I’m reviewing every episode of AfterMASH, in original broadcast order, and asking fans to add their memories and opinions.
“Yours Truly, Max Klinger” (#16, 1×16)
Originally Broadcast: Monday, January 16th, 1984 from 9-9:30PM ET
Written by David Isaacs & Ken Levine
Directed by Burt Metcalfe
TV Guide Summary
Klinger cites numerous examples of how “things are always jumping here at General-General” in a letter to Radar. Among them: Klinger’s own daytime moonlighting, and the activities of a feisty new surgeon (David Ackroyd).
The Hartford Courant Summary
Klinger writes a letter to his old Korean War buddy, Radar O’Reilly describing life at Gen. Pershing Hospital. Gary Burghoff makes a special appearance reprising his role of Radar.
For the first time since the series premiere, AfterMASH has a character writing a letter to someone, recounting various goings-on at General General. This time, it’s Klinger doing the writing and the letter is intended for none other than Radar O’Reilly.
There are two main storylines in this episode but only one involving Klinger. He tells Radar about becoming a father and how he suddenly realized he can’t afford a baby. To earn extra money, Klinger finds a second job as a meat salesman, which he does from his office at the hospital. When that doesn’t work, he starts trying to sell toupees.
The second storyline, which Klinger doesn’t participate it and doesn’t mention in his letter, sees the introduction of the rude and disrespectful yet talented Dr. Boyer (played by David Ackroyd). Dr. Boyer is a veteran of the Korean War, only he didn’t have the luxury of serving in a MASH unit like Potter, Klinger, and Father Mulcahy. He was a surgeon at a battalion aid unit and lost his leg during the war. Update: Dr. Boyer was never given a first name on AfterMASH. I incorrectly referred to him as Dr. “Ron” Boyer. I apologize for the mistake.
Mike D’Angelo agrees to hire Dr. Boyer as a favor to someone important. He doesn’t consult with Potter about the decision, which Potter doesn’t appreciate. The two quickly come to very different conclusions: Potter learns Boyers a natural surgeon and wants to keep him while D’Angelo wants to fire him after realizing how rude and mean Boyer is.
Potter ultimately gets his way and Dr. Boyer decides to stay at General General.
Father Mulcahy has a minor and very pointless storyline in which a husband and wife of different faiths argue about who should counsel their son while he’s at General General. The argument leads to a brawl and Father Mulcahy winds up with a minor head injury.
There’s also a truly ridiculous scene in which D’Angelo wears a giant Native American headdress while Alma Cox struts around his office spinning the medicine stick he was given.
At the end of the episode there’s a brief scene of Radar reading Klinger’s letter during his wedding rehearsal. Klinger is looking forward to the wedding. Radar absentmindedly can’t remember to say “I do” but isn’t worried. He has a week to memorize his line.
Although viewers may not have known it at the time, “Yours Truly, Max Klinger” features the final appearance of Dr. Pfeiffer. It’s too bad, because after a slow start I grew to appreciate the character. More importantly, with this first cast change AfterMASH started down a road from which it never recovered: attempts to “fix” the series by making changes to the cast and characters.
There’s no way to know for sure whether CBS doomed AfterMASH by insisting on so many changes, but the changes definitely didn’t help.
Klinger is seen helping a patient run on a treadmill. In the previous episode (“C.Y.A.”) Klinger started helping out as a physical therapist to earn a little extra money. It’s a nice bit of continuity between episodes.
References to the 4077th
There are a handful of references to the 4077th throughout the episode. “A guy who had to shave his back and put on a bra to go to work could be somebody’s father,” Klinger writes in his letter to Radar.
Later, when Potter meets Dr. Boyer, the two briefly discuss their time in Korea, and Potter mentions the 4077th by name.
Gary Burghoff makes a brief cameo appearance at the end of the episode, returning to the role of Radar O’Reilly for the first time since the M*A*S*H episode “Good-Bye, Radar Part II” during Season 8.
This is the sixth of 12 episodes directed by Burt Metcalfe.
This is the fifth of 13 episodes written or co-written by Ken Levine & David Isaacs.
Guest star Britt Leach makes his third and final appearance on AfterMASH. He previously played Dan Blevik in the M*A*S*H episode “Heroes” during Season 10.
Guest star Tom Kindle, making his fourth appearance on AfterMASH, previously appeared in the M*A*S*H episodes “Blood Brothers” (during Season 9) and “That Darn Kid” (during Season 10).