Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Episode 24 - Showtime

Season 1, Episode 24: Showtime
Original Air Date: 3/25/73
Written by: Larry Gelbart
Directed by: Jackie Cooper

A USO trip is visiting the 4077th, and the show goes on as various events transpire--Hawkeye and Frank engage in a war of ever-escalating practical jokes (this has to be the most playful Frank has ever been!), Henry is desperately trying to get a phone call home, since his wife is giving birth, and Trapper, Hot Lips, and Ugly John are deeply involved in a difficult case.

In addition, the unit's dentist, Capt. Kaplan (Harvey Goldenberg), has his orders to be shipped home, but is so paranoid something will happen that holds up his leaving that he refuses to do anything--kiss a nurse, touch a piece of paper (in fear of getting a papercut), or even go to the Latrine.

In between Radar joining the USO band on drums, he gets word to Henry that his wife has given birth to a son. Trapper's patient pulls through after hours of surgery, Hawkeye wins the prank war by collapsing the walls of the Latrine while Frank is in it, and, even though he makes it out the camp, a jeep accident causes Kaplan to break some bones, leaving him stuck in the 4077th for a little while longer.

Fun Facts: This is the series' third episode to be directed by Jackie Cooper, famous child actor who would also become quite a successful director. He also played Perry White in the Superman movies, which means Mr. Cooper managed to be involved two of my all-time favorite things. Good on ya, Mr. Cooper.

This is the show's final episode with the character of Ugly John. Although the actor, John Orchard, would return to the series as a guest-star many seasons later.

This is the final episode of the first season. With Season 2, the show would be moved to a new time slot, to behind the blockbuster All In The Family, Saturdays at 8:30. The show would then become a hit, and never look back (even though the show would get moved again the next season).

Favorite Line: Hawkeye and Father Mulcahy have a nice moment in the Mess Tent. Mulcahy has been doubting his usefulness to the unit, at least compared to what the doctors do.

Hawkeye tells him of a professor he once had, who liked to say that "God cures the patients, but the doctor takes the fee."

Mulcahy asks "Do you think that's true?", to which Hawkeye replies: "I'm able to do a lot of things in surgery that I'm not really good enough to do."

To try and replicate the idea of the summer break between seasons, the blog will be taking a week off before starting our look at Season 2 (we'll do that for each break between seasons).

In the meantime, we'll be doing posts about other M*A*S*H-related stuff, like tomorrow's look at an article about the show in TV Guide!


Anonymous said...

Nice job on Season One, Rob. You make me want to go back and watch most of these (I'm a huge BJ and Frank fan and only have seasons 4 thru 7 in my personal collection).

rob! said...



i myself love seasons 4-5 the best, so i bet my posts on those episodes will go on even longer...

Korey Pepper said...

This episode is pretty great in it's context but i do admit, the scene where Henry finds out he has a son on it's own is touching, but after we now know about Henry's impending fate, it brings a lingering cloud over the joy, knowing that Henry will never get to meet his son in person and his son will never have known how swell of a guy his father was!

Rob As Well said...

I always found this odd about the Ugly John character: In the M*A*S*H movie, he has no Australian accent, but does wear an slouch hat. In the show, his character seems to have piked up this accent.

Is the other appearance by this actor as "Muldoon", the MP who keeps Rosie's bar open by accepting bribes of whiskey in his coffee mug? That character too is from Australia. Weird!

I think this is the first episode (of two) that showcases Gary Burghoff's real life drum playing abilities. He's actually quite good! Not an easy feet to play with a traditional grip on your sticks when you've got dysmelia on your left hand as Burghoff does.

I like in his playing that he gets really into it, even doing a bit of a wild scream... but as soon as he stops playing, he snaps back into goofy Radar with a certain look on his face. Perfect!

Robert Gross said...

I once had to compose a piece involving accordion. I didn't have an accordion, and couldn't find relevant facts on accordion--- I think this was before wikipedia--- so I actually freeze-framed this episode to count the number of octaves there were on the accordion in this episode. Later I confirmed that this was, indeed, a correctly octaved actual accordion and I was right to base my composition on this.

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