M*A*S*H

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The fingerpost from the M*A*S*H set, as seen in the Smithsonian Institution[1]

M*A*S*H (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) is an American media franchise consisting of a series of novels, a film, several television series, plays, and other properties, and based on the semi-autobiographical fiction of Richard Hooker.

The franchise depicts a group of fictional characters who served at the fictional "4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M*A*S*H)" during the Korean War, loosely based on the historic 8055th MASH unit. Hawkeye Pierce is featured as the main character, played by Donald Sutherland in the 1970 film M*A*S*H and by Alan Alda on the television series also titled M*A*S*H. Later spin-offs involve characters who appeared in the series, but were set after the end of the war. Almost all versions of the series fit into the genre of black comedy or dramedy; the lead characters were doctors or nurses, and the practice of medicine was at the center of events. However, to relieve the pressures of duty in a field hospital close to the front and the attendant horrors of war, the staff engage in humorous hijinks, frivolity, and petty rivalries off-duty.

The franchise effectively ended with the conclusion of Trapper John, M.D. in September 1986. A large fanbase for the series continues to exist; the show has never been out of syndication worldwide, and 20th Century Fox has had notable success selling the film and seasons of the TV series on DVD.

Novels[edit]

Richard Hooker wrote MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors (1968), based on his experiences as a surgeon at the 8055th MASH in South Korea. He published several other novels based on that group. A total of 15 M*A*S*H novels were published between 1968 and 1977, some co-authored by William E. Butterworth.

Film[edit]

M*A*S*H is a 1970 feature film adaptation of the original novel. The film was directed by Robert Altman and starred Donald Sutherland as Hawkeye Pierce and Elliott Gould as Trapper John McIntyre. Although the title had no punctuation onscreen, i.e. "MASH", in posters for the movie and in the trailer, it was rendered as M*A*S*H.

Television[edit]

M*A*S*H, a TV adaptation of the film, ran from 1972 to 1983, more than three times as long as the war it chronicled. It starred Alan Alda as Hawkeye Pierce and Wayne Rogers as Trapper John McIntyre. After the third season, Rogers left the show and was replaced by Mike Farrell as B. J. Hunnicutt. That same year, Harry Morgan replaced McLean Stevenson. Morgan, a veteran character actor and former Universal contract player, portrayed Colonel Sherman T. Potter. This series is the most popular and best-known version of the franchise and was ranked #25 in TV Guide's "50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time". Its final episode in 1983 was the most-watched in television history.[2]

Trapper John, M.D. featured the character of Trapper John McIntyre, played by Pernell Roberts, twenty-eight years after the events of the M*A*S*H film and television series. It was the first spin-off to feature a character from the series in civilian life after the war. Legally, Trapper John, M.D. is a direct spin-off of the MASH film rather than the television series due to licensing issues. The pilot episode briefly shows a photograph of Rogers and Alda.

AfterMASH was a successor to the original M*A*S*H television series, featuring Harry Morgan, Jamie Farr, and William Christopher after the war, as the same characters they played in the original television series. Gary Burghoff and Edward Winter also appeared as guests. The series was canceled after two seasons.

W*A*L*T*E*R was the pilot for a television series that was not picked up. It would have featured Gary Burghoff reprising the role of Walter O'Reilly. The pilot was shown as a "CBS Special Presentation" on July 17, 1984.

Plays[edit]

In 1973, a play by Tim Kelly, based on the book, television show, and film, was published in both one-act and full versions.[3][4] The play incorporates many of the characters but omits more of the dark comedy aspects. It is occasionally produced by community theater and high school theater companies.

Elsewhere[edit]

The cast from the M*A*S*H series appeared in advertising for IBM products, such as the PS/2 line that introduced the PS/2 connector for keyboards and mice.

Fox developed a M*A*S*H video game that was released for the Atari 2600, Atari 8-bit computers and the Texas Instruments TI-99/4A.[5] Players alternate between controlling a helicopter picking up wounded soldiers from the front and a surgeon removing shrapnel from a soldier, similar to Microsurgeon. InfoWorld called M*A*S*H "the exception" among the TI 99/4A's generally poor game library.[6]

List of film and TV characters[edit]

Character M*A*S*H
Film TV series Trapper John, M.D. AfterMASH W*A*L*T*E*R
Walter (Radar) O'Reilly Gary Burghoff Mentioned only Gary Burghoff
Trapper John McIntyre Elliott Gould Wayne Rogers Pernell Roberts
Father Mulcahy René Auberjonois William Christopher
(George Morgan in the pilot)
William Christopher
General Hammond G. Wood
Hawkeye Pierce Donald Sutherland Alan Alda Mentioned only
Margaret Houlihan Sally Kellerman Loretta Swit
Frank Burns Robert Duvall Larry Linville Mentioned only
Henry Blake Roger Bowen McLean Stevenson
Spearchucker Jones Fred Williamson Timothy Brown
Ho-Jon Kim Atwood Patrick Adiarte
Ugly John Black Carl Gottlieb John Orchard
Lieutenant Dish Jo Ann Pflug Karen Philipp
1st Lt. Kealani (Nurse Kellye) Nakahara Kellye Nakahara (Voice only) Kellye Nakahara
Ginger Bayliss Odessa Cleveland
Maxwell Klinger Jamie Farr Jamie Farr
Sherman T. Potter Harry Morgan Harry Morgan
Soon-Lee Klinger Rosalind Chao Rosalind Chao
Sam Flagg Edward Winter Edward Winter
Clete Roberts Himself Himself
Corporal Judson Timothy Brown
Duke Forrest Tom Skerritt
Walter 'Painless' Koskiusko Waldowski John Schuck
Wade Douglas Vollmer David Arkin
Margie Cutler Marcia Strassman
B. J. Hunnicutt Mike Farrell
Charles Emerson Winchester III David Ogden Stiers
Luther Rizzo G. W. Bailey
Sidney Freedman Allan Arbus Mentioned only
Donald Penobscott Beeson Carroll / Mike Henry
Igor Straminsky Jeff Maxwell / Peter Riegert
Zelmo Zale Johnny Haymer
Stanley Riverside III Charles Siebert
Justin 'Jackpot' Jackson Brian Stokes Mitchell
Arnold Slocum Simon Scott
Melanie McIntyre Jessica Walter
Ernestine Shoop Madge Sinclair
George 'Gonzo' Gates Gregory Harrison
Gloria "Ripples" Brancusi Christopher Norris
John J.T. McIntyre Timothy Busfield
Clara 'Starch' Willoughby Mary McCarty
Libby Kegler Lorna Luft
Mildred Potter Mentioned only Barbara Townsend / Anne Pitoniak
Alma Cox Brandis Kemp
Michael D'Angelo John Chappell
Bob Scannell Patrick Cranshaw
Bonnie Hornback Wendy Schaal
Dr. Boyer David Ackroyd
Gene Pfeiffer Jay O. Sanders
Wally Wainright Peter Michael Goetz
Wendell Micklejohn Ray Buktenica
Victoria Victoria Jackson
Sergeant Sowell Noble Willingham

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "M*A*S*H Signpost". National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved June 5, 2008.
  2. ^ "Korean war". History Channel. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  3. ^ Kelly, Tim; Hooker, Richard (1973). M*A*S*H – 1-Act: A Novel about Three Army Doctors. Dramatic Publishing. ISBN 978-0-87129-382-4.
  4. ^ Hooker, Richard; Kelly, Tim (1973). M A S H. Dramatic Publishing. ISBN 978-0-87129-428-9.
  5. ^ "M*A*S*H on MobyGames". MobyGames. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  6. ^ Mace, Scott (May 7, 1984). "In Praise of Classics". InfoWorld. p. 56. Retrieved February 6, 2015.

External links[edit]