Category Archives: M*A*S*H

30th Anniversary of M*A*S*H Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen


On this day in 1983, the series finale of M*A*S*H aired on CBS. The episode, entitled Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen, was a fitting end to the series as it documented the end of the war. The two and half hour episode was watched by a record setting audience, and still holds the record for largest percentage of the American viewing audience.

M*A*S*H has long been my favorite television series, and its finale is one of the greatest series finales ever produced. It was a fitting end to a series that lasted three times longer than the Korean War. If you get a chance, catch a rerun of M*A*S*H today or this weekend and enjoy one of most iconic television series ever produced.


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M*A*S*H: In Memory of…

It takes a cast of thousands to put together a successful series like M*A*S*H. Since the series ended nearly thirty years ago, we have lost of a number of members of the cast and crew. I would like to honor them with this post because without them M*A*S*H would not have been possible. (I apologize if I have left anyone out. If you know of anyone who I should list, please leave their name in the comments,and I will add them.)


Sorrell Booke

(1930 – 1944)

General Barker

Roy Goldman

(1932 – 2009)


Johnny Haymer

(1928 – 1989)

Sgt. Zelmo Zale


Larry Linville

(1939 – 2000)

Major Frank Burns



(1933 – 2006)


Harry Morgan

(1915 – 2011)

Col. Sherman T. Potter

John Orchard

(1928 – 1995)

Ugly John

Robert F. Simon

(1908 – 1992)

General Maynard Mitchell

Patricia Stevens

(1945 – 2010)

Nurse Baker

McLean Stevenson

(1927 – 1996)

Lt. Col. Henry Blake

Herb Voland

(1918 – 1981)

General Crandall Clayton

Edward Winter

(1937 – 2001)

Col. Sam Flagg

G. Wood


General  Hammond


Hy Averback

(1920 – 1997)



Earl Bellamy

(1917 – 2003)



Jackie Cooper

(1922 – 2011)



Sid Dorfman




Charles S. Dubin

(1919 – 2011)



Jay Folb




James Fritzell

(1920 – 1979)



Larry Gelbart

(1928 – 2009)



Ronny Graham

(1919 – 1999)



Everett Greenbaum




W.C. Heinz

(1915 – 2008)



John D. Hess




Richard Hooker

(1924 – 1997)

Author of M*A*S*H


Bill Idelson




Sheldon Keller




Ring Lardner Jr.




Laurence Marks




Simon Muntner




Lee Philips

(1927 – 1999)



Alan Rafkin

(1928 2001)



Burt Styler




George Tyne

(1917 – 2008)



Don Weis

(1922 – 2000)



William Wiard

(1927 – 1987)


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Repost: Anatomy of a M*A*S*H Script

Two years ago I put this feature together for and thought I would share it with my readers. I have been a fan of M*A*S*H since I was a kid, and I own some original scripts. I was asked to put this together for the creator of the M*A*S*H website, and I agreed. The following is what is published on, although I have modified the text in some places.


“Death Takes A Holiday”
Season 9 – Episode 5
Written by Mike Farrell
Directed by Mike Farrell

Not all episode scripts are created equal. Each script is unique. The script of an actor, director and those used by Albert H. Frankel, the men’s costume director, are all different. The script of an actor contains only the title page, cast list, set list and the text of the episode. In addition, many actors highlighted or underlined their lines. The director’s copy is much more interesting, not complete, but interesting. This script often contains math equations on the back of pages determining the length of the episode and seating arraignments for the cast members (Mess Tent tables). There area also camera angles noted throughout. The script of an actor and director tell two different stories, but not the whole story. For the whole story, we can explore the script of the costume director.

The Cover

Behind the bright cover of the script lies more then just the lines from a great episode, but the directions required to ensure a successful production in just three short days.

The Call Sheet

The first pages are the call sheets for each day of filming. Each call sheet displays the day of shooting, the date, the scenes being filmed and their location, the actors on call, and other information. This single sheet is the key to filming for the day. If everything on the sheet was not competed, the filming process would be off schedule.

The Production Requirements

On the reverse side of the Call Sheet are the Production Requirements. This includes everything needed for the day from cameramen to donuts and coffee!

The Shooting Schedule

After the Call Sheets is the full Shooting Schedule for the episode. Most episodes were filmed in three days and the schedule breaks down which scenes will be filmed each day, the location of filming, and which cast members were required.

Cast List and Set List

Following the Title Page (not pictured), are the Cast List and Set List. These simply list the characters and sets which will be featured in the episode. (Note: The Cast List has a check mark next to male cast members because Albert was responsible for providing their costumes.)

Script Pages

The pages of the script are great to read! Most of the time they follow the final episode exactly, but from time to time, the actor has modified the line. There are three different pictures of pages to illustrate how changes were given to the cast and crew. As lines changed, they would print new pages and give them to cast and crew. These revisions would be printed on different colored paper. The original pages were the standard creme color, but, in the case of this episode, revisions made on 11/11/1980 were printed on green paper and revisions made on 11/12 were printed on yellow. Scripts will have these multicolored pages (this is a good way to confirm authenticity!). Sadly, the pages replaced by the colored pages were not saved so we have no idea what lines were changed. Also note the production number at the bottom left corner of each page (Z-463). This number was the unique number assigned to this episode. The letter indicates the season and number indicates the number of the episode.

The Wardrobe Sheet

Since Albert was the Men’s Costume director, the final pages of the script list the costumes that were required for each male character of the cast (principles and extras). Each costume is numbered and it is indicated in which scenes it will be worn. In addition, each piece of the costume is listed, including the infamous dog tags and boots!

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Repost: My Favorite Episode of M*A*S*H

Allan Arbus as Dr. Sidney Freedman

For the last few months, a poll on  has asked site visitors to choose their favorite episode of M*A*S*H. I found this to be very difficult as the show changed over time.

M*A*S*H has been considered to be a comedy by some and a drama by others. As a compromise, it has been dubbed a “dramedy.” The first three seasons of M*A*S*H were largely comedic, but this changed following the death of Col. Henry Blake at the end of season three. There was a balance between drama and comedy, but the show changed often. Cast changes in seasons four and six also make it difficult to choose a favorite episode because each cast had its own merits. I enjoy the original cast just as much as the show’s final cast. At first, I thought it was unfair for the website to ask me to pick only one episode. Only one episode from 251. One episode from two very different casts. After some thought, I think I have made my decision.

To me, a great episode of M*A*S*H has to have the best combination of comedy and drama. The episode also needs to feature its characters the best way possible. Again, there are a number of episodes that qualify, so to narrow it down again, I had to focus on the story and, in this case, the episode’s guest star. The episode I chose is “Dear Sigmund.”

Before I explain why, let me first give a brief synopsis of the episode. The episode aired during the series’ fifth season and featured Allan Arbus and Dr. Sidney Freedman (my favorite character). Dr. Freedman came to the 4077th for a poker game, but stayed for two weeks. The doctors of the Swamp find this odd and learn that Dr. Freedman has been writing a letter to Dr. Sigmund Freud,who had been dead for over a decade. In his letter to Freud, Dr. Freedman describes each of the characters at the 4077th while relaying the events that had taken place during his stay at the 4077th. There is the death of a ambulance driver, a fighter pilot who had never considered the consequences of his actions, yet another Section 8 attempt by Klinger, and a mysterious ring of practical jokes. Dr. Freedman writes the letter to combat his own depression having recently lost a patient. He says to Hawkeye and BJ, “You give life here. I am running a little low on that right now.”

The joker strikes again!

The Emmy award winning episode was written and directed by Alan Alda. He describes the episode as one of his favorites largely because of the talent of Allan Arbus. In  2009, Alda described this episode in a short interview:

For me, “Dear Sigmund” is the obvious choice as my favorite episode, but I like nearly every episode of M*A*S*H. There are two seasons (two and nine) that I can watch every episode. I believe with regard to the poll, the winner will likely be “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen,” the series finale. I agree that it is a great finale, and possible one of the best TV finales in history, but I do not believe it is an episode. It was a two and a half hour movie that is still the highest rated (percentage of audience) program of all time. It was not an average episode. It was meant to be an event. “Dear Sigmund” is just a 22 minute episode. No fanfare, just an average stint at the 4077th. That is what makes it my favorite episode.

BONUS: I have included the full text of Dr. Freedman’s letter to Sigmund Freud.

Dear Sigmund,

I have been feeling somewhat frustrated lately and so I came to a kind-of spa. The waters are pretty good here. And the inmates have a pretty interesting defense against carnage. Insanity in the service of health. One of them is particularly good at it, name of Hawkeye. A coupe of weeks ago he made rounds in post-op with a personality that had split two for one. Klinger is an interesting case Sigmund. He’s found more ways to go crazy then you ever dreamt of. I guess what draws me to these people is that faced with aggression in its most brutal form, they have regressed to a state of antic of not lunatic pleasure. There has been a rash of practical jokes lately. Who ever the perpetrator is, he or she is becoming a folk hero. Rank makes no difference. No one is safe from the mad joker. As you pointed out Sigmund, there is a link between anger and wit. Anger turned inward is depression. Anger turned sideways is Hawkeye. If there is a way to preserve your sanity in wartime they have found it. The slide their patched up patients into the evac ambulance like loaves into a bread truck, and yet they never forget those packages are people. Father Mulcahy fascinates me Sigmund. He’s shy and studious and yet he’s got a left hook that could stop a truck. And with absolutely no training he seems to be a natural as a therapist. Margaret’s an interesting woman. On the outside all discipline and strength, and on the inside six kinds of passion looking for an exit. Some people will not accept pain. They just refuse delivery. That’s pretty difficult here because pain is such a basic ingredient at a M*A*S*H unit. Actually Sigmund, it’s a wonder more people do not take a vacation from reality. Some people even manage to grow. Radar for instance. In many ways he is still as innocent and naïve as the local orphans he plays with, and yet this boy keeps this unit, this state of chaos, running smoothly. The one person I cannot figure out, even with all you’ve taught me Sigmund is BJ Honeycutt. He’s an enigma with size 13 shoes. In the midst of the most horrific enterprise ever devised to separate a person’s brains from his buns, BJ goes calmly on. I envy his serenity. Although there must be a volcano under there somewhere. They look every day into the face of death. On the surface they may seem like other doctors and nurses, but underneath, Sigmund, underneath.

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Iconic Episodes of M*A*S*H

Like any classic television series, M*A*S*H produced a number of memorable and ground breaking episodes throughout its 11 year run. It is hard to narrow the list down to 10…..and I couldn’t! Instead, I have compiled 20 episodes that make M*A*S*H one of the greatest series in the history of television.

“Sometimes you Hear the Bullet” (Season 1, Episode 17)

The first season of M*A*S*H relied to heavily on comedy. CBS was afraid the audience would not respond to drama in a comedy series. But the writers of M*A*S*H decided early on that the series needed to have a serious tone. “Sometime you Hear the Bullet” was the first episode to introduce a dramatic storyline. When a friend of Hawkeye’s visits the camp, the audience is quickly drawn to his wit and the friendship between him and Hawkeye. Late in the episode, Hawkeye’s friend is wounded and brought in to the unit. Hawkeye tries to save his life, but he is unsuccessful. The loss of his friend gave Hawkeye a new perspective on the war, but it also changed the perspective for the audience.

“Divided We Stand” (Season 2, Episode 1)

You probably noticed that the pilot episode is not on this list. There is a good reason for that…it wasn’t that great. Series creator Larry Gelbart agreed, and the first episode of Season 2 was written as a second pilot. In the episode, a psychiatrist is sent to the 4077th to determine whether its member need to be broken up and reassigned to other units. At first he is shocked by the antics of the cast, but once they are called to surgery, he understands that their antics are a coping method. A far better concept for a pilot episode as it reintroduced the characters to the audience.

“Radar’s Report” (Season 2, Episode 3)

What happens at the 4077th on a weekly basis? “Radar’s Report” explores just that in this classic episode. Hawkeye is infatuated with a new nurse, Trapper loses a patient because of a POW, and Klinger gets evaluated by Dr. Sidney (called Milton in this episode) Freedman. This is the first of several appearances of Allan Arbus and Dr. Freedman. The episode is one of many using either a letter or report as a basis for the storyline, but this episode stands out because it funny and shocking at the same time.

“Abyssinia, Henry” (Season 3, Episode 24)

The writer’s decision to kill of Henry Blake was the most courageous, and risky, moves of the series. When McLean Stevenson decided to leave the series, the writers decided to give Henry Blake a big send-off, the catch…he would not make it home. Although “Sometimes You Hear the Bullet” was the first episode in which a character dies, this episode was the first time a major character had been killed off a network program. The move did negatively affect ratings for the show’s 4th season, but viewers came back. The show also turned out to the final show for Wayne Rogers as Trapper John McIntyre. His character did not receive a proper exit because Rogers and the show’s producers could not come to terms on his contract.

“Welcome to Korea” (Season 4, Episode 1)

Episodes that introduce new characters are very important in a television. In this episode, one of two new characters for Season 4 is introduced. When Hawkeye returns from R&R, he discovers that Trapper has been sent home. He and Radar race to the airport in hope to see Trapper before he leaves. While there, they pick up Trapper’s replacement – B.J. Honeycutt. The trip back to the 4077th is eventful, and BJ gets his first taste of life in Korea.

“Change of Command” (Season 4, Episode 2)

Following the death of Henry Blake, Major Frank Burns is made acting commander of the 4077th. Everyone hates Frank, but they are nervous when they are told that Frank is being replaced by a “regular Army” colonel. Col. Sherman Potter (Harry Morgan) arrives in camp and appears to be a tough commander and an inexperienced surgeon. As it turns out, however, Col. Potter fits right in.

“Dear Mildred” (Season 4, Episode 7)

Some episodes are iconic because they feature characters in uncomfortable positions. “Dear Mildred” explores the difficulty that Radar is experiencing adapting to Col. Potter. The story is told through the letter Potter writes home to his wife, Mildred, about the antics of the members of the 4077th. Hawkeye and BJ convince Radar to give Potter a chance, and Radar decides to give Col. Potter a special gift for his wedding anniversary – a horse. Potter’s horse becomes a series “regular.”

“The Interview” (Season 4, Episode 24)

When a war correspondant visits the 4077th, the doctors and nurses are interviewed for a documentary about their experience at a M*A*S*H unit in Korea. This episode is unique as it is entirely in black and white. The interviewer, played by Clete Roberts, asks a number of questions and the actors were either given specific lines or asked to improv. Many of the lines used in this episode were gathered from interviews with actual M*A*S*H doctors and nurses. It is this dedication to actual events thats made M*A*S*H a solid series.

“Margaret’s Engagement” (Season 5, Episode 2)

For the first four seasons of the series, Margaret was Frank’s mistress, but in Season 5, Margaret began to transform. In this episode she gets engaged to Lt. Col. Donald Penobscot. Although she remains shallow, proclaiming, “I could never love someone who didn’t out rank me,” Margaret rejects Frank. Even though her marriage does not last, Margaret’s character continues to grow. In fact, the character of Margaret sees the most dramatic transformation throughout the series.

“Fade In, Fade Out” (Season 6, Episode 1)

After Margaret and Frank’s relationship came to an abrupt end, Frank became a difficult character to write for. It seemed cruel to make fun of a character who was already down and depressed. The decision was made to replace him. The running joke with Frank was his lack of surgical skills, but Frank’s replacement was not. Major Charles Emerson Winchester III was Hawkeye and BJ’s surgical equal, if not superior. The introduction of Charles in Season 6 gave Hawkeye and BJ a real rival, instead of a walking practical joke.

“Point of View” (Season 7 Episode 10)

Ken Levine and David Isaacs wrote a number of great episodes of M*A*S*H, but this is one of the most unique. The entire episode is shown from the point of view of a wounded soldier. From the time he is wounded, the aid station, a helicopter flight, and finally the 4077th, the viewer sees what a wounded soldier would have experienced. All the writers of M*A*S*H were required to read a book called Back Down the Ridge. The book was written by a soldier that wounded in Korea, and he describes the experience. Having read the book, I believe it could have provided the inspiration for this episode.

“Dear Sis” (Season 7, Episode 14)

Father Mulcahy was in the series for all eleven seasons, but he did not play in central role until later in the series. In this episode, Mulcahy is writing to his sister, and he is depressed because he is unsure of his place at the 4077th. It is Christmastime and everyone is depressed to begin with, but Mulcahy is even more so. Even though is successful at lifting the spirits of Charles, he punches a wounded soldier and he is really bothered by his reaction. In the end, Hawkeye toasts Mulcahy and explains that he is important to all of them, even though they do not show it. The episode highlights the talent of William Christopher, but also helped build Mulcahy’s character.

“Hot Lips is Back in Town” (Season 7, Episode 19)

I mentioned earlier that Margaret’s character changed the most over the course of the series, and this episode marks yet another turning point in her development. After her divorce is final, she realizes that she does not need to be married to have a fulfilling life. She has a career with the Army, and she begins taking it more seriously by training the nurses to handle triage, thus freeing up the surgeons for surgery. Margaret becomes more independent after this episode, and it fits the series.

“Goodbye, Radar: Parts 1 & 2” (Season 8, Episodes 4 & 5)

The title of this episode is pretty self explanatory. Radar was one of the most popular characters on the show, but it became difficult to write for the naïve character. They tried to change his character, but it did not work. Coupled with the fact Gary Burghoff was ready to leave Hollywood behind, it was clear Radar had to go. Radar received a two part farewell that was fitting and very well received. This episode also marked the transformation of Klinger. He replaced Radar as company clerk, and the dresses begin to disappear. He becomes more military, but with the occasional Section-8 attempt.

“Life Time” (Season 8, Episode 11)

“Life Time” is an episode that took place in real time. Hawkeye has only 20 minutes to transplant an artery or else a severely wounded soldier will likely be paralyzed. The only problem is, they do not have any grafts large enough to complete the surgery. There is another wounded soldier that is not going to make it, and BJ waits for the one soldier to die to save the other. A buddy of the dying soldier is upset when he learns how the doctors are just waiting for his friend to die. The surgery is successful, but the real time action and drama of this episode is intense.

“Old Soldiers” (Season 8, Episode 18)

Col. Potter is summoned to Tokyo to visit a dying friend. Everyone in camp assumes the worst, that it is Col. Potter who is either sick or dying. When he returns, Potter is depressed, and he barricades himself in his office. Everyone is baffled when they are invited to his tent. When they arrive, they learn that Col. Potter is the last living member of his friends from World War I. Col. Potter opens a bottle of brandy and toasts his fallen buddies. Then he turns and toasts members of the cast. It is probably one of the most moving scenes from the series and showcases the talent of Harry Morgan.

“Dreams” (Season 8, Episode 22)

“Dreams”s is one of the most unique episodes of the series. The episode shows a dream from each of the principle cast members. Each of the dreams begins very peacefully, but each dream is invaded by the war. It is an interesting suggestion as to how all their lives, and dreams, are affected by realities of war.

“A War for All Seasons” (Season 9, Episode 6)

One of my favorite episodes is “A War for all Seasons.” The episode contains four major scenes, one for each season of the year. The shorelines of this episode develop as the year progresses. It is a great episode because it does not focus on the surgery, but more on how the members of the 4077th kept themselves entertained throughout the year.

“As Time Goes By” (Season 11, Episode 15)

Although “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen” was the last episode to air on television, “As Time Goes By” was the last episode filmed. In it, the members of the 4077th bury a time capsule with items that represented their time in Korea. The episode was filmed before countless members of the press as every awaited the final “that’s a wrap” from the director. After the crowds subsided, the cast of M*A*S*H buried a real time capsule with items from the series on the Fox lot.

“Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen” (Season 11, Episode 16)

“Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” is not only considered one of the greatest episodes of M*A*S*H, it is considered one of the greatest finales of all time. The end of the war made for a great way to end the series, but the emotional final half-hour of the finale was the perfect end to the series. The episode is still the highest rated show of all time (not by number of people watching, but the percentage of the people who watched). Numbers range anywhere from 60 – 70% of the television watching public tuned in to watch the M*A*S*H finale on February 28, 1983.

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The M*A*S*H Set Today

M*A*S*H was filmed in two locations. Stage 9 at Fox Studios and the Fox Ranch (now Malibu Creek State Park). Much of the set is in storage, but The Swamp, O.R., and iconic sign post sets were donated to the Smithsonian. They were on display in the mid-1980s, but have been since placed in storage.

Although you  may not be able to see the M*A*S*H set today, you can visit Malibu Creek State Park. This is where all outdoor scenes were filmed for the series and the movie. A short two miles hike from the visitors’ center, the M*A*S*H site has been updated to include a replica of the sign post, historic markers, and rope outlines of the original buildings. YouTube user JetCityFlight visited the M*A*S*H site over the summer and posted a video tour of the site. Enjoy!


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40 Years Ago…

At 8 PM on Sunday, September 17, 1972, few viewers tuned in to the premiere of a new television series – M*A*S*H. The series was based on a book and feature film, but the series was not well received. Many felt the series pilot was too heavy with slap-stick comedy. As the first series progressed, however, the series’ writers began to introduce more drama and the realities of war into the series. Few people who watched the pilot expected the series to last more than a season, but the series’ creators were able to adapt and introduce the proper blend of comedy and drama.

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