Monday M*A*S*H Discussions offers fans the opportunity to offer their opinions on a wide variety of topics relating to M*A*S*H. Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. My hope is these discussion posts will continue to elicit comments in the weeks and months after they’re initially published. Have a suggestion about something you think might be worth discussing? Let me know and maybe it will become my next Monday M*A*S*H Discussion topic.
Today’s topic is: Who is your favorite recurring general?
Generals, Generals, Everywhere
Back in January, we discussed our favorite non-nurse, non-general minor characters. In April, we talked about our favorite recurring nurse. Today, it’s time to consider which recurring M*A*S*H general is our favorite. The show featured four different recurring generals during its first two seasons.
First there’s General Hammond, played by G. Wood. He first appears in “M*A*S*H–The Pilot,” making him the original general on the show. Then there’s General Barker (played by Sorrell Booke) who is featured in two episodes. Next, there’s General Clayton (Herb Voland), who appears in a total of seven episodes. Confusingly, after one episode with Clayton, General Hammond returns for an additional episode. After six more episodes with General Clayton (the last four in Season 2), General Mitchell (Robert F. Simon) takes over, appearing in three episodes.
(If you watch the episodes in production order, the first three episodes feature Hammond. Then come the two Barker episodes followed by seven episodes with Clayton and finally the three with Mitchell.)
Why were the generals changed so often during these first two seasons? I don’t know. Actor availability? The writers trying something new? Nor do I know why the recurring general character was dropped entirely halfway through Season 2.
General Hammond (3 episodes)
-“To Market, to Market”
-“Henry, Please Come Home”
General Barker (2 episodes)
-“Requiem for a Lightweight”
-“Chief Surgeon Who?”
-“Yankee Doodle Doctor”
-“Divided We Stand”
-“5 O’Clock Charlie”
-“For the Good of the Outfit”
-“Dr. Pierce and Mr. Hyde”
General Mitchell (3 episodes)
-“The Trial of Henry Blake”
General Mitchell is referenced in several other Season 2 episodes. After that, the recurring general disappeared from M*A*S*H. Individual episodes occasionally featured or mentioned a general, but never the same general twice.
If I had to chose, I’d probably call General Clayton my favorite recurring general. That may be because he’s in the most episodes and thus we get the most time to know and appreciate him. He’s friendly and levelheaded and can take a joke. I’m not a big fan of General Barker, who is a little over-the-top for my tastes. General Hammond didn’t leave much of an impression on me, to be honest. And General Mitchell feels a lot like General Clayton, only played by a different actor.
Do you have a favorite recurring general? Do you wish one of the generals had stayed with the show?
Hit the comments with your thoughts.