Found! McLean Stevenson in a Raft on Cher in 1975

For at least 15 years, M*A*S*H fans have wondered about the existence of a bit of TV footage in which McLean Stevenson sat on a raft and shouted “I’m okay! I’m okay!” Supposedly, it aired at the start of an episode of The Carol Burnett Show the day after “Abyssinia, Henry” was originally broadcast back in May March 1975. Or so one version of the story goes. Other versions claim it was an episode of Tony Orlando & Dawn or The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

I looked into the rumor back in June 2011 and was only able to determine that if it was The Carol Burnett Show it couldn’t have aired the day after “Abyssinia, Henry” because The Carol Burnett Show was seen on Saturdays while M*A*S*H aired on Tuesdays during the 1974-1975 season. Truthfully, I wasn’t convinced it ever really happened.

Well, it did. Only not on The Carol Burnett Show and definitely not the day after “Abyssinia, Henry” aired. See for yourself:

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So when did this footage air? During the Sunday, May 4th, 1975 episode of Cher’s CBS variety show, which was called Cher. McLean Stevenson was the special guest that week. In addition to his brief raft appearance, he was also in two full sketches.

(After I wrote about McLean Stevenson and The Carol Burnett Show, a number of people left comments saying they remembered the footage, including two who claimed it was from an episode of Cher. They were right.)

Why do so many people seem to remember seeing something like this on The Carol Burnett Show? I don’t know. I suppose it’s possible McLean Stevenson did something similiar on The Carol Burnett Show. It’s equally likely that someone remembered seeing the raft gag but got confused and thought it was an episode of The Carol Burnett Show and not Cher. Once the misinformation made its way online it spread and eventually was taken as fact.

If you’re curious how I got my hands on this footage, here’s what happened. A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from someone saying they had the episode of Cher on DVD. Apparently, the series aired on VH-1 at some point during the 1990s (originally an hour long, the VH-1 episodes are cut down to 30 minutes). He offered to send me a copy. I eagerly accepted but was torn. On the one hand, I was excited to finally see the footage. On the other hand, it seemed too good to be true. Could this really be it?

At first, after watching the episode in question, I couldn’t find the footage of McLean Stevenson on a raft. He was definitely in the episode, part of a bizarre sketch involving mice. I took a closer look and there it was. The timing was perfect. The 41st anniversary of “Abyssinia, Henry” was only days away. What better time to post the video and finally confirm once and for all that it really happened?

Let’s all say a big thank you to the M*A*S*H and Cher fan who provided the DVD.

44 Comments

  • Apache Rainbow worrier says:

    It taught us who were tots and never gone t9 war like our grandfathers . Father’s and uncle’s what war was. I was 4 when uncle came home from dmv
    And floors were waxed so I grabbed the 12 foot Cypress Door. Was only 30 pounds are less and it moved faster then me and when it slammed sounded like a huge cannon. My uncle took his mom an aunt to floor from shell shocked.
    Thank you all for showing us in a way as teenagers we understood
    To all cast living when hot lips was queen of Argus. She was sweet kind and answered all my questions and took time for a teenager to understand why mash was done the way it was. Thank you Ms Lorreta.

  • Apache Rainbow worrier says:

    It taught us who were tots and never gone to war like our grandfathers . Father’s and uncle’s what war was. I was 4 when uncle came home from dmv
    And floors were waxed so I grabbed the 12 foot Cypress Door. Was only 30 pounds are less and it moved faster then me and when it slammed sounded like a huge cannon. My uncle took his mom an aunt to floor from shell shocked.
    Thank you all for showing us in a way as teenagers we understood
    To all cast living when hot lips was queen of Argus. She was sweet kind and answered all my questions and took time for a teenager to understand why mash was done the way it was. Thank you Ms Lorreta.

  • Apache Rainbow worrier says:

    Rest peacefully tcast members who have proceeded us to heaven. I got the book
    The archbishop Hannon wore combat boots I can read Grim reaper. One police plaza.
    And story by my big brother O’Neil. But that one to close to my heart to pick up and read. Miss you Archbishop Hannon. Father Red St Nicholas of Myra who went missing during Katrina we never found alter or Father Red. As we were in Florida after Katrina went to church had my Lsp shirt on. One of the brothers asked me about Father red. I said we searched but I keep looking and praying but like I told them if a huge airliner could go into lake and vanish
    The sands very soft.

    • Apache Rainbow worrier says:

      And it’s hard but God knows we’re he is Brother.
      That was the first time I ever tasted host dunked in wine. An being non drinker it was bitter wine. And for people with throat trouble you don’t choke.
      I never forgotten you all in St Nicholas of Myra in Orlando I call soon promise

  • Keith Lee says:

    Well done thank you for taking me back in time when I didn’t have so much responsibility . God Bless

  • Michael Scarola says:

    This is great finally having this clip of McLean Stevenson on the raft! It seems Henry didn’t die after all! LOL

  • Ken F says:

    Wow i can’t believe you found this clip. I’ve never seen it but I remember my parents and or aunt and uncles talking about it.
    Everybody was sad when Colonel Blake died and this clip was pretty cool got everyone to see.
    I saw the episode again Abyssinia Henry for the umteeth time and just wondered about the clip.
    After all these years I finally got to see it.
    Thank you

  • anonymous says:

    yeah it’s a nice piece of cake!

  • Jason says:

    On the time line issue
    In episode one (the pilot episode ) it mentioned that Is 1950
    In episode 2 (to market to market )
    When trappers and hawk guy are in the office of the black market guy there is a calender on the wall.
    Assuming that it is a 1950 calender and that it is open to the correct month , you can clearly see that the first day of the month on the calender is a Wednesday ,and that there 31 days in that month.
    Considering that the war started in July the only month that works is November
    To give the greatest possible leeway you could say that this episode started on October 31st and that they were in the black market guy,s office on November 1

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