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M*A*S*H : Synopsis, Pictures, Photos, Trivia, Filming Locations

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M*A*S*H

M*A*S*H Dates : 1972 - 1983
250 episodes of 25 min
First broadcasting : 7 Mars 1976
Creator(s) : Larry Gelbart
Producer(s) : Alan Alda, Larry Gelbart, Burt Metcalfe et Gene Reynolds
Music : Johnny Mandel
Web surfers's rate : 8.7/10 for 15 rates - Rate

French Traduire

Synopsis

From June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953, America waged war with Korea. To tend to the wounded, the government sent the Mobile Army Surgical Hospital to the front lines to nurse the soldiers. In the camp called the 4077th, Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce witnesses this ferocious yet pointless fight go on while trying to keep the mood light with wise-cracking and practical jokes. He meets many illustrious people, such as the near-psychic company clerk Corporal Walter "Radar" O'Reilly, the short-tempered Head Nurse Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan, Maxwell Q. Klinger who will do anything to be sent home, stern Colonel Henry Blake, the neurotic Major Frank Burns (Hawkeye's roommate), likeable Father Francis Mulcahy, countless other doctors and nurses, and Hawkeye's best friend, fellow fun-loving prankster Captain "Trapper" John McIntyre. During the war, Hawkeye sees many changes occur around him: Trapper, Frank and Radar are sent home, Klinger takes over as company clerk, B.J. Hunnicutt becomes Hawkeye's new best friend and plays around with him instead, arrogant but educated Charles Emerson Winchester III becomes Hawkeye's new roommate, and Blake's plane is shot down over the Sea of Japan, spinning in and killing him. He is replaced by Colonel Sherman Potter, an experienced man who becomes a father figure, albeit a strict one, to the group. Countless doctors and nurses appear throughout, and you can always count on the insane Colonel Samuel Flagg to try to screw everything up.

The Actors

Alan Alda - Hawkeye Pierce

Alan Alda


(Hawkeye Pierce)

David Ogden Stiers - Major Charles Emerson Winchester III

David Ogden Stiers


(Major Charles Emerson Winchester III)

Mike Farrell - Capitaine B J Hunnicut

Mike Farrell


(Capitaine B J Hunnicut)

Photos

Photos M*A*S*H n_0 Photos M*A*S*H n_1 Photos M*A*S*H n_2 Photos M*A*S*H n_3 Photos M*A*S*H n_4 Photos M*A*S*H n_5 Photos M*A*S*H n_6 Photos M*A*S*H n_7 Photos M*A*S*H n_8 Photos M*A*S*H n_9 Photos M*A*S*H n_10 Photos M*A*S*H n_11 Photos M*A*S*H n_12 Photos M*A*S*H n_13 Photos M*A*S*H n_14 Photos M*A*S*H n_15 Photos M*A*S*H n_16 Photos M*A*S*H n_17 Photos M*A*S*H n_18 Photos M*A*S*H n_19 Photos M*A*S*H n_20 Photos M*A*S*H n_21

Trivia

This television series, set during the Korean War, lasted eleven seasons. The actual Korean War lasted only three years.

Radar's Teddy Bear is now at the Smithsonian.

Alan Alda, Loretta Swit and Jamie Farr were the only actors to stay on the show from the first episode to the last. Farr was in the first episode as the P.A. announcer but Klinger didn't appear until late into the first season.

"Sparky", the switchboard operator that Radar frequently calls at I-CORPS, was only seen once during the first season episode "Tuttle", played by the late Dennis Fimple. Although a first name is never given he is revealed to be a sergeant who's last name is Pryor.

In "Hawkeye", (Season 4, episode 18, Jan. 13, 1976) Hawkeye is injured avoiding kids in his jeep. This episode takes place at a Korean family's home, and does not show one scene in an operating room as per Alan Alda's contract.

In the third season finale "Abyssinia, Henry", Henry Blake is sent home, to coincide with McLean Stevenson's departure from the show. In a surprise twist at the end of the episode, the characters learn that Blake's plane was shot down en route to Japan, and everyone aboard died. This was kept a surprise from the cast (with one exception, Alan Alda) until the moment when Gary Burghoff's character ran into the operating room to announce the news. The producers' intent was to capture the cast's genuine shock and surprise, and to remind the audience that war takes friend and foe alike. A technical mistake required a second take to be filmed, and in that take one of the cast dropped a surgical instrument on the floor, banging loudly as it hit. This mistake was left in, since it so well fit the scene. McLean Stevenson was on the set as the scene was shot, and left almost immediately afterward. A catered wrap party had been prepared, but after filming was finished, nobody felt like celebrating, and they simply went home.

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 Alfa 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.

In the episode "The Moon Is Not Blue" the movie "State Fair" is mentioned and a short excerpt shown. Harry Morgan (Colonel Potter) was in State Fair (1945)

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 served in Korea, but both of them did their tours of duty after the 1953 armistice.

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.

In the final episode ("Goodbye, Farewell, Amen"), the song "Hail to the Chief/Sayonara" can be heard in a scene between Hawkeye Pierce and Sidney Freedman at the psychiatric hospital. The song originated from Robert Altman's MASH (1970).

Almost 125 million people in the USA watched the final episode, at that time the largest audience ever for a television program.

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 disappeared after the first five episodes when the writers found out that there weren't any African American surgeons serving at MASHes in the Korean War.

By the time the show ended, only four of the original characters remained - Hawkeye (Alan Alda), Hotlips (Loretta Swit), Klinger, (Jamie Farr) and Father Mulcahy (William Christopher), with only Hawkeye appearing in each and every episode. (Christopher also wasn't the first actor to portray Fr. Mulcahy on the show; George Morgan originated the role, but was only contracted for the pilot episode.)

By the time the series ended, two of the regulars were promoted: Klinger (Jamie Farr) from Corporal to Sergeant, and Father Mulcahy (William Christopher) from Lieutenant to Captain. (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 when he won a poker hand. He is promoted to Lt. Radar O'Reilly. He does give the promotion back when he finds out he liked being a non-com.

Edward Winter first appeared as Capt. Halloran in "Deal Me Out" (8 December 1973), but would later play the paranoid Col. Sam Flagg six times in the series. ("Halloran" may have been one of Flagg's many aliases; when he and Sidney Freedman meet in a later episode, Flagg reminds Freedman they'd once played poker together.)

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).

After the news of Col. Blake's death shocked the world, the very next night on "The Carol Burnett Show" (1967), the opening shot was of "Henry Blake" in a smoking raft, waving his arms, hollering, "I'm OK!" I'm OK!"

The character of "Hotlips Houlihan" was inspired by the real-life Korean War MASH head nurse "Hotlips Hammerly," also a very attractive blonde, of the same disposition, and also from El Paso, Texas.

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 Planet of the Apes (1968) and How Green Was My Valley (1941) 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.)

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" (1994) 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).

Allan Arbus's character, Dr. Sidney Freedman, was called Dr. Milton Freedman in "Radar's Report" (episode # 2.3) 9/29/1973

While most of the characters from the movie were carried over to the television series, only three actors appeared in both: Gary Burghoff (Radar O'Reilly) and G. Wood (General Hammond) both appeared as the same character they played in the film. Wood only appeared in three episodes of "M*A*S*H" (1972). Timothy Brown, who played Spearchucker Jones on the TV series was also in the original theatrical film, MASH (1970). He was listed in the credits as "Tim Brown" and played a character named Cpl. Judson.

The Japanese actor Mako played four different characters over the course of the series, and Korean actor Soon-Tek Oh played five.

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.

Gary Burghoff played his character's own mother in the fourth-season episode "Mail Call Again".

Klinger's attempt to be thrown out of the army by wearing women's clothing was inspired by the comedian Lenny Bruce, who similarly attempted to win his way home from active service by dressing up as a WAVE (female officer).

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 (I)' 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.

Loudon Wainwright III appeared in three episodes in 1972, playing the character "Captain Calvin Spaulding". The name is taken from "Captain Jeffery T. Spaulding", a character played by Groucho Marx in Animal Crackers (1930).

Many young actors appeared as guest stars before becoming household names, including John Ritter, Patrick Swayze, and Laurence Fishburne. Ron Howard appeared (while still known as "Ronny" Howard) between "The Andy Griffith Show" (1960) and "Happy Days" (1974). Other guest stars included Joe Pantoliano (later of The Matrix (1999) and "The Sopranos" (1999), George Wendt (Norm from "Cheers" (1982)), comedian 'Andrew "Dice" Clay' (credited as Andrew Clay) and former football players Alex Karras and John Matuszak.

It was Mike Farrell who asked to have his character's daughter's name be Erin, after his own daughter of the same name. It was originally going to be Melissa. Every time B.J. Hunnicut talks into a phone, on screen, he was really talking to his wife at the time, Judy, or his daughter, Erin. As well, anytime B.J. mentioned his daughter Erin, Farrell was speaking from the heart about his real life daughter.

Klinger (Jamie Farr) is from Toledo, Ohio (Farr's own home town). One of the locations that Klinger talks about a lot is Tony Packo's Cafe, which is a real restaurant. In the episode "Dreams", Klinger dreams that he visits Tony Packo's Cafe. The address given on the café in Klinger's dream is 1902 Front Street, which is the actual address of the real Tony Packo's in Toledo.

Henry Blake also had a University of Illinois coffee mug (orange with a blue "i") as well as his sweater.

Colonel Potter was a cavalry officer during the first world war.

B.J.'s wife's name was Peg.

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).

It was Jamie Farr's idea to ironically have Max Klinger voluntarily choose to remain in Korea in the final episode.

There was one nude scene throughout the entire series. It occurred during the episode titled "The Sniper". When Radar was running outside wearing only a towel and the sniper is firing at him, he runs back into the showers, for some reason he takes off his towel *before* he closes the door to the showers. Rear nudity is briefly shown from a distance.

Larry Linville left the show because he felt that the character of Frank Burns was too one-dimensional, and that they'd done all they could do with it.

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.

First American network series to use the phrase "son-of-a-bitch".

Michael Mann once took a minor role in the series as a wounded soldier.

Hawkeye's father's name was Daniel. Dr. Daniel Pierce was an M.D. who still practiced in Crabapple Cove, Maine, where Hawkeye grew up. (In one of the "Dear Dad" episodes early in the series, however, Hawkeye mentions his father living in Vermont.)

Hawkeye occasionally mentions a sister (even sporting an oversized sweater she'd knitted him) during the first few seasons, and asks his father in a letter to "kiss Mom and Sis" for him. However, Hawkeye later related that he'd been an only child, that his mother died when he was a boy, and that his father had never remarried.

Margaret's father, Alvin Houlihan, was a retired colonel whose nickname was "Howitzer Al". He served under General MacArthur, and kept a signed photo as a memento.

The ubiquitous helicopters were military versions of the Bell 47. In the real Korean War, the H-13s evacuated 80% of American casualties. (Roads in Korea were primitive, and often treacherous, so helicopters were favored over ambulances.)

In some early episodes, Colonel Blake's wife was called Mildred. Later, she became Lorraine. Colonel Potter's wife was called Mildred.

Charles Emerson Winchester was stationed in Tokyo before he was transferred to the 4077.

When Larry Linville left the series after the 1976-1977 season, his absence was explained by having Frank Burns suffer a breakdown after Hot Lips got married. After that he was taken in for psychiatric evaluation and transferred. Later, Burns got promoted to lieutenant colonel and got himself transferred back to the States where he became chief of staff at a V.A. hospital in Indiana.

During filming for the final episode, a brush fire broke out and destroyed much of the ranch set. Since the show was coming to an end, it was decided that rebuilding the set would be unnecessarily expensive, and the fire was written into the story by having the North Koreans set off incendiary devices and start a brush fire.

Wayne Rogers was originally considered for the Hawkeye role; finding the character too sardonic for his tastes, he asked if he could instead test as Trapper John, who was more upbeat.

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.

Wayne Rogers decided to leave the show because he felt that Trapper John had become more of a sidekick to Alan Alda's Hawkeye than the equals they were supposed to be. 20th Century-Fox sued Rogers, but its case collapsed when it transpired that he'd never signed his contract. The reason Rogers cited for this was an archaic "morals clause", which he wouldn't accept unless the studio signed one for him in turn.

Klinger married his first wife, his childhood sweetheart Laverne Esposito, while he was serving in Korea. The ceremony was performed over the short wave radio and officiated by Father Mulcahy, who also performed Klinger's marriage ceremony to his Korean war bride Soon Lee.

While he never played an instrument in any episode, one of Major Burns' prized possessions was a white award Bible he won for playing organ.

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.

To show the horrors of war, Alan Alda had it written into his contract that each episode had to have at least one scene taking place in the operating room.

When Gary Burghoff decided to leave the series, Mike Farrell tried unsuccessfully to talk him out of it. Specifically, Farrell cited the lackluster, relatively unsuccessful TV careers both McLean Stevenson and Larry Linville had once they earlier left the show and ultimately he was right, Burghoff's subsequent television career never took off.

Larry Hama, the writer of most of the GI Joe comic books, appeared in one episode as a North Korean jeep driver.

It was Alan Alda's idea to have Mike Farrell grow a moustache in the seventh season. Farrell kept it for the rest of the show's run.

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.

The original broadcast of Episode #9.20, "The Life You Save", was delayed by several weeks. It featured a subplot about Maj. Winchester becoming obsessed with death after almost being shot. It was scheduled to on the same day that U.S. President Ronald Reagan was wounded in an assassination attempt. The network felt the audience was not in the mood to see the episode at that time.

Todd Susman did the bulk of the announcements in the early seasons, and appeared in the episode "Operation Noselift". The other PA announcer early in the series was Jimmy Lydon. By the end of the series, Sal Viscuso had taken over PA duties completely. Viscuso also appeared several times onscreen, but never making announcements.

John Fujioka, who played the uncredited role of a Japanese Golf Pro in the movie, appeared three times in the series. The first time was in "Dear Ma" (12-23-1975) as Colonel Kim, the second time was in "The Tooth Shall Set You Free (02-08-1982) as Duc Phon Jong and the last time he played a peasant in "Picture This" (04-05-1982).

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, Ferret Face?")

The tent that Hawkeye and his bunkmates share is called The Swamp. In the first season episode "Sticky Wicket" it is revealed that Hawkeye was the one who came up with the name.

Although "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" was the final episode that aired, the episode "As Time Goes By", which was the second last episode that aired, was in fact the final episode filmed. Because the ranch set had been destroyed by a brush fire, "As Time Goes By" was filmed completely on the indoor sound stage set.

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.

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 opening credits for the first seven seasons begins with a shot where you can see part of the back of "Radar O'Reilly's" head. After Gary Burghoff left the series the shot was removed, even though it was not a front shot of Burghoff.

In episode #7.18, "The Young and the Restless", Corporal Klinger changes his section 8 ploy from cross-dressing to pretending he is a civilian in Toledo and not in the army. During his "exit interview" with Colonel Potter, he reveals his Social Security number as 555-78-2643.

Loretta Swit wanted to leave the show after the 8th season to star in the TV series "Cagney & Lacey" (1982) (she had originated the part of Det. Christine Cagney in the pilot movie). Executives wouldn't let her out of her contract, so the role went to Sharon Gless.

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 orange sweater with a large blue "I" in several episodes.

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).

Filming

Filming locations:

20th Century Fox Studios - 10201 Pico Blvd., Century City, Los Angeles, California, USA (studio)

Malibu Creek State Park - 1925 Las Virgenes Road, Calabasas, California, USA (M*A*S*H 4077 Campsite)

DVD


Authors of the card

  • Creation date: 2003/07/01 by abdest

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