Series Complete Collection Set cover
|Created by||William Broyles, Jr.
John Sacret Young
|Theme music composer||Holland-Dozier-Holland|
Performed by Diana Ross & the Supremes
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||62 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||42 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Sacret, Inc.
Warner Bros. Television
|Original run||April 27, 1988 – July 22, 1991|
China Beach is an American dramatic television series set at an evacuation hospital during the Vietnam War. The title refers to My Khe beach in the city of Đà Nẵng, Vietnam, which was nicknamed "China Beach" in English by American and Australian soldiers during the Vietnam War. The ABC TV drama aired for four seasons, from 1988 to 1991.
Created by William Broyles, Jr. and John Sacret Young, the series looks at the Vietnam War from a unique perspective: that of the women, military personnel and civilians, who were present during the conflict. John Wells took over most of the series beginning with the second season—many of the show's cast members would appear later on the Wells-produced series, ER.
Set in a Vietnam locale nicknamed "Bac My An Beach" at the 510th Evacuation Hospital and R&R (the "Five-and-Dime" Rest & Recreation) facility, the cast of characters includes US Army doctors and nurses, officers, soldiers, Red Cross volunteers, and civilian personnel (American, French, and Vietnamese). The series also featured the experiences of the characters when they returned to the U.S., either on leave or at the end of their tour of duty. The show did not shy away from showing the gruesomeness of war, providing a very gritty view of the experience there. Unusual story-telling methods were sometimes used: scenes presented in reverse chronology; insertion of animated cartoons to express a character's state of mind; alternating between interviews with former military nurses and scripted scenes; and a visit by the cast to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.
The basis of the show was the book "Home Before Morning" written by former U.S. Army Nurse Lynda Van Devanter. The show's character Nurse Colleen McMurphy roughly follows Van Devanter's experiences as a Nurse in Vietnam. The book takes you from Van Devanter's wish to serve her country, the adventure she thought her deployment to Vietnam would be, through her culture shock of her return to "the states" and her struggles with PTSD. Unfortunatly, the TV show was cancelled before it could fully address McMurphy's PTSD issues. Van Devanter died in 2002
- First Lieutenant (later Captain) Colleen McMurphy, USA; Catholic girl from Kansas and nurse with the 510th Evac Hospital in Vietnam during the late 1960s. A composite of various real-life Vietnam War nurses, the character illustrates their courage, kindness, and sacrifices during the war, as well as the severe emotional scarring of non-combatant personnel during and following military service; several episodes feature the veterans in their own words, intercut with the storyline. Portrayed by Dana Delany, who won two Emmy awards for the role.
- Cherry White (Seasons 1–2); Incredibly naive Red Cross volunteer ("doughnut dolly") who comes to China Beach to search for her brother Rick who was reported MIA. Dies midway through the second season during the Tet Offensive. Portrayed by Nan Woods.
- SP4 Samuel Beckett, USA; Works in the Graves Registration Unit at China Beach. His job makes him unpopular with most of the other servicemen. Portrayed by Michael Boatman.
- Karen Charlene "K.C." Koloski; Cynical part-time prostitute and civilian volunteer who comes to China Beach seeking to make her own wealth and fortune. Portrayed by Marg Helgenberger.
- Captain Dick Richard, USA; Head surgeon and womanizer dealing with being drafted into Army and away from his family. Worked as an OB-GYN when he was a civilian. Portrayed by Robert Picardo.
- Captain Bartholomew "Natch" Austen, USAF; (Regular in Season 1; recurring in Season 2) Jet fighter pilot and McMurphy's love interest. Portrayed by Tim Ryan.
- Major Lila Garreau, USA; World War II veteran and career-Army commanding officer of China Beach. Portrayed by Concetta Tomei.
- Corporal Boonie Lanier, USMC; Friendly China Beach lifeguard and manager of the Jet Set Club. Portrayed by Brian Wimmer. Wimmer's character was originally named Lanier Boonwell and was referred to as such during the first season although he was ultimately called "Boonie" throughout the entire run of the show.
- Staff Sergeant Evan "Dodger" Winslow, USMC; Moody Marine who serves and fights in the jungle mainly to keep other servicemen in his platoon alive. Nicknamed for his ability to dodge injury. Known as a "quiet sort"; generally keeps to himself. Friend of Boonie, McMurphy and Cherry. Portrayed by Jeff Kober.
- Laurette Barber (Season 1); USO singer determined to make it big. Portrayed by Chloe Webb.
- Airman Wayloo Marie Holmes, USAF (Season 2); Reporter for the Armed Services Network seeking a career as a world-famous reporter. Portrayed by Megan Gallagher.
- Private Frankie Bunsen, USA (Seasons 2–4); Female private assigned to the China Beach motor pool. Portrayed by Nancy Giles.
- Corporal Jeff Hyers, USA (Season 3); Good-natured combat medic. He is KIA midway through the third season during a routine patrol. Portrayed by Ned Vaughn.
- Master Sergeant Bob Pepper, USA (Seasons 3–4); World War II veteran, driver, mechanic and NCO-in-charge of the motor pool. Becomes romantically-involved with Lila Garreau. Portrayed by Troy Evans.
- Holly Pelegrino (Season 3); Sharp-witted Red Cross volunteer. Portrayed by Ricki Lake.
Nancy Sinatra made a guest appearance in the first season finale, recreating concerts she performed for U.S. troops in 1966 and 1967.
Episode list 
Over four seasons from 1988 to 1991, the series aired 62 episodes.
China Beach was a critically lauded but poorly rated series. ABC stuck with the show for four seasons, but the final season was put on hiatus in fall 1990 and did not air its finale until July 22, 1991. As a result of the strange scheduling, Dana Delany was eligible for (and ultimately won) a Best Actress Emmy Award in the fall of 1992, a year after the series broadcast its final episode and over a year-and-a-half after many of the scenes were filmed. The title sequence theme song was "Reflections" by Diana Ross & the Supremes (although several episodes instead used "We Gotta Get out of This Place" by Eric Burdon with Katrina & The Waves).
Home media release 
In December 2012 it was announced that the series, among the most-requested television shows not available through either VHS or DVD following its broadcast run, will be issued on DVD in a box set (including new interviews with cast members and various bonus features) to be released on April 15, 2013 through StarVista Entertainment (affiliated with TimeLife). The collection will also include 302 songs heard during the series.
- Johnson, Kay. (2003, March 23) (March 23, 2003). "Detour: China Beach, Vietnam". Time.com. Retrieved 2010-08-07.
- Ha, Thu. "Da nang beach is introduced as "China Beach" | Da nang beach is introduced as "China Beach"". VietNamNet. 23 July 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2012. "The VNAT’s vice chief, Mr. Nguyen Manh Cuong, said that it is unacceptable and harmful for the image of Da nang’s tourism when some Vietnamese travel firms introduce the beach of Da nang as “China Beach.”"
- "Sailors, Commander Tell of Race Fights (AP)". The Milwaukee Journal. Oct 24, 1968. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- Ives, Mike (30 October 2011). "Vietnam's Da Nang a Surf City in Asia". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 July 2012. "We started our days at Non Nuoc Beach, which U.S. and Australian military personnel called China Beach during the Vietnam War."
- Bragg, Rebecca. "China Beach now secure with beer and sandwiches". Toronto Star (Đà Nẵng, Vietnam).
- Lambert, David (February 26, 2012). "China Beach - New 'Complete Collection' Press Release has Music List, Finalized Box!". TV Shows on DVD. Retrieved March 2, 2013.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: China Beach|
- China Beach at the Internet Movie Database
- China Beach at TV.com
- Encyclopedia of Television
- "The Five and Dime" a fansite
- Episode summaries at Epguides.com
- China Beach official site at Timelife.com