Friday, March 20, 2009

Episode 20 - The Army-Navy Game

Season 1, Episode 20: The Army-Navy Game
Original Air Date: 2/25/73
Written by: Sid Dorfman, McLean Stevenson
Directed by: Gene Reynolds

Radar is collecting bets on the upcoming Army-Navy Game, and Hawkeye, Trapper, and some nurses are in Henry's office as he tunes in the game.

The celebration is halted by the sound of incoming artillery--bombs begin to fall, and some debris hits Henry, knocking him silly. Frank insists he is in charge, but when he proves useless, Hawkeye essentially takes over.

Things get worse when an exploded bomb lands in the center of the camp. Hawkeye calls HQ, to ask them what to do. He gets a hold of a flunky who seems more interested in the game, but tells them to get all the markings off the bomb they can and report back.

Frank, still insisting he's in charge, is guilted into going out to check on the bomb, but faints before he can take one step out the door. Hawkeye does the job, and, with his stethoscope, can hear that the bomb is ticking away!

Later, Henry has recovered from his blow to the head, and re-assumes coomand. The Army says the bomb doesn't sound like any of theirs, try the Navy!

The Navy isn't much help, and saying it isn't one of theirs, either. They promise to look into it.

In the meantime, the camp passes the time--Hawkeye, Trapper, and Ugly John pay cards, Radar makes time with a nurse(!), and Frank and Hot Lips have a romantic moment alone.

The Navy finally calls back, and tells the 4077th that the bomb belongs to...the C.I.A.!

(Hawkeye wonders why the Navy can't get specific info about the bomb from the C.I.A., and Henry answers that's because "The C.I.A. won't tell anyone its business"--a great line)

Hawkeye and Trapper volunteer to go out and dismantle the bomb, with the help of the instructions they've gotten from the Navy. They follow the instructions, but when a poorly-sequenced part of the instructions caused them to snip a wire too soon, they run and duck for cover.

The bomb goes off, but all it shoots out are--paper? Yes, paper--leaflets telling the enemy to give up, they have no chance of winning, signed Douglas MacArthur. As Trapper explains, "It's a propaganda bomb!"

To make matters worse, Navy ends up beating Army, 42-36.

Fun Facts: This episode features a different arrangement of the show's theme, "Suicide is Painless." Its more jazzy and upbeat, like something you would've heard by a big swing band.

This episode's story is credited to McLean Stevenson, the only actor other than Alda to work on the series on the other side of the camera during the first few years of the show. And its a really good story--exciting and unusual for the show to that point.

Henry's wife is still named Mildred at this point (after he's been hit by debris, he's absently-mindedly calling her name). That would be changed shortly to Loraine, but the next 4077th colonel's wife would be named Mildred, too!

Favorite Line: This episode is filled with great lines, and it was hard to pick a favorite. But I always laugh when Father Mulcahy comes in to the office to listen to the game, rooting for Notre Dame.

Henry:(annoyed) "Father, Notre Dame isn't playing."

Mulcahy:(disappointed) "Oh, then what's all the excitement about?"


Anonymous said...

By "the only actor other than Alda to work on the series on the other side of the camera" you mean "at this point," right?

Harry Morgan and Mike Farrell both directed, and (I think) David Ogden Stiers, did, too.
Mike Farrell helped write Yalu Brick Road and (I think) the Susan St James guest episode IIRC.

rob! said...

Yes, I should have said it like that--post amended!

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