M*A*S*H- a season by season discussion!

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by ohnothimagen, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dixie
    Wasn't there a Dunbar? He and Burns (IIRC a captain in the novel) were merged to make the film's Burns
     
  2. czeskleba

    czeskleba Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    It was Major Hobson (religious fanatic) that was merged with Captain Burns (incompetent a$$hole having affair with Hot Lips) in the film. And then of course the series pretty much discarded the Hobson elements for their Major Burns character. My recollection though is that Hobson and Burns were not at the unit concurrently; Hobson ships out and is replaced by McIntyre, and then Burns arrives a bit later.
     
  3. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dixie
    The actor who played the Australian appeared much later as a different character, an MP who gets into an argument with Winchester
    It would have been nice to have Duke around, but I understand the logistics/economics for not keeping him -- a more understandable decision than dumping Spearchucker.

    The character I really wish had stayed around was Pat Morita's Captain Pak, who was often hilarious. He was so memorable it's hard to believe he only appeared twice. IMHO he could have been good for at least 5-10 episodes per season.

    While I loved Col Flagg, like every patriotic yankee doodler, I don't wish he had been a regular. The character was too grating for that. 2-3 appearances per season at most.
     
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  4. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dixie
    There is a Dunbar in Catch-22, perhaps I got my service comedies confused.

    And speaking of Catch-22, has anyone ever seen the 1973 TV pilot w/Richard Dreyfuss? As a preteen I caught maybe the last 30 seconds -- IIRC it had Yossarian (RD) as a passenger on a plane thinking he's going home, but it turns out the plane is actually flying a combat mission instead.

    As far as I know this has never been shown since.
     
  5. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dixie
    Holy Cow it's on YouTube:

     
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  6. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen PORKCHOPS! Productions Thread Starter

    Muldoon, the MP who was basically Rosie's (Rosie's Bar) protection- "Captains Outrageous", season 8.
    Captain Pak was awesome, he had some great lines in those episodes:laugh:
    It sorta seemed like a case of diminishing returns with Flagg...IMO his best appearance was in "The Abduction Of Margaret Houlihan" in season 5 ("'The Wind'...just broke his leg!":laugh::laugh::laugh:)

    The only recurring character who they actually offered to make a main character was Sidney Freedman. Allan Arbus declined the offer.
     
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  7. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dixie
    Just watched it.

    The most interesting change is Yossarian has been made more assertive -- presumably in the belief that the mass audience prefers decisive protagonists.

    I've never been a big fan of either Dreyfuss or Dana Elcar (Cathcart) but Dreyfuss is OK -- his opening narration starts out almost aggressive, totally unlike Heller's character, but he tones it down a bit later -- and Elcar is tolerable. It does make you realize how lucky MASH got w/Alda and especially Stevenson.

    Veteran voice actor Frank Welker (McWatt) dominates the first act (and star Dreyfuss), not really a wise strategy for a pilot.

    Korn is played by Stewart Moss, who was in the Hogan's Heroes pilot (he was later offered the role of Carter, but turned it down). Did he ever do a MASH for the service comedy trifecta?

    Logan Ramsey (so great in MASH's "The Incubator") as Gen Dreedle is strangely uncredited either on the film itself or IMDb -- strange b/c he gives perhaps the best performance in his all too brief scene.

    Most of the other actors are adequate (barely) but totally missing the inspiration that gave us Alda, Stevenson, Linville, and Farr (Burghoff was from the movie). The Doc Daneeka, an actor I'd never heard of before, was especially disappointing.

    I don't really see how Catch-22 could have worked for a mass TV audience even done perfectly -- and this attempt was far from perfect.
     
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  8. smilin ed

    smilin ed Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham
    Well, for a long time, this was my favourite TV show, although I find some of the later episodes difficult to stomach. I like its anti-authority/anti-war vibe and the slick dialogue (until around season 8 or 9 when every single character had to pun and do it LOUDLY), In this season, I like the serious moments as in Sometimes You Hear the Bullet, but also some of the dafter episodes, like The Longjohn Flap and Tuttle. I've just rewatched the first three seasons and I'm surprised it took Rogers that long to realise the dynamics of the show (if that was his real reason for going...perhaps money played a role); it's more than apparent in the pilot.

    As for Duke Forrest... some of his 'bluntness' would never have made it on TV. I think you have to be realistic here. It's a 25 minute. The focus has to lie somewhere and it's a sitcom. I think this is much more of a problem later, when there's more focus on Hotlips, Klinger and Potter and the like - who, by this stage, are more irritating than anything else.

    Totally agree about Morita's character and Flagg. Flagg early on (even when he wasn't Flagg) was good, but he becomes sillier later. I would love to have seen more of Morita - and Sid Friedman, for that matter.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
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  9. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen PORKCHOPS! Productions Thread Starter

    I believe the 'official' reason for Wayne Rogers' abrupt departure was he objected to the "morals clause" in his contract.
    True...I haven't seen the movie version in years but as I recall, Duke can be a little bit, er, "Southern" at times and we'll leave it at that. Not very P.C., shall we say...
    No wonder "Deal Me Out" (season 2) is considered one of the best, funniest eps of the entire series because it includes all three (Pak, Sidney and Flagg- whoops, make that "Halloran" in this case), plus the added bonus of John Ritter as Frank's crazy patient:righton:
     
  10. That episode has one of my favorite jokes: Flagg to Klinger "up close your a guy"
    Klinger "far away too":laugh:
     
  11. smilin ed

    smilin ed Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham
    The Duke thing is interesting. He's in the book more than the movie and some of his bluntness is dropped from that too. Likewise, football game aside, Spearchucker isn't up to much in the film. You can understand why these characters were dropped, less so a real minor character like Ugly John.

    Yeah, Deal Me Out is a great episode. I think writers in the later series took Flagg too far. Perhaps indebted to the CIA (CID) man in Catch 22.

    Btw, thanks for the Catch 22 YouTube clip. Didn't know it existed. I still think if you don;t know the novel, the movie of Catch 22 is one of the best American films from that period. The fact that it isn't as good as the novel ("What is?" as Heller used to quip), isn't really a problem for me.
     
  12. czeskleba

    czeskleba Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    If it wasn't apparent in the pilot, it sure was by episodes 4 (when the rewrote the section in the book wherein Trapper becomes chief surgeon, giving it to Hawkeye instead) and 12 (when they make Hawkeye, rather than Trapper, the thoracic specialist). It's also interesting that they chose to swap the marital statuses of Hawkeye and Trapper on the series. In many ways, the Hawkeye of the series was more Trapper than Trapper was.

    Rogers apparently had no contract, because he never signed one when the series began and somehow this was overlooked. He has said he didn't sign it originally because he objected to the morals clause in it, but he's also cited the morals clause as the reason he left the series, saying he was being pressured to sign and wouldn't do it. Rogers in at least one interview claimed that he was being pressured to sign the contract in the hiatus between seasons 3 and 4, and upon objecting to the morals clause was told "take it or leave it" so he left. But I've also heard it claimed that the studio sued him after he left the show, at which point it was first discovered that he'd never signed his contract. So it seems unclear when exactly it was discovered that he had no contract, and whether or not it was a direct factor in his departure. In other interviews, Rogers also cited unhappiness with the way the character was "emasculated" and made a straight man for Hawkeye as reasons for his departure. It would not surprise me if money was also a factor.
     
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  13. torcan

    torcan Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Toronto
    Col. Flagg was my favorite recurring character. He was only on 7 times - and six of those were between seasons 2 and 5. I agree that having him on every week maybe would be a bit much, but I would have liked to have seen him more often than we did. We don't see him at all in the final four years.

    I think his best episodes were the ones in seasons 3, 4 and 5 (the Hot Lips abducted episode is my favorite of his). I don't think his season 7 episode was well-written, as he seemed dim-witted in that one.
     
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  14. wayne66

    wayne66 Forum Resident

    I always felt that Col. Flagg should have returned for the final season. He appeared only one time in the Charles era. The last four seasons could have used a little silly Col. Flagg episode.
     
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  15. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dixie
    Apparently he does appear in an AfterMASH.
     
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  16. JozefK

    JozefK Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dixie
  17. wayne66

    wayne66 Forum Resident

    I stopped watching AfterMash fairly early on. I did not know that.
     
  18. smilin ed

    smilin ed Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham
    I always his character was drawn too closely to Hawkeye's anyhow. BJ stood out simply because he was different. Or he was at first, anyhow.
     
  19. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen PORKCHOPS! Productions Thread Starter

    Guys, yer sorta jumping the gun a bit with the AfterM*A*S*H talk, aren't ya?
    So it was pretty much an "all of the above" thing, then. We'll get there, but not unlike there are season 6 episodes that seem written with Frank in mind, the same sorta thing happens in season 4 with Trapper, I bet some of those episodes were edited a bit on the fly.
    Oh yeah, "Rally Round The Flagg, Boys" is the worst Flagg episode, the show had already moved on too much by that time...
    BJ was always different, and seemed to get more antagonistic toward Hawkeye as the show went on. I could see that happening if Trapper had stuck around as well.
     
  20. John54

    John54 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    I agree re Col. Flagg, those episodes were generally hilarious. "No anaesthetic. You don't have the clearance to hear what's in my head" ... "I don't have the stomach for it" ... "You heard the manic"

    The Hot Lips abduction episode is definitely one of the funnier ones. Isn't that the one where Radar was helping Col. Potter with a pre-natal class? "Congratulations Mrs. O'Reilly. It's a bear!"
     
  21. Jeff Kent

    Jeff Kent Forum Resident

    Location:
    Mt. Kisco, NY
    I've been watching a lot of reruns on TV lately. Seems we have it on two different networks around the same time, so if you time it you van watch 4-6 episodes in a row. I never paid much attention to what season it was, but yesterday I saw "The Moose" which was season 1 episode 5.
     
  22. Edgard Varese

    Edgard Varese Royale with Cheese

    "Not if you eliminate the third, fifth, and sixth letters, then it's Red's Digest, comrade." :D
     
  23. ohnothimagen

    ohnothimagen PORKCHOPS! Productions Thread Starter

    Yep. "Easy now, son, you don't want to shoot it across the room!" That scene flashed through my mind when my wife was giving birth to our son:laugh:
    "The Moose" is interesting, because it's probably the first indication of Hawkeye's self righteous/sanctimonious side, which would really come to manifest itself starting around season 6 or so. "The Moose" is also an interesting episode because it's hard to square the boozing, poker playing, nurse ogling Radar O' Reilly from that episode (indeed, most of season 1) with the teetotaling, innocent, sensitive animal loving man-child he eventually turned into...I have often wondered if Radar's regression (for lack of a better term) over the years was the writers' idea or Gary Burghoff's. Radar almost seems like a different character in season 1.

    Not unlike Spearchucker and Ugly John, Ho Jon, of course, is another season 1 character who was more or less simply abandoned about two thirds of the way through the season, never to be heard from again- presumably he went to the States to go to school, as established in the Pilot episode.
     
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  24. czeskleba

    czeskleba Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle
    Ken Levine (writer during seasons 5-7) asked Burghoff about it on his blog. According to Burghoff, it was his idea to change the character and he and Gelbart developed the "new Radar" together. It's been years since I've watched those episodes... when is it that the new Radar first appears?
     
  25. smilin ed

    smilin ed Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham
    Radar - I prefer the earlier Radar, but signs of the grossly sentimental one that are all over the Potter episiodes can be seen early-ish.

    Ho-Jon - dumped in the film too, wasn't he?
     

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