List of M*A*S*H characters

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M*A*S*H cast members circa 1974: (back row) Larry Linville, Wayne Rogers, Gary Burghoff (front row) Loretta Swit, Alan Alda, McLean Stevenson

This is a list of characters from the M*A*S*H franchise, covering the various fictional characters appearing in the novel MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors, by H. Richard Hornberger (writing under the pseudonym of Richard Hooker), Robert Altman's film adaptation of the novel, and the television series.

M*A*S*H is a popular media franchise revolving around the exploits of army surgeon Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce and his various cohorts in the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital as they attempt to maintain sanity during the harshness of the Korean War.

Main characters[edit]

Hawkeye Pierce[edit]

M*A*S*H character
Alan Alda Hawkeye MASH.JPG
First appearance MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors
Last appearance "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen"
Portrayed by Film: Donald Sutherland
Television: Alan Alda
Gender Male
Title Captain
Hometown Crabapple Cove, Maine, U.S.

Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce, B.S., M.D. is the lead protagonist in the MASH novels, film, and television series. The character was played by Donald Sutherland in the film and by Alan Alda on television, where he was the only character to appear in all 256 episodes.

Pierce was born and raised in Crabapple Cove, Maine, although in early episodes of the TV series he mentions Vermont. In the episode "The Late Captain Pierce", he tells Klinger that his family has a summer cottage in Crabapple Cove, which suggests that his hometown is elsewhere. He talks about having a sister in the early seasons, though he says in the middle seasons that he is an only child. In a Season 7 episode Hawkeye mentions his sister in passing; the only family he would mention later would be his father. Hawkeye's father is Dr. Daniel Pierce (in the novels, his father is "Big Benjy" Pierce, a lobsterman/fisherman in Crabapple Cove, Maine). Later in the series, he mentions that his mother is deceased. In the movie, Hawkeye mentions his mother is deceased, and that he has children and is married. In the TV series, Hawkeye is a bachelor (though he falsely claims to be married in "Ceasefire" to escape post-war entanglements with three of his wartime lovers) and something of a ladies' man.

In the novel, the movie and the series, Hawkeye attended Androscoggin College. In the novel and the movie, after completing his medical residency in Boston, Hawkeye is drafted into the U.S. Army Medical Corps and sent to serve at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) during the Korean War. Based on an intimate knowledge of Chicago displayed in Episode 3/11 ("Adam's Ribs"), it can be inferred that in the series Hawkeye did his surgical residency in Chicago.

Between long, intense sessions of treating critically wounded patients, he makes the best of his life in an isolated Army camp by making wisecracks, drinking heavily, carousing, womanizing, and pulling pranks on the people around him, especially the unpleasantly stiff and callous Major Frank Burns and Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan.

It was established that Pierce's nickname of "Hawkeye" was given to him by his father. It comes from the novel The Last of the Mohicans, which Pierce, in Hooker's book, claimed was "the only book my old man ever read."[1] This claim was repeated in the television episode "A Full Rich Day".

Developed for television by Larry Gelbart, the series departed from the film and book, sometimes radically. The character of Duke Forrest was dropped altogether, the character Spearchucker Jones is only shown for the first few episodes and Hawkeye became the center of the M*A*S*H unit's medical activity as well as the dramatic center of the series itself. In the series, he is Chief Surgeon, while in the novel and movie, Trapper John is Chief Surgeon. In the book and the film, Hawkeye had played football in college (Androscoggin College, based on Hornberger's alma mater Bowdoin College); in the series, Alda's Hawkeye is hardly the jock type, and seemed proud of his lack of athleticism, while his colleague Trapper John (Wayne Rogers) played football in several episodes, and Mike Farrell's B.J. Hunnicutt is seen doing chinups from a metal pole post, thus suggesting that Hawkeye's friends are more athletic than he. Alda's Pierce seems to resemble Groucho Marx, with his quick wit and "madcap" antics, and Hawkeye had a Groucho Marx nose, which he sometimes wore while doing a Groucho-like shtick.

Alda said of Pierce, "Some people think he was very liberal. But he was a traditional conservative. I mean, he wanted nothing more than to have people leave him alone so he could enjoy his martini, you know? Government should get out of his liquor cabinet".[2]

Pierce has little tolerance for military red tape and customs, feeling they get in the way of his doing his job. He has little respect for most Regular Army types, referring to them in both the movie and the series on occasion as "Regular Army clowns." He never wears insignia on his fatigues, never polishes his combat boots, and on the rare occasions he wears his Class A uniform, does not wear any of the decorations to which he is entitled. (Among others, he holds the National Defense Service Medal, the Korean War Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, a couple of Army commendation medals, the Army Distinguished Unit Citation[3] and four Purple Hearts.) He has an ongoing feud outside the OR with Major Houlihan over her strict Army attitude. The two of them do not admit to their mutual respect until the episode "Comrades in Arms," when a wounded Hawkeye and a terrified Hot Lips are trapped in no man's land during an artillery barrage. Apart from this, about the only career Army officers Hawkeye respects are Colonel Potter; Major General Addison Collins (played by John Anderson), who came to the 4077th to visit his wounded infantry lieutenant son, whom Hawkeye had to inform of the son's death, and from whom he subsequently comes to understand the crushing responsibility of command and the dichotomy between caring for his men and using them to fight the war; and British Army Major Derek Ross (played by Bernard Fox) who first appears heartless and then human to his wounded men, who takes the time to explain a little of the psychology of command to him.

On a number of occasions, he has to assume temporary command of the 4077th due to the absence or disability of Colonel Blake or Colonel Potter. Although he acquits himself well, it is plain he is not comfortable with the responsibility that goes with being the commanding officer. Only twice does Hawkeye conform to Army regulations: on one occasion, to save an underage Marine (played by Ron Howard), he reveals the patient's true age to Houlihan so the patient can be sent back to the United States.[4] On another occasion he refused to falsify Colonel Potter's high blood pressure readings, though he was apologetic about it.[5]

It is known that Hawkeye does not like firearms. He refuses to carry a sidearm as required by regulations when serving as Officer of the Day.[6] However, on another occasion following a direct order from Colonel Potter, he carries his issue pistol (a Colt M1911A1, the standard issue US Army sidearm of the Korean War) to a South Korean aid station and uses it when he and Potter are ambushed while returning to the 4077th, although he only fires into the air and not at the attackers.[7]

In the series finale, "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen", Hawkeye experiences a mental breakdown after witnessing a Korean woman suffocate her baby while following his instructions to keep the child quiet in order to avoid detection of their party by enemy soldiers. Hawkeye recovers sufficiently enough to return to the 4077th in time for the armistice to be announced. Ironically, he is one of the last to leave the dismantled camp. He announces his goal is to return to his hometown of Crabapple Cove, Maine, to be a local doctor who has the time to get to know his patients, instead of contending with the endless flow of casualties he faced during his time in Korea.

In Hooker's two sequels to MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors (M*A*S*H Goes to Maine and M*A*S*H Mania), Hawkeye returns to live in Crabapple Cove, near the fictional town of Spruce Harbor, Maine. The fictional town is described as having 30,000 residents, a large fish wharf, a café which is frequented by the protagonists, an international airport, and the Spruce Harbor General Hospital.

Alan Alda would later play Dr. Gabriel Lawrence in a five-episode story arc of the television series ER. Dr Lawrence was a surgeon who had early stage Alzheimer's disease, and the same personality and surgical skills as Hawkeye Pierce.

Trapper John McIntyre[edit]

Trapper John
M*A*S*H character
Wayne Rogers Trapper John MASH 1972.JPG
First appearance MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors
Last appearance "Abyssinia, Henry" (M*A*S*H) "Elusive Butterfly" (Trapper John, M.D.)
Portrayed by Film: Elliott Gould
Television: Wayne Rogers (for M*A*S*H)
Pernell Roberts (for Trapper John, M.D.)
Gender Male
Title Captain
Hometown Boston, Massachusetts
United States

Captain "Trapper" John Francis Xavier McIntyre, M.D. appears in Richard Hooker's M*A*S*H novels, as well as in the film and the two TV series (M*A*S*H and Trapper John, M.D.) that followed them. A lead protagonist of the early seasons of the first TV series, his nickname was derived from his being caught having sex with a woman in the lavatory aboard a Boston & Maine Railway train; when being caught in flagrante delicto, the woman announced "He trapped me!" (The blurb on the book's cover refers to "raping" a beauty queen on the Boston to Maine Express, but in the context of the story, it appears she was a willing participant who made the accusation only in order to avoid embarrassment.)

McIntyre was depicted by Elliott Gould in the film, Wayne Rogers in M*A*S*H, and Pernell Roberts in Trapper John, M.D., making him one of only two major characters in the M*A*S*H Franchise to be played by three actors (the other being Father Mulcahy).

In the book and the film, Trapper John is a graduate of Dartmouth College (having played quarterback on the school's football team) and serves as thoracic surgeon and eventually Chief Surgeon of the 4077th. In the film, he had a very dry, sardonic deadpan sense of humor, while in the M*A*S*H TV series he was something of a class clown. Trapper spent much of his time on the series playing second fiddle to Hawkeye Pierce's lead role, with the two constantly playing practical jokes on Majors Frank Burns and Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan, drinking, and trying to seduce women. While Trapper expressed great love for his wife and daughters, he also fraternized with the nurses a great deal, with no pretense of fidelity.

Wayne Rogers stated that he was told when he accepted the role of Trapper for the TV series that Trapper and Hawkeye would be equally important, almost interchangeable (much as how Hawkeye and Trapper were presented in the MASH film). However, that changed radically when Alan Alda was cast as Hawkeye. In fact, the producers gave the TV version of Hawkeye some of the character details of the film version of Trapper (in the MASH film, Trapper John is the 4077th's top chest-cutter and Chief Surgeon; in the TV series, Hawkeye is Chief Surgeon and references are made to his being the camp's top chest-cutter).

By the end of the third season, Rogers was fed up with Trapper being treated as a sidekick instead of an equal and the show changing into 'the Alan Alda show' (McLean Stevenson viewed the situation the same way concerning his character, Lieutenant Colonel Blake). He was also greatly frustrated with the producers' demands that he sign a contract that included a "morality clause" which stated the producers had the right to suspend him or fire him if he took part in an acting project outside M*A*S*H without their approval. He refused to sign because he saw it as an absurd demand. Even though the latter half of the third season started to flesh Trapper out a bit, Rogers departed unexpectedly after the conclusion of filming for the third season, and his character was abruptly written out of the series. After he left the series, the producers sued Rogers for violating his contract, but the case was dismissed in his favor when it was revealed that he had never signed his contract. In light of the series' lengthy run, Rogers later admitted he regretted leaving M*A*S*H. Trapper John's final M*A*S*H episode was "Abyssinia, Henry," which also included the final appearance of Lt. Col. Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson).

The character of Trapper John returned to television in 1979 in the spin-off series Trapper John, M.D.. Now played by Pernell Roberts, the character is depicted in the then-present day as Chief of Surgery at a San Francisco hospital. No other characters from either the TV series or the movie (of which the series is legally considered the spin-off) appeared, making Trapper John the only M*A*S*H character to be depicted in the present day. Coincidentally, at the time Trapper John, M.D. debuted, Wayne Rogers was starring in another hospital-themed series, House Calls.

Trapper was mentioned in a few episodes after his M*A*S*H departure such as season 8's Period of Adjustment, season 11's "The Joker is Wild" and The Finale: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen.

B.J. Hunnicutt[edit]

B. J. Hunnicutt
M*A*S*H character
Mike Farrell MASH 1975.JPG
First appearance "Welcome to Korea"
Last appearance "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen"
Portrayed by Television: Mike Farrell
Gender Male
Title Captain
Hometown Mill Valley, California
United States

Captain B.J. Hunnicutt, M.D., played by Mike Farrell, appears in the TV show M*A*S*H, which ran from 1972-1983 on CBS. It wasn't revealed what the initials "B.J." stood for until the season 7 episode 3 ("Lil"). Visiting nurse, Colonel Lillian Rayburn, on being introduced to B.J. asked him what his initials stand for, to which Hunnicutt replied, "Anything you want." This triggered Hawkeye to try and discover what the initials stood for, getting Radar to check B.J.'s personnel record and sending telegrams to people likely to know such as the dean of B.J.'s medical school. Eventually, B.J. informed Hawkeye that he was in fact named B.J., which was derived from the names of his parents, Bea and Jay. However, Hawkeye didn't believe him and on demanding to be told, got the same reply as the Colonel, "Anything you want."

Hunnicutt resided in Mill Valley, California before he was drafted into the US Army as a surgeon during the Korean War. He was educated at Stanford University and was a member of the Tau Phi Epsilon fraternity. He went through his military training at Fort Sam Houston. B.J. is married to Peg (née Hayden) who writes many letters to him while he is in Korea. The couple has a daughter, Erin, who was born shortly before he left for Korea. He is a third-generation doctor in his family.

Hunnicutt first appeared on the show in 1975, after Trapper John McIntyre was discharged from the army and returned home. His debut came in the Season Four premiere episode, "Welcome to Korea". For the next eight seasons, Farrell appeared in all but one episode of the series.

B.J. tended to be much less aggressive in his crusades than Hawkeye, usually preferring to be the quieter voice of reason to his friend. For instance, when Hawkeye tried to print a letter protesting a Marine commander's callous treatment of a Dutch immigrant soldier in the military press, the letter was censored by the commander, and Hawkeye was almost arrested for arguing with the commander about it. B.J., on the other hand, watched the drama from a distance until he calmly suggested that Hawkeye take his letter to the civilian press train in Seoul which is beyond the commander's control, thus frustrating the officer and achieving the goal of publicizing the man's plight so something could be done about it.

Hunnicutt's mild manner changed somewhat during his time in Korea. In one episode, he throttled a wounded soldier who was attacking Hawkeye in the Swamp, threatening to "break [his] neck". During the course of the series, the happy-go-lucky, cheerful B.J. of his first appearance acquired some darker edges due to various traumas and moral dilemmas presented to him throughout the show. For instance, he was awarded a Bronze Star Medal with V for Valor device for rescuing one soldier while working from a helicopter under fire; but was haunted by the fact that to save him, he had to cut the rope with which he and the chopper pilot were attempting to lift out the first soldier's buddy and leave him behind.[8]

Unlike Trapper John, who was just as much of an extroverted class clown as Hawkeye, B.J. is often the voice of reason when Hawkeye goes out on a limb. B.J. only strayed once from his marital vows during the series: while helping a nurse who received a "Dear Jane" letter. He also had an "emotional affair" with a female war correspondent in the Season 8 episode "War Correspondent". This is a marked comparison to Trapper, who cheated frequently. While he assumed the same general disregard for military discipline exhibited by both Hawkeye and Trapper, B.J. professed stronger moral values. For example, in Seson 7 Episode 22 ("Preventative Medicine"), he refused to help remove a healthy appendix from an officer they wanted to render hors de combat due to his bloodthirstiness, despite the fact that the surgery would achieve the goal of forcing I Corps to relieve him of command. Trapper John McIntyre had had no qualms about doing the same thing on an earlier occasion.[9] However, B.J. was not afraid to take chances. In Episode 10/19, "Heroes," under his direction Klinger built a primitive open-chest defibrillator in order to save a soldier's life while B.J. administered open chest heart massage, then used it to successfully stop the soldier's heart fibrillation, working from a medical journal article Hunnicutt had read concerning the then-experimental procedure.

B.J.'s wit and easy-going manner disguised the fact that he could be an able and devious practical joker in his own right, which was first revealed in the episode "Dear Sigmund," when Dr. Sidney Freedman discovers that B.J. is behind a rash of pranks happening in the camp. In "The Winchester Tapes," Charles is touched by B.J.'s concern over his sudden extreme fluctuations in weight, unaware that B.J. has secretly been substituting his Army pants for ones of different waist sizes. When an amused Hawkeye asked B.J. what was next for Charles, he replied, "Starting tomorrow, he gets taller." On other occasions, B.J. has egged on members of the 4077th to play jokes on each other, starting escalating joke wars for his own amusement, with neither side knowing that B.J. was the genius behind their actions. And in one memorable Season 11 episode, "The Joker Is Wild," tired of hearing how great a practical joker Trapper John had been, on a bet B.J. set up Hawkeye as the patsy of an elaborate scheme involving "practical jokes" played on all the principal cast members when in fact they were all in on the practical joke to get Hawkeye.

When the 4077th is disbanded in the series finale, B.J. is last seen riding his Indian motorcycle away from camp, while Hawkeye sees from a helicopter that B.J. has arranged painted white stones into the word "GOODBYE".

Henry Blake[edit]

Henry Blake
M*A*S*H character
McLean Stevenson Henry Blake MASH 1972.JPG
First appearance MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors
Last appearance "Abyssinia, Henry"
(on screen)
Portrayed by Film: Roger Bowen
Television: McLean Stevenson
Gender Male
Title Lieutenant Colonel
Hometown Bloomington, Illinois
United States

Lieutenant Colonel Henry Braymore Blake, M.D. is introduced in the 1968 novel M*A*S*H and is also a character in the film (played by Roger Bowen) and television series (played by McLean Stevenson).

In the film, Blake is a career Army physician, having been commissioned prior to World War II. The television version of Blake (middle initial N) is a reservist called up to active duty and taken away from his private practice in Bloomington, Illinois. Another former lead protagonist of the show, he is the happy-go-lucky, easygoing commanding officer of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War. He is beloved for his down-to-earth, laid-back manner by many under his command, notably Captains Benjamin Franklin Pierce and John Francis Xavier McIntyre (with whom he drinks, flouts regulations, and chases women), and scorned for it by those who prefer strict military discipline, such as Majors Frank Burns and Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan.

Henry is a good person and a capable surgeon, but not a forceful or competent commanding officer. He is usually hesitant to make any kind of command decision. His subordinate, company clerk Corporal Radar O'Reilly, can usually anticipate his wishes and turn them into efficient military orders, but Henry often gets flustered when an important decision needs to be made. In the "Rainbow Bridge" episode, he has to decide whether to send his doctors into enemy territory for an exchange of wounded prisoners. Henry hems and haws over the decision, then tells his doctors, "Whatever you guys decide is fine with me." Hawkeye once said of Henry, "As a commanding officer... well, it's a bit like being on a sinking liner, running on the bridge and finding out the captain is Daffy Duck."[10]

However, Blake was surprisingly adept at keeping his surgeons and nurses on an even keel. When, at different times Hawkeye, Trapper John, and Hot Lips were down in the dumps, (e.g., Episode 1/21,"Sticky Wicket"), Henry always found ways to give them perspective and get them back in the groove. He varied his methods as circumstances demanded, from quiet talk, to sending someone off on a pass, to allowing the camp to throw a carnival; and despite the alternating periods of horror and boredom, seldom had an unhappy camp. One that occasionally resembled an insane asylum, yes; but one that still had a 97% casualty survival rate, the ultimate litmus test of every field hospital or MASH.

Blake attended University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as evidenced by his sweaters and coffee mug. He was the football team Athletic trainer and confessed to Radar that he once caused his football team to lose a big game when he accidentally taped the wrong leg of an injured receiver. Whenever someone called for him, he responded with a rather soft-spoken "Yo…". In episodes where Henry showed home movies sent to him by his wife, it is suggested that he enjoyed an idyllic suburban life in the States. During a brief respite from surgery in one episode, he tells Hawkeye he has "a great practice back home", but a "routine" one, cookbook medicine; and that by serving in Korea, he is doing more doctoring than he would ever be called on to do at back in Bloomington in a lifetime.[11] While Henry was in command of the 4077th, his wife had a son back in Bloomington—a son Henry would never meet.[12]

When McLean Stevenson decided to leave the show at the end of the third season, his character was scripted to be discharged and sent home. However, in one of television's most shocking surprises, in the final scene of his last episode, it is reported that Blake’s plane has been shot down over the Sea of Japan killing everyone aboard.

The script pages with the scene were handed over by the producers, Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds, only minutes before filming, so none of the cast except Alan Alda knew about that development until just before Gary Burghoff was told to go in and report Blake's death. Until then, as far as anyone knew, they were going to get a message that Blake had arrived safely home. This was deliberately planned so that the emotions shown by the actors during that scene would be as real as possible, and it worked well, so well that during the second take of the scene, one of the extras accidentally dropped a surgical instrument on the floor, making a loud clank that was left in the final edit.[13][14]

After the news of Lieutenant Colonel Blake’s death shocked the nation, The Carol Burnett Show, the following evening, opened the show with a shot of McLean Stevenson on a smoking raft, waving his arms, hollering, "I’m OK! I’m OK!"[15] In addition, the M*A*S*H novels written by W.E.B. Griffin state Henry's death to be "wildly exaggerated".

Sherman T. Potter[edit]

Sherman T. Potter
M*A*S*H character
Harry Morgan 1975.jpg
First appearance "Change of Command"
Last appearance "Saturday's Heroes" (AfterMASH)
Portrayed by Harry Morgan
Gender Male
Title Colonel
Hometown Hannibal, Missouri
United States

Colonel Sherman Tecumseh Potter, M.D., appears in the M*A*S*H and AfterMASH television series. He was portrayed by Harry Morgan.

At the end of the show's third season, McLean Stevenson left the series, and his character, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake, was killed on his way back to the United States. Major Frank Burns took command of the unit at the end of that season, although his tenure as the C.O. was short-lived (one full episode plus parts of two others). The producers wanted a different type of commanding officer for the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH). They decided on a "Regular Army" commander, a man who had made a career out of the service, and was close to retirement. The producers chose Harry Morgan to fill the role, after the strong comedic performance he had given as a visiting General in Episode 3/1, "The General Flipped at Dawn".

Morgan's first appearance on the series as Potter came in the second episode of Season Four, "Change of Command" (after a brief preview appearance, near the end of the previous episode "Welcome to Korea"). After joining the cast in 1975, Morgan appeared in every episode with only three exceptions, and his character became a core member of the series.

One-quarter Cherokee,[16] Potter initially entered the Army during World War I, enlisting as a private in the horse cavalry at the age of 15 ("lied about my age," he explains, noting that he had big thighs for a boy his age). One of his most cherished souvenirs of his enlisted time is his Good Conduct Medal (a medal only awarded to enlisted men), which is framed and hangs behind his desk during his run on the show. He rose to the rank of sergeant. At one point during his First World War service, he was gassed and blinded for a month. Several of his teeth were knocked out by his captors when he was taken prisoner in the Argonne Forest by the Germans.[17] He references many of his memories of his enlisted experiences in dealing with the challenges of commanding a battlefront hospital. At some point after the First World War, he went to medical school, and began his service as an Army doctor in 1932,[18] serving in World War II. He notes the still he had on Guam during that war, when admiring Hawkeye's contraption in the Swamp. However, he also spent time in the European Theater, as he unfavorably compared the winter cold in Korea to the Ardennes in one episode.[19] He received a Purple Heart in Korea after being shot in the buttocks by an enemy sniper to go with the one he received in World War I for being gassed, and one from WWII from the aforementioned still on Guam exploding.

As an experienced career Army officer, Potter was much more at home making command decisions than was the late Colonel Blake. He was more capable of leading the 4077th through a major crisis, such as a "bug out" (forced evacuation) due to a military attack, a wintertime shortage of food and fuel, or the occasional deluge of wounded soldiers. Despite his stern military bearing, Potter was a relatively relaxed and laid-back commander, not above involving himself in camp hijinks and understanding the need for fun and games to boost morale during wartime; but unlike Henry Blake, he was not afraid to put his foot down when the camp's antics got out of hand.

In the episode, "The Interview", Potter told reporter Clete Roberts, "It's pretty hard to have the kind of authority here that you would have in a regular Army unit, because these guys are not soldiers, they're doctors, and you just can't handle them the way you would regular Army men. And I don't want to, because the results wouldn't be what we're getting now." However, Potter was not afraid of enforcing strict army discipline, threatening to send Major Winchester to Leavenworth if he refused a permanent transfer from Tokyo to the 4077th. He made a similar promise to Corporal Klinger if he persisted in trying to bribe him to discharge Klinger on a Section 8.

Potter also made it a point to not allow friendship to get in the way of his duty, though it broke his heart to turn on old friends; this happened at least twice in the series:

  • In episode 5.16 "Ping Pong", Lt. Colonel Harold Beckett was brought into camp as a casualty along with most of the men in his unit; Beckett claimed that army intelligence had given him false information, but one of his men revealed that Becket himself froze under enemy pressure; he was given command of his own unit by friends at I Corps so he could get his Combat Infantry Badge and be promoted to full Colonel. Realizing that Beckett had no business being on the line, Potter ordered him sent back down.
  • In episode 11.13 "Friends and Enemies", one of the wounded is Colonel Woody Cooke, an old friend of Potter's from WWI assigned to non-combat duty at I Corps. It is revealed that Cooke had wandered up to the front and ordered a unit to advance on a hill, countermanding orders to stay away; Cooke's dangerous order caused many needless casualties. Potter sadly informs Cooke that he has to fill out a report on him, and Cooke angrily ends their friendship.

Col. Potter was generally well-liked by his subordinates, especially Radar, who came to see Potter as a mentor and father figure. Potter even received more respect from Hawkeye and even from Major Houlihan, than had Henry Blake, but Major Burns harbored a grudge against Potter after being passed over for command. In turn, Potter held Burns' feigned military bearing and subpar medical skills in high contempt. (In episode 4.8, "Dear Mildred", Potter refers to Burns as the "head twerp") Potter took great pride in the ultra-competency of the rest of the medical staff despite their antics. Major Charles Emerson Winchester III, Burns' replacement, had a grudging respect for Potter, even though their respective personalities (Winchester's snobbish aristocracy and Potter's bucolic deportment) were often at odds with one another.

At first, Corporal Klinger was afraid of Colonel Potter; this stemmed from an incident in the Colonel's office (seen in the episode "Change of Command") when, after storming into the Colonel's office in drag, Klinger introduced himself and tried to shock and anger Potter into discharging him as insane. But Potter saw through Klinger's bluff and, after listing other schemes he'd seen soldiers perpetrate in an attempt to be discharged, he ordered Klinger into uniform. Then, after a night of bonding with Hawkeye and B.J., Colonel Potter changed his mind and allowed Klinger to continue his cross-dressing ways. Colonel Potter eventually came to trust Klinger enough to make him company clerk after Radar's departure, and also to make him temporary "Commanding Officer" of the 4077th in a Boxing Day role reversal to boost unit morale.[20] He occasionally used Klinger's penchant for schemes to his and the unit's advantage. Potter was sufficiently impressed by Klinger's trading skills and performance of his clerical duties that in time he awarded Klinger with a promotion to sergeant.

With the armistice declared in Korea, the 4077th was disestablished, everyone in the unit parted ways, and they went on with their respective lives. Col. Potter retired from the military and returned to Missouri (although in the episode entitled "PingPong" he was going to return to Nebraska). In the final episode, Col. Potter announced his plans to go home to his wife Mildred and become a semi-retired country doctor. Leaving the 4077th on his horse Sophie (which at the request of Father Mulcahy he dropped off at the local orphanage to be used productively), he was given a military salute by Hawkeye Pierce and B.J. Hunnicutt, one of the few that they were seen to give in the series given their overall disrespect towards military hierarchy, as a sign of just how much respect the two doctors had for him.

When the series ended in February 1983, Harry Morgan, William Christopher and Jamie Farr, the three cast members who elected to continue the series beyond the 11th season, were invited to star in a spin-off series called AfterMASH, which ran on CBS for two seasons. Potter became the chief of staff & chief of surgery of the fictional General Pershing VA Hospital (also known as "General General") in River Bend, Missouri.[21] Father Mulcahy, after being rendered almost totally deaf from an explosion in the M*A*S*H series finale, recovered most of his hearing through an experimental operation at a Saint Louis VA hospital at Potter's recommendation and became General General's Catholic chaplain. Max and Soon-Lee Klinger, after experiencing discrimination in Toledo, moved to the area so that Max could take up a position as Potter's assistant. Among the resident in-patients was one of Potter's WWI subordinates, former Private Bob Scannell, who alone (at Potter's request) addressed him as "Sarge" as opposed to his retired rank of Colonel by which most other characters knew him.

Frank Burns[edit]

"Frank Burns" redirects here. For other uses, see Frank Burns (disambiguation).
Franklin Delano Marion Burns
M*A*S*H character
Larry Linville Major Frank Burns MASH 1972.JPG
Larry Linville as Major Frank Burns on the CBS-TV M*A*S*H series
First appearance MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors
Last appearance "Margaret's Marriage"
Portrayed by Film: Robert Duvall
Television: Larry Linville
Gender Male
Title Captain in Hooker's novel
Lieutenant Colonel
Spouse(s) Louise Burns
Hometown Fort Wayne, Indiana
United States

Major (later Lieutenant Colonel) Franklin Delano Marion "Frank" Burns, M.D. (also known as "Ferret Face," a nickname first pinned on him by his brother, a fact he reveals to Trapper and Hawkeye during a drunken binge[22]) is the main antagonist in the M*A*S*H film and the first part of the television series. Burns first appeared in the original M*A*S*H novel by Richard Hooker, where he had the rank of captain. The character was then portrayed in the film by Robert Duvall (as a major), and in the subsequent television series by Larry Linville as a major (who was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel after his departure from the series).

In the original novel, Captain Burns is described as a well-off doctor who had attended medical school but had had no true formal training as a surgeon other than a long apprenticeship with his father in Indiana. He maintains a dismissive attitude toward those colleagues (such as the Swampmen) who went through the rigors and demands of a residency for their training. However, his belief in his own superiority masks serious shortcomings in his surgical abilities, which he invariably dismisses as the failures of others involved in the patients' care. When one of Burns' patients dies, "it's either God's will or somebody else's fault."[23] This practice comes to a head when he unjustly accuses rookie orderly Private Boone of killing one of his patients. Boone is emotionally crushed and an infuriated Duke, who witnesses the scene, walks with Frank to the privacy of the sluice where he delivers a nose-breaking punch and knee to the groin. A short time later, Trapper assaults Frank after Frank's arrogance and incompetence almost costs another soldier his life. The concern of the surgeons on Frank's team regarding Frank's incompetence causes Blake to nominate Trapper as Chief Surgeon in the novel and movie, and Hawkeye as Chief Surgeon of the 4077th in the TV series.

Later, after Burns and Major Margaret Houlihan commence a sexual affair, the Swampmen latch onto it, giving Margaret the nickname of "Hot Lips". One night in a room just off the OR, Hawkeye makes some ribald comments about the relationship. Burns, having reached the limit of his patience, hurls a coffee-maker at Hawkeye (in the film, Burns jumps across a mess tent table to attack Hawkeye after being baited him with speculations concerning Hot Lips' behavior in the sack and tries to kill him with his bare hands, while Hawkeye deliberately does not fight back) just as Blake walks in. The next day, Burns is permanently sent away for psychiatric evaluation in a straitjacket, shot full of tranquilizers.

In the film and in the subsequent TV series, Frank Burns' rank is that of Major. The film version of Frank Burns is a composite of two different characters from the book, Major Jonathan Hobson and Captain Frank Burns. In the film, Burns is portrayed as a very religious man who prays for all the souls to be saved (as Hobson does in the novel), but in both the film and TV series he is still not much of a doctor. The TV character was very high-strung, and had a penchant for malapropisms and statements that made no sense at all; one example was from "The Interview" (season 4, episode 24), in which Burns described marriage as "the headstone [sic] of American society".

In the TV series, Burns is a firm believer in military discipline and continues to fancy himself a superior surgeon, but his actions invariably reveal his incompetency and require one of the other surgeons to prevent him from making fatal mistakes. Though by military rank Burns is second-in-command of the unit, he is outranked by the Chief Surgeon, namely Hawkeye, who reluctantly accepted the appointment by Colonel Blake.[24] Infuriated at being passed over for the position, Burns placed a call to General Barker, who visited the 4077th after Burns implied that Hawkeye was willfully ignoring a patient to play poker. Although Barker demanded that Hawkeye operate on the patient immediately, Hawkeye explained that he was simply killing time until the patient was stable enough to tolerate surgery. Later, with Barker observing, Hawkeye performed the operation with no complications, and even showed Barker a surgical shortcut; the patient recovered, convincing Barker that appointing Pierce as Chief Surgeon was the right move.

Burns often longed to be in command of the 4077th himself, and was not above resorting to underhanded means to achieve this end. In the season 2 episode "The Trial of Henry Blake", when Henry was facing disciplinary review due to numerous complaints from Burns and Houlihan, including giving aid and comfort to the enemy (which was actually treating Korean orphans), Hawkeye and Trapper attempt to go to the hearing with evidence that would exonerate Henry, but Burns confines them to a gutted Swamp in their skivvies. They eventually escape and testify at the hearing, but even then Burns refuses to drop the charges until Hawkeye and Trapper threaten to tell Burns' wife about his affair with Houlihan.

The few times Burns was left in command of the unit (per military regulations) he would micromanage camp operations, just for the sake of being in command. But even then, whenever incoming wounded arrived the medical staff looked to Hawkeye for orders and direction, which so angered Burns that, in "The Novocaine Mutiny", he accused Pierce of mutiny and tried to have him court-martialed, going out of his way to spin things to make Hawkeye look guilty. In reality, Frank had so badly botched procedures in pre-op that patients were being sent into the OR while others were still being operated on; when Hawkeye yelled at Burns to do his job right, Burns took a header into the door of the OR knocking himself unconscious. While praising Hawkeye's surgical skills, the adjutant general presiding at the hearing commented that, had Burns not already been a doctor when drafted, he would have been assigned as a pastry chef.[25]

In the episode "Mail Call Again," Frank receives a letter from home from his wife Louise, which Radar "accidentally" opens. Radar tells Hawkeye and BJ that someone from Fort Wayne passed through the 4077th and relayed news back home of Frank's affair with Margaret; when the word got back to Louise she hired a divorce attorney. Frank managed to phone her stateside and talked her out of the divorce, denying the affair and calling Margaret an "old war horse" and an "Army mule with bosoms." Unbeknownst to him, Margaret was listening to the entire conversation and got so angry that she threw a chair at him. Although it seemed Margaret later understood why Frank used offensive terms, her "understanding" was a mere ploy to manipulate Frank until she announced her engagement to Lieutenant Colonel Donald Penobscot in the Season 5 episode, "Margaret's Engagement."

Following Margaret and Donald's marriage, a dejected Frank suffered a mental breakdown while on leave in Seoul; he got drunk and tried to romance a female Red Cross volunteer, a WAC officer, and was later arrested when he attacked a general and his wife, mistaking them for Margaret and Donald. He was held for psychiatric examination, and then permanently transferred stateside. While Hawkeye and the others were delighted to hear that Frank was gone for good, it was Frank who ultimately had the last laugh: Frank informs them over the phone that not only were his charges dropped, but he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and assigned to a veterans' hospital in Fort Wayne. Hearing this, Hawkeye threw the phone out of Radar's office in frustration. Frank's stateside transfer makes him the second of only three main characters in the series (after Trapper and before Radar) to return home safely.

Frank's replacement was Major Winchester, a slightly pompous aristocrat from Boston who was highly superior to Frank in surgical skills.

Margaret Houlihan[edit]

Margaret Houlihan RN
M*A*S*H character
Loretta Swit MASH 1972.JPG
First appearance MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors
Last appearance "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen"
Portrayed by Film: Sally Kellerman
Television: Loretta Swit
Gender Female
Title Major
Hometown Fort Ord, California
United States

Major Margaret J "Hot Lips" Houlihan is a secondary antagonist (later shifted to protagonist) first created in the book MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors by Richard Hooker. Actress Sally Kellerman portrayed the character in the Robert Altman film adaptation (where she is sometimes referred to as O'Houlihan). Houlihan was later portrayed by Loretta Swit in the long-running television series; along with Hawkeye and Father Mulcahy, Margaret is one of only three characters to appear in both the pilot and final episode.

Her nickname "Hot Lips" originates from an infamous scene in the film, in which Margaret (played by Sally Kellerman) has a tryst with Frank Burns: while they're having sex Margaret growls to Frank "Kiss my hot lips"; neither of them is aware that the PA microphone has been planted beneath their cot and broadcasting graphic details of their rendezvous over speakers throughout the camp. The next day, Margaret and Frank become targets for harassment by other members of the camp, particularly Trapper, Duke and Hawkeye, the latter of which provokes Frank into attacking him. Later, while Margaret is in the shower tent, Hawkeye and Duke, to settle a bet on whether she is a natural blonde, use counterweights to raise a flap on the shower tent exposing Margaret naked to the entire camp. In hysterics, Margaret storms into Colonel Blake's tent (while he's in bed with his mistress) and threatens to resign her commission if he doesn't turn them all over to the MP's. When Blake refuses, Margaret tearfully leaves in total defeat; she eventually starts a relationship with Duke.

The character of "Hot Lips" was inspired by two real-life Korean War MASH head nurses – Hotlips Hammerly, also a very attractive blonde, of similar disposition,[citation needed] and Janie Hall. Hall, with her true accounts and stories from the zone, is actually noted as a major contributor to the character and show.[26]

Margaret is an army brat, having been born in an Army base hospital. Like Hawkeye, she also has a drinking problem. In Margaret's case, it appears to run in her family. She once told Frank that half of her salary went to support her mother; half of that money went towards drying her out, the other half for bail money (her mother was a kleptomaniac).[27]

She entered nursing school in 1938 and graduated in 1942 when she joined the Army; one continuity error shows that after 10 years service her rank is a Major, in fact in real life she would have been a Captain.[28] However, it is possible she was promoted "on the five percent list" for outstanding performance, which would explain her majority after only ten years' service[29] As the show ends, Margaret is on her way back to the US to take a position in an Army hospital. Other continuity errors from the early seasons is a remark by Houlihan that she has a younger sister who was a Captain engaged to be married and that her father was dead, although he comes to see her in an episode late in the show's run; and that in one episode she said that he was in the cavalry, but in another that he had been an artilleryman. (The latter is correct; her father's nickname is "Howitzer Al" Houlihan.[30])

Early on in the TV series, Margaret serves as the show's secondary antagonist, behind Frank Burns. In the first few seasons Margaret is a stern "by-the-book" head nurse who uses her romantic contacts with superior officers to get her own way, and like Frank, willingly goes against regulations for her own gain. But in later years she becomes a more relaxed member of the unit who tempers her authority with humanity. Key episodes in this development include the season 5 episode "The Nurses": Margaret, humiliated by one of her nurses when she stands up for herself, confines the nurse to her quarters as her husband pays a brief visit to the camp; with Hawkeye and B.J.'s help, the nurse breaks her confinement and visits her husband, but Margaret finds out about it and is ready to throw the book at her. During a confrontation with the nurses, Margaret stuns them with an emotional tirade revealing her feelings about their disdain for her; she later drops the charges against the nurse. Another example appears in "Comrades In Arms" (season 6), in which Hawkeye and Margaret make peace once and for all after they endure an artillery barrage while lost in the wilderness.

Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, who wrote "The Nurses" with Mary Kay Place, as well as several other episodes, was behind the change in Houlihan's character. Margaret's mellowing enabled her to bond with her nurses, who had previously disliked her rigid approach, but came to appreciate her fierce loyalty when higher authority attempted to land on them or evacuate them when the front shifted and the local situation was not as dangerous as I Corps believed.

An experienced surgical nurse, though she thoroughly disapproves of the surgeons' off-duty tomfoolery, she is able to set her personal feelings aside to appreciate their expert skills in the OR. Despite her closeness to Frank Burns, when she came down with appendicitis she confided to Colonel Potter that she wanted Hawkeye, not Burns, to perform her appendectomy if needed [31]

Margaret rarely pursued a relationship with anyone of lower rank (though she did confess once while drunk that she was attracted to Trapper,[32] and would occasionally flirt with wounded enlisted men in Post-Op for the sake of their morale), with the exception of Sergeant Jack Scully, an infantryman whom she met in Rosie's Bar and who subsequently passed through the 4077th as a patient a couple of times. In early seasons she had several liaisons with visiting Colonels or Generals who were "old friends". Her long-standing affair with Frank Burns ended with her engagement and subsequent marriage to Lieutenant Colonel Donald Penobscot. The marriage does not last long; she later finds out a visiting nurse had had an affair with Donald. Though he promises to work things out with her, Donald has himself permanently transferred to San Francisco; angered and distraught that he ran out on her, she divorces him, which eventually restores her self-confidence. Despite his jocular attitude, the attraction between Margaret and Hawkeye is strong, ending in a long passionate kiss farewell in the final episode.

Margaret is a fiercely loyal American, but in the episode "Are you Now, Margaret?" even she is not immune to a conniving congressional aide who attempts to brand her as a communist sympathizer due to her dating a young man during her nursing school days. With all the outward trappings of the real-life McCarthyism, Margaret's career is on the line. However, her "staunch friends" at the 4077th nab the "Cloakroom Boy" with some compromising photos of him with Hotlips, "suitable for hanging," to be sent to his wife, which also sends the troublesome aide packing without Margaret having to rat out her college friends.

In the series of novels co-written with (or ghost-written by) William E. Butterworth, Houlihan reappears as the twice-widowed Margaret Houlihan Wachauf Wilson, both husbands having expired on the nuptial bed through excessive indulgence in her still-outstanding physical charms. Her career has taken a new direction as the Reverend head of the "God Is Love In All Forms Christian Church, Incorporated", a cult or sect with the unusual distinction that its entire congregation consists of gay men. Most of these are extremely flamboyant and the Reverend Mother herself is conspicuously glitzy and glittery. However, it appears that Margaret genuinely cares for her flock and is not merely shaking them down in pursuit of material gain.

Charles Winchester[edit]

Charles Emerson Winchester III
M*A*S*H character
David Ogden Stiers Gary Burghoff MASH 1977.jpg
First appearance "Fade Out, Fade In"
Last appearance "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen"
Portrayed by Television: David Ogden Stiers
Gender Male
Title Major
Hometown Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.

Major Charles Emerson Winchester III, B.S. (Hons.), M.D. (Harvard), is a principal on the television series, M*A*S*H, played by David Ogden Stiers. He was introduced in the first episode of the show's sixth season, "Fade Out, Fade In".

Charles Emerson Winchester III was born in his grandmother's house in the Boston, Massachusetts, neighbourhood of Beacon Hill, and is part of a very wealthy family of Boston Brahmins who are Republicans staunchly against Franklin Roosevelt. After finishing his secondary studies at Choate, he graduated summa cum laude class of '43 from Harvard College (where he lettered in Crew and Polo), completed his MD at Harvard Medical School in Boston in 1948, and worked at Massachusetts General Hospital. Before he was drafted to join the US Army during the Korean War, he was on track to become Chief of Cardio/Thoracic Surgery. Although he shows expertise in thoracic surgery (Colonel Potter gives him a chest case in surgery in one episode, saying that he's tops in thoracic), he also professes to be an expert in pediatrics.

While Major Frank Burns was AWOL following a trip to Seoul after the marriage of Major Margaret Houlihan to Lieutenant Colonel Donald Penobscott, the staff at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) desperately needed a replacement surgeon to fill in. Colonel Sherman T. Potter placed a call to Tokyo General Hospital in search of a surgeon. Winchester's commanding officer, Colonel Horace Baldwin, owed Winchester $672.17 in a cribbage debt. Irritated at his losses (and Winchester's snide attitude about them), Baldwin volunteered Winchester for duty at the 4077th, assuring him the assignment would be for only 48 hours.

Once Winchester arrived, he found the conditions appalling ("An inflamed boil on the buttocks of the world"), especially in comparison to the comfortable life he enjoyed at Tokyo General. His arrogance made a poor first impression, but Winchester proved his surgical expertise by performing a delicate heart operation the other doctors were unfamiliar with on a ventricular aneurysm. However, Winchester still had to adjust to the realities of field medicine, which included learning the intricacies of "meatball surgery" in order to be as efficient as possible.

Winchester was often adversarial with Hawkeye and BJ, but on occasion, joined forces with them if it was justified. His catchphrase was "Surely you jest!", which he said frequently throughout his tenure on the show. But in sharp contrast to Burns, Winchester had a greater streak of humanity, which he was usually careful not to let others see. Examples include, but are not limited to the following:

  • In Episode 10.19, "Sons and Bowlers," when he learned by chance that Hawkeye's father had been hospitalized for exploratory surgery and was found to have a tumor near his kidneys. Winchester spent a fair bit of time comparing his and Hawkeye's relationships with their respective fathers, culminating in the envious observation, "Where I have a father, you have a dad." (it was the second of only two times during the series that Charles called him Hawkeye rather than normally address him as Pierce.)
  • In episode 7.14 "Dear Sis", when he was feeling especially low, Father Mulcahy arranged (via Radar) for Charles' mother to send him a toboggan cap that reminded him of his happy childhood; In gratitude, Charles gave Mulcahy a few dollars from his large bankroll saying "Buy them (the orphans) what they need", but then stuffs the entire wad of bills into Mulcahy's hand saying "Here, buy them what they don't need!".
  • In Episode 9.5, "Death Takes a Holiday," Charles secretly gifts the orphans hand-wrapped chocolates from Wallingford & Chadwick Confectioners of Boston, insisting to the orphanage director, Choi Sung Ho, (Keye Luke), that it remain anonymous. When Charles later learns that the chocolates had been traded to the black market he confronts Choi, but is brought up short when Choi explains the exchange provided "enough rice and cabbage to feed [the orphans] for a month." It is one of the more poignant "Charles Lessons", when he states "It is sadly inappropriate to give dessert to a child who has had no meal." Overhearing the exchange between Charles and Mr. Choi, Klinger brings Charles the remnants of a makeshift Christmas Dinner with the admonishment that "the source of this dinner must remain... anonymous. It's an old family tradition," Charles turns to him and realizes the humanity behind the gesture with a quiet, "Thank you, Max."
  • In episode 11.9, "Run For The Money", Charles stood up for a private who was being belittled for his stuttering, convincing the young man that his affectation is NOT a gauge of his intelligence. Charles then retreats to The Swamp and we learn, via a tape recording, that his beloved sister, Honoria, is similarly afflicted.
  • In episode 9.13, "No Laughing Matter", he refused to lie to protect Colonel Baldwin from charges of sexual assault on Major Houlihan, even though Baldwin intimated it might have meant a transfer back to Tokyo.
  • In episode 7.21, "Rally Round The Flagg, Boys", he set up Colonel Flagg to be humiliated before the mayor and police chief of Uijeongbu during one of his investigations into Hawkeye's decision to operate on a North Korean soldier before an American G.I.; it would be Flagg's final visit to the 4077th.

Charles' love of classical music helped him keep his sanity and was a key plot point in two episodes: In episode 8.19, Charles pulled a wounded concert pianist out of his depression by proving he could still make music despite the permanent damage to his hand by obtaining the sheet music for and having him play the Piano Concerto for the Left Hand (Ravel). Then, in the series finale, teaching a group of Chinese POW musicians a Mozart chamber piece. However, when the Chinese musicians are all killed in an artillery barrage while waiting to be exchanged (he learned of their deaths when one of them made it to the 4077th, only to die during triage), Charles smashed his recording of the quintet he had taught them. At the unit's farewell dinner, Charles confessed that while music had been his refuge in Korea, from then on it would always be a reminder.

Though nowhere near as flirtatious and lustful as Hawkeye, Winchester, being unmarried, was not immune to a desire for female companionship. His surgical knowledge and gentlemanly demeanor initially attracted Margaret Houlihan, and several overtures towards a dating relationship were mutually attempted (the creators of the show originally intended for Charles and Margaret to have a relationship as the latter did with Frank). However, the chemistry between the two was not there, so Charles and Margaret maintained a platonic relationship for the remainder of the series. He briefly attempted a Pygmalion-esque relationship with a local Korean prostitute, but quickly accepted her lack of appreciation for refinement and of Charles himself.

He also displays a keen sense of humor. Winchester often displays a dry wit, but his sillier side manifests in the form of pranks. Indeed, he enjoys April Fool's Day so much that he begins observing it in March, saying that "The festive spirit of April Fools' Day can scarcely be contained in a mere 24-hour period."

In the final episode, Charles receives a letter informing him he is being offered the position of Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the prestigious fictional Boston Mercy Hospital (with a little help from Margaret contacting her longtime family friend, "Uncle Bob"/Dr. Robert Harwell of Boston Mercy, much to Charles' irritation). However, when the members of the 4077th go their separate ways in the series finale, Charles gave Margaret a leatherbound, inscribed volume of "Sonnets from the Portuguese" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning as a farewell gift. He has an admiration for Colonel Potter, informing him as he leaves that in his new position he will follow his example of leadership. Charles finally departs the 4077th in a garbage truck which he considers oddly fitting.

Radar O'Reilly[edit]

M*A*S*H character
Gary Burghoff Radar MASH 1974.JPG
First appearance MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors
Last appearance W*A*L*T*E*R
Portrayed by Gary Burghoff
Gender Male
Title Corporal
Hometown Ottumwa, Iowa
United States

Corporal Walter Eugene "Radar" O’Reilly appears in the M*A*S*H novels, film and television series, as well as two episodes of the series AfterMASH, and the television pilot W*A*L*T*E*R. The character was portrayed by Gary Burghoff in both the film and on television, one of only two actors from the film to reprise his role on television. (The other was G. Wood, who played General Hammond in a couple of episodes.) The first cast member to be hired, he was the fourth and last to leave, following the departures of McLean Stevenson and Wayne Rogers in 1975, and Larry Linville in 1977. While Radar's full name is never given in the original novel or film, on the TV series it is Walter Eugene O'Reilly. The later novels by Richard Hooker and William Butterworth give his full name as J. Robespierre O'Reilly.

The novel establishes that Radar was from Ottumwa, Iowa and literally dreamed of joining the Army right after high school. (A first season TV episode (1/18), however, shows him receiving a high school diploma through a correspondence course.) He seems to have extra-sensory perception, appearing at his commander's side before being called and finishing his sentences. He also has exceptionally good hearing, able to hear helicopters before anyone else, and to tell from the rotor sounds if they are coming in loaded or not. It was these abilities that earned him the nickname "Radar." The character is inspired by company clerk Don Shaffer, who also was born in Ottumwa and nicknamed "Radar" by his compatriots, and who served alongside Hornberger in Korea.[33]

On television, Radar's character started off worldly and sneaky, consistent with the film. A clerk who carries with him at all times a pocketful of passes for any potential scam that might arise, he also has a racket of selling tickets for spying through a peephole into the nurses shower and is not averse to taking pictures of the nurses showers with a camera. At one point, he mails home a Jeep, piece by piece. (Hawkeye comments that once Radar's mailman found out, he'd have a retroactive hernia.) Another time, he cons nearly every member of MASH 4077 into buying mail order shoes. He is known for his tremendous appetite for heaping portions of food, is not averse to drinking Colonel Blake's brandy and smoking his cigars when the colonel is off-duty, and he occasionally drinks the moonshine liquor that Hawkeye and Trapper make in their still.

Soon after the pilot episode, Burghoff noted that the other characters were changing from the film portrayals and decided to follow. He and Gelbart evolved Radar into a naïve farm boy.[34] Cigars and strong liquor makes him ill or dizzy, and his favorite beverage is Nehi Brand Grape Soda. Despite numerous references to him losing his virginity in earlier episodes, he appears to have regained it later in the series. A possible in-universe explanation for the jarring change could be that Radar opted to curb his less than admirable ventures as he realized that the more stern Colonel Potter would never tolerate the kind of behavior that Colonel Blake had allowed. "The Novocaine Mutiny" reveals that Radar won $300 from Sgt. Zale in a poker game. He lost the ability to speak fluent Korean which should have been a blow to the camp as he was the only person who spoke it, even if in later episodes it is only a few halting sentences. In the episode "Fallen Idol," Radar receives a Purple Heart after being wounded during a mortar barrage. A running gag is Radar running the camp PA and radio network; in one episode he transmits messages to a Navy carrier by morse code.[35] He is very briefly promoted to 2nd Lieutenant as the result of a poker game. Other members of the camp begin to mistreat him due to envy, Radar becomes disillusioned with officer rank, and he persuades Hawkeye and B.J. to get him demoted back to Corporal. ("It feels like I'm not one of the guys anymore.")

Burghoff appeared in every episode of the show's first three seasons. After season three, doing the series had become a strain on the actor's family life, and he had his contract changed to limit his appearances to 13 episodes per season out of the usual 24 (during these times, the character of Radar was usually on R&R). By season 7, Burghoff started experiencing burnout and decided it was time to move on, despite co-star Mike Farrell trying to persuade him to stay on the grounds that his career would not recover. Because of that, the producers originally planned to end season 7 with Radar leaving, but CBS did not want to do that. Instead they persuaded Burghoff to come back during season 8 to do a special two-part farewell episode titled "Good-Bye Radar" in which Radar was granted a hardship discharge after the death of his Uncle Ed to help on the family farm, which he accepted after being satisfied that Klinger could replace him.

Burghoff reprised the role of Radar for a two-part episode of the follow-up series AfterMASH, which led to production of W*A*L*T*E*R, a pilot for a proposed spin-off series that would have followed Radar after his return to America. Production never proceeded past the pilot, which aired once on CBS.

Father Mulcahy[edit]

Father Mulcahy
M*A*S*H character
First appearance MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors
Last appearance "Saturday's Heroes" (AfterMASH)
Portrayed by Film: René Auberjonois
Television: William Christopher (George Morgan for the pilot)
Gender Male
Title First Lieutenant (O-2)
Captain (O-3) U.S.A.R.
Hometown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.

1st Lieutenant (later Captain) Francis John Patrick Mulcahy S.J., commonly called Father Mulcahy, appears in the film M*A*S*H, played by René Auberjonois, and the television series, played by William Christopher. He was played by George Morgan in the pilot episode of the television series, but the producers decided that a quirkier individual was needed for the role, and Christopher was cast in his place. (Morgan can be seen in the opening credits of each episode, however.)

During the course of the television series, Father Mulcahy's name was changed from John Patrick Francis Mulcahy to Francis John Patrick Mulcahy (as he revealed in episode 7 of Season 8 when asked by a nurse he was counseling). Either form of the name is an attempt to reconcile his identification as "Father John P. Mulcahy" in the pilot episode with the name "Francis Mulcahy" established later on. It is also established that he has a sibling, Kathy, who is a Catholic nun:[36] he frequently talks about "my sister the Sister." He can also be seen from time to time wearing a Loyola sweatshirt. Though it is not made completely clear which Loyola is represented, it is probably Loyola University Maryland, which is closest to his established hometown of Philadelphia. Another of his more frequently seen accessories, especially in the later seasons, is a Panama hat.

In the original film (as well as the Richard Hooker novel on which it is based), Mulcahy is familiarly known by the nickname "Dago Red" ("dago" is an offensive term referring to Italians, and "red" refers to his red hair; in the book, the character's father is Irish and mother is Italian). It should also be noted that "dago red" is a reference to cheap Italian homemade jug wine and may have referred to the wine used in Roman Catholic Communion. In an O.R. scene in the M*A*S*H pilot episode, Trapper can be heard addressing Mulcahy as "Red," and Hawkeye calls Mulcahy "Red" in "Dear Dad"; however, the nickname was quickly phased out of the series, as were similar ethnic slurs that had been used in the book. Starting in Season Four, and especially after Harry Morgan joined the series, Mulcahy was called "Padre," and kept that nickname for the rest of the series. The term has used in the United States Army to affectionately address any chaplain, including rabbis, for many decades.

The character Father John "Johnny" Patrick 'Dago Red' Mulcahy in the film is a US Army chaplain assigned to the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War. While most of the staff is not religious, they treat Mulcahy with some respect. It is Mulcahy who alerts the doctors that the camp dentist, "Painless", is severely depressed. Afterwards, Mulcahy reluctantly helps the doctors to stage the famous "Last Supper" faux suicide, to convince Painless that he should continue with life.

Throughout the film, Mulcahy seems bewildered by the doctors' amoral pranks and womanizing behavior. When Radar places a hidden microphone inside Hot Lips' tent as she and Frank Burns make love, members of the camp listen in, and Mulcahy at first mistakes their conversation (and noises) for an episode of The Bickersons—then leaves abruptly when he realizes otherwise.

Eventually in the series, (as with everyone else) Mulcahy's character is fleshed out. He's revealed to be a very good boxer and boxing fan. This came about when his father took him to a boxing match (against his will) and was impressed when "Gentleman Joe" Cavanaugh, the boxer who would become his idol, stepped away and asked the referee to stop the fight because he felt his opponent was too badly beaten to go on. An old priest and mentor in Jesuit school taught his students that boxing built character.

There is a running joke that Mulcahy always wins the betting pools. On one occasion, when asked who he knew, he looked to the sky with a smile. Despite his luck in larger betting events, he doesn't perform better at poker than normal. Instances of Mulcahy gambling were usually coupled with references that he donates his winnings to the local orphanage.

Mulcahy was often troubled over whether his role as chaplain and religious leader had any importance compared to the doctors' obvious talent for saving lives. As the series went on, several opportunities for heroic acts presented themselves:

  • In "Mulcahy's War," a soldier shot himself in the foot to avoid engaging in combat. Mulcahy tried to offer counsel, but was refused because he had no experience in combat. He then volunteered, against Colonel Potter's orders, to go to Battalion Aid to be closer to the fighting. When he and Radar were returning with a patient with an injured throat, Mulcahy performed an emergency tracheotomy under enemy fire, with Hawkeye Pierce giving him step-by-step instructions over the camp radio. Following his return to the 4077th, the soldier who had shot himself agreed to talk to him.
  • In "Tea and Empathy," he learns of the location where penicillin stolen from the 4077th is stashed and, with Corporal Klinger's help, retrieves it under sniper fire.
  • In "An Eye for a Tooth," he volunteered to serve as a medical chopper's counterweight so a critically wounded patient could be delivered to the camp. His action led to Colonel Potter's recommending him for a commendation and had more than a little to do with his finally receiving a long-overdue promotion to Captain.
  • In "Out of Gas," he tries to cut a deal with local black marketeers to obtain a supply of desperately needed sodium pentathol. His negotiations are disrupted by Major Winchester's haggling, but he and Winchester steal the pentathol from the crooks under fire and safely deliver it back to camp.
  • In "Blood Brothers," Mulcahy is apprehensive over a visit from Cardinal Reardon, who is touring Korea (and evaluating the performance of the deployed Roman Catholic chaplains for the Church). Instead of preparing a spirited sermon to hopefully impress the cardinal at his next chapel service, he spends an entire night sitting up with a young soldier (played by Patrick Swazye) and helping him come to terms with the fact that he has leukemia. At the ensuing service (which Reardon attends), an exhausted Mulcahy tells the story of that soldier rather than delivering a sermon. His simple eloquence results in Cardinal Reardon hugging him and informing him before going on to take the service, "Father, you're a tough act to follow."
  • In "Identity Crisis," a Corporal Mullen, suffering from the loss of his buddy Corporal Levin in battle, steals his dog tags and intends to receive a discharge from the Army under the name of Levin, as Levin was scheduled to ship back stateside. Mullen also pocketed his orders. Mullen then confesses his true identity to Mulcahy, but the priest is reluctant to grant him absolution because Mullen still intends to use Levin's dog tags and orders to get himself sent home. Looking for advice from Colonel Potter, Mulcahy finds the colonel sorting through artifacts of his home life, and from that discovers a solution. Father Mulcahy gathers letters addressed to Levin and reads them to Mullen, and explains Mullen will have to deal with the people from Levin's family if he is to go through with his plan. Mulcahy points out that Mullen will have to live with whatever decision he makes for the rest of his life. Ultimately, Mullen resumes his true identity and returns to his unit.
  • In "A Holy Mess," Mulcahy counsels a distraught AWOL soldier, who has just learned his unfaithful wife has had a baby with another man and claims the right of sanctuary in Mulcahy's "church," aka the mess tent. When the MPs come to arrest him, the soldier panics and grabs his rifle. Mulcahy disarms the soldier by grabbing the rifle and throwing it away, even though it was pointed straight at him.
  • In the series finale "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen," he is nearly killed and afterwards is revealed to have been rendered nearly deaf during an artillery barrage directed at the 4077th by the enemy during the run-up to the cease-fire that ended the war. Mulcahy had run out to a POW holding pen to let the prisoners out so they could take shelter from the shelling, and a shell burst right behind him as he ran for cover himself. The concussion badly damaged his hearing. He made his postwar choice of working with the deaf known at the 4077th's farewell dinner, though he did not say why. Of all the people in the unit, only B.J. Hunnicutt knew of Mulcahy's deafness, and he helped him cover it up.

Harry Morgan, William Christopher, and Jamie Farr were invited to star in a spin-off series at CBS, called AfterMASH. The show was set in the fictional General Pershing VA Hospital (also known as "General General"), located in the equally fictional River Bend, Missouri. To resolve the problems a deaf Father Mulcahy would have caused the writers, he recovered most of his hearing after undergoing an experimental operation at Colonel Potter's recommendation, and became General General's Catholic chaplain.

Maxwell Klinger[edit]

M*A*S*H character
Alan Alda Jamie Farr Hawkeye and Klinger MASH 1977.JPG
First appearance "Chief Surgeon Who?"
Last appearance "Saturday's Heroes" (AfterMASH)
Portrayed by Television: Jamie Farr
Gender Male
Title Corporal
Hometown Toledo, Ohio
United States

Corporal (later Sergeant) Maxwell Q. Klinger appears in the M*A*S*H television series played by American actor Jamie Farr. Klinger was the first main character introduced on M*A*S*H not to have appeared in either Richard Hooker's original M*A*S*H novel or the subsequent film.

Despite the writers giving him a German/Jewish-sounding name, Klinger is an Arab-American of Lebanese descent hailing from Toledo, Ohio (like Farr himself). He serves as an orderly/corpsman (and later company clerk) assigned to the 4077th near Uijeongbu during the Korean War.

The character's original defining characteristic is his continuous attempts to gain a Section 8 psychiatric discharge from the Army, by habitually wearing women's clothing and engaging in other "crazy" stunts. Despite lectures and warnings from his superiors, Klinger never gives up his discharge attempts.[37] He made it a point to play up his antics to visiting high-ranking officers in an attempt to gain their sympathy. When Colonel Potter first took command of the 4077th, Klinger immediately tried to play on his sympathies, but Potter wasn't fooled and ordered him into uniform.

He eventually gives up his attempts at a Section Eight when he is later picked by Colonel Potter to replace Radar as company clerk, and takes his duties even more seriously when he is promoted to sergeant; the writers had decided to "tap into his street skills" to flesh out his character. In episode 8.12, "Dear Uncle Abdul", Klinger writes to his uncle about the crazy goings-on in camp, ending with the reflection "You see, Unc? It's no wonder I never got a Section Eight-- there's nothing special about me; everybody here is crazy!" Klinger is a fan of the Toledo Mud Hens, an actual minor league baseball team, and occasionally voices his high opinion of the hot dogs at Packo's, an actual Toledo restaurant.

Klinger's first appearance was in episode 1.4, "Chief Surgeon Who?". In that episode's original script, Klinger was an effeminate gay man, but the writers later agreed that it would be more interesting to have Klinger be heterosexual, but wear dresses in an attempt to gain a Section Eight discharge.[38] Klinger claimed on a couple of occasions that the cross-dressing dodge had kept his Uncle Abdul out of the Army during World War II. Uncle Abdul also reportedly sent Klinger bits of his old wardrobe from time to time.

During his time as corpsman Klinger also pulled nighttime guard duty. In episode 6.25, "Major Topper," Klinger was charged with keeping a close watch on Corporal "Boots" Miller, a newly-assigned corpsman who was shown to be mentally unstable. During guard duty, Miller hallucinated and suddenly fired his rifle in the air thinking enemy gliders were flying by. Later, when Klinger tries to inform Potter about Miller's unhinged behavior Potter, thinking that Klinger and Miller were conspiring together to get our of the Army, refuses to believe him until Miller shows up, pointing his rifle toward the imaginary prisoners of the imaginary glider. Potter and Klinger got Boots a Section Eight discharge.

Series writer Larry Gelbart stated during the M*A*S*H 30th Anniversary Reunion special that Klinger's antics were inspired by stories of Lenny Bruce attempting to dodge his own military service by dressing himself as a U.S. Navy WAVE.

In episode 3.6 "Springtime", Klinger, via radio, marries Laverne Esposito, his hometown girlfriend. Near the end of season 6 he had received a Dear John letter from Laverne saying she had found another man; she later divorces the other man and marries Gus Nagy, Klinger's best friend. In the final episodes of the series, Klinger falls in love with Soon Lee Han (Rosalind Chao), a beautiful Korean refugee searching for her family; Klinger proposes to her in the series finale, but she refuses to leave Korea until she finds her family, so in an ironic twist of fate, while Klinger announces their upcoming nuptials at the 4077th's farewell dinner, he also states that he's staying in Korea with Soon Lee to help her find her parents.

The AfterMASH pilot reveals their ultimate fate: The war had wiped out Soon Lee's family's livelihood, and Klinger helped his in-laws set themselves up again as farmers (and would continue to send them money from the States). Afterwards, Max returned to Toledo with Soon Lee and attempted to settle down, but Soon Lee was discriminated against and Max, unable to find work, was arrested for bookmaking. At his trial, he pleaded with the judge for leniency, telling of his experience in Korea, and then showing him a letter from Colonel Potter offering him a job as his assistant in River Bend, Missouri. The judge agrees and drops the charges.

Recurring characters[edit]

Nurse Kellye[edit]

1st Lt. Kealani Kellye was portrayed by Kellye Nakahara. She appeared in 86 episodes of the series, more episodes than some main characters, such as Henry Blake and Trapper John. The character grew steadily from a background (often non-speaking) character in the first season, culminating in the season 11 episode "Hey, Look Me Over" which was centered around the character. In her first appearances, her name changed several times before it finally settled on "Nurse Kellye"; for example, she was referred to as "Nurse Able" in her first appearance in "A Full Rich Day". The first name "Kealani" was never spoken on screen, but according to interviews with the actress, that was the first name used on set when referring to the character.[39] On several occasions, though, she is called "Lt. Nakahara," notably in the season 10 episode "The Birthday Girls," and in the last regular episode of season 11, the final episode filmed, "As Time Goes By," Major Houlihan refers to Kellye as "Lt. Nakahara".

Originally from Honolulu, she described herself as "part Chinese, part Hawaiian" in Episode 8/11 "Life Time" and speaks Japanese, as revealed in "Communication Breakdown". She had great pride in her Asian American heritage and frequently took umbrage at racial slurs leveled by Frank Burns. Her family lives in Honolulu according to her statements in the final episode.

Nakahara joined Morgan, Christopher and Farr on AfterMASH, albeit off-camera, as the recurring voice of the public address system at the V.A. hospital.

Igor Straminsky[edit]

Private Igor Straminsky was generally portrayed by actor Jeff Maxwell, although Peter Riegert played him in two sixth season episodes. He debuted in the second season and appeared on and off up until the series finale. He has appeared in more episodes than any recurring character except Nurse Kellye.

Igor's role was often to serve food out in the mess and therefore also to serve as the foil for a lot of the complaints about the state of the food. He is also sometimes tasked with duties with Radar, as seen in the episode "Mulcahy's War".

In "Promotion Commotion", Igor relentlessly tries to impress Hawkeye and B.J., so he can be promoted to Corporal. He once mentioned to Father Mulcahy that he sets aside three dollars from each salary payment for the local orphanage.

In "The Price of Tomato Juice," Igor identifies himself as "Maxwell," (a goof on the part of actor Jeff Maxwell) and Major Frank Burns also refers to him as "Maxwell" in the following line of dialogue.

Igor became a fan favorite with both the fan base and the network. In later seasons, his roles were expanding, making him more of a recurring cast member.

Luther Rizzo[edit]

Staff Sergeant Luther Wilson Rizzo was played by G. W. Bailey. In the show, he was the sergeant in charge of the motor pool. While originally written to be from New York City, when the producers heard Bailey's southern accent in his first dailies his character was moved to Louisiana.[40] He was known for his slow, deep, Louisiana drawl (Bailey himself is in fact Texan) and his slightly disheveled look. Though the motor pool seemed to function well, it did so despite Rizzo's casual work style and frequent naps. His philosophy on success in the army was that it was possible to never do work, so long as your superiors don't see you enjoy yourself: "Where else [but the Army] can you be a bum and get paid for it?"

In the Season 10 episode "Promotion Commotion", Rizzo was one of three 4077th enlisted that appeared before a promotion board consisting of Hawkeye, B.J., and Winchester. He was not promoted, but made it clear that he was American "with an American wife and American son (Billy Bubba)." In Episode 10/21 his first name is given as "Wilson".

Rizzo enjoys shooting craps, and seems to win more than he loses. He also is the camp loan shark, getting Charles on his hook at one point to the extent he had to have money sent from home to clear his debt with the cigar-chewing sergeant.

Sergeant Rizzo is known to carry a grudge. On one occasion, he borrowed a deactivated hand grenade from Igor and used it to scare B.J. out of the shower after B.J. had given him a hard time. He had harsh words with Winchester when the latter, acting as motor pool officer, required him to completely disassemble a jeep's engine and lay it out on white sheets, for no good reason that Rizzo could see. There was little doubt of the malicious delight he took in "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" when he drove Winchester out of the deactivated camp to his next assignment—in the camp garbage truck.

In the series finale, at the 4077th's final dinner Rizzo claimed that he would be going home to work on a new moneymaking venture: breeding frogs to sell to French restaurants. This is a minor error; Rizzo had re-enlisted in the Army service in a previous episode.

Sidney Freedman[edit]

Major Sidney Theodore Freedman, M.D., played by Allan Arbus, is a psychiatrist frequently summoned in cases of mental health problems; the name is a play on that of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. When Radar was written out of the series, the writers considered adding Sidney Freedman as a regular character. However, Allan Arbus didn't want to commit to be anything other than a guest star, so the character remained an occasionally recurring character.[citation needed] In the M*A*S*H 30th Anniversary Special that aired on Fox in 2002, Arbus was the only non-regular cast member to be featured on the special.

Freedman's first appearance was in the episode "Radar's Report". He visited the camp to do a psychiatric evaluation of Klinger, who was aiming for a Section 8 discharge (as always). After Freedman had finished the report, he quietly took Klinger in for an interview and told him that while he is obviously not mentally ill, Freedman was willing to declare him a transvestite and a homosexual. This label would not leave him, though; as Sidney put it: "From now on, you go through life on high heels." Klinger vociferously denied, "I ain't any of those things! I'm just crazy!" Klinger's discharge was uniformly dropped, and Freedman left the camp. In this first appearance in the series, Dr. Freedman's first name was Milton instead of Sidney.

Freedman appears in 12 M*A*S*H episodes: "Radar's Report" (as Milton Freedman), "Deal Me Out", "O.R.", "Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler?", "Dear Sigmund", "Hawk's Nightmare", "War of Nerves" (in which he qualified for a Purple Heart by being wounded while performing therapy follow-up on one of his patients), "The Billfold Syndrome", "Goodbye, Cruel World", "Bless You, Hawkeye", "Pressure Points", and the series finale, "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen". He is also mentioned, but does not appear onscreen, in the episodes "Mad Dogs and Servicemen," "Heal Thyself", "A Holy Mess", and "Trick or Treatment".

In the episode "O.R.", Freedman told those gathered in the operating room, "Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice: Pull down your pants and slide on the ice." He repeated that advice in the series finale, following his treatment of Hawkeye, who had finally cracked under the strain of the war. Freedman led Hawkeye to stop suppressing the memory of seeing a Korean mother smothering her crying baby in an effort to keep it silent, so that a nearby Chinese patrol would not find and kill or capture their group. (In Hawkeye's suppression, he had 'remembered' that the mother had killed a 'chicken', until Freedman brought the true memory into the light.) He convinced a reluctant Hawkeye that the best thing for him now was to return to duty for the last days of the war.

After leaving Korea and the Army, Dr. Freedman accepts a post at the University of Chicago (at which a similarly named economist taught). The AfterMASH episode "Madness to His Method" has as its frame Colonel Potter writing a letter in Missouri about the episode's situation to an unseen Freedman.

Colonel (Sam) Flagg[edit]

Lieutenant Colonel (later Colonel) Sam Flagg is played by Edward Winter. Col. Flagg is an American intelligence agent. His behavior is paranoid and irrational and he appears to the staff of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital to be mentally unstable; the fact that he deliberately seriously injures himself to advance an investigation seems proof of that (these included jumping out of Sherman Potter's office window, and re-breaking his arm with the camp's X-ray machine). At one point, he tries to get into Counter Intelligence Corps headquarters by crashing his jeep into a brick wall and setting himself on fire. (When told this, Hawkeye responds, "Is this guy available for kids' parties?") In that episode, to get into the 4077th, he orders a helicopter pilot to crash and then twice breaks his own arm.[41] He alternately claims to be affiliated with the CIA, the CIC, or the CID, and occasionally all at once, depending on to whom he is speaking. Example: "I'm with the CIA, but I tell people I'm with the CIC, so they think I'm with the CID."[42] Majors Frank Burns and Margaret Houlihan, both vicious McCarthy-style anti-Communists, follow his assignments with great interest, but are unable to "buddy up" to him as they hope. As Flagg says, "Nobody can get the truth out of me because even I don't know what it is. I keep myself in a constant state of utter confusion." At some point, however, Major Houlihan loses her respect for Flagg, as revealed in an episode in which she claims that he gives Americans a bad name.

Flagg investigates a penicillin theft in the episode White Gold. During the course of his investigation, he shows his papers on the camp's members to Lt. Colonel Henry Blake, Trapper John McIntyre and Hawkeye Pierce. There are red marks next to Trapper and Hawkeye, at which he explains "enemies of the state" and yellow marks next to Blake's, at which he remarks to Blake, "work on it."

Attitude towards Flagg differed among the members of the 4077th. Hawkeye, Trapper, and B. J. refused to be intimidated by him, often returning his insults equally or better than received. Burns, Radar and Father Mulcahy were somewhat afraid of him, and Henry Blake often allowed himself to be manipulated by his bullying. Flagg would meet his match in Colonel Potter, who refused to allow Flagg to manipulate him with words ("I'm not fond of personal abuse, Colonel. I was in this man's Army when the only thumb you cared about was the one you had in your mouth!"). Flagg on one occasion countered this by circumventing Potter and obtaining, in effect, his written permission through I Corps to interrogate a wounded North Korean soldier. It was Winchester, however, who orchestrated the end of Flagg's machinations by duping him into believing that a weekly bridge game with two South Korean officials was a Communist plot. When Flagg attempted to arrest the officials, they threatened to report him to I Corps.[43] Flagg was never seen again after this.

His paranoia is so fanatical that Flagg even accuses Major Burns twice of being a communist agent on the grounds that Burns has seen a performance of the Bolshoi Ballet in Tokyo and is reading Reader's Digest, which Flagg notes would be "Red's Digest" if the 3rd, 5th, and 6th letters were eliminated. A running gag is Burns almost being beaten up by Flagg—when Burns calls Flagg crazy, Flagg threatens to rip Burns' heart out. Another time, Burns tries to buddy up to Flagg by slapping him on the shoulder. Flagg icily tells Burns "My father touched me like that once. To this day, he still has to wear orthopedic shirts."

Edward Winter's first appearance on M*A*S*H is in the second season episode "Deal Me Out", in which he plays a CID captain named Halloran, and is listed in the credits as such. In the fourth season episode "Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler?"—the next episode in which both Flagg and Sidney Freedman appear—Flagg greets Sidney with the statement "We played poker once," to which Sidney replies, "Oh sure; with Intelligence, right?" M*A*S*H often uses recurring actors to portray different characters; however, the example of Capt. Halloran can be explained as one of Flagg's many aliases.

Colonel Flagg appears in seven M*A*S*H episodes: "Deal Me Out" (as Capt. Halloran), "A Smattering of Intelligence", "Officer of the Day", "White Gold", "Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler?", "The Abduction of Margaret Houlihan", and "Rally 'Round the Flagg, Boys". In "A Smattering of Intelligence" his first name is given as "Sam"; a running gag is that his rank insignia is the same as that of the Commanding Officer of MASH 4077 either Lt. Col. or Colonel, although he first appears as a Captain; both his rank and his last name may be covers.

His final appearance was in the episode "Rally 'Round the Flagg, Boys", in which he attempted to recruit Major Winchester as an agent to spy on Hawkeye following Pierce's triaging a North Korean ahead of an American GI. Charles dealt with him by insinuating Pierce's spymasters would appear at that evening's bridge game, which led to Flagg accusing the mayor and chief of police of Uijeongbu of being Communists. Considering that those politicians angrily vowed to use their connections with Flagg's superiors to ensure that he was punished, Flagg was not seen at the 4077th again.

Flagg resurfaces a few years after the war, in a Hannibal, Missouri courtroom (as seen in the AfterMASH episode "Trials"), in which he uses the name Flagg and asserts employment with an intelligence organization "which has initials and its members are allowed to carry firearms in their shoes."

Ken Levine, a writer for both M*A*S*H and AfterMASH, wrote in 2011, "We loved writing Col. Flagg (the hilarious Ed Winter) but always felt there was a danger in going to that well too often. So we tried to use him sparingly (once a season or every other season). He was incredibly funny but that character was very broad and we didn’t want him to wear out his welcome."[1]

Spearchucker Jones[edit]

Captain Oliver Harmon "Spearchucker" Jones originally appears in the novel MASH, and was portrayed by Fred Williamson in the movie and Timothy Brown in the television series. Spearchucker was shown during several episodes during the first season of the series. His full name was never mentioned in the series. The character's middle name was Harmon in the film and Wendell in the novels. He is a board-certified neurosurgeon in the film, and in the episode in which Hawkeye becomes chief surgeon, Spearchucker's specialty is indicated as he struggles to do surgery and when he asks Hawkeye for help he says "anything outside of the brain and I'm dead".

Dr. Jones was one of the original Swampmen with Trapper, Hawkeye, and Frank Burns, and was the sole black surgeon at the 4077th. In the pilot episode, to raise funds for Ho-Jon's education, Trapper jokingly suggests selling Spearchucker. During his brief run on the show, it was implied that he and nurse Ginger Bayliss (played by Odessa Cleveland) were romantically involved.

Spearchucker's role was limited. It is implied he assisted Hawkeye and Trapper in their schemes on the sidelines. The producers decided to drop the character after the first few episodes reasoning that they wouldn't be able to write enough meaningful episodes for Spearchucker if they were concentrating on Hawkeye and Trapper. Some accounts assert the producers were unable to find evidence for black Army surgeons in Korea; there were, however, a number of black surgeons who served in the U.S. military at the time.[44]

"Spearchucker" Jones was also a character in both the novel M*A*S*H (and its sequels) by Richard Hooker and Robert Altman's movie. In each, the Spearchucker character is a superior surgeon who was also a stand-out collegiate athlete ("Spearchucker," a common racial slur, is said to instead in this case refer to his javelin-throwing prowess). Initially, he is transferred to the 4077th to help them win a football game against a rival outfit. It is established in the novel that Jones is from Duke Forrest's hometown of Forest Park, Georgia, and knew Duke's father. Duke makes racist comments about Jones, causing Hawkeye and Trapper to punish Duke. In the novel it is related that while a poorly paid resident, he had been scouted by the Philadelphia Eagles playing semi-professional football in New Jersey for extra cash, and had been signed by the Eagles, playing with them until caught up in the draft. According to the movie, his professional football career had been with the San Francisco 49ers prior to the war in Korea. Coincidentally, Timothy Brown played seven seasons of his 9-year NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles.

In the sequel novels, particularly M*A*S*H Goes to Maine, Jones joins the other doctors in their practice in Spruce Harbor, Maine, becoming a highly successful doctor and prominent citizen.

Ugly John[edit]

Captain "Ugly" John Black was portrayed by Carl Gottlieb in the movie, and John Orchard in the TV series. The character on the television show was an anesthesiologist from Australia, often depicted wearing an Australian Slouch hat. In the book, he was an American who had "trained in the States with McIntyre." In the film, he is an American (as he can be seen wearing the insignia of a U.S. Army Captain), but his background is not discussed. In the TV series, Ugly John was only present in the first season. He began as a significant supporting member of the cast, often engaged in poker games with Hawkeye and Trapper, but by the end of the season he was rarely seen outside brief O.R. scenes. Ugly John was never seen living in "The Swamp" and there was no fifth bunk, though it was the only quarters for subordinate male officers ever seen. In the episode "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet", Hawkeye says that he shares a tent with three other doctors. The script was likely written before Spearchucker was dropped and the writers presumably overlooked editing that line of dialogue. However, Ugly John was still a recurring character, and may have been one of the "three other doctors." John Orchard later returned to the show for the Season 8 episode "Captains Outrageous", this time playing a drunken and corrupt Australian Military Policeman "Sgt. Muldoon".


Ho-Jon was portrayed by Patrick Adiarte in the series. In the original novel, Ho-Jon is described as a 17-year-old Korean, tall, thin, bright, Christian, and living in Seoul. He is drafted into the South Korean army, subsequently wounded and sent back to the 4077th for treatment. After rehabilitation, he resumes his position as "Swampboy". The Swampmen, who are very fond of Ho-Jon, arrange to have him sent to Hawkeye's old college in the US. To raise funds, Trapper grows a beard, poses as Jesus Christ (complete with a cross mounted on a jeep or hanging from a helicopter), and autographs thousands of photos which the Swampmen sell for a buck apiece. In M*A*S*H Goes to Maine, Ho-Jon is briefly seen again, having pursued a successful career in university administration. In M*A*S*H Mania he is shown to have become the Director of Admissions at Androscoggin College (Hawkeye's alma mater).

In the film, Ho-Jon is drafted, and Hawkeye drives him to the induction center. The Korean doctor who examines Ho-Jon discovers that Hawkeye has given him drugs to induce hypertension and tachycardia (so that he will fail the induction physical). Ho-Jon is last seen in the film being led away by South Korean soldiers while the doctor tells Hawkeye that he has seen through the trick.

In the screenplay, Ho-Jon is wounded and sent to the 4077th; however, his surgery is unsuccessful, and he dies. The final film omits this storyline, although a scene showing Ho-Jon in the operating room remains with overdubbed dialogue (Houlihan: "That man's a prisoner of war, Doctor." Trapper: "So are you, Sweetheart, but you don't know it.") and a scene showing a jeep driving off with the deceased Ho-Jon, causing a brief pause in the poker game.[45]

In the pilot episode Ho-Jon is accepted at Hawkeye's old college, just as in the novel. In the TV version, the doctors raise funds for him by raffling off a weekend pass to Tokyo with Nurse Dish.

In the episode "I Hate a Mystery", Ho-Jon steals many valuable items and Hawkeye's poker winnings in order to bribe the border guards to bring his family down from the North. This contrasts with an incident in the pilot where he receives his college acceptance letter and leaves to tell his parents, who presumably live nearby.

Lieutenant Dish[edit]

1st Lieutenant Maria "Dish" Schneider was played by Jo Ann Pflug in the film and (as Lt. Maggie Dish) by Karen Philipp in the series. She was a nurse at the 4077th MASH during the Korean War.

Dish's role in the finished film was limited, as a large portion of her role did not make the final cut. The same thing happened to the character in the television series. After being prominently featured as Hawkeye's love interest in the pilot, she appeared in only one further episode (Episode 1/11) before leaving the show entirely. However, she continued to be featured in the opening credit montage sequence (wherein the M*A*S*H staff run toward approaching helicopters) for most of the show's run.

Donald Penobscott[edit]

Lieutenant Colonel Donald Penobscott was played by two actors, Beeson Carroll and former football player and Tarzan actor Mike Henry.

Donald is introduced in name only at the start of the fifth season. Tall, dark, handsome, and muscular, he is a Lieutenant Colonel and graduate of West Point whom Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan (Loretta Swit) meets while she is on leave in Tokyo. She falls madly in love with him on the spot, and he quickly asks her to marry him. Margaret promptly accepts, leading to a falling out with her former flame Frank Burns.

Penobscott is not actually seen until the season-ending episode "Margaret's Marriage", wherein Donald (played by Carroll) arrives to marry Margaret at the 4077th. Hawkeye and B.J. have a bachelor party for him, and after he passes out from drunkenness, the hosts, also inebriated, decide to play a joke on Penobscott by plastering him from his chest to his toes, intending to tell him that he had broken both his legs during the night. The cast is still on during the wedding ceremony, and he is unable to move without assistance. The wedding is cut short by incoming wounded, which leaves Donald in the mess hall, unable to move in his body cast. As Margaret leaves for her honeymoon, they make a halfhearted attempt to tell her that the cast could be removed, but she doesn't hear them over the sound of the helicopter.

He is not seen again until the sixth season episode "The M*A*S*H Olympics", in which Donald (played this time by Henry) arrives to visit Margaret and ends up taking part in the 4077th's amateur Olympics competition; he almost wins a race against portly Sgt. First Class Ames, but Penobscott trips over himself while showing off.

He is mentioned frequently throughout the 6th and 7th seasons, particularly in reference to problems Margaret and Donald are having. For example, in the episode "In Love and War", a new nurse arrives at the 4077th. After saying she was recently involved with a colonel named Donald, Margaret comes to the conclusion that Donald has cheated on her, and she flies into a rage against the nurse. In "Comrades in Arms", Margaret receives a letter from Donald that was meant for another woman—a letter that says unkind things about Margaret and hints at Donald having an affair with the other woman. Finally, in the season 7 episode "Peace on Us", Margaret announces she's getting a divorce. Margaret receives her official divorce decree from Donald in the episode "Hot Lips is Back in Town".

Zelmo Zale[edit]

Staff Sergeant Zelmo Zale was portrayed by Johnny Haymer.[46] Zale was the supply sergeant[47] for the 4077th MASH and also was the camp's electrician; he was shown trying to keep the camp's generator going until it blew and repairing the juke box in the officers' club after the Marines busted it up. He mentions in one episode that he was from Brooklyn, which was the reason he didn't know what people who were heading to California in the late 1840s were looking for, when quizzed. He made his first appearance in the Season 2 episode, "For Want of a Boot", and his final appearance in the Season 8 episode, "Good-Bye Radar" (which also marked Gary Burghoff's last appearance on the show as Corporal Radar O'Reilly). Zale's name is mentioned for the final time in "Yes Sir, That's Our Baby". A running gag is his feud with Maxwell Klinger-once Klinger hit Zale for insulting the Toledo Mud Hens and got put on KP for a whole month. Another time Major Burns manipulated Klinger and Zale into a boxing match, which resulted in Burns being knocked out by both men.

Roy Goldman[edit]

Roy Goldman is a corpsman who is assigned various duties at the 4077th. His name was not used for several seasons, and in an early season he is referred to as either Carter or Willis (it is not clear which name is his). Later the name "Goldman" was firmly established as his own. He is usually seen in a non-medical setting (such as guard duty), though he also does chores within the hospital. Goldman appears off and on throughout the run of series, usually when a soldier is needed for a random line or reaction. When Hawkeye walks into the mess tent naked, for example, Goldman is the first one to notice, dropping his metal tray in shock. He rarely has more than one or two lines, though in the episode "The Red/White Blues", his reaction to a medication is an important plot point and he speaks quite a bit more. (It is hinted in that episode that he is Jewish.) The character was played by an actor not coincidentally named Roy Goldman.

Dennis Troy[edit]

Like Roy, he is a corpsman, and he is frequently seen together with Roy. Sometimes he is a jeep driver. Dennis has a mustache and straight hair and rarely speaks beyond a few words. In one episode, Officer of the Day, his last name is said to be Carter or Willis (it is unclear who is being referred to), though one of those names applies to Roy Goldman (see above), thus one can assume that the name was merely a one-time usage.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hornberger, Richard. MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors, William Morrow, 1968, p. 12
  2. ^ "The Crusader". America in Primetime. Season 1. 2011-11-20. PBS. 
  3. ^ Gelbart, Larry, & Marks, Lawrence. M*A*S*H, Episode 3/5, "O.R." First aired October 8, 1974. Retrieved May 20, 2015
  4. ^ Kleinschmitt, Carl. M*A*S*H, Episode 1/17, "Sometimes You Hear The Bullet." First aired January 28, 1973. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  5. ^ Davis, Elias & Pollack, David. Episode 9/16, "The Red/White Blues." First aired March 9, 1981.
  6. ^ Marks, Lawrence. M*A*S*H, Episode 3/3, "Officer of the Day." First aired September 24, 1974. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  7. ^ Fold, Jay. M*A*S*H, Episode 5/11, "Hawkeye, Get Your Gun." First aired November 30, 1976. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  8. ^ Season 11, Episode 6, "Bombshells"
  9. ^ M*A*S*H Episode 1/16, "The Ringbanger." First aired January 23, 1973.
  10. ^ Gelbart, Larry. M*A*S*H, Episode 1/12, "Dear Dad." First aired December 17, 1972. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  11. ^ Gelbart, Larry, & Marks, Lawrence. M*A*S*H, Episode 3/5, "O.R." First aired October 8, 1974. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  12. ^ Klane, Robert & Gelbart, Larry. M*A*SH, Episode 1/24, "Showtime." First aired March 25, 1973. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
  13. ^ Gelbart, Larry. Laughing Matters: On Writing M*A*S*H, Tootsie, Oh, God!, and a Few Other Funny Things. 1998. ISBN 0-679-42945-X
  14. ^ Gelbart, Larry (1998). Laughing Matters:: On Writing M*A*S*H, Tootsie, Oh, God!, and a Few Other Funny Things. Random House. ISBN 978-0-679-42945-6. 
  15. ^ Internet Movie Database. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  16. ^ Episode 4/12, M*A*S*H (season 4), "Of Moose and Men.
  17. ^ Hess, John D., Episode 4/06, "The Bus"
  18. ^ Episode 5/10, "Hawkeye Get Your Gun"
  19. ^ Episode 10/10, "Twas the Day After Christmas"
  20. ^ Cite error: The named reference Episode10.10 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  21. ^ In the storyline, River Bend, Missouri is depicted as being near Potter's hometown of Hannibal in northeastern Missouri, but the real-life village of River Bend is in the northwestern portion of the state
  22. ^ Keller, Sheldon, & Gelbart, Larry. M*A*S*H, Episode 1/18, "Dear Dad ... Again." First aired Fentryary 4, 1973. Retrieved May 15, 2015.
  23. ^ Hooker, Richard. M*A*S*H: A Novel About Three Army Doctors (New York, Pocket Books), 1968, page 43.
  24. ^ Marks, Lawrence. M*A*S*H, Episode 1/4, "Chief Surgeon Who?" First aired October 8, 1972. Retrieved May 22, 2015.
  25. ^ Prelutsky, Burt. M*A*SH, Episode 4/20, The Novocaine Mutiny." First aired January 27, 1976. Retrieved September 19, 2014.
  26. ^
  27. ^ Gelbart, Larry, & Muntner, Simon. M*A*S*H, Episode 3/16, "Bulletin Board." First aired January 14, 1975. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
  28. ^ The US Army Almanac rank p. 148
  29. ^ Retrieved May 14, 2015.
  30. ^ Marks, Lawrence. Episode 3/21, "Big Mac." First aired February 25, 1975.
  31. ^ Episode 5.11, "The Colonel's Horse."
  32. ^ Gelbart, Larry, & Marks, Lawrence. M*A*S*H, Episode 3/7, "Check-Up." First aired October 22, 1974. Retrieved October 16, 2014.
  33. ^ Matt Burhman (November 2009). Radar O'Reilly of "M*A*S*H". 
  34. ^ Levine, Ken (2012-05-30). "Gary Burghoff explains Radar". Ken Levine: The World As Seen By a TV Comedy Writer. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  35. ^ M*A*S*H, Episode 3/08, "Life With Father."
  36. ^ Greenbaum, Everett & Fritzell, Jim. M*A*S*H, Episode 3/08: Life With Father. First aired October 29, 1974. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  37. ^ Marks, Lawrence. M*A*S*H, Episode 2/3, "Radar's Report"
  38. ^ Wittebols, James H. (2003). Watching M*A*S*H, Watching America. McFarland. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-7864-1701-8. Retrieved 16 May 2009. 
  39. ^ "Exclusive interview with Kellye". M*A*S*H The 4077th Archived from the original on 2009-06-03. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  40. ^ Memories of M*A*S*H (20th Anniversary) (CBS, 1991), interview with G.W. Bailey
  41. ^ Episode 48/Season 2
  42. ^ Gelbart, Larry, & Marks, Lawrence. M*A*S*H, Episode 2/13, "Deal Me Out." First aired December 8, 1973. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  43. ^ Markowitz, Mitch. M*A*S*H, Episode 7/22, "Rally 'Round The Flagg, Boys." First aired February 14, 1979. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
  44. ^ Wittebols, James H. Watching M*A*S*H, Watching America: A Social History of the 1972-1983 Television Series, pg 17
  45. ^ Ring Lardner, Jr. "MASH" Screenplay; February 26, 1969 O.S.P. Publishing, Inc. ISBN 1-56693-308-0 pp. 103-104, 135-136
  46. ^ Fred L. Worth, Incredible Super Trivia (Greenwich House, 1984), 402 Google Books
  47. ^ David Scott Diffrient, M*A*S*H (Wayne State University Press, 2008), 47.