Deluge (4×24)

Season 4, Episode 24

Episode #96

Broadcast: 02/17/1976

Written by: Larry Gelbart & Simon Muntner

Directed by: William Jurgensen

 

WHAT EPISODE IS THIS?

Interspersed with clips from Fox Movietone News from 1950, a deluge of wounded pour into the 4077th and everyone has their hands full:  BJ gets squirted in the eye with blood during a tricky arterial operation, a wounded man is robbed of his personal effects, and Potter is served WWII surplus chicken stew for lunch – complete with beaks.

One wounded man with a troubled conscience seeks out Father Mulcahy.  It seems he promised God he’d become a priest if He got him out of the fighting alive.  The Almighty delivered him, but he really doesn’t want to be a priest.  Father Mulcahy consoles the wounded soldier, stating many a man has made the same bargain with God.

Another wounded man has phosphorus burns and has to be treated in the supply sink with his damaged leg under water.  Hawkeye explains the phosphorus is in the soldier’s leg tissues and if it comes in contact with air, it could ignite.  Copper sulfate  is added to the water, causing the phosphorus to shine, allowing BJ to easily extract it.

As wounded continue to arrive, a sobering announcement comes over the P.A. system:  the Chinese have attacked and disrupted the entire United Nations line with 300,000 troops, squashing any hope of a quick end to the war.

An interesting montage follows with alternating clips of couples’ energetic dancing at New York’s Harvest Moon Ball along with Hawkeye, Radar and corpsmen’s fancy footwork maneuvering around all the newly-arrived wounded.

The deluge of problems intensifies:  the camp is running out of plasma, a great rainstorms arrives, and the Chinese are “pouring over the border like the country’s sprung a leak.”  Colonel Potter has decided to evacuate the nurses, which causes Margaret to confront him while he’s taking a shower.  Margaret insists she and the nurses stay, so Potter reluctantly agrees to let them stay.

And the problems continue to mount:  the laundry outside O.R. catches on fire (thanks to a thoughtless G.I.), an operating table bulb shatters, raining glass into a patient, and a landmine outside O.R. explodes, collapsing a wall and enveloping the staff in smoke.

The deluge finally comes to an end.  The camp’s P.A. announces the 4077th has been awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation for outstanding service under adverse conditions.  Turnabout being fair play, Colonel Potter pays a visit to Margaret while she’s showering to thank her and the nurses for staying.

 

 

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL

Frank: I really wasn’t expecting more wounded.  General MacArthur said the fighting would be over by Christmas.
BJ:
He didn’t say what year.

Margaret: File copies of your copy in triplicate.
Klinger: Major, I’ve done this a hundred times. I write to my mother in triplicate. I’ve got triplicate on the brain. Somebody wants change for a ten, I give them three fives.

Klinger: Boy, seeing you guys work with the wounded, the way you deal with burned-up legs, ripped-up bellies … makes me proud every time I throw up.

Potter: Amazing what can get stuck in the human body.  My sister-in-law, Rose, swallowed a dried apricot at her bridge club.  Ten minutes later, she drank a glass of water.  The fruit expanded to its original size, lodged in her duodenum.  They rushed her to the hospital, called me, and I had to perform an apricotectomy.

Margaret: I had no idea what a civilian was.  I thought it was somebody waiting for his uniform to come back from the cleaners.  When I was five, I had a crying fit because they wouldn’t let me have a crew cut.

Hawkeye: Hey, put out that cigarette, there’s a lot of ether in there.
Soldier: Hey, I’m a sergeant, fella.
Hawkeye: And I’m a captain, fella, which means if we’re blown up, I’ll fly higher than you.

 

 TRIVIA & OBSERVATIONS

The use of Fox Movietone news clips is used extensively in this episode.  Here are the eleven clips used:

#1: Winston Churchill in Plymouth, England speaking about Korean War
#2: American ship in Wonsan Harbor making a nighttime rocket attack
#3: Joe E. Brown urging Americans to donate blood
#4: President Truman speaking to students at the University of Wyoming (this occurred May 9, 1950)
#5: French fighting the communists in Vietnam
#6: Harvest Moon Ball in New York City, featuring some of America’s top dancers
#7: General MacArthur’s tickertape parade and speech in New York City on April 20, 1951
#8: National Celebrities Gold Tournament featuring Danny Kaye, Milton Berle, and Bob Hope
#9: Rita Hayworth returning to New York City
#10: Dagwood, a Ping-Pong playing cat (“Dagwood, you’re really the cat’s whiskers!”)
#11: End clip for Movietone News, copyright 1950

Some of the opening scenes of wounded arriving are (once again) taken from season one’s “Cowboy” episode.  You can tell which ones are from “Cowboy” – they are very grainy.

 Syngman Rhee:  corrupt President of South Korea, first elected in 1948 and was reelected in 1952, 1956, and 1960.

According to Klinger, when the draft board asked his religion, he replied “Aztec.”

Duodenum:  the part of your small intestine directly leading from the stomach

China attacked the UN line with 300,000 men in October 1950 after the allied troops closed in on the Yalu River.  The Chinese feared the UN would cross the Yalu and attack China directly, thus the overly-aggressive response.  The allies retreated to the 38th parallel area which is where the rest of the Korean War was centered.  Of course, this October 1950 attack does not fit the current M*A*S*H timeline which, so far, has been autumn of 1952.

Another timeline issue is the Movietone News clips, supposedly from 1950, but the MacArthur clip is clearly the General’s tickertape parade from April 1951.  Also, Rita Hayworth’s return to New York happened in 1951 after her failed marriage to Prince Aly Khan.

Harvest Moon Ball:  held from 1935 to 1984, this was the most famous dance contest in the world.  Held in Madison Square Garden, music was supplied by leading band leaders like Bennie Goodman and Artie Shaw.

Hawkeye correctly mentions there are four other M*A*S*H units.  Last episode, he said there were five M*A*S*H units and three evac hospitals in Korea.  Larry Gelbart wrote both episodes, so he better get it right!

Margaret grew up in the following army posts:  Fort Benning (Columbus, GA), Fort Ord (Monterey, CA area), Fort Dix (Trenton, NJ area) and Camp Kilmer.  Kilmer is about 32 miles SW of New York City and was the largest processing center for troops arriving from and departing to Europe during World War II.

Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn were semi-autobiographical books about life in Paris written by Henry Miller.  First published in France, they were banned in the U.S. for being sexually explicit.

Hawkeye tells Mulcahy he reminds him of a B-girl he knew in San Diego.  A B-girl is short for “bar girl”, slang for a woman employed by a bar to entertain or make conversation with men to keep them occupied and drinking.

Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton:  19th century British poet, author and feminist

When Margaret is in the shower and turns toward Colonel Potter, you can see the towel she is wearing.

This is an interesting episode, the way the news clips are weaved in and out of the story.  Being a lover of history, I’ve always enjoyed this episode and the clips, though they really do not correlate with the story.  According to Larry Gelbart, filming of the episode resulted in the show being four minutes short, so the clips were added.  Therefore, this episode was not planned this way, but still is very effective.

The More I See You (4×23)

Season 4, Episode 23

Episode #95

Broadcast: 02/10/1976

Written by: Larry Gelbart & Gene Reynolds

Directed by: Gene Reynolds

 

WHAT EPISODE IS THIS?

Hawkeye is sent through the emotional wringer when an old girlfriend, Carlye Breslin, is assigned to the 4077th.  Hawkeye watches her arrival from the Swamp and ducks down as she passes by, which astonishes BJ.  When BJ presses him for information, Hawkeye admits he and Carlye were very close and actually lived together for over a year when he was in surgical residency in Boston.  Clearly distracted by her presence, Hawkeye begins to babble and become unglued by the woman who left him all those years ago.

Hawkeye checks with Radar to make sure Carlye is assigned to the 4077th or is merely passing through.  Radar confirms both Carlye and Becky Anderson (who arrived with Carlye) are assigned and reads off Carlye’s last name as Walton.  Hawkeye is floored to learn his old flame is now married.

Hawkeye and BJ arrive at Carlye and Becky’s tent, knocking and greeting them from outside.  Carly immediately recognizes Hawkeye’s voice and is completely stunned to see him enter the tent.  The two former lovers never directly acknowledge each other.  The captains offer presents and witty one-liners in the style of Groucho Marx – Carly even completing some of Hawkeye’s jokes – along with an invitation to stop by for a drink after dinner.

Carly picks up on the hint and visits Hawkeye in the Swamp that evening.  After some awkward opening lines, Carlye and Hawkeye get reacquainted and the subject of Mr. Walton is brought up.  It turns out he is a naval lieutenant patrolling the Korean coast in a destroyer, but as a civilian, works in advertising.

Hawkeye’s angst finally surfaces, admitting he’s wondered what happened to her.  Carlye replies she got married, to which Hawkeye adds “but not to me.”  When Carlye reminds him he never asked, Hawkeye rants he was much too busy and broke to consider marriage.  Carlye informs him she felt neglected by his dedication to medicine and her husband is able to commit to something beyond his work.  Hawkeye now completely lets his guard down, telling Carlye there’s been no one since her (“faint copies at best”), but Carlye counters that she had to survive.  Both of them realize working together is going to be difficult

Meanwhile, Colonel Potter is painting a portrait of Radar.  When the Colonel tells Radar he should pick up a hobby, Radar says he does impressions, then quickly launces into a fabulous turtle impression, followed by one of singer Al Jolson.  However, the Colonel is unimpressed when Radar fails to sing like Jolson.

Carlye and Hawkeye resume their discussion in an unused building outside camp, where Hawkeye admits he can’t just work around her, nor act like a normal person in her presence unless he gets over her.  He reveals her leaving plunged him into depression, but over time, got over the hate, but never got over the love.  Carlye recoils, but Hawkeye pours out his feelings for her and they kiss, which leads to a multi-week affair.

Now finished with Radar’s portrait, Colonel Potter has moved onto painting Klinger as a Greek athlete.  Father Mulcahy arrives, distressed about some glaring typographical errors he detected in some newly arrived bibles.

BJ gently confronts Hawkeye about his affair, which leads to his admission he has never strayed, nor could not do something like that to Peg (oh, yeah?)  As Hawkeye listens to his best friend start a conversation with his wife over the radio, Radar shows him a copy of Carlye’s request for transfer.

Hawkeye, reliving flashbacks of Carlye walking out on him, rushes to her tent, where Carlye tells him she cannot stay and continue their affair.  They both proclaim their love for each other, but Carlye says her husband will demand a divorce if he were to learn of the affair.  Hawkeye envisions a lifetime together, pledging they can make it work, but as Carlye notices, literally proposes himself into a corner.  She knows medicine is always going to be the most important thing in his life and she refuses to take a backseat again.

The two embrace and say their final goodbyes, Hawkeye adding if anyone asks, he turned her down this time.

 

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL

Hawkeye: We had a small flat.  Painted it ourselves.  My hands were hunter green for a week.  Told everyone I was a tree surgeon.

 

Carlye:  You were right about the food here.
Hawkeye: Yeah, I’ll never understand how the cook got off at Nuremburg.

 

Hawkeye: Any children?
Carlye: No, not yet.  We’re still talking about that.
Hawkeye: That’s not how you get them.  I just read a paper on that.

 

Hawkeye: I was training for medicine
Carlye:  Maybe if you’d been a little less good at it, you might have needed me a little more.  Doug is able to commit to something beyond his work.  Happily, I am that something.
Hawkeye: There’s been no one since you.  Faint copies, at best.
Carlye: I had to survive.

 

Father Mulcahy: I’d like your permission to return these, sir. The quarter-master sent us a gross of new Bibles, and there seem to be quite a number of typographical errors.
Colonel Potter: Oh?
Father Mulcahy: Uh, here’s the first one. “Thou shalt commit adultery.”
Colonel Potter: Well, that’s the new Army, Father.
Father Mulcahy: Let’s hope it’s a typo. These lads are trained to take orders.

 

Hawkeye: Ever checked in somewhere without a toothbrush?
BJ: Never.
Hawkeye: Never been tempted?
BJ: Tempted is another subject.
Hawkeye: Ah, you have been tempted.
BJ: Never. But it’s another subject.

 

B.J.: Minding my own business is a full-time job. In my spare time, it’s my hobby. I can’t divide myself emotionally. I couldn’t break my word to Peg, and not because God will send me to Hell without an electric fan or because it’s not the right thing to do. I simply don’t want to.
Hawkeye: You’ve got a lot to learn about messing up your life.

 

Carlye: Look at yourself! Look where you are! You’re trapped! You just proposed yourself into a corner!
Hawkeye: So? However I did it, I did it.
Carlye: You didn’t propose to me, you proposed to yourself!
Hawkeye: Well, I wanted to try it out on me first.

 

Hawkeye: In some ways, I don’t mind that she’s gone again.  It’s just that she never all together leaves.

 

 

TRIVIA & OBSERVATIONS

According to Hawkeye, there are three evacuation hospitals and five M*A*S*H units in Korea.

The song this episode is name after, “The More I See You”, plays over the PA system as Hawkeye and BJ watch Carlye and Becky arrive.

While handing out trinkets to the new nurses, Hawkeye tells BJ, “Tell our first couple what else they’ve won, Fenneman.”  This is a reference to the game show You Bet Your Life with Groucho Marx.  George Fenneman was the show’s announcer and sidekick to Groucho.

Nuremburg:  city in Germany that was the site of war crimes trials against prominent members of defeated Nazi Germany, including Hermann Goering.

Radar makes reference to Harry Warren during his Al Jolson impersonation.  Harry Warren was a prolific song writer who received eleven Academy Award nominations for Best Song, winning three times.  Incidentally, one of Warren’s song is “The More I See You.”

Radar’s Jolson imitation was probably just an impromptu speech he made up, but he mentions Henry Warren writing a song during his honeymoon in 1901.  Warren was born in 1893, and I don’t know of too many eight-year-olds writing songs while honeymooning.

Colonel Potter’s wooden chest seen in his office must be an old relic of his, for it reads “Capt. Sherman Potter.”

Blythe Danner:  absolutely outstanding in her role as Carlye Breslin, she is the mother of Gwyneth Paltrow.

Mary Jo Catlett portrayed Becky Anderson.  Catlett will appear later in 1976 in Season 5′s “Nurses” episode as one of the quartet of nurses Margaret fights with.

Hawkeye mentions doing his surgical residency in Boston.  So did Trapper and so will Charles Winchester.  It’s entirely possible all three characters are the same age, so you would think Hawkeye might remember Trapper or Charles from their days of residency.

In my opinion, this is one of the greatest episodes of M*A*S*H ever broadcast.  I didn’t think so when I was a teenager.  In fact, I always skipped this episode when it came on,  but once I became an adult, I was drawn in by the powerful script and fantastic acting from Alda and Danner.  Mike Farrell is no slouch either –  his interaction with Hawkeye in the Swamp at episode’s beginning and their later exchange about fidelity are simply superb.  I think scenes with Alda and Danner transcend M*A*S*H altogether…it’s like watching a brief one-scene play on stage reciting words written by Neil Simon.  A definite classic.

 

 

Smilin’ Jack (4×22)

Season 4, Episode 22

Episode #94

Broadcast: 02/03/1976

Written by: Larry Gelbart & Simon Muntner

Directed by: Charles Dubin

 

WHAT EPISODE IS THIS?

Chopper pilot Jack Mitchell has brought back his 839th wounded soldier to a M*A*S*H unit for care, just three behind the current record holder, Dangerous Dan.  Jack stops by Colonel Potter’s office to say hello and gives him a Cuban cigar.  As Jack lights the cigar, Potter notices Jack still has a red bruise on his hand, something he “patched up months ago” for the pilot.  Jack grins and passes it off as a wound sustained from an amorous Australian nurse, then quickly departs.

Later, Jack is in the Officers’ Club demonstrating a trick involving a syringe and an orange to Hawkeye and BJ.  The doctors are slightly suspicious Jack is drinking numerous club sodas.  BJ tries the syringe trick, but nearly sticks Colonel Potter, who enters and orders Jack grounded pending the results of a complete physical.

Hawkeye and BJ give Jack the physical, but become even more suspicious when Jack refuses to provide a urine sample.  The doctors ask him what Potter suspects; Jack admits he takes forever to heal and points to the red bruise on his hand.  After he also admits being thirsty all the time, the light bulb goes off in Hawkeye’s head and realizes the chopper pilot is a diabetic.  Jack tells the doctors he needs insulin injections every day, which prompts BJ to quickly ground him from flying.  Jack won’t hear this, stating he needs three more wounded to tie Dangerous Dan’s record.  When the doctors prove unsympathetic to the record, the pilot storms off.

Jack the proceeds to defy orders and fly off to pick up more wounded.  Colonel Potter contacts him on the radio and orders him to return to camp.  Jack replies he is going to be sent home anyway, but before he goes, wants to bring four more wounded to set the record.  He somehow manages to fly four wounded to the 4077th in his chopper.  The doctors are there waiting for him and force him to turn in his pilot wings.  Jack’s efforts are all for naught when Dangerous Dan soon arrives over the mountains with two more wounded to reclaim his record.

 

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL

Colonel Potter (to Jack)Where can I get some streptomycin? I’m running low and Supply’s still trying to get stuff to Valley Forge.

 

Frank: You are demeaning a military citation fraught with patriotism.  Heroism in battle must be rewarded or else people will behave the way they really fell.

 

Radar: It’s my lucky four-leaf clover.  It’s a little squished.  I had it in my pocket when a jeep ran over me.

 

Jack: I’ll send you a box of cigars.
Potter: I got nothing to trade.
Jack: Just gift wrap a nurse.

 

 

TRIVIA & OBSERVATIONS

Watch for a rare visual effect at the beginning of the episode.  A jeep with three soldiers is under attack.  When the jeep stops and the soldiers jump out, you can see a yellowish smoke effect that does not resemble the real grayish smoke generated by the explosions.

Why is Battalion Aid phoning Radar for a chopper?  Don’t they normally order them directly from whatever central location dispatching them?

During surgery, Hawkeye jokingly tells Frank to administer nitrous oxide to his patient to get him to smile for Jack’s photograph.  Nitrous Oxide is a colorless gas commonly known as laughing gas because of the euphoria it causes.

One of the post-op wounded has a rather gruesome injury:  he suffered a concussion from an 85mm shell that jarred his right eye out of the socket.  According to Margaret, he replaced the eye himself without any serious damage, which impresses BJ.

Potter dictates a letter to General Hammond apologizing for Hawkeye wearing only an athletic supporter to the General’s inspection.

Potter wants Jack to get him some streptomycin.  This is an antibiotic used to treat bacterial infections.

The orange provided to Jack in the O-Club is not the same orange the syringe lands in.  It’s a different color and shape.

When BJ launches the syringe, it goes straight up, somehow makes a 90 degree turn, and sinks itself into the door frame.  I’d say that was a better trick shot than Jack’s.

Jack has “insulin connections up to the Yalu.”  This is a reference to the Yalu River, which forms the border between North Korea and China.  It’s an appropriate name, for Yalu means “the boundary between two countries.”  The DVD captioning for this line reads “insulin connections up to the yahoo.”

BJ tells Corporal Owens he hasn’t been near the fighting, but he was tending to wounded in the field upon his arrival in “Welcome to Korea” and operated at an aid station in “Der Tag.”

Arthur Godfrey:  popular radio and TV broadcaster from the 1940′s and 1950′s.  He was the host of Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts where performers were graded by an applause meter that judged the audience response.  Incidentally, both Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley auditioned for the show in the mid-50′s but were not chosen to appear.

I don’t understand how Jack was so bent on getting 843 patients when Dangerous Dan was still healthy and actively flying.  Did he think his record of 843 wounded was really going to stand?  If Dan were retired, then I can see why, but he was still flying a chopper.

Robert Hogan portrayed Jack Mitchell.    He was a prolific character actor, active from 1961-2009 with appearances on almost all the top shows.  Interesting note:  the TV show Hogan’s Heroes is named after him.  Hogan was friends with Bernard Fein, who named his new show and lead character after him in 1965.

This is an uneven, rather boring episode that has few good lines and few good laughs.  There is too much Jack Mitchell and not enough of the main cast, which leads to a ho-hum episode. 

 

The Novocaine Mutiny 4×21

Season 4, Episode 21

Episode #93

Broadcast: 01/27/1976

Written by: Burt Prelutsky

Directed by: Harry Morgan

 

WHAT EPISODE IS THIS?

It’s Autumn 1952 and we are witnessing a preliminary hearing conducted by Colonel Carmichael to determine if Hawkeye should be court-martialed under the charge of mutiny.  Frank has filed charges over events that occurred October 11, 1952 while he was in temporary command of the 4077th. 

The witnesses take the stand:

Sherman Potter:  he states he left October 5 for six days R&R in Tokyo.  Wary of Frank’s penchant for overzealous leadership during his absence, reminds Frank “not to go loco with the discipline” since he’ll only be gone six days.  After Potter leaves, Frank devilishly remarks God only needed six days to create the universe.

BJ Hunnicutt:  he states Potter’s chair wasn’t even cool before Frank decide to “recreate the 4077th in his own weird image.”  When pressed for examples by Colonel Carmichael, BJ testifies Frank ordered the camp to be broken down and moved across the road – and then moved back the next day.  Furthermore, Frank subjected them to cold showers, parades (!), calisthenics, and snap inspections.  To top it off, Frank banned gambling, but the decree is ignored when Hawkeye, BJ, Radar, Zale and Father Mulcahy sneak a poker game.

During a kitchen inspection by Frank, Zale lets it slip he’s out $300, but quickly covers by claiming the money was stolen from his wallet.  Frank takes notes and vows no theft will occur under his command.  He questions Hawkeye and BJ about the “theft”, but when the captains freely admit Zale lost it playing poker with them, Frank goes into denial, insisting gambling was prohibited, therefore the money was stolen.  Hard to argue with that logic!

Radar O’Reilly:  he states he assisted Major Burns in searching for the missing $300.  They searched the tents of Father Mulcahy, Klinger, and the Swamp, but turn up nothing.  Finally, they search Radar’s office, where the only thing Frank finds is Radar’s guinea pig’s teeth in his finger.  Radar admits during testimony the money was never found, for he had hidden it in his teddy bear.

Colonel Carmichael then calls Frank to the stand for an explanation of what transpired on October 11.  Frank paints a verbal portrait of himself as a medical superman, clad in pure white and able to operate on two men simultaneously.  When Hawkeye’s patient needs more blood, Frank heroically takes the needle from the empty pint and injects it directly into his arm.  Frank also finds time to manage pre-op and is able to finish a prayer (in Latin, no less!) for an exhausted Father Mulcahy.  Finally, Hawkeye breaks under the harsh conditions and commits mutiny:  he maniacally grabs a hypodermic, stabs Frank, and pushes the comatose Major out of O.R. on a gurney.

Hawkeye then takes the stand, and says other than they were in Korea and the date was October 11, Frank’s story is incorrect.  Hawkeye’s side of the story is much more believable:  Frank is bungling pre-op, sending wounded to O.R. who are not prepared for surgery.  Hawkeye yells at Frank to do his job better, and as the Major turns to leave, gets hit in the head by an opening O.R. door, rendering him unconscious.  Hawkeye orders Father Mulcahy to take over in pre-op and the session continues.

Carmichael returns with his verdict:  while Pierce is found to be unmilitary and a prankster, he is viewed as a top-flight surgeon and no case for mutiny is evident.  As Carmichael recommends charges be dropped, Frank rises and asks what the court thinks of his medical skills.  Carmichael tells Frank if he wasn’t drafted as a doctor, he would have been assigned as a pastry chef.

 

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL

Too many to list.  The whole episode qualifies, but we’ll go with these:

Colonel Carmichael: Would you say that your lack of respect for the Major’s medical skills might have been the cause for the alleged mutiny?
Hawkeye: There was no mutiny. It’s his medical skills that are alleged.

Frank: Under my framed picture of Senator McCarthy, he wrote in big letters, “Know Your Enema.”

Frank: Unless we each conform, unless we obey orders, unless we follow our leaders blindly, there is no possible way we can remain free.

Frank: Have a nice time, and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.
Colonel Potter: I don’t know that I’d want to do anything you would do.

Radar: What’s a cretin?
Frank: A moron.  A mental defective.
Hawkeye: Let’s hear it for the horse’s mouth.

Frank (to Zale while inspecting the meat in the freezer):  I wanna see these carcasses lined up according to height.  I’m ashamed to wear the same uniform as these wienies.

Frank (fondling Klinger’s women’s underwear): I’m just searching for stolen money.  It could be hidden anywhere.
Radar: You didn’t run your fingers through Father Mulcahy’s collars, sir…

Frank (holding up one of Klinger’s dresses): Now, tell the truth. Would you be caught dead in this?
Radar (holding up the dress): It’s way too long for me, sir.

Radar: (seeing several collars in Father Mulcahy’s dresser drawer) Hey! He’s got extras!
Frank: Well, what do you mean, extras?
Radar: I thought he had just the one collar.
Frank: Well, why should he have just one?  What do you think he did when it got dirty or wore out?  Converted?

Frank (holds up teddy bear): Don’t tell me he sleeps with you.
Radar: I’m hoping to do better, sir.

Frank: Was that a bomb!?
Hawkeye: Uh, no, Frank. Someone’s playing their World War II album.

Colonel Carmichael: I have no doubt that Captain Pierce is a prankster, and thoroughly unmilitary. But the records indicate that he is a top flight surgeon. Lord knows I wouldn’t want to lead a company of Pierces into battle, but I sure would want him around when that battle was over.
Frank: Colonel, what do the records indicate about my surgical skills?
Colonel Carmichael: If you hadn’t have been drafted as a doctor, I think you would have been assigned as a pastry chef.

 

TRIVIA & OBSERVATIONS

Harry Morgan’s directorial debut

When Colonel Carmichael requests Colonel Potter take the stand, the folder in his hand is closed.  Next shot, we see Potter stand up and the folder in Carmichael’s hand is now open.

In the O.R. changing room, there are a couple odd I.D. labels on the wall.  One hook behind Hawkeye says “Gary” and the hook over Frank’s left shoulder reads “Simmons.”  Wonder who they are?

When watching this episode in the 1980′s, I always wondered how Frank’s comment “OK, you two clever dicks…” was allowed to be broadcast.  Why wasn’t that censored??  It wasn’t until later I learned “dick” was also slang for a detective.

When Frank is opening Father Mulcahy’s dresser drawers, his hand placements don’t match from the medium shots to the close-ups.

The Spiderman and Avengers comic books in Radar’s desk are (again) from the 1960′s.

In Frank’s version of O.R., he delivers a couple lines that don’t sound like the rest of his dialogue and may be overdubbed.  It’s hard to tell because he’s wearing a surgical mask.  The first one is when he calls “Nurse Johnson?  Nurse Johnson?”  The second one is “I’m type B.”  The tone of the voice is different, like it was overdubbed in post-production.

In “Germ Warfare” (1×11), Frank had AB negative blood.

Hawkeye tells Father Mulcahy to take over for Frank in pre-op.  I suppose this was done out of necessity, seeing they were short two doctors and a head nurse, but the Father has no medical training.  Shouldn’t a nurse or two have assumed the role?

When Colonel Carmichael enters the room to give his verdict, his desk has a small pad of paper, a large pad of paper, and his folder.  Next shot, his close-up, the large pad of paper is gone.  Also, the blue flag is much closer to the map in the close-ups.

This episode features one of the series’ best lines ever:  If you hadn’t have been drafted as a doctor, I think you would have been assigned as a pastry chef.

Ned Wilson:  portrayed Carmichael and was a character actor active in the 1970′s and 1980′s who appeared in many top shows.  Doesn’t he look and sound like BJ, like he could be a long-lost brother?  They have the same face, light brown hair, and vocal tone.

The episode title is a parody of The Caine Mutiny from 1954, starring Humphrey Bogart.  This movie is about a U.S. naval captain (Bogart) who shows signs of mental incompetence, leading to the Executive Office taking over, heading to a charge of mutiny.

Fantastic episode – well written, acted and directed.  Both Frank and Radar get the lion’s share of good lines, but the ensemble (and Zale!) shine like a diamond.  Another classic from the epic fourth season.

Some 38th Parallels (4×20)

Season 4, Episode 20

Episode #92

Broadcast: 01/20/1976

Written by: Regier & Markowitz

Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

 

 

 WHAT EPISODE IS THIS?

Colonel Coner has kept the 4077th busy, providing plenty of wounded for the camp.  The Colonel has a tragic knack for refusing to leave any fallen soldier behind, which leads to many more casualties.  While BJ treats a difficult head wound – one of Coner’s men – Frank is more concerned with the camp’s trash.  He finds it disturbing they are “wasting their waste” and the locals are stealing it.  Frank’s suggestion is to sell the trash at auction.

As Hawkeye makes a date with Nurse Abel (Lynette Mettey), Radar bursts into the OR to alert BJ his head wound patient – Private Phelan – has lost his IV connection.  BJ quickly reattaches it and informs Radar he just saved the kid’s life.

Frank meets with Colonel Potter about the garbage issue.  After getting a rundown from Radar about the camp’s typical waste, Frank proposes auctioning the garbage to local contractors.  Wanting to get Burns out of his face, Potter approves the Major’s plan, adding there is no way Frank can let him down.

Meanwhile, Hawkeye’s date with Able hits a snag when his “system is thrown off” causing some obvious embarrassment.  He’s rescued when BJ calls him to post-op to consult on Phelan, who’s taken a turn for the worse.  Radar, who now has an active interest in Phelan, hovers nearby and watches BJ perform a second operation.

More wounded arrive, including the notorious Colonel Coner (Kevin Hagen).  Hawkeye chides the Colonel for sending them so many wounded and “making so many dead soldiers out of live soldiers.”  Coner defends himself by stating it’s his duty to retrieve all fallen soldiers and is indifferent to the human cost retrieving them.

Phelan is recuperating is post-op under the watch of Radar, who tries to lift the Private’s spirits by assembling a jigsaw puzzle of Jane Russell with him.  Phelan begs off, citing exhaustion, causing Radar to remark they could not finish it anyway because Major Houlihan “confiscated all the best parts.”

Frank starts his first garbage auction with seven local Koreans in attendance.  The lot is 150 pounds of garbage, which Hawkeye tells BJ to purchase for him.  Frank throws out an insane opening offer of $50, but all anyone will bid is one buck!

Private Phelan passes away, his injuries to extensive.  Radar takes the news extremely hard, wondering how Phelan could die after he’d been doing so well.  BJ comforts him, letting him know it’s OK to cry over the loss.

Colonel Coner is about to leave and joins the doctors in the mess tent for a quick meal and goodbye.  Hawkeye tells Coner he ordered his jeep and it will soon be ready.  BJ informs Coner that Phelan died last night, but the Colonel doesn’t even remember him.  Hawkeye reminds him Phelan was wounded while “looking for coffin refills.”  Coner’s jeep arrives and he departs, but not before a chopper bombs him with what looks to be 150 pounds of camp garbage!

 

 BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL

 

Klinger: We ain’t got one free bed.  You’d think we were a motel.  (Turns to Mulcahy) Sorry, Father!
Mulcahy: Well, I know all about motels, Corporal.  Each man prays in his own way.

 

Radar: Captain Hunnicut!  I was just walking by and I noticed this gizmo disconnected from the thingamabob and it wasn’t dripping into the doohickey right.
BJ: You lost me with all the technical terms, but I get the picture.
Radar: Is he gonna be all right, sir?
BJ: He will, now.  Radar, you may have just saved his life.
Radar: Really?  Gee, I didn’t mean to!

 

Klinger: If you ever saw what they put in the hash, you’d go screaming into the night.  And later, you just might.
Radar: Oh, I don’t care.  I saved a guy’s life.
Klinger: Is he still in the army?
Radar: Of course.
Klinger: Some saving.

 

Potter: Burns, some men are born to greatness, others have garbage thrust upon them. You’ve got it.
Frank: I won’t let you down, sir.
Potter: There’s no way you can.

 

Frank (to Coner): Pay no attention, sir.  Their sense of patriotism is stunted.
Hawkeye: Comes from smoking too many flags.

 

 

TRIVIA & OBSERVATIONS

Typical camp waste and Frank’s claim for its use by locals:
Used tongue depressors: could be used to make a hooch
Bloody surgical gauze: could be washed out and used for summer clothing
Stretched nurses’ bras: hammocks (Potter’s idea)

BJ alludes to Woody Herman.  He was one of America’s most popular bandleaders during the 1930′s and 1940′s.

Colonel Coner is mocked as the “famous advance man from Forest Lawn.”  Forest Lawn is a large cemetery in Glendale, CA known for being the final resting place for Hollywood stars like Clark Gable, Walt Disney, Humphrey Bogart and Jimmy Stewart.

Kevin Hagen:  making the first of two appearances on M*A*S*H…he will appear in Season 7′s “Peace on Us” as the red-headed MP who gives Hawkeye a warning.  Hagen is best know for playing Doc Baker on Little House on the Prairie from 1974 to 1983.

Jane Russell:  actress and leading sex symbol/pin-up of the 1940′s and 1950′s.  Howard Hughes cast this buxom actress in The Outlaw (1943) and accentuated her cleavage, which caused many censorship problems, delaying the film’s release for years.  Russell went on make the Paleface movies with Bob Hope and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with Marilyn Monroe.  I’m under 50 years of age, so I remember her for those cross-your-heart bra commercials from the 1970′s (!)

Radar says the two things he misses the most about home are the grass and the sky.

Radar orders two new VD films for the camp:  Clean as a Whistle and Buy You a Drink, Sailor?  Both are fake.

How on earth could Colonel Potter tell the tiny puzzle piece Radar was holding was an elbow?

Richard Sung Lee appears as one of the Korean locals at the auction.  He gets a couple of lines, but does receive a credit.

Tintoretto:  16th century Italian painter known for Paradise, an enormous 74′ by 30′ painting.

Frank’s newest money-making scheme for the camp is to charge locals $1 for chopper rides.

This marks the last of six appearances for Lynette Mettey, who played various nurses.

No Margaret in this episode and she will also be missing from the next one.

 

 

Hawkeye (4×19)

Season 4, Episode 19

Episode #90

Broadcast: 01/13/1976

Written by: Larry Gelbart and Simon Muntner

Directed by: Larry Gelbart

WHAT EPISODE IS THIS?

Hawkeye is driving solo through the Korean countryside, returning to camp from an aid station.  To avoid a collision with Korean children who ran onto the road, he swerves his jeep, causing it to flip over.  Hawkeye has a head wound, but is able to walk away from the crash.

The children lead Hawkeye to their hut, where their pregnant sister and parents are.  Hawkeye realizes he has a concussion.  He is afraid he will die if he falls asleep, so he keeps him self awake by talking…and talking…and talking.  He dispatches one of the young children to carry a rescue message to the 4077th, which is in Uijongbu, about 20 miles away.

The Korean family speaks no English and Hawkeye speaks no Korean, so communication is very difficult, but the family does its best to make him feel at home.  Hawkeye’s rambling monologue continues into the evening meal, regaling the family with stories of his ancestry, the wonders of the human hand, and strippers.

Mercifully, someone from camp arrives that evening to pick up Hawkeye.  He returns soon with gifts for the family that was so kind to him.

 

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL

 

Hawkeye (declining cup of water):  No offense, ma’am, but the water here has enough germs in it, you can sell it by the slice.

 

Hawkeye (gives Father a gift):  Sir, some tobacco.  I think you’ll find it a little better than the manure you’ve been smoking.

 

 

TRIVIA & OBSERVATIONS

 

It seems to me the aid station is too far away.  Hawkeye said he is about “20 miles” from camp and already has logged some road time.  Why is he travelling so far to return from an aid station?  The 4077th is about 2-4 miles away from the front, so wouldn’t an aid station be only a few miles away?

As Hawkeye approaches in the jeep, the children run across the road with their dog.  When Hawkeye crashes the jeep, the dog is not standing in the road.  Next scene when the children rush to the jeep, the dog is back on the road.

As Hawkeye and the kids walk to the tent, a dog is heard barking, but the family dog can be seen and its mouth is closed.

As stated earlier, Hawkeye says the 4077th is in Uijongbu, about 20 miles away.  He gives a girl (who is about 12 years old) instructions to walk to his camp in Uijongbu, despite the girl not understanding the instructions, nor what’s written in the note.  It would take the girl at least 10 hours to reach the camp, assuming no rest breaks.  The fact she completed her mission is a minor miracle and she should have been richly rewarded when Hawkeye returned.  She received a chocolate bar, but since she essentially saved the Captain’s life, should have received a MUCH better reward, I would think.

Hawkeye states the Pierce family has been in Maine since 1680…but “some of them are dead, now.”

Hawkeye states he is an only child, but he has mentioned a sister and a nephew in more than one episode.

As a boy, Hawkeye said FDR was always President, Joe Louis was always champion and Paul Muni played everybody.  Franklin Roosevelt was president from 1933-145; Joe Louis was boxing’s heavyweight champ from 1937-1949; Paul Muni appeared in 16 films between 1929 and 1941, earning five nominations for Best Actor, winning the award in 1936.  I think Hawkeye is too old to make this statement, but timelines have never been a strong point on this show!

Ronald Coleman was the star of Lost Horizon, a movie from 1937.

One of the great “ox” movies Hawkeye refers to is The Ox-Bow Incident, a movie from 1943 that co-starred none other than Harry Morgan.

Other great “ox” movies jokingly mentioned are The Wizard of Ox and Cow Green was my Valley.

There are 206 bones in the human body and each hand has 27 bones.  Therefore, Hawkeye’s claim that 1/4 of the body’s bones are in the hands is accurate.

Philip Ahn, who played the Father, also will appear in Season 5′s “Exorcism” and Season 6′s “Change Day”

Shizuko Hoshie, who played the Mother, is appearing in her second of four M*A*S*H episodes.  She played Rosie in Season 3′s “Mad Dogs and Servicemen” and will later appear in Season 7′ s “B.J. Papa San” and Season 8′s “Private Finance” as the Korean mother who threatens Klinger with a pitchfork.

No other cast member except Alan Alda appears in this episode.

“Hawkeye” received Emmy nominations for Outstanding Cinematography and for Outstanding Writing, but lost both.  Alda also was nominated for Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, but was defeated, as well.

There is not much middle ground for this episode – most people either love it or hate it.  I fall into the latter category – this has always been one of my least favorite M*A*S*H episodes, for I find the continuing Alan Alda monologue boring.  Alda turns in a fine performance and Gelbart directs him well, but this is not a very enjoyable episode to watch.

 

 

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Der Tag (4×18)

Season 4, Episode 18

Episode #89

Broadcast: 01/06/1976

Written by: Everett Greenbaum & Jim Fritzell

Directed by: Gene Reynolds

WHAT EPISODE IS THIS?

Frank is having a tough time with Margaret gone in Tokyo – he’s edgy in O.R., made Klinger cry, and tried getting Margaret on the phone for five hours, finally succeeding at 3:00 in the morning.  She makes him jealous by telling of her escapades with other nurses and “Fred” on the Ginza.

Potter is fed up with Frank, so he calls in Hawkeye and BJ to ask them a favor:  “For the good of the unit, be nice to him.”  The captains are hesitant, but Potter uses those “big Colonel eyes” to win them over.

Next day, the men are playing poker in the Swamp, when Frank enters, grumpy as can be.  With a prod from the Colonel, Hawkeye invites Frank, a poker rookie, to join the game.  Boldened by a few glasses from the still (“Nice and lemony!!”), Frank proceeds to win a small fortune.

Still blitzed, Frank buys the drinks for Hawkeye and BJ at the Officers’ Club.  Watching Kellye dancing with Radar, Frank admits to his tentmates he’s had his eye on her for a long time and cuts in on Radar.  Frank finally passes out (but not before winning a slot machine jackpot), so Hawkeye and BJ carry him back to the Swamp.  Tired of being nice to Frank, the captains put a toe tag on the inebriated Major, reading “Emotionally exhausted and morally bankrupt” , and put him to bed.  During the night, Frank awakens to use the latrine, but drunkenly stumbles into the open doors of an ambulance about to return to an aid station!

Next morning, Frank is missing, so Potter asks his Captains what they did with him.  They plead ignorance, suggesting this was Frank’s way of saying thank you, but their memories are jogged when Captain Saunders from the aid station calls Potter to tell him one of his surgeons is there with a mysterious toe tag.  A disgruntled Potter dispatches Hawkeye and BJ to pick Frank up, but the men encounter a firefight when they arrive.  The captains are pressed into operating while Frank continues to blissfully sleep off his alcoholic indulgence.

The exhausted captains arrive home with a still-dozing Frank and deposit him in his bunk.  He immediately awakens fresh and ready for duty, completely unaware of his midnight trip to the front.  He is hurt when Hawkeye and BJ snap at him and tell him their bing nice was just a dream.  He angrily storms off, but is elated to see Margaret returning from Tokyo, but distressed to hear more stories about Fred and his samurai sword.

 

 

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL

 

Margaret: He [Fred] is just a big, strong kid.  He crushed a beer can with two fingers.
Frank: Showoff.  Once, I killed a gopher with a stick.

 

Frank: You think I dropped it, don’t you?
Klinger: I didn’t say that, sir

Frank: It’s obvious you thought so the minute I dropped it!

 

BJ: A snapper purse?
Frank:  Oh, it says “No” to pickpockets with a capital “N”

 

Frank: It’s nice and lemony.
Potter: You had lemons in there, Hawkeye?
Hawkeye: We threw in a couple of cough drops.

 

Frank: What do I say when I think I can win?
BJ: How about, “So long.”

 

Frank: [dancing with Kellye] You’re really a hotsie-totsie!

 

 

TRIVIA & OBSERVATIONS

 

The “Avengers” comic book in Radar’s grasp while he sleeps changes from shot to shot and they are issues from the 1960′s

Andre Kostelanetz:  a well-known and respected conductor who began his career in Russia who conducted the New York Philharmonic and other prominent orchestras all over the world. 

Ralph Kiner:  Hall of Fame outfielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  The PA announcer states Kiner just hit his 47th home run.  While a prodigious home run hitter, Kiner only swatted at least 47 once, in 1950, when he finished the season with 47.  That places this episode in late September, 1950.

Hawkeye tells Potter he [Potter} has only been there “a few months” and we know the Colonel arrived in September 1952.  According to this logic, the episode is placed in January 1953, but with Kiner’s home run reference above, it should be late September 1950.  Ah, the M*A*S*H time-keeping system…

Cholly Knickerbocker:  gossip columnist for the New York Journal American from 1937-1963.  A fake name, columnists Maury Paul and Igor Cassini actually wrote the articles.

Whist:  Frank’s card game of choice is your basic trick-taking card game played with 4 people.

Hawkeye refers to Frank as “Ravenal” at the poker game.  This is a reference to Gaylord Ravenal, a compulsive riverboat gambler and lead character from the novel and film Show Boat.

How did Frank win a slots jackpot without first inserting a nickel?

Klinger drops to a knee and sings “Swanee”, a Gershwin/Caesar song from 1919 made famous by Al Jolson, who recorded it in 1920.

Is it safe to assume Colonel Potter operated on the wounded man who arrived in the middle of the night?  No announcement of the wouded man’s arrival was made.  Hawkeye, BJ, and Frank were drunk, so Potter would have been the only sober surgeon in camp.  Then, the ambulance hurries back to the front to collect more wounded, but it evidently never returns.

Margaret’s door has a padlock according to Radar, but when she returns at episode’s end, there is no lock on the door.

Notice most of the wounded at the aid station are African-American?  There are three on stretchers and another slumps against the wall.  Maybe this Major Weems’s unit??

“Say goodnight, Gracie”:  From the Burns and Allen show, George Burns would always end their show by asking his wife, Gracie Allen, to “say goodnight, Gracie.”

Frank mentions two films:  Sonja Henie’s “Of Ice and Lice” (fake) and “The Jolson Story.”  This is a 1946 musical biographt of Al Jolson starring Larry Parks as the famed singer.  Jolson appeared as himself to sing “Swanee”, which explains Klinger singing the song while on guard duty.

A good episode…it’s funnier than the descriptions provided above.  Frank gets a lot of good lines.

 

Dear Ma (4×17)

Season 4, Episode 17

Episode #89

Broadcast: 12/23/1975

Written by: Everett Greenbaum & Jim Fritzell

Directed by: Alan Alda

WHAT EPISODE IS THIS?

And the letters home continue…now it’s Radar’s turn, who writes to his mother, apologizing for not writing sooner but does “a heck of a lot of writing in my job.”

Radar helps Hawkeye do the monthly foot inspection.  First up is the Colonel, who scores 100% and gives the credit to Captain Harry S Truman, who taught him foot care in World War I.

Apple-pie-and-hot-dog faced BJ buys a watch from a departing sergeant for $20 (goes for $150 in Tokyo PX).  Happy with his deal, he shows it to Hawkeye, who immediately recognizes the scam, practically quoting the sergeant’s story of woe.  The watch has no works – it’s empty!

Margaret is up next for foot inspection, but Radar and Hawkeye interrupt her interlude with Frank, who storms out after untying his boot from the table.  Margaret’s feet have minor issues, but after Hawkeye and Radar leave, she’s humiliated to notice her fatigue shirt was not buttoned correctly in her haste to dress.

Next story in Radar’s letter involves a North Korean sneaking into the mess tent to steal food.  Radar assumes the man is South Korean, but notices his rifle has Russian markings and assumes it’s a souvenier.  Once the Korean quickly leaves, Radar realizes he was North Korean and tells Frank about the infiltrator.  Later, BJ escorts a South Korean general and his aide into the mess tent.  Frank overhears Korean language inside and suspects more communists have returned to pilfer.  He charges inside and tackles the general, and as they roll on the floor, yells for BJ to capture the other Korean.  BJ explains to Frank he just tackled an allie and the major is literally brought to his knees by a painful arm twist from the general.

Margaret and Colonel Potter depart for a local village to give medical treatment.  Right after they leave, Radar fields a call from Mrs. Potter in Missouri, who had a premonition something bad happened to the Colonel.  Klinger overhears and understands, for his mother had a premonition about the bombing of Pearl Harbor…on December 9th.

Mildred was right – Colonel Potter soon returns to camp with a bullet wound in his backside.  Seems he was hit by a sniper and tells the doctors more wounded are going to be arriving soon.  One of them turns out to be the sergeant who sold BJ the fake watch – and Captain Hunnicutt will be operating on him.  BJ tells him “I’ll have you running as well as that watch in no time,” and asks his nurse for a rusty saw.  He was kidding.  Maybe.

Foot inspections finally end with Klinger, Father Mulcahy, and Frank, who had been ducking Hawkeye all week.  With BJ’s help, Hawkeye has to tackle Frank and forcibly remove his boots.  They soon understand the major’s reluctance:  all his toes are adorned with bright red nail polish!  Frank’s explanation?  He and Margaret were discussing trench foot “and then we got a little silly!”

 

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL

 

Radar (writing): As usual, I’m writing real slow because I know you can’t read fast.

 

B.J.: No works. It’s empty.
Hawkeye: We, what you’ve got there is either a pillbox with hands–or a lunch pail for Munchkins!
B.J.: I feel like an idiot.
Hawkeye: Go with the feeling.

 

Margaret: You were supposed to inspect my feet this morning.
Hawkeye: Sorry, there was a parade on 5th Avenue.  The Sons and Daughters of Mickey Rooney.

 

Franks: If I’d been here, I’d have given him a good thrashing.
Radar: Sir, they know judo!
Frank: Religion has nothing to do with it.
 
 

Margaret: Make sure no one goes into my tent.
Radar: I wouldn’t do that, Ma’am.
Margaret: Somebody does.
Radar: Maybe it’s rats.
Margaret: You think rats have been trying on my undies?
Radar: Some of them rats are weird.

 

Radar: We had a parakeet that ran away from home.  I don’t know why.  Just took some seed and his best bell and we never saw him again.

 

 

TRIVIA & OBSERVATIONS

 

The photo of Mrs. Potter is on the left side of the Colonel’s desk.  The Colonel has said her picture always goes on the right side.

Hawkeye tells Radar, “Lead on, McDuff.”  This is a common misquote of Shakespeare.  The line is from Macbeth and the actual line is “Lay on, Macduff, and damned be him who first cries ‘Hold! enough!’”

BJ jokes the South Korean’s name translates to Ashley Wilkes.  This is a character from Gone With the Wind.  Played by Leslie Howard in the classic 1939 movie, Wilkes was a leading Georgia planter and the object of Scarlett O’Hara’s affections.

Radar mentions 200 people in camp (seriously??) which means 20,000 toes to check.  200 people would have 2000 toes, but I’m sure this an intentional joke by the writers poking fun at Radar’s lack of math skills.  200 people in camp?  Where do they keep them all?

Klinger claims his left baby toe’s nail is missing because he put it in the pencil sharpener at the draft board.

Radar writes he is happy to finally have a pet, but he had plenty of caged animals before, including turtles, racoons, and skunks.

When Colonel Potter returns to camp with the gunshot wound in his butt, Radar comes running out of the office, yelling he heard the Colonel was dead.  The Colonel just arrived in camp no more than a minute previous.  Who would have told him the Colonel was dead?  A phone call?  If the unit Potter was with happened to call the 4077th alerting them to the Colonel’s injury, it was hardly grave enough to mistake for a fatal wound.

Hawkeye’s foot report on Frank:  “Strange coloration of all toenails, possibly due to combat action with a hostile manicurist.”  Funny line, but a manicurist works on fingernails while a pedicurist would work on toenails.

Another solid season 4 episode.  This one falls in the category of quality episode that is not classic, but always worth watching if you catch it on TV Land.

The Price of Tomato Juice (4×16)

Season 4, Episode 16

Episode #88

Broadcast: 12/16/1975

Written by: Larry Gelbart & Gene Reynolds

Directed by: Gene Reynolds

WHAT EPISODE IS THIS?

Colonel Potter takes a shine to Radar’s tomato juice at breakfast, so Radar tries to secure more more him.  He checks with Klinger, but no dice – the can they received was a fluke, and since Major Burns is the requisition officer, there’s no chance of getting more.

Undeterred, Radar asks Hawkeye and BJ to speak to Frank about ordering more.  Frank has no interest in ordering this because it is too expensive, but is willing to do so in exchange for a pair of nylons.  For nylons, the captains pay a visit to Klinger, who is willing to part with his “lucky pair” for a 2-day pass to Seoul.

Radar tries to slip the pass past Potter (like he did successfully so many times with Henry Blake), but Potter is no Blake and denies the pass for Klinger, citing the corporal’s multiple AWOL.  Furthermore, General Barker (remember him?) has put a kibosh on recreational visits to Seoul.  Radar pleads Klinger’s case well enough that Potter calls Barker in Seoul and asks him to allow Klinger a couple days’ leave.  Barker agrees, but asks Potter to arrange for Margaret to spend the weekend with him in Seoul.

Over surgery, Potter presents the request to Margaret, who is more than eager to meet with the General, but pretends she is doing it for “the good of the outfit.”  As Margaret quickly packs, Frank is upset she is leaving for a “night dancing meeting” with a General who once asked her to spank him.  Frank bolts from her tent and Radar catches up to him to present him the nylons he wanted, but the major refuses to order the tomato juice.

Upset, Radar consults Hawkeye and BJ, who hatch a plan.  Radar shows up at Margaret’s tent bearing flowers and a love note that requires an answer.  A beaming Margaret quickly scrawls a reply and starts imagining herself as a bride.  Radar delivers the note to a drunken Frank in the Officers’ Club.  Frank reads Margaret’s “reply” and is elated with this good news, so Radar deftly takes the opportunity to get his requisition signed before the major charges back to Margaret’s tent.

Once there, notes are compared, Frank doesn’t recognize the proposal of marriage, and Margaret realizes she’s been double-crossed.  She misses out on her Seoul rendezvous, too, for when the general’s car arrives, Klinger takes her place and ends up having a great time with Barker.

The tomato juice arrives, but turns out Colonel Potter forgot he’s allergic to it.

 

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL

 

Frank (to Igor): You’re losing half of your applesauce! Apples don’t grow on trees you know.

 

Frank: Last month, he {Potter} said my brain had a charley horse.  “Kick him in the shins,” he said.  Give Frank a headache.  He’s got no sensitivity for people’s feelings.  He said it right in front of two enlisted creeps.

 

Potter: I’ve got a soft spot for Klinger. He looks a little like my son. And he dresses a lot like my wife.

 

Margaret: General Barker has suddenly called me to a meeting.
Frank: General Barker?  Isn’t he the one that once asked you to spank him?

 

Frank (to Radar): If your precious colonel, who is such a doddering old fool, he practically has to be glued to the latrine so he doesn’t fall off, has to have his precious juice, stick two tomatoes in his mouth, take him down to the motor pool, and press his head in a vise!

 

Radar: The person who gave these to me said, “Give them to Major Houlihan, the most wonderful person in the whole camp.”
Margaret [Looking lovingly at the flowers]: Anemones.
Radar: Yeah, but he wants to be friends now.

 

 

TRIVIA & OBSERVATIONS

 

It’s said the Empire State Building just sold for $20 million.  This is close, but it was more valuable:  in 1951, the famed New York City landmark building sold for $34 million.

Igor (Jeff Maxwell) gives Frank his real last name of Maxwell.  According to interviews done with Jeff Maxwell, Igor had no last name at the time and the script called for him to say his name was Maxwell.  This line is often cited as a goof, but Maxwell says he was supposed to say his real name.

Radar mentions his little brother died.  I guess this is the same brother who previously owned the teddy bear and was classified 4F?  Apparently, he was old enough to get a draft classification.

Frank calls Hawkeye “Skeezix.”  This is one of the central characters of the long-running Gasoline Alley comic strip.

For a pair of nylons, why wasn’t a nurse approached?  Surely, a nurse would have parted with nylons for a price less steep than a 2-day pass.

General Barker makes a comeback.  We haven’t heard that name since “Chief Surgeon Who?” (1×04) way back in the show’s infancy.

Radar thanks Sparky for the Fanny Hill novel, but his copy is missing the last chapter.  He asks “Who did it?” and the reply is “Everybody!”  Fanny Hill is an erotic novel published in England in 1748 and is considered the first pornographic novel.

Another glimpse into Margaret’s pre-Korea military background.  She served with General Barker at Fort Ord, which is outside Monterey, CA.  She also served at Fort Benning near Columbus, GA with General Hammond.

Potter reads in the newspaper the U.S. population is up to 150 million people.  Indeed, the 1950 census was 151,000,000 people in the United States.  Today, that figure has more than doubled to approximately 314,000,000 people.

This is another horse trading episode along the lines of “For Want of a Boot”, but this one isn’t nearly as funny, despite the Gelbart/Reynolds authorship.