Sunday, March 4, 2018

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

M*A*S*H Goes To Hollywood

I generally haven't bothered reviewing the M*A*S*H novels on this site, because aside from the characters, they really don't have anything to do with the show. If anything, original M*A*S*H author Richard Hooker (aka Richard Hornberger) went out of his way to disparage the show whenever he could (though I'm sure he still cashed the checks).

Anyway, my longtime pal (and new Swamp RatChris Franklin recently gifted me a copy of M*A*S*H Goes To Hollywood when he saw it at an antique store. So I thought I should at least give it a read. Hollywood is the 11th book in the series, "co-written" by Hooker and William Butterworth. I put that in quotes because supposedly after M*A*S*H Goes To Maine (1972), Hooker/Hornberger had no involvement in these books at all. In fact, it's most likely that the series wouldn't have continued at all if not for the TV series, which of course turned the M*A*S*H name into a valuable property.

I'm giving all this back story because, the short of it, I didn't enjoy this book at all. As a diehard M*A*S*H fan, I have a basic curiosity over the fact that I am reading characters called Hawkeye, Trapper John, and Hot Lips, like I've stumbled into an alternate universe. But Hollywood isn't remotely funny, and worse yet, it's smug and believes itself to be hilarious (there's a character called "Don Rhotten", har dee har har), making it painful to get through.

I've often said that even though I fully acknowledge that Robert Altman's M*A*S*H film is brilliant, I find a little unpleasant to watch because I think the characters are so sour and mean, especially compared to the TV versions. The book's characters have even less warmth than the movie ones, so for me there was nothing to, er, hook into. It was basically just a bunch of unfunny jokes for 200 pages, and then it stops.

Still, I appreciate Chris's generosity, and I was happy to have experienced the book for its own sake. Apparently the last M*A*S*H book, 1977's M*A*S*H Mania, ignores all the previous Butterworth books and presents the characters have grown into middle age, which sounds at least a little more interesting than what's on display here.

One last thing: on the book's back cover, the show is explicitly plugged, going so far as to list the then-cast of the show, despite the fact that most of them do not appear in this book.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Run Till You Fall

A little while ago, I heard about a TV movie from 1988 called Run Till You Fall, starring Jamie Farr. By itself that's not that remarkable--there were a billion TV movies in the 70s and 80s--until you learn that it was directed by none other than Mike Farrell, making this a mini-M*A*S*H reunion!

RTYF is Farrell's sole non-M*A*S*H directing credit, and I haven't been able to learn anything about it other than a one-sentence plot summary ("A small town private eye tries to win back his estranged wife and their young disabled son"). Unlike a lot of TV movies from the time, it's not available on YouTube, though you can watch a fifteen-minute chunk of it there.

Along with Farr, the cast includes Fred Savage, Shelley Fabares (Mrs. Mike Farrell), CCH Pounder, and Clyde Kusatsu, who appeared in four episodes of M*A*S*H--including the classic "The Joker is Wild", where he played an old Army buddy of...B.J. Hunnicutt!

If anyone can help me track down this movie, it would be greatly appreciated!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

M*A*S*H at 45

To celebrate M*A*S*H's 45th anniversary, I welcomed film critic Zaki Hasan onto an episode of our FW Presents podcast to talk about our love of the show. Give it a listen!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Struggle is Real

And yet another reason why M*A*S*H needs to be on streaming!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

USS Enterprise NCC-4077

In 1991, David Ogden Stiers made a guest appearance on "Half A Life", a season 4 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. I watched TNG when it originally aired, and I remembered being delighted to see Maj. Winchester again!

What I didn't know was that there was an Easter egg buried in the show, as a nod to Mr. Stiers' former TV gig. Look closely on one of the control panels in Engineering, and you'll see a familiar set of numbers:

I never knew about this gag until it was mentioned on the great Mission Log podcast, an episode-by-episode look at Star Trek in all its forms. Nice job, ST: TNG art department!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

William Christopher, 1932-2016

Dear Bill,

I hope you don't mind me calling you Bill, considering that we've never met. But every time I saw someone on the show refer to you, it was as "Bill", not "William." Plus, you seem just so darn friendly that I didn't think you'd mind.

I've never been a believer, of any stripe, but if I had been stationed at the 4077th, I think I would have sought Father Mulcahy out--just to "kick it around", as he liked to say. Father Mulcahy was always so wise, so warm, so understanding, that even though we didn't share any of the same beliefs, you infused the character with such a basic humanity that I never thought you would judge me, no matter how much I might screw up.

You were asked once what M*A*S*H was about, and you cheekily said: "It's about a chaplain in Korea." And while that wasn't strictly true, your presence on the show always offered a stark contrast to the other characters, and the show would have been severely diminished without your presence. And when Father Mulcahy got a big moment--like in "The Interview", "Mulcahy's War", "Dear Sis", or "A Holy Mess"--you knocked it out of the park. In those moments, the show was about a chaplain in Korea!

I grew up on M*A*S*H, and it was an enormous influence on the person I am today. Decades later, I'm still miffed that AfterM*A*S*H--which I watched, er, religiously--was cancelled so unceremoniously, and your character never got a proper goodbye. I like to think Father Mulcahy kept hanging out with his 4077th pals, and continued making life better for anyone who came to him for help. Like the character you so brilliantly played for over a decade, you brought a lot of joy into people's lives.

Rest in peace, William--Bill--Christopher.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Rolling Stone Top 100 TV Shows of All Time

M*A*S*H came in at #16 on Rolling Stone's Top 100 Shows of All-Time list, which is pretty respectable since it's been off the air for so long and isn't a staple of streaming services at the moment. But, of course, I'd still place it much higher!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

MASHED: A Korean War RPG

Attention all personnel! Here's a Kickstarter campaign for an RPG called MASHED, which its creators describe this way: "Experience the Korean War with the men and women of the 8099th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) in this unique historical RPG." 

The campaign still has 28 days to go, and it's already met its goal. As someone who has run several Kickstarter campaigns, I can't tell you how impressive that is. There doesn't seem to be any connection to the show (for copyright reasons, I would think), but that doesn't mean it's not an interesting endeavor. Not being a gamer myself, this project doesn't attract me as something I'd want to participate in, but it still looks pretty cool, well researched, and attractively designed. Check it out, MASH fans!

(h/t: Newest Swamp Rat Andy Kapellusch)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

M*A*S*H Hardee's Poster

I saw this Hardee's promotional poster for sale on eBay a few months ago. The seller had no info on it, so that leaves me baffled as to the purpose of this. What's the connection between Hardee's and M*A*S*H?

Also, it's interesting(ish)--this shot of the gang is familiar to any M*A*S*H fan, except this is a painted version of the original photo. Was this ever used in another capacity? Why in the world was this painting even commissioned, when they had the photo already? Not that it's not nifty (it is), but it still leaves me baffled.

Maybe Col. Potter painted it?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Col. Henry Blake on "Cher"

The long lost footage of McLean Stevenson as Col. Henry Blake has finally surfaced, thanks to the fine folks over at Maybe part of the reason this clip--which supposedly aired just days after "Abyssinia, Henry"--was so hard to find was that it was always credited to The Carol Burnett Show (it even says so on IMDB).

But as you can see from the video above, this weird cameo was on a Cher-hosted show, mostly likely the 1975-1976 variety series simply known as Cher. IMDB lists Season 1, Episode 7 as having aired on March 23, 1975, just five days after the legendary M*A*S*H Season 3 closer. There's no mention of the appearance of course, but I feel like this is a safe bet.

A tip of the martini glass to Swamp Rat Daniel Hopmans for letting me know about this. As Hawkeye Pierce once said, I hate a mystery!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Hop Lips IPA

I haven't tried this, but I really want to. The creators, Dominion Brewing Co., say it contains "post-mash citrus." I bet it does!

Courtesy newest Swamp Rat Hugh B. Scott. Thanks Hugh!

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Fantastic World of D.C. Collins

This might just be the strangest thing I have ever posted on the AfterM*A*S*H blog.

The Fantastic World of D.C. Collins was a 1984 TV movie starring Gary Coleman as a precocious kid who imagines himself in all sorts of fantastical situations seen in TV and movies. Improbably, one of the places he sees himself in is...a MASH unit in 1950s Korea!

I'm not even sure where to start with this, it's so unfathomably strange. All I can do is thank Swamp Rat Steve Spatucci for sending it to me, I was completely unaware of the movie's existence. I was happier then.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Movie Tonight: The Cat From Outer Space

Today is another, overdue installment of a segment we call "Movie Tonight", where we discuss a movie with particularly notable M*A*S*H connections.

The film in question for today is the 1979 Disney movie The Cat From Outer Space, which I remember my Mom taking me to in the theaters:

The reason we're discussing it here is the cast. Aside from family film stalwarts like Ken Berry and Sandy Duncan, TCFOS features no less than both 4077 commanders, Harry (Col. Potter) Morgan and McLean (Henry Blake) Stevenson! Even better, they share some scenes like together, like this one early in the movie:

As the title suggests, the plot concerns an alien that comes to Earth, that just happens to look like a kitty cat. Morgan is a blustery general who thinks this is the beginning of an alien invasion, and Stevenson is a kind but befuddled doctor who works alongside Berry and Duncan. There's a long scene where Morgan gets to yell at everyone, the first of three or four scenes where both M*A*S*H actors share the screen.

There's various hi-jinx involving Berry and the cat, ending with the alien feline (named Jake) applying for U.S. citizenship! That's where another M*A*S*H veteran comes in: Sorrell Booke, who at the time was famous for being Boss Hogg, but nevertheless appeared as General Barker in Season 1 of the show:

While expecting a lot of from a piece of product like The Cat From Outer Space is a little too much, it's a shame that this movie is so lifeless. Just because a movie is for kids doesn't mean it has to be bad, and all the proceedings here are so dull that it's a shame such a talented cast is wasted (including Roddy McDowall, who spends so much of the movie by himself I'm betting he shot almost all of his scenes over a weekend, then headed off for another Apes project). As we know, Harry Morgan could be very funny, even when playing a mean guy, but here he's just a one-note jerk. Stevenson comes off a little better, but he's playing second fiddle to Ken Berry. Sheesh.

Part of the reason I find these movies with M*A*S*H connections even worthy of noting is, I wonder what the cast conversations were like when they weren't filming? By this time, the show was in its fifth season, and more popular than ever. At the same time, it was obvious that Stevenson's decision to leave M*A*S*H dealt his career a catastrophic blow. Did Harry and McLean chat around the craft services table? Did McLean look at Harry and think "Man, what did I do..."?

Speaking of M*A*S*H connections, there's yet another one: TCFOS was directed by Disney go-to guy Norman Tokar, who helmed Season 2's "Five O'Clock Charlie", one of the funniest shows that season! So the guy knew funny, he just didn't really deliver that here. As I mentioned above, I saw this in the theater, and I think even then I caught the M*A*S*H connection, which probably just confused me.

And that's the Movie Tonight!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

TV Guide - February 9, 1974

You can't go wrong with Jack Davis, and TV Guide knew it, so they commissioned him for this great M*A*S*H cover. This issue is from February 9, 1974, while the show was wrapping up its second season.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

M*A*S*H Emergency Helicopter

If you were a rack toy manufacturer and had a gross of toy helicopters laying around, it only made sense to spend a few bucks for the M*A*S*H license in the hopes you could move a few more that way.

The only real notable thing here is the card art--I don't believe I've seen that particular piece of art before, featuring semi-caricatures of the gang. Even more unusual is the inclusion of Radar, who (generally) had left the show before the merchandising really kicked in. Still, if I had seen this at a toy store when I was a kid, I would have picked it up, stat!

(h/t: PlaidStallions)

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Nehi Magnet

Newest Swamp Rat Christina Stith found this magnet on sale at a JoAnn Fabrics in Maryland and, of course, immediately thought of M*A*S*H. How could you not, especially with those 4077th-esque colors?

Thanks Christina!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

M*A*S*Home Buyers

I saw this sign while waiting at a stoplight, and I couldn't believe it. Even having been off the air for more than thirty years, M*A*S*H is still famous enough for someone to think it was a good hook when attracting customers. Frank Burns would be so proud!

Monday, June 8, 2015

After M*A*S*H Episode 30 - Wet Feet

Season 2, Episode 30: Wet Feet
Original Air Date: 12/11/84
Written by: Dennis Koenig

Directed by: Hy Averback

During a torrential downpour, General Pershing is designated a disaster relief area. Alma Cox insists that everyone remain on staff, even Dr. Potter, who only lives a few hundred feet away. Potter, Klinger, Mulcahy, and Dr. Boyer decide on a very 4077th thing to do--have a card game.

Alma also calls in the head of the hospital, Wally Wainwright--but in this case it's not so much devotion to duty, but the desire for a relationship. Well, not a relationship so much as a sexual tryst so she can get her old job back. Wainwright says he is devoted to his wife, and Alma takes the rejection in stride.

A patient arrives with a seemingly simple problem--a broken shoulder--turns into something more serious when his bigger problem of a ruptured spleen is missed by one of the new doctors. Meanwhile, Wainwright, upon hearing that the hospital received a lot of good press when it served a similar community-minded purpose back in 1948, makes attempts to alert the media this time around (in between playing in the poker game with Potter, Klinger, and Mulcahy).

When the hospital's waiting room is turned SRO due to a collapsed building nearby, Potter, Klinger, and Mulcahy snap into action like their old days in Korea. This leaves Wainwright standing helplessly off to the side, something a local reporter and photographer notices when they arrive to do a story on the hospital. The next day, the paper runs a story about the crack staff, and how generally useless Wainwright is. The episode ends with the boss trashing his office in frustration about how his plan for personal glory went so wrong.

(Not So)Fun Facts: This episode never aired, at least in the United States (see below). It was the last episode filmed, but of course not designed as a series finale. After such a memorable send off in "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen", AfterM*A*S*H just limped off TV with a whimper, not a bang. This helped cement the series' unjust reputation as one of (if not the) worst spin-offs in television history.

Soon-Lee and Mildred Potter do not appear in this episode.

Favorite Line: An announcement comes over the loud speaker, stating that due to the worsening storm, there are casualties from a collapsed building. Klinger marvels, "...and I didn't even hear the choppers!" Not a funny line really, but kind of a fun callback to the boys' days at the 4077th.

I never thought I would see this episode until newest Swamp Rat Michael Hinkson sent it to me as a way to "thanks" for my blogging efforts here. Thanks Michael!

This episode was never aired in the United States, so I assumed it never aired anywhere. But there's a voice over during the end credits that reveals this particular copy of the show played in Australia, of all places. It still seems unbelievably mercenary of CBS--which benefited so much and so long from its association with M*A*S*H--to not even bother airing a show that was completed and ready to air. Potter, Klinger, and Mulcahy--not to mention the real-life people who made the show--deserved better.

Thanks again to Michael for giving me the chance to see this elusive episode!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

M*A*S*H Ad: "What's Up, Doc?"
Now this is weird--for this ad promoting Season 6's "What's Up, Doc?", someone made the effort to dig up a picture of Beeson Carroll as Donald Penobscott (oh, excuse me, Lt. Col Donald Penobscott), even though he doesn't appear in the episode! Obviously the ad guy in charge felt the potential viewers needed a little more context to fully understand what they were going to watch.

Even stranger is, they chose Carroll as Penobscott, even though actor Mike Henry had played the Lt. Colonel more recently, in an episode from the very same season as this one.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

M*A*S*H Drinking Glass

I found this on eBay a few years ago...I have no idea where these were offered or who made them. Generally, these sorts of pop culture drinking glasses were sold at fast food restaurants, but I can't really picture Arby's deciding that teaming up with M*A*S*H was a great way to move some Big Beef N' Cheddars.

That said, this is a pretty nifty looking glass, and I know it was part of a set. I hope there's a Sidney one!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Entertainment Weekly - 12/5/14
In the 12/5/14 edition of Entertainment Weekly, there's an article recommending great Christmas-related entertainment, including five great Xmas-themed TV episodes. As you can see above, Season 9's "Death Takes A Holiday" made the list!

One other thing worth mentioning: check the color-coded key EW provides to help you find what streaming services you can see these shows on. Which ones is M*A*S*H on? That's right, none of them. C'mon, Netflix, get with it!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

M*A*S*H Ad - "Bug Out"
For once, a pretty accurate description of the episode, and no use of goofy photos of cast members spliced together!

"The Hot Ones"?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

M*A*S*H Ad - "Stars and Stripe"

I wonder how Wayne Rogers felt, having his M*A*S*H past so directly referenced, considering his fairly acrimonious departure. Considering what a great lead-in M*A*S*H was, for any show, he was probably okay with it!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

TV Guide - 4/25/81

Yet another piece of M*A*S*H obscura courtesy Swamp Rat Russell Burbage, a 1981 edition of TV Guide featuring an extended article on the making of an episode of the show. Really interesting behind the scenes glimpse, capped off by an Al Hirschfeld cover. Not bad for 40 cents!

Thanks again Russell!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

TV Guide - 9/10/83

Another piece of M*A*S*H obscura courtesy Swamp Rat Russell Burbage, here's a 1983 edition of TV Guide featuring an article on the new show, AfterM*A*S*H. Note the somewhat condescending tone in the article, I guess the writer just couldn't help themselves.

Thanks again Russell!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Dynamite #19

Swamp Rat Russell Burbage sent me a box o'fun for my birthday a few months ago, including some M*A*S*H stuff, like this issue of everyone's favorite magazine, Dynamite!

 It might seem surprising that a magazine aimed at kids would so extensively cover what was an adult TV show, but I think it only underscores just how massively popular the show was at the time. Side note: it's funny that the only promo still Dynamite could get of Harry Morgan was when he was playing General Steele in Season 3's "The General Flipped At Dawn", not a shot of him as Col. Potter. No one said running a magazine would be easy.

Thanks Russell!

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