In 1956-1957, Metcalfe was drafted as an enlisted man into the United States Navy, serving two years. He was stationed at Ream Field, San Ysidro, California, where he held a public relations position. During this period, Metcalfe acting as the lead, working closely with some of his fellow enlisted comrades created the "Miss Angel" beauty contest. An "Angel" in Navy terms meaning a helicopter that would swoop in saving downed pilots who ditched their aircraft in the sea and in some cases on land. Ream Field at that time was virtually the "helicopter capitol of the world".
In 1960-1961, Metcalfe landed an acting role as Joe Brigham in the NBC sitcom Happy, starring Ronnie Burns as the manager of a Palm Springs, California, hotel and the father of a talking baby nicknamed "Happy". Between 1962-1965, Metcalfe made three guest appearances on Perry Mason: as Richard Campion in "The Case of the Polka-Dot Pony," murderer John Lathrop in "The Case of the Careless Kidnapper," and Jeffrey Mills in "The Case of the Thermal Thief."
His most notable work was as a writer for the hit CBS series M*A*S*H, and he was the only producer to stay with the TV series during its entire run from 1972-1983. Originally the series' associate producer, Metcalfe was promoted to line producer in 1976 when Larry Gelbart left the series and then to executive producer in 1977, when Gene Reynolds moved on to become executive producer for the CBS-TV series Lou Grant.
Metcalfe has been nominated 13 times for Primetime Emmy Awards his work as a sketch writer for his work on the series M*A*S*H, from 1975 through 1983.
Metcalfe also served as the executive producer for the M*A*S*H 30th Anniversary Reunion Special which aired on FOX-TV in September 2002.
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