20TH. CENTURY FOX TELEVISION
20TH. CENTURY FOX TELEVISION
Information from IMDb
The 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital is stuck in the middle
of the Korean war. With little help from the circumstances
they find themselves in, they are forced to make their own fun.
Fond of practical jokes and revenge, the doctors, nurses,
administrators, and soldiers often find ways of making
wartime life bearable.
Nevertheless, the war goes on,
Written by Murray Chapman
Alan Alda ... Captain Benjamin Franklin Pierce (251 episodes, 1972-1983)
Loretta Swit ... Major Margaret Houlihan (238 episodes, 1972-1983)
Jamie Farr ... Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger / ... (212 episodes, 1972-1983)
William Christopher ... Father Francis Mulcahy (210 episodes, 1972-1983)
Harry Morgan ... Colonel Sherman T. Potter / ... (179 episodes, 1974-1983)
Mike Farrell ... Captain B.J. Hunnicut (178 episodes, 1975-1983)
Kellye Nakahara ... Lieutenant Kellye Yamato / ... (166 episodes, 1973-1983)
Gary Burghoff ... Corporal Walter Eugene O'Reilly / ... (155 episodes, 1972-1979)
David Ogden Stiers ... Major Charles Winchester (131 episodes, 1977-1983)
Larry Linville ... Major Franklin Marion Burns / ... (118 episodes, 1972-1977)
Jeff Maxwell ... Igor Straminsky (79 episodes, 1973-1983)
Wayne Rogers ... Captain John McIntyre / ... (73 episodes, 1972-1975)
McLean Stevenson ... Lt. Colonel Henry Blake (70 episodes, 1972-1975)
Roy Goldman ... Roy Goldman / ... (37 episodes, 1973-1983)
Odessa Cleveland ... Lt. Ginger Bayliss / ... (27 episodes, 1972-1977)
Johnny Haymer ... Sgt. Zelmo Zale (20 episodes, 1974-1979)
Dennis Troy ... Corpsman / ... (20 episodes, 1973-1983)
Bobbie Mitchell ... Lt. Janet Baker / ... (18 episodes, 1973-1976)
Patricia Stevens ... Nurse Baker / ... (15 episodes, 1974-1978)
Shari Saba ... Nurse Shari (15 episodes, 1980-1983)
G.W. Bailey ... Sergeant Luther Rizzo / ... (14 episodes, 1979-1983)
Jo Ann Thompson ... Nurse Jo Ann (14 episodes, 1978-1983)
Enid Kent ... Nurse Bigelow (13 episodes, 1976-1983)
Gwen Farrell ... Nurse Wilson / ... (13 episodes, 1973-1983)
Allan Arbus ... Maj. Sidney Freedman / ... (12 episodes, 1973-1983)
John Orchard ... Capt. 'Ugly John' Black / ... (11 episodes, 1972-1979)
Richard Lee-Sung ... 2nd Korean Kim Luc / ... (11 episodes, 1974-1982)
Bill Snider ... Corpsman / ... (10 episodes, 1981-1983)
Eileen Saki ... Rosie / ... (9 episodes, 1976-1981)
Jan Jorden ... Nurse Baker (9 episodes, 1978-1983)
Jennifer Davis Westmore ... Nurse (9 episodes, 1976-1983)
Linda Meiklejohn ... Lt. Leslie Scorch (8 episodes, 1972-1973)
Judy Farrell ... Nurse Able (8 episodes, 1976-1983)
Sheila Lauritsen ... Nurse Sheila / ... (8 episodes, 1973-1974)
Edward Winter ... Col. Samuel Flagg / ... (7 episodes, 1973-1979)
Patrick Adiarte ... Ho-Jon (7 episodes, 1972-1973)
Herb Voland ... Gen. Crandell Clayton (7 episodes, 1972-1973)
Jerry Fujikawa ... 'Whiplash' Hwang / ... (7 episodes, 1973-1982)
Byron Chung ... Korean Soldier / ... (7 episodes, 1972-1982)
James Carroll ... Courier / ... (7 episodes, 1976-1982)
Timothy Brown ... Capt. Oliver Harmon 'Spearchucker' Jones (6 episodes, 1972)
Marcia Strassman ... Nurse Margie Cutler (6 episodes, 1972-1973)
Lynette Mettey ... Lt. Nancy Griffin / ... (6 episodes, 1973-1976)
Soon-Tek Oh ... Dr. Syn Paik / ... (5 episodes, 1975-1982)
Lynne Marie Stewart ... Nurse Baker / ... (5 episodes, 1975-1977)
Perren Page ... Driver / ... (5 episodes, 1978-1982)
Tom Dever ... Corporal Boone / ... (5 episodes, 1973-1978)
Bonnie Jones ... Lt. Barbara Bannerman (5 episodes, 1972-1975)
and many, many more....
Charles S. Dubin (44 episodes, 1976-1983)
Alan Alda (31 episodes, 1974-1983)
Burt Metcalfe (30 episodes, 1975-1983)
Gene Reynolds (24 episodes, 1972-1977)
Hy Averback (20 episodes, 1972-1982)
Don Weis (16 episodes, 1972-1978)
Jackie Cooper (13 episodes, 1973-1974)
William K. Jurgensen (10 episodes, 1975-1979)
and many, many more ....
Series Writing Credits
Larry Gelbart (251 episodes, 1972-1983)
W.C. Heinz (249 episodes, 1972-1983)
Richard Hooker (249 episodes, 1972-1983)
Ring Lardner Jr. (249 episodes, 1972-1983)
Laurence Marks (28 episodes, 1972-1978)
James Fritzell (24 episodes, 1974-1978)
Everett Greenbaum (24 episodes, 1974-1978)
Alan Alda (19 episodes, 1973-1983)
Elias Davis (18 episodes, 1980-1983)
David Pollock (18 episodes, 1980-1983)
David Isaacs (17 episodes, 1976-1979)
Ken Levine (17 episodes, 1976-1979)
Dennis Koenig (17 episodes, 1979-1983)
Thad Mumford (17 episodes, 1979-1983)
Dan Wilcox (17 episodes, 1979-1983)
Gene Reynolds (12 episodes, 1974-1980)
John Rappaport (10 episodes, 1979-1983)
and many, many more...
Burt Metcalfe .... associate producer / executive producer / ... (251 episodes, 1972-1983)
Stanford Tischler .... associate producer / producer (130 episodes, 1977-1983)
Gene Reynolds .... producer / executive producer (120 episodes, 1972-1977)
John Rappaport .... producer / supervising producer (82 episodes, 1979-1983)
Larry Gelbart .... producer (72 episodes, 1973-1976)
Thad Mumford .... producer (34 episodes, 1981-1983)
Dan Wilcox .... producer (34 episodes, 1981-1983)
Jim Mulligan .... producer (25 episodes, 1979-1980)
Allan Katz .... producer (24 episodes, 1976-1977)
Don Reo .... producer (24 episodes, 1976-1977)
Dennis Koenig .... producer (24 episodes, 1981-1982)
Series Original Music
Johnny Mandel (12 episodes, 1972-1981)
Benny Golson (5 episodes, 1973-1975)
Duane Tatro (4 episodes, 1972-1973)
William K. Jurgensen (110 episodes, 1972-1977)
Dominic Palmieri (105 episodes, 1978-1983)
William T. Cline (25 episodes, 1977-1979)
This television series, set during the Korean War, lasted eleven seasons. The actual Korean War lasted only three years.
While most of the characters from the movie carried over to the series, only three actors appeared in both: Gary Burghoff (Radar O'Reilly) and G. Wood (General Hammond) reprized their movie roles in the series (though Wood appeared in only three episodes). Timothy Brown (credited as "Tim Brown") played "Cpl. Judson" in the movie and Spearchucker Jones in series.
Throughout the run of the series, any "generic" nurses (nurse characters who had a line or two, but were minor supporting characters otherwise) were generally given the names "Nurse Able", "Nurse Baker", or "Nurse Charlie". These names stem from the phonetic alphabet used by the military and HAM operators at the time. During the time period of the Korean War, the letters A, B, and C in the phonetic alphabet were Able, Baker, and Charlie (since then, the standard has been updated, and A and B are now Alpha and Bravo). In later seasons, it became more common for a real character name to be created, especially as several of the nurse actors became semi-regulars. For example, Kellye Nakahara played both "Able" and "Charlie" characters in season three before becoming the semi-regular "Nurse Kellye"; on the other hand, Judy Farrell (then Mrs. Mike Farrell) played Nurse Able in eight episodes, including the series finale.
By the time the series ended, three of the regulars were promoted: Klinger (Jamie Farr) from Corporal to Sergeant, and Father Mulcahy (William Christopher) from Lieutenant to Captain. Frank Burns (Larry Linville) was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel when he was shipped back to the US following Margaret's marriage. (Farr and Christopher also saw their names move from the closing credits of the show, to the opening credits.) Radar O'Reilly was temporarily promoted to Second Lieutenant, but disliked officer's duties, and asked Hawkeye and B.J. to "bust" him back to Corporal. Samuel Flagg (Edward Winter), the paranoid intelligence officer, was a Lieutenant Colonel for the first three seasons of the series, but had been promoted to full Colonel by the fourth season.
It was Mike Farrell who asked to have his character's daughter's name be Erin, after his real-life daughter (the character's name was originally going to be Melissa). When BJ spoke on the telephone on-camera, Erin or his then-wife Judy were on the other end.
Radar's teddy bear, once housed at the Smithsonian, was sold at auction July 29, 2005, for $11,800. (It was originally found on the Fox Ranch, where the series was filmed, and became part of the show.)
Hawkeye's home town is Crabapple Cove, Maine (the only home town of the characters that is fictitious.) However, in "Dear Dad," Hawkeye mentions the family home in Vermont; in "The Late Captain Pierce", Hawkeye tells Klinger that Crabapple Cove is where his family summers; in "The Party", he says that his father hasn't left Crabapple Cove in years; in "Hawk's Nightmare", he says that his father was born in Crabapple Cove, and has never left.
The baseball cap worn by Klinger (and on occasion, Col. Potter), starting in the eighth season is supposed to be a Toledo Mud Hens cap, but it is actually a Texas Rangers cap, that the Rangers wore in the 1970s and early 1980s.
Col. Potter's Horse Sophie is played by several different horses in several different episodes. In many cases Sophie, a mare, is in fact played by a male horse.
Tom Skerritt was approached to reprise his role as Duke Forrest on the series but he declined, because he felt a TV version of the movie would be unsuccessful.
Rene Auberjonois turned down the chance to reprise his role of Father Mulcahy.
Lt. Col. Blake's daughter's names were Molly and Jane, and his son's name was Andy. Molly was seen in a home movie, and Jane and Andy spoke with Blake by telephone, in different episodes.
Col. Blake's alma mater was the University of Illinois. When word of this reached the university, a U of I sweater (of appropriate vintage) was donated to the show, and Blake can be seen wearing the blue sweater with a large orange "I" in several episodes. An orange mug with a blue "I" also appeared on his office desk.
Harry Morgan, who played Col. Potter, had an earlier guest appearance as a crazy General named Steele.
Col. Potter was from Hannibal, Missouri. (Some early episodes give his home as Nebraska.)
Col. Potter's horse was named Sophie. He gave Sophie to Sister Teresa's orphanage after the war ended, since he couldn't take her back to the States.
Jamie Farr and Alan Alda were the only two cast members to have actually served in the US Army in Korea. Both of them did their tours of duty after the 1953 cease fire.
Many of the actors from the cast appeared in a series of TV commercials for the IBM Personal Computer. Alan Alda also endorsed the Atari personal computer.
"M*A*S*H" stands for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.
McLean Stevenson, who played Lt. Col. Henry Blake, died of a heart attack on 15 February 1996. The next day, 16 February, Roger Bowen, who played Lt. Col. Henry Blake in the movie, died of the same cause.
The character of Spearchucker, played by Timothy Brown, appeared in episodes 1, 4, 5, 9, 10, and 11 in the first season, until it was discovered that there were no Black surgeons in Korea at the time.
Edward Winter first appeared in the series as Halloran in "Deal Me Out", but went on to play Col. Flagg six times, although "Halloran" may have been one of Flagg's many aliases.
Gary Burghoff's left hand is slightly deformed, and he took great pains to hide or de-emphasize it during filming. He did this by always holding something (like a clipboard), or keeping that hand in his pocket.
All of the replacement characters (BJ, Col. Potter, and Charles) lasted longer then the characters they replaced (Trapper, Henry, and Frank).
Spouses: BJ: Peg Hayden; POTTER: Mildred; MARGARET: Donald Penobscot; KLINGER: Laverne Esposito/Soon Lee; HENRY: Mildred (Lorraine); BURNS: Louise; TRAPPER: Louise (Melanie); RIZZO: Zola; ZALE: Hillda; WINCHESTER: (unofficially) Donna Marie Parker
The filming location for the exteriors of the 4077 M*A*S*H camp is today known as Malibu Creek State Park in Malibu, California. Formerly called the Fox Ranch, and owned by 20th Century Fox Studios until the 1980s, the site today (early 2001) is overgrown with foliage, and marked by a rusted Jeep and an ambulance used in the show, as well as a small sign. The state park is open to the public. It was also the location where How Green Was My Valley and the Planet of the Apes TV series were filmed.
When the series was first going into production, the network wanted a laugh track (a sitcom staple), while the show's producers didn't. They compromised with a "chuckle track", played only occasionally. (DVD releases of the series mostly allow viewers a no-laugh-track option.) However, even the "chuckle track" -- it was agreed upon by all involved in the discussion -- would not ever be used during the scenes in the surgical tent.
When the series was shown in the UK, it didn't have a laugh track. Once, the BBC left it switched on by mistake and received a number of complaints that the intrusive canned laughter spoilt the show's atmosphere.
Alan Alda had a running guest appearance on the TV show ER in which he plays Dr. Gabriel Lawrence, who reminisces about being a doctor in a war.
Col. Henry Blake is from the central Illinois twin cities of Bloomington-Normal. McLean Stevenson, who played Blake, was born and raised in Bloomington-Normal (in McLean County).
The Japanese actor Mako played four different characters over the course of the series, and Korean actor Soon-Tek Oh played five.
Actor Soon-Tek Oh appeared five times on the show in different roles. In "The Bus" during the fourth season he played a Korean soldier who gives himself up to Hawkeye and BJ. Later in "The Yalu Brick Road" during the eighth season, he again played a Korean soldier who gives himself up to Hawkeye and BJ.
Robert Alda, Alan Alda's father, had guest appearances in two episodes, "The Consultant" and "Lend a Hand". "Lend a Hand" also featured a guest appearance by Antony Alda, Alan Alda's brother. According to Alan Alda, "Lend a Hand" was his way of reconciling with his dad; he was always giving suggestions to Robert for their vaudeville act and in "Lend a Hand" Robert's character was always giving Hawkeye suggestions. It was Robert's idea for the doctors to cooperate as "Dr. Right" and "Dr. Left" at the end of that episode, signifying both a reconciliation of their characters and in real life as well.
Gary Burghoff played his character's own mother in the fourth-season episode "Mail Call Again".
Klinger's attempts to be thrown out of the Army by wearing women's clothing was inspired by Lenny Bruce, who received a dishonorable discharge from the Navy by dressing as a WAVE.
Loudon Wainwright III appeared in three episodes in the third season (1974-75), playing the character "Captain Calvin Spaulding". The name is taken from "Captain Jeffery T. Spaulding", a character played by Groucho Marx in Animal Crackers.
Colonel Potter fought in the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. At age 15 he joined the cavalry, lying about his age to enlist. When World War I started he was married, his mother-in-law moved in with them, and the war started the next day.
The game Trivial Pursuit claims Hawkeye only ever saluted once during the entire run of the series. This is false. He saluted Radar twice-once when awarding him a purple heart and once when he went home. He saluted Frank without thinking about it early in the series. Hawkeye and BJ saluted Colonel Potter in the series finale. Hawkeye along with Trapper also salute Nurse Cutler in 'Requiem for a Lightweight' when she loses her towel after she bumps into them while running from the shower. Also, in the season 4 opener 'Welcome to Korea', when picking B.J. Hunnicutt up From Kimpo Airport, Radar is temporarily promoted to 'Corporal-Captain' to gain access to the Officers Club, Hawkeye salutes Radar right before they enter. In the 1/14/73 "Tuttle" Hawkeye salutes the recently deceased (and fictional) Jonathan S. Tuttle when giving a brief eulogy. And the list goes on...in Series 8, Ep13 "Captain's Outrageous", Hawkeye promotes Father Mulcahy to Captain when they are all in Rosie's Bar, and the whole gang salute Mulcahy at that time.
Frank's wife's name was Louise - as was Trapper John's. Frank had three daughters (names not given); Trapper John had two (Cathy and Becky).
There was one nude scene throughout the entire series. It occurred during the "The Sniper". When Radar was running outside wearing only a towel and the sniper is firing at him, he runs back into the showers at which point, the towel he was wearing was rigged to fall of. This was director Jackie Cooper's idea and only one frame was left in for the effect.
Max Klinger frequently refers to a baseball team named the Toledo Mud Hens. This team exists in reality. Founded in 1896, it is the AAA minor league affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, and is part of the West Division of the International Baseball League.
Hawkeye's father, Daniel Pierce, is also a doctor, and practices in Crabapple Cove, Maine, Hawkeye's home town.
In "Mail Call", Hawkeye shows Trapper the sweater that his sister knitted for him, and in "Dear Dad...Again", he asks his father in a letter to "kiss Mom and Sis" for him. However, in "Sons and Bowlers" he tells Charles how his mother died when he was a boy, and in "Hawkeye", he mentions that he has no siblings.
The ubiquitous helicopters were military versions of the Bell 47. In the real Korean War, the OH-13s evacuated 80% of American casualties. (Roads in Korea were primitive, and often treacherous, so helicopters were favored over ambulances.) The OH-13 was responsible for saving over 18,000 lives during the Korean war, a historical fact still taught today at the air assault school at Fort Campbell, Ky home of the 101st airborne division.
Major Winchester was stationed in Tokyo before he was transferred to the 4077. His commanding officer, Col. Baldwin, sent him for a 48-hour stay (annoyed because he owed Winchester $672.17 for losses in cribbage), but Potter asked for Winchester to be permanently reassigned. When Baldwin visited the 4077th later, Winchester let Baldwin win his money back, hoping to go back with him to Tokyo.
When Larry Linville announced that he was leaving at the end of the fifth season, the storyline of Margaret's impending marriage to Lt. Colonel Donald Penobscot was used as a way to write Burns out of the show.
Much like their onscreen counterparts, the cast bonded and became a "family" on the set, in response to the relative remoteness of the Fox Ranch and the cold weather when filming began.
Klinger married his first wife, his childhood sweetheart Laverne Esposito, while he was serving in Korea. The ceremony was performed over the shortwave radio and officiated by Father Mulcahy, who also performed Klinger's marriage ceremony to his Korean war bride Soon Lee.
As the series went on, the producers began interviewing actual M*A*S*H veterans for their stories and impressions; many of their recollections went into storylines. The gradual thinning of fresh ideas prompted work on the series conclusion.
Klinger was only going to appear in one episode. However, he proved so popular that he became a regular.
Larry Hama, the writer of most of the GI Joe comic books, appeared in one episode as a North Korean jeep driver.
Frank Burns had three middle names during his time on the show: W., Marion and D.
While Major Burns almost never drank, the camp's Officer's Club (later opened to enlisted personnel) was built at his request, after the surgeons saved Gen. Mitchell's son.
John Fujioka, who played the Japanese Golf Pro in the movie, appeared three times in the series: "Dear Ma"; "The Tooth Shall Set You Free"; and "Picture This".
Frank Burns' nickname "Ferret Face" came from his brother; he mentioned it to Hawkeye and Trapper John once, during a rare drinking binge, and they never forgot it. (Even BJ's first words to Burns when they met were "What say you, Ferret Face?")
Both Major Margaret Houlihan and Cpl. Max Klinger were married (Margaret in person, Klinger over the phone) and divorced during their service at the 4077th. They shared the same wedding dress.
Charles carried a photograph of himself having lunch with movie star Audrey Hepburn, whom he met through a family associate. Though thoroughly charmed by Hepburn, Charles had still never seen any of her movies.
One of Col. Potter's guilty pleasures was watching Doris Day perform, onstage or onscreen. He'd seen all her movies, but never took his wife Mildred to one.
The 4077th actually consisted of two separate sets. An outdoor set, located in the mountains near Malibu, California, was used for all exterior and tent scenes for the first few seasons. The indoor set, located on a sound stage at Fox studios, was used for the indoor scenes for the run of the series. Later, after the indoor set was renovated to permit many of the "outdoor" scenes to be filmed there, both sets were used for exterior shooting as script requirements dictated (for example, night scenes were far easier to film on the sound stage, but scenes at the chopper pad required using the ranch).
Hawkeye hated guns, and never carried a sidearm when he was Officer of the Day, despite Army regulations. Col. Potter insisted Hawkeye carry (then later fire) a pistol when they visited an aid station. Hawkeye reluctantly complied, shouting warnings and firing into the air.
On Sesame Street, Big Bird's teddy bear is named Radar. This is in homage to Radar O'Reilly's teddy bear.
The series finale is the highest rated American show of all time, with a 60.2% ratings and 125 million viewers.
Throughout the series, Klinger frequently introduces himself by his full name, Maxwell Q. Klinger, but never says what the Q stands for.
BJ's real name is never given. In one episode, Hawkeye goes to extreme lengths to learn what "BJ" stands for, but all official paperwork concerning his friend claims that BJ really is his first name. Toward the end of the episode, BJ explains that his parents' names are Bea and Jay, and claims that this is the reason for his odd name, but whether this is actually true is never made clear.
The show was created after an attempt to film the original book's sequel "M*A*S*H Goes To Maine" failed.
Alan Alda was the only actor to appear in every episode. Loretta Swit was contracted to the show for all 11 seasons but did not appear in the episode "Hawkeye", and several episodes before and after.
Many young actors appeared as guest stars before becoming household names: John Ritter, Patrick Swayze, Laurence Fishburne, Ron Howard, Joe Pantoliano, George Wendt, Andrew Dice Clay, Alex Karras, John Matuszak, Bruno Kirby, and Teri Garr.
In his blog, M*A*S*H writer Ken Levine revealed that on one occasion when the cast offered too many nit-picky "notes" on a script, he and his writing partner changed the script to a "cold show" - one set during the frigid Korean winter. The cast then had to stand around barrel fires in parkas at the Malibu ranch when the temperatures neared 100 degrees F. Levine says, "This happened maybe twice and we never got a ticky tack note again."
The cast did not usually wear Army boots on set. They proved to be too noisy for a soundstage, and uncomfortable to wear during filming. The actors were usually shot from the waist up as it was, so boots were only worn when necessary to a scene. Most of the cast actually wore sneakers on set.
Stuart Margolin appears as two different characters during the first and second seasons - both of whom try to get fresh with a resisting Major Houlihan. Oliver Clark and Tim O'Connor also played two different characters on the show, and even John Orchard ("Ugly John" from the first season) returned for a guest spot later, in another role.
The only time Trapper John wore a red MD robe like Hawkeye's was in the Pilot. After that, he only wore a yellow robe. Hawkeye wore a red robe, and B.J. wore blue, but more than one as they were different shades of blue. (Light and dark) Although his robe appears red, as Hawkeye is making out his will, he bequeaths to Charles his bathrobe because, "Purple is the color of royalty."
Klinger often mentions a restaurant in his home town of Toledo Ohio called Tony Packo's. This is a real restaurant on Toledo's east side that is still popular with many who live in Toledo and the surrounding area.
Todd Sussman, Jimmy Lydon, and Sal Viscuso were the voices of the PA.
Hawkeye, Margaret, and Father Mulcahy are the only three characters that lasted from the original movie all the way through to the end of the series.
Wayne Rogers left the series after the third season after a contract dispute with the network that could not be settled. This explains why he never appears in the fourth season opener.
"Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" was the finale of the series but was not the last to be made. The previous show "As Time Goes By" was filmed last.
From the beginning actor McLean Stevenson had several disputes with the producers over the conditions the actors had to work in. When the offer for a contract was made, McLean left the show, and his character of Lt. Col. Henry Blake was literally killed off.
Gary Burghoff created his own wardrobe for Radar, emphasizing that his clothes would be a size too big. It was also his idea for Radar to have glasses, feeling that it would accent his ESP whereas his lack of sight would heighten his hearing.
When originally developing the character of Max Klinger, it was established that he was more "swishy" and played up the wardrobe. This worked, but not well. It was Jamie Farr's idea that the character would work better if Klinger acted naturally, as if wearing dresses were completely normal. This approach worked, and Klinger found his niche in the show.
Many of Klinger's early dresses were based on Hollywood movie stars like Vivien Leigh, Betty Grable , Dame May Whitty, Judy Garland but later more original outfits were used.
G.W. Bailey, who played recurring character Sgt. Rizzo, lobbied to join the cast in the ninth season to replace Gary Burghoff but CBS refused. Rizzo continued to appear occasionally until the final episode.
Gary Burghoff was the very first actor cast.
As of November 2011, the series finale, "Goodbye Farewell, Amen," is still the most watched television broadcast in US History. It was watched by approximately 125 million viewers. The finale aired from 8pm - 11pm on February 28, 1983. At 11:03 pm, EST, New York City public works noted the highest water usage at one given time in the City's history. This was due to the fact that in the three minutes after the finale ended, approximately 77% of New York City flushed their toilets.
The series finale is the only episode to feature the episode title on screen during the entire show's run.
Robert Klein was offered the role of Trapper John but turned it down.
Early in production planning it was decided to show how brutal the climate could be in Korea by having the show take place during a frigid cold snap occasionally. Since much of the filming was done in the summer the actors had to wear coats and act cold even when the temperature was over 100 degrees F.
The creators and writers had often stated that the show was not anti-Army, it was anti-bureaucracy and anti-incompetency and thus would appeal to any viewer who ran or dealt with large institutions of any kind.
The show's first season had the lowest ratings of the entire run, finishing at number 46, while the eleventh and final season was the highest rated, finishing at number 3.
Though many of the nurses' names were used interchangeably among several actresses, Father Mulcahy was the only regular character to be played by 2 different actors. George Morgan played the character in the pilot episode, but was replaced by William Christopher. There was a short-lived attempt to carry over the character's nickname (Dago Red) from the film. Hawkeye compliments Father Mulcahy's Christmas tree in the first "Dear Dad" episode by commenting "it's looking good, Red" but the nickname was dropped thereafter.
Among the Asian actors who did guest spots: Jack Soo, Pat Morita, Keye Luke, Mako, Soon-Tek Oh, Robert Ito, and Rosalind Chao.
Like several of the recurring characters, Major Sidney Freedman was originally introduced under a different name. In his first appearance the character was named Milton Freedman. It is probable that the change was motivated by the rising public profile of economist Milton Friedman who wrote the bestseller "Free to Choose" and won the Nobel Prize for economics in 1976
During the filming of "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen", a fire ravaged the area, burning away the set. (The fire damage shown was real, not created by the crew) and as a result they decided not to rebuild the sets, so all subsequent episodes were filmed on the indoor sets, which explains why most of them are set at night and take place inside buildings.
Hot Lips's parents must have had quite a bridal night as they exchanged at least three gifts. In "Rainbow Bridge", Margaret gives Frank the small silver gun her father gave to her mother, engraved: "To my little shot from her big shot. Your loving husband, Lt. Col. Alvin F. Houlahan, Regular Army"; in "For Want of a Boot", Margaret gives Frank for his birthday the calvary riding crop her mother gave to her father; in "Alcoholics Unanimous", Margaret shows Frank the silver flask her father gave to her mother, engraved: "To my Buttercup, from Alvin. The best things are worth waiting for. Bottoms up!"
Robert Altman, director of the original film on which the series is based, hated the show.
Hawkeye is named after Benjamin Franklin. His father nicknamed him Hawkeye after James Fenimore Cooper's novel 'The Last of the Mohicans'.
Three characters (but only two actors) appeared in both the pilot and the finale: Hawkeye, Margaret Houlihan and Father Mulcahy. The latter role was played by George Morgan in the pilot, and by William Christopher for the rest of the series. Hawkeye, played by Alan Alda, appears in every episode, and is the only character to do so.
The name of Radar's teddy bear is never revealed.
H.R. Hornberger, author (under the pseudonym Richard Hooker) of 'MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors', so resented the portrayal of Hawkeye in the series that in the 1977 sequel 'MASH Mania', he wrote Hawkeye as liking to "go down to the state university and kick the shit out of a few liberals, just to keep his hand in".
Klinger's wedding dress was worn on three different occasions and by three different people. By Klinger when he married Laverne Esposito, by Margret Houlihan, when she married Lt. Col. Donald Penobscott and by Soon Lee, when she married Klinger.
Jamie Farr chose to gradually phase out Klinger's recurring joke of wearing women's clothes because he didn't want his children, who were young at the time, teased about it while growing up. After Klinger took on the role of company clerk from Radar (Gary Burghoff), Farr practically stopped the gag altogether.
Frequent references are made to President Truman. Harry Morgan played Truman in the 1979 mini series Backstairs At The White House.
After Harry Morgan and Mike Farrell both joined the cast for the fourth season, they both appeared in each and every episode, with the exception of 1 ("Hawkeye").
Dr. Michael DeBakey, the physician largely credited with the creation of M*A*S*H units for the U.S. Army, died in July 2008. He was two months shy of turning 100 years old.
With the encouragement of shows like: All in the Family, Sanford and Son, The Streets of San Francisco, Emergency!, Kojak, Happy Days and Little House on the Prairie, the shows with surrogate parental roles, and with the departure of McLean Stevenson, M*A*S*H needed a surrogate father for the show's unit to look up to rather than one who didn't know what was going on half the time. The producers at that time found Harry Morgan, a huge fan of the show who also became friends with Gene Reynolds years before.
John Schuck was offered the chance to reprise his role of 'Painless' Waldowski from MASH but turned it down.
Of all the main cast who "goes stateside", only Trapper John's return is not the result of a specific event. Henry Blake is going home, but his plane crashes, killing all on board. Frank Burns gets transferred home after having a nervous breakdown. Radar O' Reilly goes home, but only because a beloved uncle has died, and Radar gets a compassionate discharged to return home and tend to his family's farm.
Recurring character Luther Rizzo was initially to have been from Brooklyn. G.W. Bailey wasn't able to believably mimic a Brooklyn accent, so Rizzo's background was changed to a southern one to match that of Bailey and his natural accent.
Gary Burghoff was the only regular actor to leave the series without being replaced, as Klinger took over Radar's duties as Company Clerk. Producers intended to move up recurring character Sidney Freedman to regular status to replace Radar, but Allan Arbus turned it down, not wishing to commit to a full time role on the series.
Alan Alda was living in New Jersey when cast for the series, but didn't want to move to California full time so as not to displace his wife and young daughters. Throughout the making of the series, Alda would fly home to New Jersey and back every weekend and on other breaks to be with his family.
In an interview, Harry Morgan said he wanted to play Colonel Potter forever.
MASH was not the first series in which actor Mike Farrell played a military doctor. He did a guest appearance as 'Doctor' playing a doctor in an episode of 'Combat!' called 'The Bankroll' in December 1966.
When Col. Potter took command of the 4077th at the beginning of the fourth season, the stated date was 19 Sep 1952. This means the first three seasons and 72 episodes covered the first 15 months of the war and that the following eight seasons and 178 episodes covered just the remaining ten months.
The photo Potter kept of his wife Mildred on his desk was actually a photo of Harry Morgan's then wife Eileen Detchon.
By coincidence, Harry Morgan (Colonel Potter) died on the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 2011.
Stella Stevens was originally offered the Margaret Houlihan role but turned it down because she wanted to focus on her film career.
McLean Stevenson was a cousin of Adlai Stevenson, a prominent US politician and presidential candidate at the time of the Korean War.
McLean Stevenson originally auditioned for the role of Hawkeye, and came to be convinced by producers to take the role of Col. Blake instead.
Hawkeye can been seen in 1980s footwear in a couple of episodes.
Many of the references to films and comics mention titles that appeared well after the Korean War.
In one episode, Hawkeye calls Col. Flagg a khaki Godzilla. The movie, Gojira, didn't come out until 1954 and the American version wasn't released until 1956.
Velcro used on the blood pressure monitors. Velcro was patented in 1955.
During one scene in Col. Potter's office, Col. Potter is spelling someone's name on the telephone. Hawkeye, standing nearby, responds by chanting "M-O-U-S-E" - part of the "Mickey Mouse Club" show's theme song. The "Mickey Mouse Club" did not debut on television until October 3, 1955, more than two years after the ceasefire that ended the fighting in Korea.
In Colonel Blake's office you can see a model of an UH-1 "Huey" helicopter hanging from the ceiling. However, this type first flew in 1956, years after the Korean War came to an end.
Radar is seen reading Marvel Comics that were actually published in the mid-1960s.
Hawkeye and BJ are dying to see the movie The Moon is Blue. The movie was released in the U.S. on July 8, 1953. The Korean War ended on July 27, 1953. The time frame appears to be a bit tight.
In one of the early episodes, Henry Blake refers to his wife as "Mildred". However, in later episodes her name is Lorraine. Col. Potter's wife's name is Mildred.
Col. Potter's horse Sophie changed sex throughout the series.
Colonel Potter enters the series as a Methodist and is a Presbyterian just after Radar goes home.
Many of the characters' backgrounds i.e. family changes from episode to episode.
Dates jump back and forth during the series. Many early episodes featuring Trapper John and Henry are set in 1952 or 1953, while others with Col. Potter and B.J. are set in 1950 or 1951.
BJ's daughter Erin's age is constantly jumping back and forth. When he first arrives, he explains that he received his orders to report after returning home with his wife from their first night out after Erin was born. When Radar leaves, Erin is big enough to walk up to Radar and call him "Daddy." In the next season, BJ explains that on his last anniversary, Peg was still 8 months pregnant with Erin, which would make her less than 1 year old. A few episodes later, Erin is once again talking in full sentences and is nearly 2 years old.
In Harry Morgan's first season as Colonel Potter his only child is a son whose wife has a daughter. However, by the end of the series his only child has become a daughter and her husband visits Col Potter at the 4077.
In early episodes, Margaret's father is deceased. However, later in the series her father "Howitzer Al Houlihan" actually visits the 4077.
Hawkeye's background and family situation changes quite a bit during the run of the series. At the beginning he is from Vermont, both parents are living, he has a married sister that sends him an oversized homemade sweater, and a nephew. By the end of the show, he is from Crabapple Cove, Maine, and he is an only child whose mother died when he was about 10.
Although the Korean war lasted slightly over than three years (Summer of 1950 through Summer of 1953), MASH seemed to pack at least four or five Christmases throughout its run. Of specific note: Dear Dad - 1972, Dear Sis - 1978, Death Takes a Holiday - 1980, Twas the Day After Christmas - 1981.
Several of the characters had multiple variations on their names during the series, perhaps none more so than Father Mulcahy. His name is given at various points as John, John P., Francis, Francis John Patrick, and John Patrick Francis
Errors in geography
In the early seasons, Vietnam-like references were often made by characters: Claiming their location was in "Southeast Asia" (Korea is in northeastern Asia) and searching for missing colleagues in "the jungle" (there are no jungle regions in Korea).
As a rule in the service, a person is only awarded one Purple Heart (the first time they're wounded) and then oak leaf clusters for subsequent injuries. However, multiple characters throughout the series have or receive more than one purple heart.
Incorrectly regarded as goofs
Three different people have been named "Nurse Baker", including a single woman, a married woman and a woman of a different race (she was Black while the other two were Caucasian). However, Baker is a popular American name, and could have been shared by more than one person in the 501st.
Powerlines are visible in the background of some exterior shots.
Two sets of the camp were built, one in the outdoors, and one within a studio. This is apparent in numerous episodes when the characters are standing "outside" in broad daylight, but each cast member has numerous shadows as a result of studio lights shining in different directions, as well as an echo within the studio that is not audible on the outdoor set.
Malibu Creek State Park - 1925 Las Virgenes Road, Calabasas, California, USA
(M*A*S*H 4077 Campsite)
Stage 9, 20th Century Fox Studios - 10201 Pico Blvd., Century City, Los Angeles, California, USA
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