Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Episode 47 - Mail Call

Season 2, Episode 47: Mail Call
Original Air Date: 2/23/74
Written by: Larry Gelbart & Laurence Marks

Directed by: Alan Alda

It's Mail Call at the 4077th, and each member of the camp receives something.

Hawkeye gets a homemade sweater, two sizes too big, from his sister. Henry gets a package of check stubs from his wife Lorraine so he can balance her checkbook for her. Trapper gets a letter and a picture from his two daughters. Frank gets a letter from his stockbrokers, telling him he's now $2,000 richer now than he was a month ago--all thanks to the war and Frank's investments in arms manufacturing.

While Frank heads off to Hot Lips' tent to share the good news, Hawkeye decides to pull a prank on him. He fakes a letter to his stockbroker, mentioning a tip about something called Pioneer Aviation, which will make Hawkeye rich beyond his wildest dreams.

Frank's lip quivers with excitement over the news. When he realizes the letter he's reading is missing a page, he tears up The Swamp looking for the rest. Hawkeye and Trapper watch from afar with amusement. Later, Frank tells his stockbroker to sell all his stocks and put everything into Pioneer Aviation.

Meanwhile, Trapper grows despondent over not being around his girls. He gets drunk and decides he's leaving, right then and there. Hawkeye tries to talk him out of it, but Trapper is so determined he pushes Hawkeye over and starts storming out.

He is interrupted by Frank coming the other way, who dismisses Trapper by saying, "I could buy or sell you!"

Trapper and Hawkeye decide to reveal the trick, having gotten a hold of Frank's letter to his stockbroker. They tell Pioneer Aviation doesn't exist, and Frank storms out.

As Trapper lay the floor, laughing hysterically, Hawkeye uses the opportunity to start unpacking Trapper's hastily-put-together duffel bag.

Fun Facts: Hawkeye mentions a sister in this episode, who basically gets fazed out of existence in later seasons (the same thing that happened to his Mom).

One aspect to Hawkeye's joke I don't understand--Pioneer Aviation doesn't exist. Wouldn't that mean it was impossible for Frank to lose his money? Wouldn't his stockbroker(s) still have Frank's money on hand? But in the final scene with Frank and Hot Lips, you get the impression Frank has lost all his investments.

Favorite Line: When Frank exclaims like a kid upon hearing he's richer, Trapper deadpans, "They're sending him his Captain Midnight ring."


Russell said...

Was this the first episode directed by Alan Alda?

And did Trapper wanting to leave have anything to do with Wayne Rogers wanting to leave, or is this too early for him to have that sentiment?

Dave said...

Mike Farell has said Wayne Rogers almost left the show after season 2but things were smoothed over for the time being.

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