Dear Dad

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"Dear Dad"
M*A*S*H episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 12 (12th overall)
Directed by Gene Reynolds
Written by Larry Gelbart
Production code J313
Original air date December 17, 1972
Episode chronology
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"Germ Warfare"
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M*A*S*H (season 1)
List of M*A*S*H episodes

"Dear Dad" was the 12th episode of the first season of the TV series M*A*S*H. It originally aired on December 17, 1972 and was repeated on May 20, 1973.

This was the first episode to use an epistle as part of the narrative, a device that would be used in later episodes.[1]


Hawkeye writes home to his father during the Christmas season, relating a number of amusing and personal anecdotes including Radar's effort to mail home a jeep piece-by-piece, the monthly morality lecture, Trapper's local medical philanthropy, and the ongoing non-secret relationship between Frank and Hot Lips. Hawkeye dresses to play Santa Claus for the local children, but is required to go to the front line via helicopter to treat an emergency, which he does in-costume.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8]


This episode was one of the first M*A*S*H episodes to challenge the traditional sitcom format by combining dramatic elements (specifically, the "war is hell" message) with comedic situations.[9]

David Reiss' 1983 book M*A*S*H notes that this is one of the episodes which uses gimmicky voiceovers, common in M*A*S*H.[8]

This the first episode that utilizes the "Dear Dad..." theme, in which Hawkeye communicates with his father in some way, shape or form, mostly through letters.


  1. ^ Diffrient, David Scott (2008). M*A*S*H. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3347-8. This device hinges on an act of a letter-writing, which provides the doctor an opportunity to get things off his chest, ... 
  2. ^ Wittebols, James H. (2003). Watching M*A*S*H, Watching America. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. pp. 34–35. ISBN 0-7864-1701-3. Retrieved May 16, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Episode Guide". TV Guide. Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  4. ^ "The Classic Sitcoms Guide: M*A*S*H". Retrieved 2009-05-15. 
  5. ^ "M*A*S*H: Season One (Collector's Edition) (1972)". 
  6. ^ Reiss, David S. (1983). M*A*S*H: the exclusive, inside story of TV's most popular show. 
  7. ^ Suzy, Kalter (1988). Complete Book of Mash. New York: H.N. Abrams. ISBN 0-8109-8083-5. 
  8. ^ a b David S. Reiss (1983). M*A*S*H. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co. p. 126. ISBN 978-0-672-52762-3. 
  9. ^ Wittebols, pp. 34–35

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