Tuttle (M*A*S*H)

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M*A*S*H episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 15 (15th overall)
Directed by William Wiard
Written by

Bruce Shelly

David Ketchum
Production code J315
Original air date January 14, 1973
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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M*A*S*H (season 1)
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"Tuttle" is an episode from the television series M*A*S*H. It was the 15th episode broadcast and aired on January 14, 1973. It was written by Bruce Shelly and David Ketchum and directed by William Wiard. Due to its bizarre storyline, it is one of the best-known episodes of the show. This episode was nominated for a Writers Guild Award.[1]

Guest cast is Dennis Fimple as Sergeant "Sparky" Pryor, Mary-Robin Redd as Sister Theresa, Herb Voland as Brigadier General Crandell Clayton, and James Sikking as a finance officer.


To get some additional supplies for the local orphanage, Hawkeye and Trapper invent the fictional Captain Tuttle (based on Hawkeye's imaginary friend from childhood). The deception slowly grows until everyone at the 4077th believes Tuttle is a real person. The situation spirals out of control when General Clayton decides to award Tuttle a medal. Hawkeye and Trapper end their problems by faking Tuttle's death and claiming he had asked that all his back pay be donated to the orphanage. As the episode ends, the Swampmen joke with each other about where they got a pair of dog tags they used for the faked death of the fictional Captain Tuttle - from the equally fictional Major Murdock.

Captain Tuttle is a parody of Lieutenant Kijé, the subject of a novella by Soviet author Yury Tynyanov. Kijé, who existed only on paper, was supposedly a soldier in the Czar's army. As with Captain Tuttle, the paperwork edifice begins to collapse when Lieutenant Kijé must make a personal appearance. The novella was made into a film, famous for its music by Sergei Prokofiev.


  • This is the only episode of the series in which the normally unseen character of Sparky actually appears.
  • In the closing credits, "Captain Tuttle" is credited for playing himself.[2]
  • There is an anachronism in this episode; Radar is shown reading a copy of Marvel Comics' Captain Savage and his Leatherneck Raiders #10, cover date January 1969 (many years after the end of the Korean War).