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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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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]


  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]