M*A*S*H: The Comedy That Changed Television (2023) Movie Script

- Hey, I think
we're in the army.
- The thing that
I loved about "MASH"
Is that it could be very funny
And very serious
at the same time.
- Boy, you really are a sicko.
- Just 'cause I spend most
of my waking hours fixing up
Small wounds so they can go
back and get bigger and better
Wounds, you think I'm mental?
- Another thing
I loved was we could work
In every conceivable style.
- Ole!
- Burlesque, drama, melodrama,
satire, and sometimes
All at once, sometimes
all in the same episode.
- Henry, you're not gonna
endorse this idiot's
Application, are you?
- That's Major to you, Captain.
- Henry, you're not gonna
endorse this Major idiot's
Application, are you?
- They said there weren't going
to be any more casualties!
- Frank, if I were you,
I'd sue North Korea
For every penny they've got.
- You were dealing with
the insanity of war.
- This neighborhood
is going to hell!
- And you had to have
a bunch of doctors
Who created their own insanity,
So as not to go crazy
- Where did you get
those costumes?
- What costumes?
- The costumes you're wearing!
- These aren't costumes.
We stopped shaving last month.
- Henry, get me a driver!
- Certainly.
- Count off!
- One!
- Two!
- That's about it.
- Get me the hell out of here!
- They cared about one thing.
They cared about saving lives.
- Pierce,
you're doing good work.
- Oh, yeah, another
three or four wars,
I'll be sensational.
- This'll be a real test
of my leadership-manship.
No booze.
- You always entertain first,
and deliver
The message second,
especially if you're
Doing a show about a real war.
- "War and Peace"
by Leo Tolstoy.
War "and" peace?
- Yeah, well,
Tolstoy was very flexible.
He went either way,
- I have to give credit
to the writers.
I mean, we had great
writers on "MASH."
- I'm a communist.
An atheistic, Marxist,
card-carrying, uh...
- Bolshevik.
- No, honest.
- The writing was good.
The acting was good.
The producing was good.
The directing was good.
Where can you go wrong?
- There's your Eisenhower, spending
A lot of time playing golf.
- More fun than
playing president.
- What's his handicap?
- A lot of people say Nixon.
- We had become
a social phenomenon.
- I'm damn proud of these.
Nobody gave them to me.
I earned them.
And I'm just as much a Major
as any other Major.
- As it was happening, we knew.
We knew how lucky we were,
how... how blessed.
- Fine, I make a motion
that the war be ended.
- I second the motion.
- You can't end the war
just like that!
- You've all heard the motion.
Those in favor,
raise your right hand.
- Aye!
- Those opposed?
- Nay!
- The ayes have it.
Uh, let it be recorded
that the war was
Ended on this date at 9:32 pm.
- Here they come!
- I don't hear nothing.
- Wait for it!
- This is the story
of two indispensable
Military surgeons.
They had the army over a barrel.
But did they take
advantage of it?
"MASH," a motion picture
That raises some important
moral questions,
And then it drops them.
- I thought the movie was funny.
I thought it was terrific.
The outrageousness of it.
This isn't a hospital!
It's an insane asylum!
- The film is its own thing.
We copied the visual style,
Using the same locations,
the same sets,
But we developed
our own personality.
- Who are you?
- Uh, Captain Benjamin
Franklin Pierce.
Who are you, sarge?
- What do you think
this star means?
- You're tinker bell?
- The one man who was most
responsible for the success
Of "MASH" is Gene Reynolds.
Gene Reynolds brought all of
the creative people together.
- I loved seeing gene at work.
First of all,
he's a great director,
And he's a great producer.
- Fox asked me to shoot
a pilot for "MASH,"
And that was a very
exciting invitation.
A little hospital where
the goal is to save lives,
In the middle of a war where
the goal is to destroy life.
The format is just powerful,
overwhelming, touching, funny.
Gave us a wonderful opportunity.
- At this particular
mobile army hospital,
We're not concerned with
the ultimate reconstruction
Of the patient.
We only care about getting
the kid out of here
Alive enough for someone else
to put on the fine touches.
We try to play par surgery
on this course.
Par is a live patient.
- We had an extra ingredient
that most shows don't have.
We were telling stories about
people who really lived.
- This was Korea
early in July 1950.
Among the first to arrive
were the medics,
Field surgeons, aid men,
litter bearers,
Ambulance drivers.
Nurses arrived in a mobile
surgical hospital unit
On the way to the front.
- I think we really wanted
to respect them
And be true to what
they had lived through.
How long have we been at this?
- I started surgery in 1932.
- I mean this session.
- So do I.
- "MASH" was based
on a book by a doctor
Who had served in Korea.
I've seldom had
characters handed to me
As unique and outstanding
As the running characters
in "MASH."
And so my first challenge was,
Who's gonna write this pilot?
- You know, you can't miss
if you've got good material.
- Larry Gelbart was
an absolute genius,
His talent and the depths of it.
He could be wildly funny,
but at the same time,
He had substance.
- I used to introduce him
as my friend the genius,
And he said, oh, don't say that.
But he was just
the most extraordinary
Creative force actors
could hope to have around.
- Gene Reynolds
asked me if I'd seen
A feature film called "MASH."
As it happened, I had just
seen it the night before.
And he said, well, 20th century
fox has talked with CBS,
And they'd be interested
in financing
The writing of a pilot script.
Would I be interested?
And I said,
if we could retain the spirit
Of the film itself,
I'd be very interested.
- We came up
with an original story.
We hammered that out
in about a week.
And I came back to la to build
the sets and to cast the show,
But I was not receiving
the script.
Finally, I called him
and I said, look,
We're building the sets.
We're ready.
We're getting warm here.
- And gene said,
how's it coming?
And I said, I just mailed it,
and hung up.
And then having said
I mailed it,
I realized I had to write it.
We had talked so much about it,
And it had been
marinating so long.
I know it sounds boastful
to say I wrote it
In two days, but I did.
- Radar!
Radar, don't do that.
- Yes, sir.
You wanted to see me, sir?
- Yes.
But let me say I want
to see you before I see you.
- Yes, sir.
- Hamilton?
- Hot lips.
- Hot lips?
- Your conduct in there was not
only unbecoming in an officer.
It was equally reprehensible
as a medical man!
- Frank, I happen to be
an officer only because I
Foolishly opened an invitation
from President Truman
To come to this costume party.
And as for my ability
as a doctor,
If you seriously question that,
I'm afraid
I'll just have to
challenge you to a duel.
- It was a perfect pilot.
There was nothing... the best
pilot I've ever seen,
In the sense you didn't
have to change anything.
It was all there.
We put it on the air.
Our scheduling wasn't
as good as the show,
Because the first year,
we put it on Sunday at 8:00
Opposite really tough
- We weren't too thrilled
to be there.
And of course, it was
confirmed by the numbers
Being kind of ordinary.
- Uh, sir, we...
We do have just a little bit
of a problem here.
- In the course
of that first season,
When you're down in 40th
or 50th place, of course,
Your mind runs to the
possibility of cancelation.
- Pierce, you're in
very deep trouble.
- What do all these people want
More than anything else?
- To go home.
- What do they really want?
- Sex.
- Ah.
- "MASH" didn't come on
with a roar.
We had people that liked
the show very much,
But the numbers didn't respond.
- I think Freddie Silverman,
Who was then the head
of the network,
Deserves a lot of credit.
It took a good network
executive, and a lot of them
Don't have that,
to hang in there.
Not easy.
- In spite of the ratings,
it started winning awards,
And everybody was so high on it
that we picked the show up
And moved it to 8:30 Saturday,
following "all in the family"
The second year.
And immediately,
it was the number-two show.
- We're a hit.
- We were in heaven,
because we were
Doing really, really well.
And then the show
just kept building
On itself for 11 years.
- It was a very
entertaining show,
Which also happened
to be about something.
But I firmly believe that people
Tuned in because they wanted to be
Entertained by these people.
- It's galling to hear
officers ridicule command.
- I'm not an officer.
Two guys from
the draft board caught me
With a big butterfly net.
- There you go.
There's your lounge
lizard at war.
- Oh, that hurts.
- I was in the Utah state prison
When they sent me the script.
And it was the best script
I'd read while in prison.
I was making a movie in this
prison, and I got this script,
And I was really knocked out
by certainly
The best pilot I'd ever read.
- Gee, I was standing around
minding my own business,
And all of a sudden,
poof, a star is born.
- We tested six or seven actors
For that role, and Alan...
He was a wonderful actor
with great dimension.
He could be funny,
and he could be sensitive.
He just really had
every element of it
That we could possibly hope for.
- Does every new nurse
fall in love with you here?
- No.
Only the ones with taste.
- Do you think I have any?
- I don't know.
Let me taste you.
- I was worried that it
might be hijinks at the front
That the show would slip into.
So they reassured me that
I didn't have to worry about it
Turning into McHale's navy or
shows that audiences enjoyed
And that were fun,
but that didn't deal
With the reality
of the situation
In which the characters
found themselves.
- Our willingness,
our experience, our technique
Are not enough.
Guns and bombs
and anti-personnel mines
Have more power to take life
than we have to preserve it.
Not a very happy ending
for a movie.
But then no war is a movie.
- Hawkeye was a super
intelligent, extraordinarily
Gifted surgeon,
an angry man who did not
Want to be where he was, made
no bones about not wanting
To be where he was,
hated the war,
Hated authority, held most
people above him in contempt.
- When I got into this war, I
had a very clear understanding
With the pentagon. No guns.
- I'll carry your books,
I'll carry your torch,
I'll carry a tune,
I'll carry on, carry over,
Carry forward, Cary Grant,
cash and carry,
Carry me back to old Virginia.
I'll even Harry Carey,
if you show me how,
But I will not carry a gun!
- I think of Hawkeye
as a flawed person,
Much more flawed than people
seem to give him credit for.
They think of him as a likable
doctor, a humanitarian.
But he was a womanizer.
He drank too much.
He was way too much
of a smart aleck
To want to sit next to him
for too long at dinner.
- I just don't know why
they're shooting at us.
All we want to do is bring
them democracy and white bread,
Transplant the American dream...
Freedom, achievement,
hyper acidity, affluence,
Flatulence, technology,
tension, the inalienable
Right to an early
coronary, sitting
At your desk while plotting
to stab your boss in the back.
That's entertainment.
- I've never worked
with an actor
Before who didn't have to be
told how to read a line.
I didn't have to underline
a word
Or italicize it or give
him a stage direction.
It was remarkable.
- Alan not only brought
a great sense of humor
To the character and an
intelligence to the character,
He brought the Joie de Vivre,
the life of the show.
- Why don't I trust you guys?
- Because we're not trustworthy.
- Trapper would
walk in anywhere,
And you knew he was
looking for trouble.
- They're both impossible!
- You stay out of this,
hot lips,
Or I'll stop selling tickets
to your shower day.
- There was that air about him.
Okay, what can I do here
to upset the apple cart?
- I'm taking 10 minutes.
- I'm on 10 minutes.
- Between us, we got 20 minutes.
Let's go.
- Dwayne and I got
very close very fast.
- I've never had
a martini that way.
May I?
- Oh, please.
Goes great with a soap chaser.
- We both realized
that this relationship
Had to be a warm, close,
real relationship.
- What could they do?
Send us to the front?
- We're at the front.
Maybe they'll put us
in front of the front.
- They enjoyed
one another's company,
Both on screen and in real life.
That was a chemistry
that came through.
- I think the audience
perceived that underneath
All of this, that these
are two people who
Genuinely liked each other.
If we didn't,
it wouldn't have worked.
- Forget it.
He was too impressed
to have you arrested.
- We did it again.
Screwed up in reverse.
- I keep telling you,
we got to give up
This preoccupation with
keeping people alive,
Or we'll never get out of here.
- It's no use. We're doomed.
- Maybe we should start
using rusty instruments.
- Stop washing our hands.
- Raise our prices.
- We would go to the dailies
and look at a scene
That we had already shot.
It was in the can, gone.
Nothing you can do about it.
And we would go back
and do that scene again.
If I had done this
instead of that,
Or if you'd done this
instead of that,
It might have gone this way
instead of that way.
That was a constant massaging
of trying to make it better.
We were always trying to
make it as good as we could.
- And this is the or,
which, of course,
We use as an operating room.
- This war is
getting very popular.
Every half hour, another tour.
- Radar, on your way out,
drop these by the gift shop,
Will you?
- Ha.
These guys love to kid you.
- All right, Corporal,
I'll take over from here.
- Uh, if you like, I can
show her the ropes myself.
- But who's going to show you?
- He doesn't mean it.
- Get out.
- But she does.
- You had the sophisticated
doctors in this horrible
War experience.
A void was there.
- What are you doing here?
- I was drafted, sir.
- Radar... we use Gary Burghoff,
Who had been wonderful
in the film.
And Gary was a very talented
young actor that I knew of,
And of course,
he had established himself
Already in the part.
- Why, uh, "Radar"?
- Uh, sometimes
I can tell what's going
To happen before it happens.
- Is that so?
- Yes, sir.
The officers' latrine
is to the right, sir.
- Thank you.
- You're welcome.
- They needed a character
that was
From a reflectionary
Like a little kid.
- You, uh, always sleep
with a teddy bear?
- Well, not when
I'm on duty, sir.
- You needed a character
where the experience of war
Registered on their face
for the first time.
- They've already knocked out
one of our generators!
They, uh, smashed
our water tank,
And we got three people wounded!
Well, listen,
if you don't believe me,
Listen for yourself!
Did you... did...
did you... hello?
- Gary did it brilliantly.
He was the... always
the 19-year-old virgin.
- What do you want to be?
- Oh.
A hot lover.
Or even a cold one.
I don't care.
- Radar was this
captivating naif
Who loved being
with the big guys.
- Drink, Radar.
- Oh, no, no.
- What's your problem?
And keep in mind, we can't
work miracles with height.
- And not sure what to do,
except he knew
How to do his job
beyond the ability
Of any human being.
But at the same time,
he was innocent.
He didn't know about drinking.
He didn't know about women.
He didn't understand war.
- We're under fire, sir!
- Well, hell's bells,
we're a hospital.
That's against
the Geneva convention!
- I'm not for it either, sir.
- His boyishness
was such a delight.
How could you not like
Radar O'Reilly?
- Wow, a citation!
Wonder what my mom's gonna say.
- She'll probably say her boy
has changed over here,
And she'll be right.
- Yeah, I guess so.
- Are you still gonna talk
to us, now that you're
A hero and everything?
- Oh, sure, I still talk
to ordinary people.
- Radar, I'm gonna do
something now
I've hardly ever done before.
- You're not gonna kiss me,
are you?
- Stay tuned for more "MASH."
- Colonel Blake,
you are not listening to me!
- Uh, you'll have
to speak up, Frank.
I'm not listening to you.
- I did not hear that.
And if it comes to that,
I will deny any complicity
With or knowledge of
that sort of cheap,
Low, sneaky,
underhanded maneuver.
Think you could do it?
- Colonel Blake personified
this small-town doctor from
Bloomington, Illinois, who
should never have been over
There and was totally incapable
Of being a commanding officer.
- Well, I'm afraid
this is what you call
Your command decision.
It's lonely at the top time.
Strictly something
for your leader.
- Well, Henry?
- Oh, golly, whatever you
people decide is fine with me.
- His discomfort and his
sense of his own inadequacy
Was very rich,
in terms of writing
For him, because he just
had that marvelous
Bumpkin quality.
- Uh, this month's topic is, uh,
Marital sex and the family.
- Louder, Henry.
- Uh, and the family.
- The first part.
- Marital se...
- sex.
- Let's hear it
for this month's topic!
- Uh...
- McLean Stevenson.
Oh, what a delight.
- Yes, sir.
- McLean was hilarious.
- At ease, men.
- Mac had a tremendous
sense of comedic timing.
- Just give me the needle, huh?
- Just give me the...
- Guard!
Mayday! Mayday!
- 99, 98, 97...
- His genius was
in his reactions.
- He didn't have to make
the thing.
He just had to react to it.
That was his brilliance.
- Just... I mean, not that
there's a lot
Of pressure
or anything like that.
I mean, it's just that
every now and then,
Say, like, your least little
pressure will build up
To the point where there's
an incredible amount
Of pressure around here.
Would you bring in
some brandy, please?
- Thought you might like
some brandy.
- It was Radar's attitude
towards Colonel Blake.
It was just basically
doing the job for him
That he knew Colonel Blake
needed to have done,
Whether he knew it or not.
- Blank papers?
- Yes, sir.
- Is that a good idea?
- It's to cut down
on your workload.
You sign them now, later,
you don't have to bother.
- But should I have really
signed blank papers?
- I can't answer that, sir.
You're the one that signed them.
I didn't.
- Colonel Blake tried to be
as officious
And military as
he possibly could.
Radar could see through
all of that,
Saw through him completely.
- Sir, I've alerted
the General's pilot, sir.
He's ready to take off
at any time.
- Now, I want you to alert
the General's pilot
To be ready to take off
at any time.
- He anticipated his every
move, his every gesture.
- Oh, I was hoping to give
you a box of your favorite...
- Cigars.
- Cigars.
- That was wonderful chemistry
between the two of them.
- Colonel Blake?
- Uh, yes, sir.
- Ah! Sorry, sir. Excuse me.
- The timing was very
important, and we learned...
and we learned to augment
Each other's timing too.
- There's something inherently
funny about two people
Talking almost about the same
thing at the same time.
- Very, very good.
- Oh, I took all golf clubs
and then I hid them.
- I want every golf club
outta this place.
- And then, I sewed up the hole
on the nurse's tent, and I...
- It gave you great insight
into his character,
That he could anticipate
what I was gonna say.
It also gave great insight
into my character,
In that I wasn't listening
to what anybody said.
- Now, all we have to do
is tighten her up
And find our place
for the spits,
And we've got our own barbecue.
- You know, it was...
We just... we loved it.
- Come on, Radar.
- I'll hold down the fort.
- Down the fort.
- Yeah.
Men detest me, don't they?
- Oh, no, sir.
- No, you can tell the truth.
They hate me, don't they?
- Just your guts, sir.
- Frank burns...
tough part to play.
Because he was a villain,
but he was a funny villain.
- That's the last tray
you're going to upset, soldier.
There's a war on!
And we've no time for violence.
- Well, he's an amalgam
of basically
Every irritating putz
I've ever known.
- We're all in this together
with a common goal...
To serve our country
and repel the godless horde
From the north that would
engulf our way of life.
- Frank, he's okay,
but you're making me sick.
"godless horde"?
- Oh, nerts to you.
- I designed really kind
of the ultimate hypocrite,
And kind of a way,
a guileless hypocrite,
Because he doesn't know
that he is one.
He's just trying like hell
all the time,
And he's, like,
constantly wrong.
But he doesn't know that.
- They're not gonna like this.
- I didn't come here
to be liked.
- You certainly came
to the right place.
- Larry Linville had such
a tough job on the show,
Because that character was
such an extreme character.
- I'll teach those dirty little
enlisted rats to love me.
- It's amazing how he was
able to fill it with humanity.
Because if there was
a wrong position to take,
That character took it.
- Army standard triage
procedure is as follows!
American wounded, first...
allies, second...
Enemy, last... repeat, last.
- Frank, that man is bleeding
more than anybody in here,
With the possible exception
of your nose
If you don't get out of my way.
- And he was tough on everybody,
Totally blind to how
he offended people,
How rough he was on Margaret.
- Take your face and...
Your married face and get out!
- Avec Plaisir,
miss snake in the grass!
- Oh!
You should talk,
you two-timing fourflusher!
Oh, Frank.
- They saw this gem
of an actor who can do this,
So they kept feeding him
those things.
- No, no, no, no!
It's not fair! It's not fair!
It's not fair! It's mine!
It's mine! It's mine!
It's mine! It's mine!
- I know, darling.
There, there.
- Oh!
I already wrote mommy.
- Oh, your mother
will understand.
- I mean my wife.
- Buzz off!
- And for Loretta to have
to play opposite this to...
To think that she's in love
with this character, that's...
Now, that's acting.
That's acting.
- What date?
I have no date with Major Burns.
We're just acquaintances.
Oh, we run into each other
once in a while.
- Well, he can't run
into you tonight.
- Oh, Loretta was
absolutely fantastic.
She brought so many different
colors to that character.
- She could be very serious,
and then
She could be funny
being serious.
- Colonel,
come back in here, please!
- What is it?
- It's Donald!
He's hurt himself!
A hernia, doing the rope
climb on the obstacle course!
Donald, you're always
training so hard!
Colonel, request permission
to go to him, please!
- We're very busy, Major.
- But he needs
a hernia operation!
- We need you here.
- He won't let me go.
It's this stupid war!
- Hot lips is
a wonderful character,
Because the character is unique.
The woman has to have strength
and courage and resolution
And so forth to be an officer.
But she's a woman,
and she has femininity,
And she has impulses.
- They want to keep us apart,
because we're symbols of...
Of what a decent man and
woman can mean to each other,
Without the tawdriness
that fills
Their sordid little affairs.
- Yes, yes.
- Take one step closer,
and I'll bite your chest
Right through your shirt.
- Larry Linville and I
were a joke.
And I felt, after the first...
Maybe even half of the second
season, it was wearing thin.
- Oh, Frank.
You're so above average.
- It started to be awkward.
Why would this gal,
with so much going for her,
So much brights
and so much integrity,
Hook up with not only
a married man...
Okay, she's lonely, there's
nobody else, or whatever...
But a nincompoop?
- Listen, I was sound asleep,
and suddenly,
There's all these wounded!
It's nearly midnight!
Why can't they fight
from 9:00 to 6:00?
- Maybe the next war, Frank.
Maybe the next.
- The best description
I can give you of Loretta
Is the fact that hot lips
became Margaret.
- There were times
I had to fight
For the integrity
of the character.
There's no question about that.
- I'm in control.
And I'm going as far
in this man's army
As any woman can go!
- One of the things
I love that Loretta did was,
She was relentless in
wanting to make sure that
The character of Margaret
was a real woman
And not a one-note joke.
- What do you suppose
I am deep down?
- Deep, deep down?
A woman.
- Go a little deeper.
- A Major.
- I'm me.
Sometimes a nurse,
sometimes a Major,
Sometimes a woman in love,
sometimes all three at once.
- Sounds like
it's crowded in there.
- And sometimes
it's lonely in there.
- The maturation
of her character,
Both from her perspective
and from the perspective
Of the producers
and writers of the show,
Was a tribute to Loretta.
She wanted to be taken
seriously as an actress
As well as a character.
- Can you imagine
what it feels like to...
To walk by this tent
and hear your laughing
And know I'm not welcome?
Did you ever once ever offer me
a lousy cup of coffee?
- We didn't think you'd accept.
- Well, you were wrong.
- Ah, yes.
"MASH," proving once again
All's fair in love and war.
- Hey, soldier.
You forgot your purse.
- Halt!
Friend or foe?
- I'm General Barker.
- How do I know
you're not one of them
With a clever makeup job?
- Corporal Klinger, isn't it?
- Right.
- Okay, he's here.
Let's have it.
What's wrong with Klinger?
- What's wrong with Klinger?
- The premise of Klinger's
existence was that his mo was
That he wanted to get out
of the army on a section 8...
That he was nuts.
- Everybody know Klinger?
This is Captain Pak.
- Sir.
- Major Freedman.
- Ah, the psychiatrist!
- Still trying to get out
wearing dresses, Klinger.
- Earrings with a sweater?
- Murray wrote this character.
And the moment I saw it,
I said, oh, that's beautiful,
And I said,
I got the guy for it...
Jamie Farr.
Jamie Farr has these
skinny, bony legs,
And he's got a large nose.
He's a natural comedian,
wonderful comedian.
He would be great
dressed as a woman.
He's the guy.
- I'm section 8, head to toe.
I'm wearing a Warner bra.
I play with dolls.
My last wish is to be buried
in my mother's wedding gown.
I'm nuts.
I should be out.
- Horse hockey.
- He was the court jester
of the camp.
And they certainly needed that.
- I love your gloves, Klinger.
- Sears catalog.
They were having a white sale.
You trace your hands
on a piece of paper
To give them your right size.
However, if you want
the black ones,
Which aren't on
the white sale...
You really don't care, do you?
- It was at best
a sitcom character.
And he pranced
and danced and did
All his silly stuff
with the dresses
And the hats and everything.
But beneath it all,
I want to go home.
I don't want to be here.
This is crazy being here.
People are shooting at you.
You know, for me,
that justified it all.
- How did he try it this time?
- Pretending to be
a business girl.
- Klinger.
Klinger, where did your mother
and I go wrong?
- Jamie was wonderful.
He had so much humanity
that would
Come up through the hijinks
that he was doing.
- Another week in command,
and I'd have had you
Out of that dress.
- I'm not that easy.
- And I loved
the way he did it...
Over the top, quite often,
but with such energy,
Such joy, that I just
kind of had to laugh
And say, oh, God, Jamie.
- Sir.
You got to let me go, sir.
I just have to get married.
- You're not pregnant, are you?
- Don't be ridiculous, sir.
- Me?
You're the one who looks
like he just blew
Out of "gone with the wind."
- There wasn't a character
like Klinger on any show, ever.
It was an original character,
as I say to people.
Because every time a man
always put on a dress,
It was as a disguise.
But no one put on a dress
and then played it straight.
- What are you doing?
- Who's...
- Can't a guy have a wash
and set without somebody
Biting him on the neck?
- Biting who?
- I was biting you!
- No, you weren't!
You were biting me!
- Klinger, what are you
doing in here?
- Just borrowing a little
of your shampoo, Major.
It's war time.
We all got to help each other.
- No, we don't.
You get out of here,
you pervert!
- Pervert?
Who bit who, Major?
- My mother said,
oh, Jamie's my favorite.
I said, you mean,
next to me, of course.
And she said,
no, Jamie's my favorite.
Thank you, mother.
Thanks. Very nice.
- Disgusting.
You have your nerve,
wearing white.
- Jealous?
- I hated that character.
I hated it, until...
Until later on,
when it became more
Than a one-joke character.
- With Klinger,
we played out the dresses
And the section 8
for longer than was needed.
It was easy for us
to shake up Klinger's areas
Of responsibility and Klinger's
Whole attitude toward the war.
- I didn't want to lose
the... as they said,
The Klinger spirit.
But at the same time, I wanted
to make it somewhat different.
- I know it's 6:00 in
the morning, Lieutenant,
But I've got to talk
to General MacArthur!
Just tell him Max Klinger's
on the phone!
Yeah, he knows me!
I've been sending him
love letters for years!
See if he gets my vote
for dictator.
- Hey, you.
You all right?
Just out of breath.
I... I ran from chapel.
- Happily, you ran
for nothing, padre.
No last rites today.
- Oh, thank heaven.
Uh, could I show you something
in a "get well" prayer?
- Bill Christopher is
a totally unique human being,
With a totally unique
sense of humor,
A totally unique
approach to acting,
And a totally unique
approach to life.
- We thank thee for guiding us
safely to this place
And ask thy blessing that we may
Continue to heal and do thy work
And for a speedy end
to this war...
I mean, police action.
Uh, well, you know
what I mean, lord.
- Well, Bill's...
Bill... I've heard Bill say that
he thought "MASH" was a series
About a priest in Korea.
I think he really believes it.
- Terribly sorry, padre.
- Well, that's all right, General.
I'll just turn the other cheek.
- He played the character so
honestly and wholeheartedly.
- Given our circumstances,
the best of us
Can behave in erratic
and irresponsible ways.
- That note that
he was playing was,
These are my children
and my friends,
And they're not perfect,
But that's what makes them
- Having heard about
the callous prank you played
On poor Major Winchester,
I choose not to speak to you,
For if I did, I would tell you
You are a goon
and a blockheaded bozo!
But as a man of God,
I'm above name-calling.
Good day.
- He's a man who's out of his
depth a lot of the time.
I think Mulcahy felt
that he had something
To perform that
was very special,
But he does fumble occasionally.
- My friends, the lord said this
To Aaron after the passing
away of his beloved sons,
Nadab and Abihu.
It's rather warm in here.
- Some other individual
might be able
To do it better,
but he's the only one...
He's the one they got.
And he's... he's willing
to put himself on the line
And just do his best.
- I have to say a prayer first.
- You gotta say a prayer first.
- Make it a damn short one.
- I can't think of any.
- Oh, my God.
- Bless us, o lord,
and these thy gifts,
Which we're about to receive
from thy bounty
Through Christ our lord, amen.
- That's great!
- He just had a resilience
that Bill captured perfectly,
Of no matter how dark
the moment,
How difficult the situation,
it was all gonna work out.
And nothing was gonna defeat
him, because he had faith,
Literally and figuratively.
- You're going to
have to believe,
Whether you believe or not.
Fortunately, you've fallen
into the hands of the best
Medical unit in Korea.
I swear it.
Just have a little faith
in these doctors.
Just a little.
Try, okay?
- He was exactly
the man that we needed
In that circumstance, with
these kids who were wounded,
And with these doctors
who were crazy,
And with these nurses who
were angry and frustrated.
He was like an island of
both innocence and empathy.
Great, great,
sweet, kind empathy.
- Listen to me, BJ.
I tried to stay out of the way,
because what you people
Do here is so important.
But understand at a time
like this, what I have to do
Is just as important.
And no one,
not you nor anyone else,
Is going to stand between
me and the performance
Of my sacred office.
- I'm sorry, father.
- This wasn't just
going to be a comedy
With a real war as a backdrop.
They were going to show
that horror.
- Pierce, are you scared?
- Don't be silly.
I'm too frightened to be scared.
- Take it easy, kid.
I'm a doctor.
- Oh!
But I need Dr. Pierce!
He's the only one
who can help me.
- I'm pierce.
What's the problem?
- You're my problem.
I think I love you.
- I think in terms
of a show finding itself,
It takes a while.
And there were a few watershed
moments along the way.
I remember an episode called
"sometimes you hear
The bullet,"
in which an old friend
Of Hawkeye's...
they knew each other
Back in the states,
they'd been pals...
And he comes there
as a freelance journalist.
- Listen,
what I don't understand
Is what a guy like you,
with your background,
Is doing here in the infantry.
Why aren't you a correspondent
or something?
- Look.
If I was a correspondent,
I'd be reporting the war.
In the infantry, I'm living it.
- So what's the difference?
- Here.
Here's the difference.
- "You never hear the bullet."
Is that a book?
- Yeah, it's about the war.
And it's being written by
a soldier, not a correspondent.
- That was the first real
dramedy episode that we did.
- Attention, all personnel!
All medical personnel!
- That's what I'm talking about.
- Oh, a whole regiment
took it in the teeth
A while ago!
It's gonna be a long night!
Come on.
- And it was a departure.
It was... it took guts.
- I heard the bullet coming.
Just like in the movies.
- So you'll change the title
of the book, that's all.
"Sometimes you hear the bullet."
It's a better title anyway.
- Well, that was very
important to show.
It was the first time we really
dealt with the doctors
Being touched and moved
and not themselves again
After surgery,
instead of just walking out
And saying, let's have a drink.
- Give me some retraction
and suction.
- Father Mulcahy.
- I can't get a pressure.
I've lost the pulse.
- I'm gonna open the chest.
Give me a knife.
I said, give me a knife.
- Pierce.
Go help McIntyre.
- It was the first time
we killed a character
Who wasn't an extra,
who, most importantly,
Was somebody that Hawkeye knew
And that Hawkeye had
great affection for,
And that Hawkeye
then had enormous reaction
Upon his death.
- Henry, I know
why I'm crying now.
Tommy was my friend,
and I watched him die,
And I'm crying.
I've watched guys die
almost every day.
Why didn't I ever cry for them?
- Because you're a doctor.
- The hell does that mean?
- I don't know.
If I had the answer,
I'd be at the mayo clinic.
Does this place look
like the mayo clinic?
Look, all I know is what they
taught me at command school.
There are certain rules
about a war.
And rule number one
is young men die.
And rule number two is doctors
can't chain rule number one.
- An executive from CBS said,
Let me tell you how
you've ruined this show.
You've ruined "MASH,"
because you can't kill people,
Or you can't have serious stuff
this serious,
And expect to stay on the air.
We got certain negative
comments about,
The show isn't as funny,
and it's gotten more serious.
But then there were other
people who did like it,
And the ratings kept going up.
And that was really important
in allowing us
To realize that, wow,
we can do serious stuff here,
Really serious stuff.
- Oh, everybody knows
war is hell.
- War isn't hell.
War is war, and hell is hell.
And of the two,
war is a lot worse.
- How do you figure that,
- Easy, padre.
Tell me.
Who goes to hell?
- Sinners, I believe.
- Exactly.
There are no innocent
bystanders in hell.
The war is chock full of them.
- It was against war.
It didn't matter
whether it was world war I,
or Vietnam or, you know,
Afghanistan or anything.
War is a terrible thing.
People are getting killed.
- This sort of action's
One man decides
he's not gonna fight.
It catches on, next thing,
You know what you got
on your hands?
- Peace?
- We were not anti-military
in any way, shape, or form.
Some of us had been
in the military.
But I think all of what we
did on "MASH" was to say,
War makes no sense.
This killing, this bleeding,
this horror, this maiming
Of human beings must stop.
- Hey, she's just a little kid.
- Eight years old.
I got a granddaughter
back home who's about eight.
- What happened to her?
- Somebody dropped a bomb on
her village from an airplane.
- Who did it?
- He just dropped it.
He didn't autograph it.
- No, I mean, was it one
of theirs or one of ours?
- What difference
does that make?
- A lot.
It makes a lot of difference.
- Not to her.
- When the series went
on the air in 1972,
We were, of course,
heavily involved in Vietnam.
And this country was, you know,
woefully short of heroes,
And the medical people
on this show
that missing component.
- If you ask me,
you guys are like supermen.
You're all set.
Good, night, supermen.
- I had gotten too big
for my britches, I think.
- You could do anything
with that show,
And they did do anything.
- I was shocked.
- I got good news, honey.
I'm coming home.
Honest. For good.
- Colonel?
- Yo.
- Do you know what I found
in this morning's mail?
- Uh, now, that's a tough one.
Hum a few bars, will you, Radar?
You're going home.
- I'm going home?
- You got all your points.
They're discharging you.
- McLean Stevenson was
wonderful as Colonel Blake,
But he began getting restless
and expressing
The desire that maybe
he wanted to move on.
- People were whispering
in his ear,
You can have your own show.
But they didn't say, but you
won't have Larry Gelbart.
You... you won't have
the cast around.
You won't have Radar.
You won't have all
these people around you.
You won't have
the same situation.
- There were a number of things
that went into that.
I had gotten too big
for my britches, I think.
I've never admitted that,
and here I am,
Talking now to, hopefully,
millions of people.
- Henry, we're giving you
this party.
- Mm.
- You know why?
- Because I'm going home.
- Wrong.
Because you're one hell
of a human being.
- The thing I didn't realize was
That people really
didn't give two hoots in hell
About McLean Stevenson.
They loved Henry Blake.
- I got good news, honey.
I'm coming home.
Honest. For good.
Yeah, the orders just
came through this morning.
I ought to be coming
through the front door
In about three days.
- I don't know what
you've heard about this,
But I was there.
This was a show where McLean's
character was leaving.
It was also the last show
of our season.
- A lot of "MASH"
has faded a little.
I can't tell you the plots.
But I can tell you...
describe that day.
- Bless you, Henry Blake.
Your work here will
never be forgotten.
- Thank you, father.
- So long, Henry!
Good trip!
- Take it easy, pal.
- When I looked at him,
I saw Radar,
But I knew I was saying
goodbye to Gary Burghoff.
All that relationship
that he and I had together,
That was so special to us.
Because much of the stuff
that we did, we did together.
- You behave yourself,
or I'm gonna come back
And kick your butt.
- Mac and I were finished,
And we were leaving the set,
Walking out the door
to our dressing rooms.
As we approached the door,
Larry Gelbart,
Gene Reynolds were walking in
With a new scene in their hands.
- And so I had this manila
envelope with the last page
In it that they'd never seen.
And I gave them each a copy,
and they looked at it,
And they were really...
it's not often in your life
That you see people stunned.
And they really could not
believe what was on the page.
- I was shocked.
- I didn't say anything.
And I remember, um...
Alan sort of asking, why?
And Larry answering
the question, well, to us,
It shows the futility of war.
- Radar, put a mask on.
- If that's my discharge,
give it to me straight.
I can take it.
- I have a message.
Lieutenant Colonel
Henry Blake's plane...
Was shot down
over the Sea of Japan.
It spun in.
There were no survivors.
- This was a leading character
that everybody loved,
And they killed him.
- The reason we kept it a secret
Was to keep the actors
from being influenced
By that information.
If they started to film the show
Knowing that Henry was a dead
man by the end of the episode,
Their performances would
have been quite different.
Good as they are,
you can't help it,
Because they would have been
dealing with their emotions
As people, as co-workers
of McLean Stevenson.
- I could cry now.
It was...
it was devastating to us.
- On thinking about it,
I think it showed
How good a show we really had.
We could do things
that were so believable,
That we could emotionally
affect even ourselves.
- I think it was
a very grown-up thing to do,
A very sensible thing to do.
We had hundreds
of letters from viewers,
Saying you tricked us,
you sucked us in.
We thought this was
a comedy show.
How dare you toy
with our feelings?
All those letters are in
the Smithsonian Institute.
And I'm very proud of that show.
- May I tell you
the greatest compliment
I ever heard for the show?
I'm going into a restaurant,
and a man approached me
In the parking lot,
said Mr. Burghoff,
May I speak to you for a moment?
I said, sure.
He said, I was in
the trenches in Korea.
And he said, when I came back
home in 1952, I was changed.
And my wife knew that
I needed to talk about it.
And I couldn't bring myself
to talk about it.
And he said, when your show
came on the air
Many years later,
it was the first time that
I could reach over
and touch her on the arm
And say, see, honey?
That's the way it was.
We always tried to tie
the entertainment value
Into the reality
as much as we possibly could
In our small way.
- See you.
- Excuse me.
- I had this terrible thought
that if "MASH" fails
In its fourth season,
I'm gonna wear it
Around my neck
for the rest of my life.
and oh, my God.
- Can I have my pillow back?
- No.
- Are you kidding?
- Hey, would I kid you?
- Why didn't you think of it
before we left home?
- When the series first started,
It was with the assumption
that trapper john
And Hawkeye would be equals.
And over the course of time,
it didn't seem
To work out quite that way.
The series kind of slanted
more toward Hawkeye.
So ultimately, Wayne decided
that he wanted to leave.
- What's a scam?
- Just about to draw straws
to see who goes out
And defuses the bomb.
- Boy, do I know
when to come into a room.
- 'Cause I didn't think
I was fulfilling my time.
I wasn't being used enough
To satisfy what I wanted to do.
It may sound a little nuts,
and probably,
As I look back on it,
it probably was a little nuts.
- Thanks, trap.
- What?
- You made it bearable.
I was lucky.
You were honest and open.
You let me lean on you.
- No charge.
- We lost McLean Stevenson,
we lost Wayne Rogers,
And the people who came in,
not to replace them,
But to add, you know, a new
note to this cacophony of sound
That we were already making,
It just was like adrenaline.
- Pierce, I'm just
a little confused.
- Hawkeye.
And don't let a little
confusion throw you, Captain.
- BJ.
- One of the first things
you'll learn over here, BJ,
Is that insanity is no worse
than the common cold.
- Bj, welcome to Korea.
- First day, Gary Burghoff
walked up, shook my hand,
And said how glad
he was to have me there.
Loretta did the same thing.
- Hi, Margaret.
How the heck are you?
- You jerk face,
you louse mouth!
- Oh, you're just saying that.
- It was like homecoming
Rather than me being
the new guy.
- So pitch in,
muddle through, pip-pip,
And the whole schmear.
Ours not to reason why,
ours not to let 'em die.
- In other words, do your job
as best you can and sh...
- You got it.
- We looked a long time
before we found somebody
That could share the swamp.
Mike was perfect.
- I'm here to discuss
something besides underwear.
- Make it brief.
- Oh! That's very bad.
- Not funny, but fast.
- If it's a spiritual problem,
Give me a minute,
and I'll come back as a nun.
- Careful, Klinger.
Dressing as a nun
can be habit-forming.
- One of the first rules
of making these switches is,
Whatever you do,
make it different.
It doesn't mean you're gonna
get an actor who's better
Or the former actor
was not as good.
Just make it all as different
as you possibly can.
- You?
- Me what?
- Ever been unfaithful?
- To whom?
- Well, who could you
be unfaithful to?
- Myself, for openers.
- No, no, come on.
You know what I mean...
to your wife.
- You mean have I ever strayed?
- Never checked in somewhere
without a toothbrush?
- Never.
- Never been tempted?
- Tempted's another subject.
- Ah, you have been tempted.
- Never,
but it's another subject.
- Hawkeye could be caustic,
and he could be sarcastic.
He could... I think Mike's
character, BJ, was gentler,
Who sometimes brought it
down to more of
A Norman Rockwell dialogue
with his feelings
Toward his family.
So there was contrast,
But at the same time,
the camaraderie.
- There must be some awful
name you're hiding
If you won't even tell
your best friend.
- You're such a nudge.
- It's "noodge."
There, I told you something.
Now you tell me something.
- No use. I won't "boodge."
- "Decency."
That was the best word
for Mike Farrell, I think,
Is that he had a quality
of decency that
Was just remarkable,
that we incorporated from
His own personality
into the character.
- At some point, Gene Reynolds
came up to me, and he said,
How would you feel about it
if BJ was tempted?
We had a scene where BJ falls
off the fidelity wagon.
And I said, it depends on
how you resolve it.
And they wrote a show
where BJ and this nurse...
She was heartbroken,
and BJ tried to console her,
And pretty soon,
the consoling her
Turned into something else.
And then BJ was
wracked with guilt.
Oh, my God, what have I done?
- I'm miserable.
I'm a happily married man,
not like Frank Burns
Is happy because his wife
owns real estate.
I adore my wife and my kid
and my marriage.
- I know.
- I don't like being unfaithful.
I'm not looking around.
I'm lucky to have what I've got.
- You're right. You are lucky.
- It was a great exploration
of this character
And his dedication
to his wife and his desire
To be faithful to her
and his being a human being
Who screwed up.
- You were helping somebody,
and it got out of hand.
You made a mistake.
- I sure did.
- What's that?
- I'm writing peg about it.
- Wrong, wrong, wrong!
Don't be an idiot!
You made one lousy goof,
And you want to punish yourself,
But don't punish her!
Do not tell peg.
Don't tell anybody
what you just told me.
This will pass.
- Like a kidney stone.
- Simply take a vow.
Raise your right hand.
Come on. Come on.
I promise to be a good
and faithful husband,
To write nice, cheerful letters
home, to think of peg often,
And to keep my fat hands
off Nurse Donovan.
Do you vow?
- I vow.
- I feel better
About you already.
- Thanks.
- When Wayne left
and Mike came in, now,
Mike and I had
a similar relationship,
Although the characters
were very different.
- You don't know me
very well, do you?
- Maybe I know you
better than you think I do.
- Oh, you think so?
- Yeah, I think so.
- Always have to get
the last word in?
- Yes.
- Oh, yeah?
I can prove to you right now
I don't have to...
- Oh, come on.
- No, I can.
Really, just say something
and walk away.
- All right.
I think you're a very
competitive person.
- Fine.
- You just did it.
- Did what?
- Just got in the last word.
- That doesn't count.
- Then don't say anything.
- Okay.
- We knew we needed
to develop a friendship too,
And that was very easy.
We had a wonderful
joking relationship.
- Okay.
- Not another word!
- No problem.
- It's no use!
- Wrong.
- A lot of the affection
between those two characters
Was what Mike and I felt
for each other.
- You still love me
for all my faults?
- What faults? You're perfect.
- Just for that, I'm gonna
let you get the last word in.
- Thank you.
- You're welcome.
- Stick that horn in your ear.
- On your feet, soldier.
I'm Colonel Potter.
- Oh, boy.
- Gee, sir.
You sure know how
to take care of your people.
- I got a soft spot for Klinger.
He looks a little like my son.
And he dresses
a lot like my wife.
- You can't mention
any of these replacements
Like Harry Morgan without
mentioning Burt Metcalfe.
- Burt... casting genius.
I mean, he has
a real eye for casting.
- Very talented at that,
always right on the mark.
- A year or two earlier,
Harry Morgan
Had been cast as a General
who was absolutely bonkers.
I mean, he was a total nut.
- Well, we can stand and fight.
Or we can have lunch.
- Lunch!
- Lunch!
- Yeah, I'm a little
hungry myself.
- That was a very good
episode and funny,
And he was terrific.
And I said, you know,
I don't think it matters.
Why don't we use
Harry Morgan again?
- Well, harry gave us
a chance to have another kind
Of camp commander,
a regular army man,
Someone who would stand up for
The thing we were always
knocking down.
- Wait a minute.
Pierce, are you "deef"?
I'm giving your hijinks
the heave-ho, post-haste!
I'm the boss here!
- We were very honored
to have him,
Because he was such a well-known
And accomplished actor.
And he was wonderful
in the part.
- There's a time to step in
and a time to back off.
Pull the reins too tight,
and the horse will buck.
You had good people under you.
You should have let them go
through their paces.
You know, this is pretty good.
Someone should be
writing this down.
To my golden tongue.
- He could take a line and...
And do it in such a way
that you had not imagined
That line being delivered.
- Great logs of limburger.
Hot mustard!
I think that's a lot
of buffalo bagels.
That is grade-a
100% bull cookies.
Mule fritters! Bushwaugh!
Beaver biscuits!
Your turkeys gave everybody
the trots.
Holy hemostat!
Horse hockey.
Pardon my French.
- He was my friend,
my colleague, my...
My father sometimes, my...
He was everything.
- What's with her?
- We're worried about you, Colonel.
- I appreciate that.
I suppose.
Now, if you'll all put
the tear ducts on simmer,
I'll lay out the whole story.
- Well, the one
I liked the best,
Because I got an Emmy from it,
Was the thing we did called
"old soldiers,"
Which was about a tontine
that I think five of us
Had made in world war I.
- We were in France, under
a heavy artillery barrage.
My buddies and I laid low
in an old French Chateau.
We were quite a group,
the five of us.
Went through hell together,
And lived to get drunk about it.
What a great bunch of guys.
- And I tell you, one time,
I started, and I couldn't
Even get through the scene.
- Forgive me.
I can't talk about this
and him without a struggle.
- As much as my old friends
meant to me,
I think you new friends
mean even more.
So I'd like you to share
this bottle with me.
- We'd be honored, Colonel.
- Colonel Potter was this
wonderful, decent, thoughtful,
Talented, intelligent man
who had
Had this extraordinary career,
treating us like comrades,
Treating us like his equals.
- Just one thing...
I'd like to make the first
toast solo to my old buddies.
The idea was stunning to me,
and I think, to all of us.
We were all wrecked
by the end of that scene.
- You were the friends
of my youth,
My comrades through
thick and thin,
And everything in between.
I drink to your memories.
I loved you, fellas.
One and all.
Okay, that's the old.
Now for the new.
To love and friendship.
- A lot of shows
would have faltered
And died when you have major
characters like that leaving.
Not our show.
- I'm a surgeon.
I'm not a circus roustabout.
- You're a clown.
- You're a buffoon.
- Bozo.
- Bottle it.
- Blood and guts burns.
Ha! Ha!
- Larry Linville was
a wonderful actor
Who was so limited,
in a way, in that part.
- I really was sorry
to see him leave the show.
- You dirty rat, you!
- James Cagney!
- What I wanted to see was
more sides to the character
Come out, more
three-dimensionality to it,
So he could have more fun
as an actor doing it.
- Some people have said,
you know,
Why didn't the role progress?
Why didn't he become
more humane,
More compassionate,
more sensitive,
More comprehending,
more understanding?
And I said,
what do you want him to be?
Alan Alda?
I said, if it becomes these
things, then he's Hawkeye.
He's no longer Frank.
- And I think maybe part
of the reason he left
Was that he felt he'd reached
the end of the line
With what he could do
with the character.
- Give it another shot.
- I thought he'd never leave.
- I remember Burt coming up
to us one day,
And he said, I've got
a guy who is gonna be
Coming in here to replace Larry.
- What is that odor?
- North wind cesspool,
east wind latrine.
- The wind is from the south.
- Oh, that's the kitchen.
Sir, are you the doctor
we've been waiting for?
- It's quite likely.
- In comes David Ogden Stiers,
playing this snotty sob,
You know, Charles Emerson
Winchester III,
Who thought everybody
was beneath him.
- Due to my background
and breeding,
It was inevitable that
I attend the finest schools...
Choate, Harvard.
- The Massachusetts
institute of snobbery.
- When they get this way,
I usually just hit them
With a rolled-up newspaper.
- I loved it that
when David Ogden Stiers came
Into the show,
he was not asked to play
Anything like the character that
Larry Linville had played.
- Good evening, Lieutenant.
Time for the changing
of the guard.
Pierce, I've come
to relieve you.
I'm sure the patients
will be relieved as well.
- A creature of pattern, habit,
Who finds this all
very disturbing.
- Hunnicutt, if there's a God,
There will be a time
in your life
When you are in dire straits
And in desperate need of
a wealthy, influential friend.
When that time comes, I pray
that you will turn to me,
So that I can laugh
in your face.
- The character that he
created, with the accent...
I mean, he was just
such a rip to work with.
He was just so funny
and wonderful.
- Okay, you can start
with the bedpans
And work your way up.
- Absolutely not.
and unequivocally not.
Me, wash and clean?
I'm a doctor, not a woman.
- And he's going to be
every bit the surgeon
You and Hawkeye are.
And so the competition
between you
Is gonna be on
a very different level.
- Do you want it good, Colonel,
or do you want it fast?
- Good and fast.
This isn't Boston General.
We're a "MASH" unit.
We do a volume business.
- Well, I'm sorry I was not
trained on an assembly line.
- Neither was I. Nurse, wrench.
- He's placed in a place
that made him feel
Demeaned, exercising
his honed talents
In a manner far beneath him.
But mostly, I think
it's just tolerance.
He's not very well
practiced at it.
- I feel I could be more useful
in Tokyo or even the States.
- Not to me, commissioner.
- This meatball surgery of yours
Is causing my skills
to deteriorate!
They're wasting away!
- Don't change
the color of your face!
I'm out of umber!
- And I'm out of patience!
This place is driving me mad!
- Each of these cast changes
was, in a way, fortuitous,
Because it shook up
the chemistry of the show.
It made each actor have
a new facet
To his or her relationship
to this new character.
- Instead of taking
the easy way out,
You stood up for a principle.
- Yes.
Yes, I did, didn't I?
Well, I certainly won't
let that happen again.
I had the perfect Christmas
gift for you, pierce.
Crutches for your lame wit.
- Ha, ha.
- Ha, ha.
You scale the heights, pierce.
Allow me to take my leave
before you decimate me
With a "says you"
or, God forbid, an "oh, yeah."
- You're going home.
- I'm going home, sir?
- You heard him right, Radar.
Your time has come.
- People ask me...
They've been asking me
for 30 years...
Why I left the show.
- Attention out there.
Would Corporal Radar
O'Reilly please report
To his going-away party?
All of your friends
would love to see you
While they can still see.
Buy bonds.
- My life at that time,
It was a beautiful picture
that was all crooked,
And I had to step back big time
In order to grow
as a human being.
Part of my stepping back,
Included "MASH."
I didn't leave the show.
My contract expired.
You know, I had
a seven-year contract.
I just didn't renegotiate it,
Because I was stepping back
from everything.
Oh, no.
Hawkeye. Hawkeye!
- I hear them.
Radar, there may not
be time for...
- I'll find you, Hawkeye.
- My goodbye party
was interrupted,
Because the wounded came in.
I said to myself,
what a wonderful moment.
I can cry my eyes out,
and I can do
This wonderful, dramatic moment.
I could just
completely fall apart.
And the director said,
if I were you,
I would fight the tears.
And I said,
no, just let me do it.
So the next day, in dailies,
I look at the screen,
and it's awful.
I mean, it is just terrible.
The director was right.
I was wrong.
I turned to Burt.
I said, please,
can I do this again?
And he said, yes, you may.
- We did some, maybe,
15 or 20 shows
In which we experimented
radically with the way
We told the story.
- You've read a lot of
Hemingway and his reports
From Madrid in the Spanish war.
He romanticized that war.
I think you might agree.
- I used to love reading Hemingway,
Because he wrote so well.
But now that I'm here, I can't
understand why anybody would
Willingly go to a war,
would go with enthusiasm,
Would want to be there
while it's happening.
I'd do anything
to get out of here.
- Good evening,
ladies and germs.
I'm sorry I'm late,
but my watch stopped.
It had to.
It's been running fast all week.
- We also had this wonderful
alliance with the audience,
At least one that
I imagined we had,
That you knew if you
experimented on a show...
And we did some, maybe,
15 or 20 shows
In which we experimented
radically with
The way we told the story.
And we had the feeling that
if it went too far for them,
If it was too experimental,
They knew we'd be back
next week.
- Incoming!
- I adored every episode
where we broke ground.
There was one called
"point of view."
- Yeah.
Okay, we're almost there.
Listen, just relax.
The surgeons here are the best.
I mean, the best.
- The whole episode
was from the point of view
Of the patient.
You never saw a reverse.
It was always what he saw
Through his entire trauma
and treatment.
- Hey, how's he doing?
- Better.
- I told you.
- There is another show we did.
It was called "lifetime."
It took place in real time.
And we even put a ticking
clock on the screen.
The doctors were racing
against that clock,
With only 20 minutes to find
and transplant an organ
To save the life
of a wounded soldier
And prevent him
from being paralyzed.
- Congratulations, partner.
Pour in the antibiotics.
- Kellye, time.
It's 2:55 and 25 seconds.
- We're 3 1/2 minutes over!
Damn it!
- Maybe the hypothermia
bought us some time.
- Yeah, on the other hand,
maybe it didn't.
- Hawk, we saved his life.
- Yeah, well,
I guess that's something.
- It's more than something.
It's everything.
- The following is
in black and white.
This is a room in Korea,
a room most of the men
Fighting the second year
of the war
Would rather not see.
This is an operating room
in a "MASH,"
A mobile army surgical hospital.
- We had seen a documentary
that Ed Murrow had done
In Korea called "see it now."
And we'd always had the notion
of doing a show like that.
- And the fact that they were
doing it in black and white,
To take a chance and say, okay,
We're gonna do this
like a newsreel,
Was very interesting.
- Bored.
How many times can you
watch those training
Films they send over here?
VD is the enemy,
And don't let this
happen to you.
I'd like it to happen to me
to break up the boredom.
Just kidding, honey.
- So they gave us
tape recorders.
All the actors had
tape recorders
With questions to answer.
- Larry trusted us enough
to know that
We would respond
from our characters.
At that point, we understood
our characters so well.
- This is my third war.
I was in the big one,
Then the second world war,
and now Korea.
I hope war is getting smaller
as a trend.
- You've been here some time.
- Somewhere between
some time and eternity.
- Larry took all of that
material that we had
Improvised into
the tape recorders,
But also the material that
had been punched up by Larry,
So it was more pointed, funnier.
- I don't see any harm
in doctors
Being ordered to behave
as patriotically as possible.
- Well, doesn't patriotism
have to come from the heart?
- I don't have that problem.
- Number one with me
is the toilet seats.
They give you slivers
and splinters,
And you can't
really reach around
And take them out yourself.
Boy, that's when you find out
who your friends really are.
- Then the interviewer
would ask us
Questions we hadn't expected.
So we were on the spot,
on camera,
And some really good stuff
came out of that.
- You got to understand,
I'm not working
On sick people here.
I'm working on
hurt young people,
With essentially healthy bodies
that have been
Insulted by ammunition.
- A real piece
of wonderful theater
That allowed us as actors
in character to talk about
Our... what we're experiencing
in this god-awful place
Under these circumstances.
- When I first came here,
I couldn't walk down
A corridor full
of wounded people
Without being sickened by it.
And now, I can walk down
without noticing them.
- For me, I thought it was raw
and beautiful and honest.
- I don't mind being
the only priest here.
It's sort of fun to have
a corner on the market.
But well, what was the question?
- When I got my version,
I found that
There was this wonderful
thing written there
That I had nothing to do with.
Larry wrote it.
When I read it, I was so moved.
- When the doctors
cut into a patient,
And it's cold, you know,
The way it is now today,
Steam rises from the body.
And the doctor will...
Will warm himself
over the open wound.
Could anyone look on that
and not feel changed?
- What a moment.
What a television moment.
And nobody could have, you know,
Done it more sensitively
than Bill Christopher.
- Next on "MASH"...
- There it is.
That's the sound of peace.
- Ladies and gentlemen,
five minutes ago,
At 10:01 this morning,
The truce was signed
in Panmunjom.
The hostilities will end
12 hours from now at 10:00.
The war is over!
- The Korean war was only
about three, four years,
And here,
we had been at it for 11.
- 11 years.
At some point,
you're gonna be running
Out of jokes, out of stories.
- We're stopping
because we feel...
We feel that if we went further,
We would risk squeezing it dry.
- Hi. I'm Burt Metcalfe.
I'm the executive producer
of "MASH."
It's been my good fortune
to be here for 11 years now.
It seems like all on this stage.
Sitting next to me is
Alan Alda, whom I suspect
You all recognize readily.
We're talking to you
from stage 9,
20th Century FOX in Los Angeles.
This is the operating room,
the or,
In which we've done
a number of memorable sequences
Over the years.
And we wanted to talk to you
a little about what we hope
Will be another
memorable show for you,
A two-hour final
expanded version of "MASH"
In which we're going to bring
to a conclusion the Korean war
And the 11-year run
of "MASH" on television.
- I mean, people
are looking forward
To an emotional experience when
these people that they've been
Watching for 11 years
and whose fortunes they've
Been following finally come
To that point
where they separate.
- I thought it would be too
flippant for us to just say,
Oh, the war is over,
that's nice, that's great,
Let's go home,
and pick up our lives.
It seemed like something
we ought to deal with.
- My hope was to tell a story
that showed the war ending
And the doctors
and nurses going home,
But to show that in some way,
everybody had been affected
By the war,
that they were all going home
With some kind of a wound.
- Dear dad,
For the first time, I understand
What a nervous disorder is,
because it seems I've got one.
I guess I'll be seeing you
soon, since I doubt
If they'll let a surgeon
operate whose cheese
Has slipped off his cracker.
- Dear lord,
I know there must be a reason
for this, but what is it?
I answered the call
to do your work.
I've devoted my life to it.
And now, how am I
supposed to do it?
What good am I now?
What good is a deaf priest?
- Well, I thought it was
interesting having
Father Mulcahy get
that disability
And be angry with God,
That God had thrown him a curve.
- No, no, no, no, no, no, wait!
Now, don't you do that!
My God, they're musicians.
- Winchester had this great
passion for classical music,
And early on in the show,
confronts a group
Of Chinese POWs
who are musicians.
And he gets them to perform
Mozart's clarinet quintet.
And it's a marvelous
portion of the story.
- Doctor?
- He wasn't even a soldier.
He was a musician.
- Later on, he learns
that they're all dead,
And that becomes an enormous,
emotional upheaval for him.
- They threw you curves.
And that was... which was
so good about that show.
- I now pronounce you
husband and wife.
- I thought it would be
really fun to have him be
The one, the one who was
trying desperately to get out
Of Korea, to fall in love
with a Korean woman
And be the one
who stayed in Korea.
- Bye!
- Goodbye, Margaret.
I know you've got
your career in order.
But don't forget to have
a happy life too.
- Harry and I...
again, Margaret and Potter...
Had their very serious,
loving relationship.
- My dear sweet man,
I'll never forget you.
- How to get through saying,
"you dear sweet man,
I'll never forget you,"
and I still can't do it.
Because I never will.
I mean, he was just...
we were just so close.
- Loretta, you have
very tearful eyes now.
So this has got to be
a very tearful moment for you.
- No.
Yes, it is.
Very. Very.
- What's next?
- I'm not doing well.
- How much are you
gonna miss the show?
- How much would
you miss your arm?
- It was... for me,
it was this perfect ending
To a perfect experience.
- To this day,
the "MASH" series finale
Is the highest-rated telecast
in the history of television.
It's a record that
will never be broken.
- And nobody really knows
how big that audience was,
'cause there were people
watching in town halls,
Hundreds of people
in front of one set,
And they only counted
the TV sets
And tried to figure it out
from that.
So I like to think
that we don't really know
How big the audience was,
but it was pretty big.
It was about half the country
watching at one time.
- In exactly eight hours,
the Korean war
Will be officially over.
It's a time for summing up.
And these are the most
up-to-date figures we have.
The cost of the war
to the united states
Has been placed at $22 billion.
Don't look at me.
I only get 300 a month.
- In human terms,
the cost was much greater.
- Some critics have said that
"MASH" is more than a TV show,
That it did something
in terms of changing
The attitude
of the American television
Audience toward war.
Do you agree
or disagree with that?
And how do you think it may have
Changed the American attitude?
- Well, that's a big question.
I think that it's clear
that "MASH" fitted
Into a lot of the feeling
of the country
When we'd come to Vietnam.
And I don't feel
that I'm the best person
To expound on this.
But "MASH," in its
development, of course,
Began to deal
with social issues.
And I was... we all felt
that the things
That we were able
to touch on were meaningful.
- The acting was superb.
A lot of the writing was
very good, well-directed,
Just a very carefully
crafted show,
With some ideas
that are timeless.
- Good is good,
and it lasts forever.
It's the legacy that
was left by a bunch
Of people who actually
loved what they were doing.
- Okay, and action.
- One of the questions
that I've often been asked
Over the years is,
why do we think
The show was so successful?
And I've always said
that the audience loved
Those characters,
but somehow, subliminally,
They also got the sense that
the actors loved one another.
- And cut.
- That's a wrap!
- I think I'm proud
of all those people that
Made it possible,
all the writers and the actors,
The whole gang.
- I think the feeling
generally is
One of sort of an
overwhelming sadness,
Because it's never gonna be
like this again.
It's breaking up a family.
It is. It's sad.
- The constant camaraderie
and the constant humor
And respect and love,
It was synchronicity.
It doesn't happen often,
or maybe even ever again.
- Father, I may
never see you again.
And before you go, there's
something I've been meaning
To tell you for a long time.
Your shirt's on backwards.
- Uh...
- "MASH" changed my life.
And I always say,
well, you know,
The blessings that
"MASH" showered on me
Were so great, that I think
I'm a pretty lucky actor.
- A couple of days ago,
somebody asked me
If I thought "MASH" had
made me a better actor.
And I said I didn't know
about that,
But I know it's made me...
A better human being.
And there aren't many shows
you can say that about.
- Colonel, before you go,
we've been thinking about it,
And there's a little something
we'd like to give you.
It's not much,
but it comes from the heart.
- It's hard to remember
all of the wonderful things
I went through on "MASH,"
Because it happened so long ago.
Sometimes it seems like
it happened to
A completely different person,
But fortunately,
he lets me live in his house.
- Look, I know how tough it is
for you to say goodbye,
So I'll say it.
I'll miss you.
- I'll miss you.
A lot.
- The show resonated
with people in a way that,
In my experience,
has not happened before
And has not happened since.
The clichs when
we were doing the show
Was from people who said,
I never watched television,
And I never missed "MASH."
The one I hear today
more than any other is,
I used to watch the show
with my father,
Or I used to watch the show
with my grandfather,
And now I watch the show
with my children.