’s image can be found below. Can you name the episode it’s from? Feel free to post guesses in the comments section. As always, the winner gets bragging rights.

And the Winner Is: Chauncey Uppercrust, who correctly identified “The Price” from Season 7.

Name That Episode

Name That Episode III #203

The Name That Episode game is played Tuesdays and Thursdays, with images posted randomly between 12PM and 6PM Eastern. Players can participate as often as they like. An archive of past rounds can be found here. Today’s image can be found below. Can you name the episode it’s from? Feel free to post guesses in the comments section. As always, the winner gets bragging rights.

And the Winner Is: Chauncey Uppercrust, who correctly identified “Hepatitis” from Season 3.

Name That Episode

Episode Spotlight: None Like it Hot

Every Monday, I spotlight a random episode of M*A*S*H, providing a brief review and asking readers to offer their thoughts.

“None Like it Hot” (#150, 7×06)
Originally Broadcast: Monday, October 23rd, 1978
Written by Ken Levine & David Isaacs and Johnny Bonaduce
Directed by Tony Mordente

Capsule Summary: In the middle of a heat wave, Hawkeye and B.J. try to hide their new bathtub from the rest of the camp. Meanwhile, Klinger tries to use the heat to get out of the Army.

The A story involving Hawkeye and B.J.’s bathtub is silly but harmless, although reminiscent of “The Long John Flap” back in Season 1. In both episodes, somebody at the 4077th has something everyone else wants. It’s a plot that turned up time and time again on M*A*S*H. In fact, just a few episodes after “None Like It Hot” came “Communication Breakdown” in which everyone wanted to read the newspapers Charles received from home.

But why did Hawkeye even need to buy a canvas bathtub? What happened to the swimming pool Henry had built in “The Consultant” during Season 3? Maybe there wasn’t enough water available to fill the pool. There’s yet another bit of continuity confusion involving bathing: in Season 8’s “Life Time” Hawkeye asks Klinger to go get his canvas bathtub despite the fact that it was traded away in this episode.

Poor Hawkeye. By trying to help Radar, he inadvertently spilled the beans about the bathtub to the whole camp–or at least the nurses. Once the secret is out, unfortunately, an already silly story line becomes even sillier. Why would everyone line up to take a 10-minute bath? Why not just make a schedule? And where exactly is all this cold water coming from?

I do love how Charles uses the fight to cut the line and slip into the tub.

Klinger’s B story is solid and perhaps the last of his great Section 8 stunts. There were a handful of others during Season 7 and one or two more in Seasons 8 and 9. Only a few of his stunts throughout M*A*S*H actually came close to succeeding and this was one of them. He was so close: only one more hour and he would have made it.

Radar’s tonsillitis can be considered a C story, although there isn’t much to it and it does fit somewhat into the bathtub A story. Colonel Potter chiding Hawkeye for joking around before and during the surgery is a nice touch. Everyone cared about Radar but the Potter-Radar relationship was deeper than most.

Still from the M*A*S*H episode None Like It Hot showing Hawkeye in a bath tub.
Hawkeye the sailor man.

Margaret screaming “I want it!” when she bursts in on Hawkeye, B.J., and Father Mulcahy–and, more importantly, the tub–is ridiculous. Shrill Margaret at her worst.

When Hawkeye, B.J., and Colonel Potter rush over to break up the fight, the edges of the camera lens can be seen in the corners. Perhaps a special wide lens was used for this scene? Or maybe the lens was out of focus.

Ted Gehring, who played Sergeant Rhoden in this episode, earlier guest starred in Season 2’s “The Incubator” as Major Morris. Both characters were scroungers and hoarders.

Back in 2010, someone raised the possibility that Beeson Carroll made an uncredited cameo in “None Like It Hot” as the tall, dark-haired man in line for the tub. All evidence points to it being a random background extra who looks vaguely like Carroll.

Gary Burghoff WFSB-TV Commercial: Incoming Storm

More than 16 years ago, Gary Burghoff starred in a series of commercials for Connecticut TV station WFSB-TV to promote its new Doppler 3000 radar system. An initial set of three commercials began airing in February 2000. I posted the first one a few weeks ago.

Here’s the second commercial titled “Incoming Storm”:

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I can’t find the e-mails from the person who sent me a video with the three commercials so I can’t thank them by name. Look for the third of the Burghoff/WFSB-TV commercials in a few weeks.

Name That Episode III #202

The Name That Episode game is played Tuesdays and Thursdays, with images posted randomly between 12PM and 6PM Eastern. Players can participate as often as they like. An archive of past rounds can be found here. Today’s image can be found below. Can you name the episode it’s from? Feel free to post guesses in the comments section. As always, the winner gets bragging rights.

And the Winner Is: futurenurse, who correctly identified “Hepatitis” from Season 5.

Name That Episode

Name That Episode III #201

The Name That Episode game is played Tuesdays and Thursdays, with images posted randomly between 12PM and 6PM Eastern. Players can participate as often as they like. An archive of past rounds can be found here. Today’s image can be found below. Can you name the episode it’s from? Feel free to post guesses in the comments section. As always, the winner gets bragging rights.

And the Winner Is: futurenurse, who correctly identified “Blood Brothers” from Season 9.

Name That Episode

Episode Spotlight: Sons and Bowlers

Every Monday, I spotlight a random episode of M*A*S*H, providing a brief review and asking readers to offer their thoughts.

“Sons and Bowlers” (#233, 10×19)
Originally Broadcast: Monday, March 22nd, 1982
Written by Elias Davis & David Pollock
Directed by Hy Averback

Capsule Summary: Colonel Potter tries to put together a winning bowling team so he can finally beat the Marines. Meanwhile, Hawkeye waits anxiously for news about his father’s surgery.

I absolutely love half of this episode. It’s M*A*S*H at its emotional best and gave David Ogden Stiers the opportunity to do some of his finest acting on the series. Alan Alda does a terrific job as well. Charles opening up to Hawkeye about the distant relationship he has with his father gives me chills every time I watch it.

The way Stiers and Alda are able to convey so much emotion with just the tiniest of facial expressions is impressive. When Charles says “Even now, the sight of lettuce makes me talk faster” he smiles almost imperceptibly at the memory of those family dinners.

The scene ends with a powerful exchange:

Charles: “I always assumed that that’s how it was in every family. But when I see the warmth, closeness, the fun of your relationship… My father’s a good man. He always wanted what was best for me. But where I have a father, you have a dad.”
Hawkeye: “Charles, you never told me anything like this before.”
Winchester: “Actually, Hawkeye… I’ve never told you anything before.”

When Charles calls Hawkeye by his nickname rather than Pierce, Hawkeye’s reaction is subtle–just a small turn of the head–but effective.

Unfortunately, the bowling A Story is nowhere near as good as the Hawkeye/Charles B Story. It’s not an awful idea but it’s filled with far too much screeching from both Colonel Potter and Margaret. I do love Potter’s yelling “Not now, Margaret, I’m recruiting!” And I appreciate how the two storylines intertwined, with Hawkeye bowling a few frames to keep his mind occupied.

Charles scheming with B.J. seems somewhat out of character but perhaps he was feeling friendly and sociable after bonding with Hawkeye. The two sharing a drink in the Officers’ Club and toasting to fathers and sons is the perfect ending to the episode.

I think we can all be grateful the episode didn’t end with a freeze frame of Margaret jumping in the air while celebrating the 4077th’s win over the Marines. The slow motion bowling was bad enough.

Still from the M*A*S*H episode Sons and Bowlers showing Charles and Hawkeye toasting.
Charles and Hawkeye toast to fathers and sons.

The opening credits of this episode feature the closing theme song and are thus shortened considerably.

Pay close attention to the background while Colonel Potter is trying to convince Margaret to keep Marty Urbancic occupied. You can see tables set up outside where people are eating. It’s actually a little surprising that M*A*S*H went to such lengths during Season 10. It’s the sort of attention to detail and use of extras that was more common during the early years of the series.

Roy Goldman has a rare speaking part in this episode yet isn’t credited.

Roger Hampton receives a credit as The Second Marine.

Dick O’Neill made his third and final guest appearance on M*A*S*H in this episode. He previously played Admiral Cox in “38 Across” during Season 5 and General Prescott in “B.J. Papa San” during Season 7.

Generic Promo with Alan Alda (Syndication)

Here’s a 15-second generic promotional spot for M*A*S*H that aired in May 1986 on WTXX-TV (Channel 20) in Connecticut. I’m sorry about the quality. The tape I found it on is in rough shape.

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It’s hard to be sure but after listening to this spot closely I’m pretty sure it was edited down from a 30-second spot, likely because WTXX-TV wanted a shorter spot to use during commercial breaks. There’s an abrupt cut in the audio around eight seconds in. Or perhaps the spot was poorly edited by 20th Century Fox before it was sent to stations.

I believe that’s how promos like this were typically distributed. Fox produced various spots and shipped them to local stations across the country. Each station would then “tag” the end of the spots with their custom graphics and voiceovers.

There’s no way to know when the two seconds of Alan Alda telling viewers to “Join me and the medics of M*A*S*H” was filmed. It was probably 1982.

This is another promotional spot that was originally part of my M*A*S*H In Syndication article. I’ve moved it to the blog in the hope that more people will see it.

Name That Episode III #200

The Name That Episode game is played Tuesdays and Thursdays, with images posted randomly between 12PM and 6PM Eastern. Players can participate as often as they like. An archive of past rounds can be found here. Today’s image can be found below. Can you name the episode it’s from? Feel free to post guesses in the comments section. As always, the winner gets bragging rights.

And the Winner Is: converse_craig, who correctly identified “Morale Victory” from Season 8.

Name That Episode