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Name That Episode III #178

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: Father Angus, who correctly identified “Nurse Doctor” from Season 8.

Name That Episode

Name That Episode III #177

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: Father Angus, who correctly identified “Depressing News” from Season 9.

Name That Episode

Episode Spotlight: The Army-Navy Game

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

“The Army-Navy Game” (#20, 01×20)
Originally Broadcast: Sunday, February 25th, 1973
Teleplay by Sid Dorfman
Story by McLean Stevenson
Directed by Gene Reynolds

Capsule Summary: Hawkeye and Trapper risk their lives to defuse an unexploded bomb in the compound.

There’s really just the one storyline in this episode: the bomb that went thud when it should have gone boom. I’m not sure the Army-Navy game is substantial enough to be considered as a separate storyline. Once the bomb lands, the Army-Navy game unfolds primarily through characters outside the 4077th, used to paint the military as callous and unconcerned with the danger facing the camp.

Both Colonel Hersh and Commander Sturner seem to care more about listening to the game than helping the 4077th, although Sturner does eventually come through with instructions to defuse the bomb. Hersh asking Hawkeye to call during half time is absurd. So is his line, “If I don’t hear from you, I’ll understand.” It’s a grim thing to say.

About midway through the episode, we’re shown snapshots of characters reacting to the possibility that they might shortly be blown up. Klinger puts on a nice suit so he won’t be die wearing a dress; Margaret and Frank lament not meeting in another time or another place; Colonel Blake tells Radar the story of Tanker Washington; Radar gets up the courage to ask Nurse Hardy to accompany him to the supply tent; and Hawkeye, Trapper, and Ugly John enjoy a poker game.

I don’t remember seeing the scene in which Klinger talks to Father Mulcahy while wearing his fancy suit, so I suspect it was cut in syndication. I can understand why it was cut; it doesn’t add much and cutting it doesn’t really affect the rest of the episode. But it does provide some insight into the character of Klinger.

Given how brave she thought he was during the initial bombardment, it’s too bad Margaret never found out that Frank passed out from fear when he picked the short match. Speaking of Margaret and Frank, why were they in the “bunker” alongside Colonel Blake and Radar while the bomb was defused? They should have been taking care of the patients.

One last thought: if I were in their shoes, I wouldn’t have stopped running the way Hawkeye and Trapper did. They barely put any distance between themselves and the bomb when they hit the dirt.

Hawkeye and Trapper perform delicate surgery on the bomb.

McClean Stevenson provided the story for this episode, making him the second member of the cast after Alan Alda to contribute to the creation of an episode.

Watch closely while Hawkeye, Trapper, and the two nurses are dancing around Colonel Blake’s office. Bobbie Mitchell, the brunette nurse, clearly smacks Alan Alda in the face with her pom-pom.

This episode features some unusual music choices starting with the opening theme. It’s cheery and light and was also used in “Sticky Wicket” and “Major Fred C. Dobbs.” Also, the music playing while Hawkeye and Trapper walk toward the bomb sound like something out of an episode of The Twilight Zone.

A hilarious outtake exists from this episode in which McLean Stevenson blows a line while telling the story of Tanker Washington.

Both Sheila Lauritsen and Bobbie Mitchell make their first credited appearances in this episode.

MASH FAQ Giveaway [Updated]

May 24th, 2016 Update: James was the lucky winner of the MASH FAQ Giveway and will receive a free copy of MASH FAQ: Everything Left to Know About The Best Care Anywhere.

Update: The giveaway has now ended and the winner will be contacted within 24 hours. Thanks to everyone who participated.

Yesterday I posted my review of MASH FAQ: Everything Left to Know About The Best Care Anywhere and now you have the chance to win your own copy. Author Dale Sherman and publisher Hal Leonard were kind enough to provide me with a review copy and a second copy to give away to a lucky M*A*S*H fan.

Although I know M*A*S*H has a lot of international fans as well as younger fans, for legal reasons you have to live in the United States and be over the age of 18 to participate in this giveaway.

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment below with the title of your favorite episode of M*A*S*H. That’s it. Remember to use a valid e-mail address when you leave your comment or else I won’t be able to get in touch with you if you win. I’m the only one who will see your e-mail address. Do not include your name or mailing address in your comment.

Photograph of a copy of the MASH FAQ book.

This copy of MASH FAQ can be yours. Just enter my MASH FAQ Giveaway.

The giveaway runs from 12:00PM ET today until 12:00PM ET on Monday. I will randomly select the winner and let them know within 24 hours by e-mail. The winner has to reply within 24 hours with their mailing address and I’ll have the book in the mail as soon as possible. Hopefully it will arrive within a week or so. Good luck!

Official Rules:
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Open to residents of the United States of America. Must be 18 to enter. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. The “MASH FAQ Giveaway” starts Sunday, May 22nd, 2016 at 12:00PM ET and ends Monday, May 23rd, 2016 at 12:00PM ET. To enter, you must leave a comment at the “MASH FAQ Giveaway” page (http://www.mash4077tv.com/2016/05/22/mash-faq-giveaway/) with the title of your favorite episode of M*A*S*H. By leaving a comment you are agreeing to the Official Rules. The number of eligible entries determines the odds of winning. One (1) winner will be chosen at random from a list of all eligible entries received during the giveaway. The winner will receive one (1) copy of the book “MASH FAQ: Everything Left To Know About The Best Care Anywhere,” approximate retail value $20. Winner will be selected and notified within twenty-four (24) hours by e-mail and must respond within twenty-four (24) hours with an e-mail containing a valid mailing address. If the potential winner does not claim the prize within twenty-four (24) hours the prize will be re-awarded randomly. If the notification e-mail is returned as undeliverable, winner will be disqualified and an alternate winner will be selected. Allow three to four weeks for delivery. No personal information relating to the winner will be shared or made public. The name used when leaving the comment will be used publicly to identify winner. By accepting prize, winner agrees to hold MASH4077TV.com harmless for any injury or damage caused or claimed to be caused by participation in the “MASH FAQ Giveaway” or acceptance or use of the prize. Sponsored by MASH4077TV.com.

Book Review: MASH FAQ

It’s too bad there’s already a book called The Complete Book of M*A*S*H (by Suzy Kalter, published back in 1984) because that would make a much better title for Dale Sherman’s comprehensive look at the MASH franchise than MASH FAQ. It’s called that because it’s part of the FAQ series published by Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, an imprint of Hal Leonard. Others in the series include The Twilight Zone FAQ, Star Wars FAQ, Three Stooges FAQ, and Seinfeld FAQ. Most of these books feature a variation on the same subtitle, in this case “Everything Left to Know About The Best Care Anywhere.”

Don’t be turned off by the title. This book isn’t a list of frequently asked questions about MASH. The back cover calls it “the first book on the entire history of MASH” and as far as I know that’s an accurate description. Quite a few books have been published about M*A*S*H the television series over the past four decades, including two scholarly studies, but I can’t think of any others that examine every incarnation of MASH, from novel to film to stage play to TV series and beyond.

Cover to MASH FAQ

MASH FAQ (Courtesy of Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)

MASH FAQ is a hefty book. There are 34 chapters and 391 pages counting an appendix, bibliography, and index. The first chapter offers an overview of the Korean War, which will surprise readers not expecting a history lesson. The second chapter examines how an actual MASH unit worked. Only then does Sherman dive into the novel that started everything.

All About The Novel

I read MASH: Novel About Three Army Doctors just once almost two decades ago. I remember nothing about it nor can I recall whether I liked it. Sherman devotes five chapters to Richard Hooker’s (a pseudonym for H. Richard Hornberger and W.C. Heinz) novel and its various sequels: the two written by Hornberger and the 12 novels penned by William E. Butterworth (the “MASH Goes to…” series).

I haven’t read any of the sequels, and though I doubt I ever will, I’ve developed such an aversion to spoilers that I actually skipped over the sections about the other novels. I don’t want to know what happens just in case I ever do decide to read them all. Sherman provides a plot summary of each novel and also lists the returning characters and how they developed. He also points out inconsistencies between novels and offers a critical review.

This section of the book ends with a chapter comparing the plot and characters as depicted in the novel, film, and TV series. It’s interesting to see just how much of the novel eventually made its way to television. Also, I didn’t realize Lt. Dish wasn’t in the original novel.

All About The Film

Another five chapters are devoted to MASH the film. I actually haven’t seen it. I started watching it once with my parents when I was in middle school but after the first 30 minutes they decided it was too adult for me. Since then, I’ve never had much interest in seeing it although I do own it on DVD (only because it was included in the Martinis & Medicine collection).

This section of the book starts with a lengthy look at the making of the film–writing, directing, casting, filming–and how it was received by critics. This is followed by a short chapter on the history of the film’s theme song (“Suicide is Painless”), a chapter consisting of short biographies of the cast, a chapter comparing Ring Lardner’s original script to the finished film, and finally a chapter about how the film is connected to other movies and TV shows.

The chapter comparing the script to the film is impressive. Sherman breaks the film down scene by scene and explains how director Robert Altman stuck to or changed Lardner’s script. Of course, anyone who has actually seen the film will probably get more out of this chapter than people like me who haven’t seen it.

About The Stage Play

Most people probably don’t know that the novel MASH was adapted for the stage. Sherman spends only one chapter discussing the play, which exists in both one-act and two-act versions, because there really isn’t that much to say about it. For the most part, he compares and contrasts the play and novel, pointing out how it had to be altered due to its expected use in schools.

About The TV Show

The rest of the book, roughly half of it, is about M*A*S*H the TV series. Sherman starts by discussing five sitcoms that he thinks influenced M*A*S*H: The Phil Silvers Show, McHale’s Navy, F Troop, Hogan’s Heroes, and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. It’s almost unbelievable how many directors and writers from these shows later worked on M*A*S*H. The same goes for how many actors from M*A*S*H earlier made appearances on one or more of these sitcoms.

Sherman spends the next two chapters writing about the creative team and the main cast. Most fans will recognize names like Gene Reynolds, Larry Gelbart, and Burt Metcalfe but might not know who William Self, Allan Katz, Stanford Tischler, Jim Mulligan, or Mark Evans are. I’ll admit there were one or two names I wasn’t familiar with. The biographies of the cast are lengthy, covering their lives before, during, and after their time on M*A*S*H. I can’t say there were any surprises here, but then again I’ve read most of the books Sherman references.

Other chapters discuss the actresses from the opening credits, recurring characters who disappeared from the show, minor characters who stuck around, unusual episodes, famous guest stars, the show’s time slots over the years, filming locations, character arcs, spin-offs, parodies, and memorabilia.

With a few exceptions, Sherman sticks to fact rather than opinion. The chapter on the ten best pranks naturally reflects the author’s opinion about which pranks were best. Likewise, some might disagree with the episodes he includes in the chapter about experiments like “O.R.” and “Hawkeye” and “Life Time.” There may even be those who are upset that a particular famous guest star isn’t among the 30 he lists in another chapter.

I will point out that Sherman has apparently developed an unusual theory about “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” that he writes about in two chapters, which might confuse or amaze some readers. I also get the impression he might not be the biggest fan of Charles Emerson Winchester but I could be wrong.

I didn’t come across any factual errors. I noticed a proofreading error on one page (which the author actually mentioned in an e-mail) but that can be forgiven, as can a few other minor editing issues.

Should You Buy This Book?

If you’re looking for an exhaustive analysis of the production of M*A*S*H drawn from studio or network memos and other archival material, you’re not going to find that in MASH FAQ. That’s not what the book is about. Nor are there any new interviews, unless I’m mistaken, but Sherman does quote from a wide variety of sources. I think it’s safe to say that this is a book aimed at casual fans. Yet it also has something to offer those of us whose interest in the series is more than casual. Does it cover AfterMASH as thoroughly as I would like? No, but I’m one of maybe two or three people in the world who would read an entire book just about AfterMASH.

Some of the regular readers of my blog are truly hardcore fans of M*A*S*H, even more than I am. If you’ve seen every episode a dozen times, watched all the documentaries and specials, read every behind-the-scenes book and every autobiography, there may not be much new information in MASH FAQ. However, because it covers the entire franchise and not just the TV show, I think it still has value. Unless you’re also an expert on the novel(s) and film, there are going to be chapters you’ll find interesting and you will learn more about other incarnations of MASH.

At just $20, MASH FAQ is an inexpensive way to learn all about the MASH franchise. I know I learned a lot about the novel and the film. If you’re not quite convinced, you can take a look at the table of contents and some sample pages at the Hal Leonard Books website.

Disclosure: Dale Sherman and I corresponded briefly via e-mail while he was researching and writing MASH FAQ. My website was used as a reference and I am mentioned in the Acknowledgements. I was a sent a review copy by the publisher but the decision to review it was my own and this review has not been influenced by the author or the publisher.

Name That Episode III #176

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 “The Novocaine Mutiny” from Season 4.

Name That Episode

Final Thoughts About the 2015 MeTV Interviews

Back in May 2015, MeTV aired “MeTV Remembers the M*A*S*H Finale,” a three-hour special presentation of the series finale featuring new interviews with members of the M*A*S*H cast and creative team. MeTV uploaded those interviews to YouTube in December 2015. Over the next 10 days, I’ll be posting each of the interview segments for everyone to watch and discuss. Read more about the MeTV interviews here.

Late last month, MeTV uploaded three 30-second interview snippets to YouTube. Two of them feature Loretta Swit while the third features Gary Burghoff. I don’t know if they originally aired during the “MeTV Remembers the M*A*S*H Finale” special presentation. They definitely weren’t available on the MeTV website after it first aired.

Here they are:




I believe these interview snippets or others like them continue to air during commercial breaks to promote M*A*S*H on MeTV.

This concludes our look at the 2015 MeTV interviews. If you add up the nine segments that aired during the “MeTV Remembers the M*A*S*H Finale” special presentation you only get about 20 minutes. Remember that according to Ken Levine, these interviews were taped in 2014 for an as-yet-unreleased documentary about M*A*S*H.

Hopefully that documentary is still in the works because the footage MeTV aired in 2015 only covers the end of the series.

MeTV Interviews: Final Goodbyes

Back in May 2015, MeTV aired “MeTV Remembers the M*A*S*H Finale,” a three-hour special presentation of the series finale featuring new interviews with members of the M*A*S*H cast and creative team. MeTV uploaded those interviews to YouTube in December 2015. Over the next 10 days, I’ll be posting each of the interview segments for everyone to watch and discuss. Read more about the MeTV interviews here.

Today we’re watching and discussing the last interview segment titled “Final Goodbyes,” which includes comments from Burt Metcalfe, Loretta Swit, Dan Wilcox, David Isaacs, Thad Mumford, Elias Davis, Jamie Farr, William Christopher, Alan Alda, and Gene Reynolds:


This is the last of the MeTV interview segments that aired during the “MeTV Remembers the M*A*S*H Finale” special presentation. It is the longest by far, lasting more than five minutes. If you’re only going to watch one of these videos, this is the one to watch. You can see and hear the emotion when these people talk about working on M*A*S*H and how it changed their lives.

There’s too much for me to summarize everything but here are a few highlights: Loretta Swit gets emotional discussing how difficult it was to say “You dear sweet man” to Harry Morgan; Elias Davis talks about how people are still fans of M*A*S*H “in a big way” more than 30 years after the last episode aired; William Christopher calls himself “a lucky actor” and isn’t bothered at all when people ask if he regrets being typecast; and Alan Alda talks about how he never expected to be able to work with material and actors he respected in front of a mass audience.

Dan Wilcox: “I came to Hollywood to be a prostitute. To prostitute my talent. And that show showed me that I could still do it for love. And I tried never to lose that again, to make sure I didn’t work on something unless I had a reason I wanted to do it.”

Loretta Swit: “Harry [Morgan] said that in an interview. How has M*A*S*H changed you? Has it made you a better actor? And he said, ‘I don’t know about that. But it’s made me a better person.'”

Thad Mumford: “At every level, everyone did their best. I mean, that was the mandate. And so people were challenged to do their best and they did. And so there was respect and there was collegiality and there were– I mean, it was fun to go to work.”

Check back tomorrow at 12PM ET for a look at three additional MeTV interviews.

Name That Episode III #175

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: Father Angus, who correctly identified “As Time Goes By” from Season 11.

Name That Episode

MeTV Interviews: War’s Cost to the Characters

Back in May 2015, MeTV aired “MeTV Remembers the M*A*S*H Finale,” a three-hour special presentation of the series finale featuring new interviews with members of the M*A*S*H cast and creative team. MeTV uploaded those interviews to YouTube in December 2015. Over the next 10 days, I’ll be posting each of the interview segments for everyone to watch and discuss. Read more about the MeTV interviews here.

Today we’re watching and discussing “War’s Cost to the Characters,” which includes comments from Elias Davis, Mike Farrell, Alan Alda, William Christopher, and Jamie Farr:


For the record, MeTV originally referred to this segment as “The Cost of War” but when it was uploaded to YouTube the title had changed to “War’s Cost to the Characters.”

Scriptwriter Elias Davis talks about how “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” featured storylines for each character woven together into one episode. “What we tried to do was find dramatic or interesting and comedic ways that each of the characters would have an interesting story within that larger overall story.”

“I thought it was brilliant,” Mike Farrell says of the final episode, “because it showed in each and every case what war cost the characters.”

Alan Alda wanted to show viewers that even though the doctors and nurses of the 4077th were going home, they were all affected by the war. “They were all going home with some kind of a wound.” He gives Father Mulcahy as an example and William Christopher offers some thoughts on his character suffering hearing loss and becoming angry with God.

Also, Mike Farrell and Elias Davis discuss how the war cost Charles his love of music; Jamie Farr talks about Klinger falling in love and deciding to stay in Korea; and Mike Farrell points out that the war also cost Hawkeye his sanity.”

Check back tomorrow at 12PM ET for the next MeTV interview.