Archive for the ‘Season 4’ Category

The Gun (4×14)

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Season 4, Episode 14

Episode #86

Broadcast: 12/2/1975

Written by: Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds

Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

WHAT EPISODE IS THIS?

A nighttime wounded delivery brings Colonel Chaffey, who arrives with a broken ankle and a fancy 1884 Colt .45 as his side arm.  Frank notices the Colt in the gun bin when he helps Radar lock up other patients’ guns and can’t help but handle and admire it.  Radar gives the major a lame John Wayne impersonation before locking the gun back in the bin.

In post-op, Chaffey is grateful for the doctors patching him and his men up, but wants to make sure his prize sidearm is safe.  Hawkeye and BJ assure him it is and show the Colonel his possessions bag containing the receipt.  Well, maybe not.  Frank pays a visit to a yoga-practicing Margaret in her tent to show off his “old pal,” the 1884 Colt.  Margaret, impressed, insists he wear it as a sidearm, but Frank demurs, citing jealousy from others.

Meanwhile, Radar opens the gun bin to retrieve the rifle of a wounded soldier returning to duty, and to his horror, discovers Chaffey’s Colt is missing.  He reports the theft to Colonel Potter, but once he says Frank helped him store some rifles, a red flag immediately goes off.  Potter tells Radar he could get 15 years in the stockade for this, but pledges to help find the missing piece.

Potter informs Chaffey his gun is missing from the gun bin.  An irate Chaffey demands to know who was in charge of the bin and wants the guilty man’s head on a platter.

Hawkeye and BJ corner Frank in the operating room and question him about the missing gun.  Frank rambles and babbles his denial of knowing the gun’s whereabouts.  The captains suggest Frank return the gun, knowing he couldn’t resist borrowing it, and remind Frank that Radar is facing jail time.  Unconcerned, Frank escapes, still maintaining he is innocent until proven guilty, just like Radar.

As Radar sleeps off an evening of drowning his sorrows, Frank steals his keys and puts the gun back in the bin, but accidentally shoots himself in the foot.  At the same time, a drunken Radar awakens and confronts Colonel Chaffey in post-op with another bad John Wayne impersonation and “shoots” the Colonel with his teddy bear (“My bear went off!”)

Chaffey is relieved to get his gun back, and because Radar was with him when the gun went off, proving his innocence, lets him off the hook.  As Frank hobbles around, Hawkeye suggests he not bandage his foot because powder burns heal faster without them.

                                           “My bear went off!!”

 

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL

 

Radar dominates the good lines in this episode…

 

Margaret [just awoken by Radar and her leg is exposed]: You don’t find it attractive?
Radar: Oh, yes, ma’am.  It’s a beautiful leg.
Margaret: You think so?
Radar: It reminds me of my pony back home, only his hair is brown.

 

Klinger [exiting bus same time as Frank]: Move your can!
Frank: What?!?
Klinger [mortified]: Move your can…sir.
Frank: I’ll remember that, doggie breath.

 

Potter: We’re not gonna let you spend fifteen years in the stockade.
Radar: Fifteen years?
Potter: Well, that’s what you can get for this.
Radar: I’ll be in my thirties.  That’s almost dead.

 

Hawkeye:  I’m very fond of Radar, Frank.  He’s both the child and pet I never had.

 

Radar: Fifteen years!  I’m going to jail in my puberty and I won’t come out till my adultery.

 

Chaffey: Corporal, you’re drunk.
Radar (points his teddy bear at him): You better believe it, mister, or I’m dead where you stand! (Gunshot heard – Radar stares at his teddy bear) My bear went off!

 

Frank: I have a low threshold of pain.  A hemorrhoid can put me into a coma.

 

Hawkeye:  I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Powder burns will heal fast, anyway.
Burns: Sure, I know that. Powder burns?!?  What are you implying?
Hawkeye:  Nothing, Frank.   Just a shot in the dark…

TRIVIA & OBSERVATIONS

 

Radar rouses Margaret to scrub for an incoming ambulance bearing wounded, but when it arrives, she doesn’t scrub, for she is not seen in the O.R. assisting the doctors.  Instead, she gets paged to the compound to assist with another ambulance.  Potter was busy in O.R. – who gave the order to have her paged to the compound?

Some nitpicking…why does Frank have to wait for Hawkeye and BJ to “finish showing off in surgery” before he can start?  Can he only operate in private, now?  And how did he have time to accompany Radar to the gun bin?  Shouldn’t he have been scrubbing up to operate?

Radar still has a sister.  In later episodes, he is an only child.

Chaffey’s gun is (supposedly) an 1884 Colt .45.  This single action revolver was an extremely popular gun with the military, outlaws and ranchers in the 19th century.

Another mention of Eisenhower being president and Nixon vice-president, and since nobody is wearing winter clothing, this episode can be placed in spring 1953, just a few months before the end of the war.

Potter mentions a lot of moonshine equipment was confiscated during the search for the gun.  How did the captains’ still avoid capture?

The movie Kansas City Confidential is mentioned.  This is a real movie from 1952 starring John Payne as an ex-soldier framed for a robbery.

There’s a certain chopper pilot in a yellow cap who appears in the Officers Club and later in the compound when Potter and Radar switch glasses.  You don’t see his face, but he looks like “Smilin’” Jack Mitchell, the diabetic pilot who will show up later this season.

Radar’s  high school:  Ottumwa Central, 400 students.  He allegedly spent $25 in a photo booth and took 16 hours taking pictures of himself in his corporal’s stripes for all of them.  This scene is cut for syndication, which makes Radar’s reference of this to Chaffey slightly confusing.

Radar made corporal after basic training.

Another solid season 4 episode.

Soldier of the Month (4×13)

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Season 4, Episode 13

Episode #85

Broadcast: 11/28/1975

Written by: Linda Bloodworth

Directed by: Gene Reynolds

WHAT EPISODE IS THIS?

The 4077th is handling an unknown fever that seems to have no cause or cure.  Speculation is the fever might be caused by mites and fleas on rats, so Frank is nominated by Hawkeye to be rat officer.  Also announced is a “Soldier of the Month” contest for enlisted men with six days R&R in Tokyo as the prize.

Father Mulcahy returns from his own R&R in Seoul with information about the mysterious fever.  It’s called hemorrhagic fever and there is no cure, but fluid intake must be curtailed, for it causes the kidneys to shut down.

To score Soldier of the Month points with Frank, Klinger helps the major bait and set rat traps around camp, but quits after getting his knuckles whacked in a trap.  Frank shows off his invention:  a mechanized rat trap complete with mirrors, swinging arms, and steel bars.  The profusely sweating major then proceeds to pass out from fever, for he admits handling dead rats.

Klinger breaks into Potter’s safe to photograph the answers to the history portion of the contest.  He proceeds to tattoo himself with the answers and take his place along side Radar, Zale and Igor at the quiz.  As Radar answers most of the questions, Klinger turns contortionist trying to find the answers, but is dismayed Hawkeye is mixing up the order because he “learned history from the beginning.”

Frank is installed in post-op with a raging case of hemorrhagic fever and begs the doctors for a glass of water, even offering $10 for a glass.  A gold-digging Margaret senses a possible inheritance, so she talks Frank into dictating a will to Father Mulcahy, just in case he were to die.  Frank, who wants Margaret to work with his wife in building the Frank Burns Memorial after he dies, agrees to her request.  Father Mulcahy is brought in, but Margaret’s plan backfires when Frank leaves her all his clothes.

A few days later, Radar departs for Tokyo as winner of the contest.  Frank is up after six days and feeling better after taking a 4-minute trip to the latrine.  Satisfied he is feeling healthy, Margaret gently takes him aside and decks him for the humiliating bequeath of clothing, screaming he give them to “somebody your own size!”  A concerned Hawkeye and BJ pick Frank off the ground and escort him home to “people who really love you.”

A week later, a drunk and disheveled Radar returns home from Tokyo with an MP escort to Colonel Potter’s office.  Seems he was arrested for drunk and disorderly behavior, but that doesn’t stop him from trying to bum a drink from “Sherm.”

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL

 

Frank: Still suffering from incurable “wisecrackeritis”, eh, Pierce?
Hawkeye: Right, Frank.  The doctors have given me six months before I kill you.

 

Margaret: I’ve seen rats around here the size of dogs.
Hawkeye: I’ve even heard some complaining about people running around their tents.

 

Frank: Thank you, but I really can’t accept.  I’m already in charge of rumor control.
BJ: I’ve heard that…

 

Potter: Been boning up on your history, Radar?
Radar: Yes, sir, it’s just that there’s so much to cover.  I’m not sure I’ll learn it in time.
Potter: Well, perhaps I can help you.  What part have you gotten up to?
Radar: Just finished Genesis, sir.  Can you tell me how long Adam and Eve were here before Columbus?  I know it was at least 100 years because there was Indians here by then.

 

Hawkeye (reading question): “What famous symbol of American freedom has a crack in it?”  And it is not General MacArthur’s head.

 

Hawkeye: Sergeant Zale, many of the settlers who came to California in 1848 were searching for what?
Zale: Palm trees, how the hell do I know? I’m from Brooklyn!

 

Zale: I know a lot of state capitals. I’ll show you. Ask me the capital of Cleveland!

 

Klinger: What number question is that, sir?
Hawkeye: I don’t know, I’m mixing them up.
Klinger: You can’t do that, sir!  I learned history from the beginning!

 

Frank: Margaret, if I should go [die] before you, look for me when you get there.  I’ll be waiting for you on the other side.
Margaret: Frank…darling.
Frank: And if I’m standing with my wife, pretend you don’t know me.

 

Frank:  My car, my house, all the money I buried in my backyard, goes to the only woman who ever really cared, ever really understood – my wife, Louise.  She’ll have to thaw out the map, it’s inside some ground chuck in the basement freezer.  My savings account passbook number is in the same bottle as my appendix.

 

Frank:  And finally, to Major Margaret Houlihan, my friend, my comrade, my little soldier, I leave all my clothes.

 

Radar: Hey, Sherm, do you know where a guy can get a drink around here?

 

TRIVIA & OBSERVATIONS

 

According to the Institute for Viral Diseases, Korean hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome was first recognized in 1951 among United Nations troops.  The virus causing this affliction was not isolated until a South Korean doctor did so in 1978.

The fever has five phases and this episode chose to concentrate on the third phase, which deals with renal failure.  Hemorrhagic fever comes up again in season 8′s “Mr. and Mrs. Who?”, but had an added danger:  loss of salt and potassium after the kidneys start working again.

The combination to Potter’s safe is Mildred’s measurements:  42-36-42

Just how was Klinger able to break into the safe?  And the questions and answers arrived on individual index cards instead of standard sheets of paper?

Hawkeye points to a sleeping medic in post-op and murmurs, “He used to be Albert Anastasia’s doorman.”  This is a reference to the murder of one of the most powerful and feared mobsters in American history, Albert Anastasia, on October 25, 1957.  While getting a shave in Manhattan, Anastasia’s bodyguard took a walk outside, leaving his boss unprotected.  Two thugs rushed in and gunned down Anastasia.  Notice this murder took place four years after the Korean War ended.

Frank’s confessions:
1: doesn’t like being a doctor because he has to be around sick people
2: his mother smacked him when he got sick and again when he recovered
3: nobody ever wanted to talk to him – the only person in high school who’d talk to him was the janitor
4: he and Margaret are dating (!)

Father Mulcahy’s and Margaret’s reactions to Frank’s will are priceless.

Radar doesn’t have a toothbrush he broke his last month?  What’s he been using since then?  Gross.

Another instance of one of the best parts of the episode being cut for syndication.  In the tag, a drunk and disorderly Radar returns from Tokyo accompanied by an MP, which produces some of the best laughs of the show.

Radar’s rap sheet:
1: charged with drunken and disorderly conduct
2: drank the ink at a tattoo parlor
3: swam 50 laps in an 8-foot bathhouse tub

Of Moose and Men (4×12)

Monday, December 17th, 2012

Season 4, Episode 12

Episode #84

Broadcast: 11/21/1975

Written by: Jay Folb

Directed by: John Erman

WHAT EPISODE IS THIS?

On their way back from a Korean village, Hawkeye and Frank’s jeep is stopped at a military police checkpoint, where Hawkeye accidentally splashed Colonel Spiker with mud, ruining his uniform.  As Spiker barks about a lack of military courtesy, Hawkeye informs him of their long surgical duties patching up civilians and speeds off for home.

Back at camp, BJ comforts Zale, who is crushed after getting a letter from is wife telling him she had an affair.  Zale’s wife – Hillda (with two L’s) – is sorry and BJ thinks Zale should give her another chance.  Instead, the drunken Zale punches the mess tent stove, breaking his hand.

Hawkeye and Frank return to the 4077th, but now with two wounded, including the terse Colonel Spiker.  Spiker, still fuming over Pierce, demands to have his surgery at the 121st Evac Hospital, but Potter nixes the request.  Hawkeye ends up operating on Spiker, for he is badly wounded with shrapnel in his heart muscle.

Since Zale’s hand is busted, BJ offers to write a letter or response to Hillda.  Zelmo dictates a poison pen missive, but BJ talks him into a more conciliatory message.  As Zale lists all the things he’s done for his wife, BJ gets called away to the hospital.

Meanwhile, a paranoid Frank thinks all the local Koreans are infiltrators out to kill Americans, so along with Radar, he inspects four locals who work around camp.  With his usual bluster, he gives the locals a once-over, issues regulations that won’t be followed, and orders security to be “tight as a drum”.

Spiker is recovering in post-op, with Hawkeye pulling a bedside vigil to make sure the Colonel’s chest tubes are clear and he survives the night.  Margaret is so impressed with his skillful work and dedication, she offers her hand and congratulates Hawkeye on his fine work, which he returns, naturally, with sexual innuendo.

Spiker awakens and is mortified to hear it was Pierce and not Colonel Potter who operated on him.  He tells Potter this “goof-off” needs to be disciplined for his lack of respect, but Potter tears into him, telling Spiker he’d be a dead man if it weren’t for the surgical skills of Pierce.  Spiker calls for Pierce, who arrives expecting the typical thanks and gratitude, but is shocked to hear Spiker tell him he’s letting him off the hook and won’t “lower the boom ” on him.  Hawkeye reacts with exaggerated thank-yous and sarcastically clasps and kisses Spiker’s hand.

BJ, who has completed Zale’s letter, finds the sergeant in the company of his Korean “moose.”  He subtly calls out Zale on his hypocrisy and has him sign the letter.

Frank’s paranoia rages on as he checks the Swamp for booby traps.  However, his suspicions may be confirmed when he sees two locals burying a large container just outside camp limits.  Franks rounds up some enlisted men as a makeshift bomb squad and searches out the buried container.  Fearing a powerful explosive, the container turns out to be a kimchi pot, one of millions buried all over Korea.

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL

 

Frank (speaking of Hawkeye):  Why do I have to work on the Korean?  I mean, he always gets the cowboys and I’m stuck with the Indians.
Potter: I’m one-fourth Cherokee.
Frank: Oh. (raises his hand) How.

 

Frank: Who’s this one?
Radar: This is Mr. Park, the peddler.
Frank: You can get anything from Mr. Park (picks up a gun) – including a bullet in the head.  Confiscate this weapon!
Radar: That’s not a weapon, sir, it’s a lighter (demonstrates it)
Frank: Interesting…
Radar: This is Kim, the houseboy, sir.  Kim is good at repairing electric shavers and things.
Frank: Uh-huh, and wiring a stick or two of dynamite together, eh, Kim?  Blow up a few white devils??
Radar: This is Mrs. Shin.  She does the laundry for the nurses.
Frank: Are you aware, Corporal, that you can shave a bar of soap, turn it into powder, set a detonator inside, and POW, it will explode?
Radar: Sure kill the laundry, wouldn’t it?  This is Charlie, her son.
Frank: That’s an innocent looking child.
Radar: He’s six years old.
Frank: That’s what they all say.  That size, that juvenile appearance.  Be perfect cover for who knows what…

 

Spiker: That officer…Pierce! An oddball. Must make an example of him.
Potter: He already is, a fine example of an oddball officer. The best!
Spiker: Has no respect for the uniform.
Potter: Well, he’s never in it anyway.
Spiker: No respect for authority…no respect for the war.
Potter: Whoa, Colonel, whoa.
Spiker: I demand disciplinary action against him. If you don’t take it, I will.
Potter: You? You’re only a bunch of tubes running in and out. You have to go to the latrine by remote control. You’re a sick man.
Spiker: Aahh…
Potter: You’d be napping in a mattress cover over at the morgue if it wasn’t for Pierce working on you.
Spiker: Hmm? (infuriated) He operated? Not you?
Potter: Lucky for you, yes!
Spiker: But the last thing I said…
Potter: would’ve been the last thing you ever said. If Pierce wasn’t your surgeon, you’d be a bag of cold cuts now. Jumpin’ jodhpurs, man! I’m Regular Army, too – hash marks down to the ground! I started in the cavalry. Learned to look at life from the top of a horse. Well, sometimes I feel I’m still on a horse, only now I’m looking down at a horse’s…
Spiker: I’m not criticizing your command, Colonel. It’s that…that goof-off!
Potter: That goof-off saved your can. You’re alive and kicking, kicking like an Army mule because of that man’s skill and dedication as a surgeon. Sufferin’ saddle soap! You owe your life to that man!

 

Hawkeye: Frank, you’re paranoid.
Frank: I am not.
Hawkeye: When did you see it?
Frank: When I was checking my toothpaste for explosives.

 

BJ: What smells?
Hawkeye: Frank’s bomb. (grabs the container)
Frank: Don’t!
Hawkeye: (opens it) It’s a kimchee pot, Frank. Kimchee. Pickled cabbage. (To BJ:) They ferment it in the ground. There are millions of these buried all over Korea.
BJ: I’d get title to this land, Major, before word gets out.
Frank: Huh?
Hawkeye: Don’t you understand, man? You’ve struck coleslaw!
(Embarrassed, Frank storms off)
BJ: (applauding) Let’s hear it for the major, folks!
Hawkeye: Isn’t he great? He’ll be back, folks, just after he changes for the 11:00 bomb.

 

TRIVIA & OBSERVATIONS

 

Opening credits show BJ running to the chopper instead of the usual scene where he’s tending to a man at the chopper.  Why the change back to the original scene?  This episode was the third one filmed this season, yet the eleventh to be broadcast.  When produced, it still had the original running scene inserted.

Why would somebody post a sign reading “Don’t stop here.  You’re under direct enemy vision”?  This would make vehicles slow down to read the sign, making them easier targets.  Instead, a sign of warning should have been posted further back telling drivers not to slow down due to enemy snipers.

Frank’s helmet is clean when they stop at the checkpoint but heavily splattered with mud when they reach Spiker.

If the 4077th send help to work on 40 civilians wounded in a land mine blast, why’d they send just two doctors?  No nurses or corpsmen for the trip?

Tim O’Connor portrays the sorehead, Colonel SPiker.  He will return as the equally unpleasant Dr. Traeger, the specialist who will work on BJ’s injured hand in season 9′s “Operation Friendship.”

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

Where would Igor get football shoulder pads and a baseball catcher’s facemask and chest protector to wear for bomb duty?

BJ says he saw Paul Muni and Luise Rainer in a movie called Fresh Earth, but the title was actually The Good Earth from 1937.  This movie was mentioned in “Love and Marriage” (3×20) by Radar as the movie they were about to get.

Dear Peggy (4×11)

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Season 4, Episode 11

Episode #83

Broadcast: 11/11/1975

Written by: Everett Greenbaum & Jim Fritzell

Directed by: Burt Metcalfe

WHAT EPISODE IS THIS?

 

BJ writes his third letter in a week to his wife, Peggy, filling her in on what’s going on in camp.

He relates a story from the O.R. where Frank gives up on a patient, Davis, after losing a pulse.  BJ yells he has to do something and takes charge of the operation, relegating the major to aspirating the patient.  BJ is able to revive the patient, which earns a snarky comment from Frank.

In post-op, BJ is watching Davis, but is distressed there is no improvement.  Also distressed is Father Mulcahy, who seems rather jumpy in post-op.  He tells BJ he’s nervous about an impending visit from Colonel Maurice Hollister, Divisional Chaplain, aka “The Attila the Hun of chaplains.”  BJ tells him not to worry, for Hawkeye thinks he’s one of the best chaplains in the army.

Back to the letter, BJ tells Peggy about Hawkeye, who he calls “one of a kind” and admits they’d all go nuts without him.  With that, he relates a story of Hawkeye wanting to break the record for most people squeezed into a Volkswagen.  German autos are scarce in Korea, so he substitutes a canopied jeep.  Frank and Margaret object to the stunt, but Hawkeye talks Margaret into being the record-breaking person stuffed in the jeep.  The record is broken and a commemorative photo is taken just as Colonel Hollister (Ned Beatty) arrives to sneer at the event.  His condemnation is heightened when he sees one of the jeep-stuffers emerge:  Father Mulcahy!

Next morning, the mess tent is packed for Father Mulcahy’s service and everyone gives him exaggerated congratulations and compliments afterward.  Everyone, that is, except Frank and Margaret, who instead tell Hollister they “get chills in the presence of a real spiritual leader.”  Ouch.  Hollister goes on to dress down Mulcahy for not having the crowd in the palm of his hand and lack of aggression.

BJ returns to the letter and tells how Colonel Potter wanted local Koreans to help with hospital duty, so the medical staff was drafted to teach them English.  Frank starts teaching locals some medically relevant phrases, but soon reverts to having them chant anti-Communist phrases.  Hawkeye takes over, but doesn’t take it seriously either, having the Koreans recite insults of Frank.

Davis still has not improved, but Hollister insists Mulcahy write a letter to the boy’s parents telling them everything will be OK.  As Hollister leaves, Davis is rushed back into surgery because it seems Frank never bothered removing all the shell fragments the first time around.  Hawkeye and BJ operate on Davis and he pulls through, much to the Father’s relief.  When Frank mouths off, Hawkeye points to the Koreans who regale the major with “You tell him, ferret face!” in their own wonderfully clipped English.

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL

 

Hawkeye: Radar, you do the Peabody?
Radar: Not while I’m dancing, sir.

 

BJ (writing): Major Frank Burns, not one of our best doctors.  Hawkeye said he became a surgeon after he washed out at embalmers’ school.

 

BJ: Hawkeye says you’re one of the best chaplains in the business.
Mulcahy: Did he really say that about me?  Ah, that crazy agnostic.

 

Potter: What’s the big idea, Klinger?
Klinger: How’d you know?
Potter: Korean women are not noted for hairy knuckles.

 

Hawkeye: Elizabeth Taylor married somebody whose name begins with N-I…
BJ: N-I?
Hawkeye: Nixon!  Elizabeth Taylor married our Vice President!
BJ: Nicky Hilton!
Hawkeye: Nicky Hilton is our Vice President, now?

 

Hawkeye: Squeeze in, Major, we have plenty of room.
Margaret: This is completely beneath me.
Hawkeye: I was hoping for that spot myself.

 

Potter: Burns, can’t you see Pierce is just trying to boost morale?
Frank: Well, my morale is fine. I love it here.
Potter: Either you or Klinger is nuts. Now I gotta figure out which one.

 

Hollister: Thank you, Majors.  I gather you are regular churchgoers.
Frank: Oh, yes, it’s a great place to kill an hour.

 

Hollister: Lieutenant Mulcahy, I want to see a first draft of the letter before 1800 hours.  It’s now 1400 hours.  I’ve got to take my milk of magnesia and do three pushups.

 

Mulcahy: Is he gonna make it?
BJ: Probably.
Hawkeye: It depends. We could get bombed, there could be an earthquake, or Frank could operate on him again.
Frank: Twerp! (Hawkeye turns and points at the Koreans)
Koreans: You tell him, Ferret Face!

TRIVIA & OBSERVATIONS

 

One of the slowest opening scenes in recent memory.  Fortunately, a lot of it is cut for syndication.

Hawkeye asks Radar is he can do the Peabody.  The Peabody is a foxtrot-style ballroom dance performed to ragtime music, which is what Mulcahy was playing on the piano.

BJ writes of Justice Holmes, who is Oliver Wendell Holmes, a Civil War veteran, Harvard law professor, and served thirty years (1902 to 1932) on the Supreme Court.

Agnostic:  someone who is not committed to believing in the existence of God.

Much is made of Klinger eating a fresh egg, but they’ve seen plentiful in previous episodes, for example, Radar was hit in the face with one when bugling.

“Nedick’s of Grand Central Station”:  Nedick’s is a long-time New York City landmark – it’s a fast food restaurant chain known for their orange drink.

Elizabeth Taylor wed Nicky Hilton on May 6, 1950, the first of her seven marriages.  Hawkeye mentions Nixon is Vice President, so this places this episode in Spring 1953, so that was some old newspaper Peg used to stuff the parcel.

Nicky Hilton:  Conrad “Nicky” Hilton was one of the sons of Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton hotels.

Bobbie Mitchell makes a return, playing Lieutenant Gage, who gets stuffed in the jeep.

Potter’s film order:  Trench Foot Through the Ages and The Bleeding Gums Story.  I don’t know which is crazier:  someone would make films like that or someone would order them!

Klinger makes three escape attempts:
01.  Posing as a Korean woman (hairy knuckles was the giveaway)
02.  Escape via stream on an inflatable raft
03.  Disguised as a bush

Why does Hawkeye have to set a timer for the photograph when there are at least a dozen people around?  Why couldn’t one of them snap the photo?

Frank’s teachings to the local Koreans:
01.  “Better dead than red”
02.  “Get us out of the U.N.”
03.  “Don’t contaminate our drinking water with fluoridation”
04.  and (indirectly) “Stink fishpot!”

Hawkeye teaches the locals “Frank Burns eats worms.”

Notice after Klinger inflates the life raft in Potter’s office, it knocks everyone to the ground and he casually escapes the office.

“Vaya con dios”:  translated, it means “Go with God.”

Hollister’s farewell scene starts off on the Fox Ranch, but the next two shots (closeups) are shot on the soundstage.  We then go back to the Ranch as Hollister drives away.  Mulcahy’s hat position and fake scenery behind him in his closeup are the giveaways.

Pierce is called for the second operation on Davis.  That means Frank did the first operation, BJ saved him with heart massage, and Hawkeye did the follow-up surgery, so three doctors worked on him.  Usually, the doctor of record is the doctor who started the procedure, so Frank should have done the follow-up.  But then you can understand why not…

Ned Beatty:  nicknamed “the busiest actor in Hollywood”, Beatty has appeared in over 100 movies, including Deliverance, Network (received nomination for Best Supporting Actor), and the Superman movies with Christopher Reeve.

 

 

Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler? (4×10)

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Season 4, Episode 10

Episode #82

Broadcast: 11/07/1975

Written by: Burt Prelutsky

Directed by: Larry Gelbart

WHAT EPISODE IS THIS?

Another day, another batch of wounded, but this one brings a very special visitor:  one of the wounded claims to be Jesus Christ.

Hawkeye operates on the man, but first alerts Father Mulcahy he has a friend in surgery.  The patient has only a superficial head wound, but in post-op, he calmly repeats that he is the Lord.  Father Mulcahy is brought in to speak to him, but he finds himself speechless.

Frank and Margaret aren’t amused by this “blasphemy” and seek out Colonel Potter for a solution.  They want the soldier court-martialed for cowardice and blasphemy, but the compassionate Colonel turns the other cheek and refuses, stating the man is not hurting anyone, and if he claims to be Christ, what’s the harm?

Undeterred, Frank and Margaret call in Colonel Flagg from Intelligence, who arrives with a file on the soldier.  Frank thinks the soldier is a communist and trying to get out of duty.  Flagg insists he he knows who the “friend with the messiah complex” is and intends to get him back to work.

Flagg meets Potter in his office along with Hawkeye and BJ.  It turns out the soldier is Captain Arnold Chandler, a bombardier with 57 combat missions.  The doctors agree it’s combat fatigue, but Flagg insists Chandler has turned “chicken” and needs to be flying bombing runs quickly.  Flagg demands an immediate decision from Potter, raving the previous C.O. needing a month’s warning to make a decision.  Potter won’t take Flagg’s verbal blather and puts him in his place, much to the delight of Hawkeye and BJ.  Potter agrees to release Chandler in two days, but agrees with Hawkeye that psychiatric therapy is needed and Sidney Freedman is the man.

In an epic meeting of the minds, Sidney arrives in camp and meets Colonel Flagg, who asks the doc to go along with him on Chandler.  Sidney demurs, stating Chandler needs his kind of help.  Flagg brings up certain “subversive” groups Sidney belongs to and threatens to expose him as a communist.  Sidney ignores him and excuses himself, remarking he’s already kept Jesus waiting five minutes.

Sidney has a talk with Chandler, who claims no knowledge of this former life and army responsibilities.  He claims he is Christ, has no enemies, and loves all his children.  Sidney says he belongs in a B-29 bomber, dropping bombs on the enemy.  Chandler again denies his identity and tellingly informs Sidney he hopes he can find and help this Chandler.  Sidney wraps up the talk by asking if God answers all prayers.  A tear rolls down Chandler’s face as he responds in the affirmative, but adds, “sometimes the answer is no.”

Later, Sidney tells Flagg, Potter, Hawkeye, and BJ it’s his professional opinion Chandler has lost himself.  Something inside him snapped and he decided he will be Jesus Christ instead of a bomber.  He feels Chandler will never be an effective soldier again, but with proper care, he can find himself.  Flagg, furious with this “psychoanalytical double-talk”, threatens to have Sidney thrown out of the army for not signing a loyalty oath.  After Hawkeye and BJ congratulate Sidney on his shrewdness, Flagg reverses course and thinks Sidney is playing him.

Chandler leaves on the next bus, but is stopped by Radar who asks for a blessing on his teddy bear.  In a tender scene, Chandler blesses the bear, then Radar, who professes his Christian name is Walter.

Klinger, impressed with Chandler’s case, shows up at the Swamp dressed as Moses in hopes of getting a discharge from Dr. Freedman.  Unfortunately, he can’t keep his bible – or dwarfs – straight.

Fabulous episode – one of the best thirty minutes of M*A*S*H you will see.

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL

 

Radar: Father, we got a guy that says he’s Jesus Christ.
Frank: Some people just don’t belong in combat.

 

Potter: What is it you think they’re planning to do?
Frank: Well, who knows? All these bleeding-heart liberals are the same! Let a man claim to be an underdog and they will do anything they can for him!
Potter: You regard Jesus Christ as an underdog?
Frank: Well, he didn’t exactly run roughshod over the Greeks.
Margaret: (correcting him) Romans.

 

Chandler: My name is Jesus Christ.
Hawkeye: Oh, that’s funny.  We have a savior by that name
Chandler: [stares silently at Hawkeye]
Hawkeye: Ah.  A little witticism that was just condemned to purgatory.

 

Chandler: What can I do to convince you?
Hawkeye: A miracle would definitely be a step in the right direction.
BJ: Maybe a few steps.  Say, on the water.

 

Sidney: I’d like to go on talking to you, Flagg, but with your schizophrenia I’d have to charge you double time. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve already kept Jesus waiting five minutes.

 

Flagg: I’ve got to nip this rotten apple in the bud! This sort of action’s contagious. One man decides he’s not gonna fight, it catches on, the next thing, you know what you’ve got on your hands?
B.J.: Peace?

 

Flagg: When can I have him? Give me a medical decision now. The last C.O. they had here couldn’t make a decision without a month’s warning.
Col. Potter: I’m not fond of personal abuse, Colonel. I was in this man’s army when the only thumb you cared about was the one you had in your mouth!

 

Sidney: Where’s my patient?
BJ: Come to see your savior?
Sidney: Mine?  No.  Yours?
BJ: Who knows?
Sidney: Where is he?
Hawkeye: Over there.  You don’t recognize him from his picture?

 

Sidney: What are you doing here in an army hospital?
Chandler: I’m Christ.  Where should I be?
Sidney: Should you be in the nose of a B-29?
Chandler: B-29?
Sidney: That’s where you’ve been a good part of the last two years, up in a B-29 dropping bombs.
Chandler: Bombs.  On people?
Sidney: On the enemy.
Chandler: I have no enemies.  I love all men.
Sidney: Even the North Koreans?
Chandler: They are my children.  Why would I hurt my children?  I’m sorry.  I’m not this Captain Chandler you’re looking for but I hope you can find him.  I hope you can help him.
Sidney: Tell me, is it true that God answers all prayers?
Chandler: Yes. (a tear runs down his cheek) Sometimes the answer is no.

 

Potter: Well, Dr. Freedman, what’s the diagnosis?
Sidney: He’s Christ.
Potter: If you look closely, you may notice I’m not laughing.
Sidney: Okay, he’s not Christ. But he’s also not Chandler.
Flagg: Psycho-analytical double talk.
Sidney: The man’s a victim.
Flagg: (getting angry) Bucking for a ticket stateside. All we have to do is stuff the guts back in him.
Hawkeye: Frank builds the cross, and he’s the nail salesman.
Sidney: You’re a victim too, Flagg. But you’re such an unbelievable example of walking fertilizer, it’s hard for me to care.

 

Flagg: You are very smart, Freedman.
Hawkeye: I told you.
Flagg: You’re only saying Chandler flipped out so I will have you busted and you can return to your safe, cozy civilian practice.
BJ: He’s on to you, Sid.
Flagg: You’re not smart, Freedman, you’re dumb, very dumb! But you met your match in me!

 

Radar: Are you really him?
Chandler: Yes.
Radar: Well, I know you’re busy and everything, but I was wondering, could you bless this for me, please?
Chandler: The bag?
Radar: No, what’s inside.  [removes teddy bear] I know he’s not real, but we’re very close.
Chandler: (lays hands on bear)  Bless you.  And bless you, Radar.
Radar: I’m Walter.
Chandler: Bless you, Walter.

 

Kliger: Sir, can you get Dr. Freedman back here, the psychiatrist?
BJ: On what grounds?
Klinger: I’m Moses, right?
BJ: Freedman’s in Tokyo, Klinger.
Hawkeye: You take the first left in the road, and then when you come to it, you part the Sea of Japan!
Klinger: Oh, ye of little faith!
BJ: That’s Matthew.
Klinger: Maybe I’m him then! I’ll be anyone to get out! Moses, Matthew, Doc, Grumpy, Sneezy, (walks away) Bashful, Dopey, Happy…

TRIVIA & OBSERVATIONS

 

So what does Quo Vadis mean?  It’s a Latin phrase that means “Where are you going?”  Tradition has St. Peter having a vision and asking Jesus “Quo vadis?”, to which the Lord replies to Rome, to be crucified again.  This prompted Peter to return to Rome and accept his own crucifixion.

This is the first time we see the familiar O.R. changing room with the bench and clothes hooks on the left side and a curtain partition.

No laugh track in this episode due to the religious overtones.

Alan Fudge plays Captain Chandler.  Fudge was one of the actors considered for the BJ Hunnicutt role.

When Sidney arrives and meets Flagg, the Colonel tells him they played poker once.  This is most likely a reference to season 2′s “Deal Me Out” which featured Sidney, but Ed Winter’s character was called Halloran, not Flagg.  He was basically playing the same character, but could have been using one of his many aliases.

Sidney has a son who is less than a year old, based on the fact the kid just cut his first tooth.  He must have at least one other child, for in season 3′s “O.R.”, he said he hasn’t done surgery since taking a boil off his kid’s rear end.

The scenery outside Potter’s window changes mid-scene.  When Sidney is explaining why Chandler won’t be an effective fighting tool, there is an autumn scene outside.  Seconds later, when Flagg is calling Sidney “very dumb”, the scenery has changed to a building.

This is the debut of Walter as Radar’s given name.

Klinger has “thou” spelled as “thow” on his tablets.  I think the Moses outfit is one of his best costumes ever.

The Kids (4×09)

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Season 4, Episode 9

Episode #81

Broadcast: 10/31/1975

Written by: Everett Greenbaum and Jim Fritzell

Directed by: Alan Alda

WHAT EPISODE IS THIS?

The 4077th receives an urgent message from Nurse Cratty, who runs an orphanage thirty miles north of camp.  They’re being shelled and have to evacuate, so Potter agrees to let them bunk at the 4077th.

As Hawkeye and BJ set up extra cots in the Swamp, Frank shows up wearing his newly-arrived purple heart, earned when he had fragments removed after a sniper attack.  The captains are infuriated and Hawkeye reminds Frank those were eggshell fragments and he suffered no wound.  Frank is unmoved, stating his record shows “shell fragments” and he’s entitled to the decoration.

Nurse Cratty arrives in camp with a truckload of young orphans.  The kids are cleaned up and given physicals and one enterprising youth gambles fifty cents off Frank, while another child is convinced Klinger is a woman.

Two kids bunk down in the Swamp, but before bedtime, Hawkeye and BJ each tell them a story.  Hawkeye tells a story of a “bad bad major” who took an award he didn’t deserve, but BJ comes through with an utterly charming telling of Androcles and the Lion, complete with fantastic facial expressions and voices.  Cratty arrives for a nightcap, worried a pregnant woman in her care has not returned from a family visit at a nearby village.

She doesn’t have to wait long.  The pregnant woman stumbles into camp and passes out in Klinger’s arms, suffering from a gunshot wound, courtesy of a local sniper.  She’s rushed into the operating room where BJ and Cratty perform an emergency C-section to save both mother and child…”another soul among the living.”

The night hours have no loss of excitement:  a paranoid Frank looks for children who might be stealing from him, a child prodigy entertains on the O-Club piano, and Radar sings a gentle lullaby to a slumbering child.  Wounded arrive and a sniveling Frank is ordered by Potter to scrub up, so Father Mulcahy uses his boxing experience to cajole the major into scrubbing up.

Later, Frank is frantic, for his Purple Heart is missing from the Swamp.  Margaret helps him look, but is preoccupied with a peepshow of MacArthur in the nude.  Frank chases the “Slicky Boy” he suspects, but BJ corrals him and shows him where his Purple Heart went:  Potter and Hawkeye are pinning it to the blanket of the newborn boy, just as Margaret arrives and Potter asks where the Purple Heart came from.  She tells Hawkeye she knows where the decoration came from, but gives a loving grin of approval.

Nurse Cratty and the kids return north next day, with one child almost absconding with Radar’s teddy bear.  The whole camp gathers to give them a proper sendoff.

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL

 

Hawkeye: You were never wounded!
Burns: I most certainly was!
Hawkeye: When?
Burns: During the sniper attack.  A month ago. I got a shell fragment in my eye.
Hawkeye: Wait a minute! Hold the phone, central! I was the one who did that operation. That was an egg shell fragment!
Burns: Nevertheless, it was the result of combat and it’s on my service record as “shell fragment.”

 

Korean Kid: Got two bits, Joe?
Frank: My name is Major Burns, not Joe.  And I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that, Jasper.

 

BJ (telling story): One day he was arrested by some guys called the Romans who wanted to punish him for his faith.  You see, Androcles was not only very kind, he was also very Gentile.

 

Kliger: Nurse Cratty?
Cratty: Hmm?
Klinger: I got something I’d like to give the mother. It’s a bed jacket that’s too small for me. It’s quilted, aquamarine, with off-white brocade, and right here there are violet sequins arranged in a stunning fleur-de-lis.
Potter: I gotta get him that discharge.

 

Father Mulcahy: Klinger, I thought you were an atheist.
Klinger: I gave it up for Lent.

 

Frank: My Purple Heart!  Stolen!  I knew it.  They’re all crooks!  We should give this country back to the Indians!

 

Potter: Hawkeye, it was a nice thing you did [giving the baby the Purple Heart]
Cratty: It sure was.
Hawkeye: Well, he deserved it.  It’s lousy to get shot on your birthday.

TRIVIA & OBSERVATIONS

 

The Meg Cratty character appeared in season 2′s “The Trial of Henry Blake” but she was played by a different actress and she ran a medical clinic, not an orphanage.

This is the first episode where Nurse Kellye (Kellye Nakahara) is called by her name rather than one of the generic nurse names.

Hawkeye says he worked in a resort hotel to help get through pre-med.

Frank got his Purple Heart for shell fragments – he got nervous opening a boiled egg.  He mentioned it occurred during a sniper attack “a month ago.”  I wonder if this is a reference to the sniper pestering the camp in “Hey, Doc” a couple episodes back?

Hawkeye tells Cratty the BJ is Trapper’s replacement, but does not tell her about Henry’s passing.  Also, Potter spoke as if he didn’t know her, but there is no introduction when they meet.  They greet each other as though they know each other.

Androcles is a fable attributed to Aesop.  In case you wonder how the story ends, the lion recognizes Androcles as the man who healed him and refuses to eat him out of gratitude.  The emperor is so moved, he releases Androcles.

After Mike Farrell delivers the great pun “he was also very Gentile”, Alan Alda gives him a look and Farrell can’t complete the story without laughing.  Great moment.  The Androcles story is yet another thoughtless edit from syndicated prints.

McGuffies:  slang for women’s breasts

The piano pice played by the young Korean girl on the piano is Mozart’s Piano Sonata in C Major.

Hawkeye tells Potter he hasn’t delivered a baby since he drove his nephew to his grandmother’s.  Hawkeye just delivered Mrs. Kwang’s baby on the bus in “Love and Marriage.”  Apparently, he still has a sister since he has a nephew.  Hawkeye will be an only child in future episodes.

Father Mulcahy mentions he was wanted by Willie Pep’s stable.  Willie Pep was one of the greatest featherweight fighters of the twentieth century, accumulating a record of 229 wins and only 11 losses.  Mulcahy mentions he was a featherweight fighter, too.  A featherweight fighter cannot weigh more than 126 lbs.

Another solid season 4 effort…not great, but very good.  This is more of a heartwarming episode rather than straight comedy or drama.  The next episode is a perfect mix of all three.

Dear Mildred (4×08)

Friday, December 7th, 2012

Season 4, Episode 8

Episode #80

Broadcast: 10/24/1975

Written by: Everett Greenbaum and Jim Fritzell

Directed by: Alan Alda

WHAT EPISODE IS THIS?

Colonel Potter writes a letter to his wife, Mildred, to let her know his first thoughts of the 4077th and wishes her a happy anniversary.  As Radar nervously cleans the Colonel’s office, Frank and Margaret show up, asking the Colonel to pose for photographs for a “yearbook.”  Frank takes a couple pictures, laughs like a fool, and they quickly depart.  “Curious, aren’t they?” Potter wonders out loud.

Radar seeks out Hawkeye’s advice in the Swamp, for he’s uncomfortable around the new Colonel.  He equates his experience with staying with an aunt, having to be polite and acting proper.  Hawkeye understands and tells BJ that Henry Blake was like a father to Radar.  BJ reassures Radar that Potter is okay and to give him a chance.

A lone chopper arrives with a mail delivery, so the three of them drive to the landing pad.  The pilot asks if there is a sharpshooter in camp because there is a wounded horse close by and he wants to put it out of its misery.  Radar talks the captains into picking up the horse and bringing it back to camp.

Potter returns to his letter and tells Mildred about Father Mulcahy, who he calls a “fine, young priest.”  He relays a story about a movie night where technical difficulties led to a brief delay.  The Father, along with Lieutenant O’Connor (Barbara Christopher, William’s wife) give the crowd a preview of a musical number they’ve been rehearsing for the orphans’ show.  While they may not be pitch perfect, their song generates a lot of smiles and is rewarded with a round of applause.

The chopper pilot guides Hawkeye, BJ, and Radar to the injured horse, who is alone and wandering a canyon.  Hawkeye and BJ fail in their attempts to lasso the horse, but Radar the horse whisperer turns on the Iowa charm and easily ropes the horse.

Frank and Margaret have taken the Potter photographs to Chin (Richard Lee Sung),  a local Korean artist, and request he carve a wood bust of the Colonel as an anniversary gift.  As proof of his quality work, Chin shows them a typical 2×4 piece of wood, intoning “Used to be round.”  He’s a good negotiator, too, talking Frank up from $6 to $7.50 (“umb-day!”)

Back at camp, Hawkeye and BJ work on the horse after avoiding a couple nasty equine kicks.  She’s a little high-spirited, but once sedated, they’re able to extract a piece of shrapnel.  Radar hides the horse in the motor pool.  Hawkeye suggests he give the horse to a local farmer, but Radar insists on keeping it.

Chin delivers the bust to Frank and Margaret, but despite Frank’s protest, follows them to Potter’s office for the unveiling.  They encounter Hawkeye and BJ, who have no gift, but tag along.  Chin tries to sell them an anniversary gift for the Colonel, including “Hitler’s pencil box.”

As Potter wraps up his letter, the medical staff arrives to give the Colonel his gift.  The wood carving looks very much like the Colonel, except the eyes are a little too Asian.  Radar enters, stating he has a present for the Colonel’s anniversary.  Potter’s jaw drops and eyes moisten as Radar leads the horse into his office.  He’s overwhelmed at the gift and doesn’t mind at all when he slips on some manure, exclaiming “That’s a tiptoe through the tulips!”

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL

 

Potter (about Frank and Margaret): Curious, aren’t they?
Radar: Just about each other.

 

Frank: Just traipsing in.  Suppose I’d been engaged in some top secret, hush-hush confidential activity, huh?
Radar: I peeked first to see if Major Houlihan was here, sir.

 

Frank: Your hand is filthy.
Hawkeye: I was leaning against a dusty nurse.
Frank: For a change. (leaves)
BJ: Where are you going, Frank?
Frank: That’s for me to know and you to find out!
Radar: I’m probably responsible for his leaving.
BJ: Come in more often.

 

Chin (proudly displays a 2×4 piece of wood): Used to be round.
Frank: Looks like a two by four.
Chin: Thank you.

 

Chin: Hmm. Lotsa work. Two assistants. Electric light at night. Overtime. Hmm. Six bucks.
Frank: Well…
Margaret: Frank, These people have no espect-ray unless you aggle-hay over the ice-pray.
Frank: Five dollars.
Chin: Seven-fifty.
Frank: Sold!
Margaret: Umb-day!

 

Frank: It doesn’t look like the Colonel.  It looks like you.
Chin: It gives the Colonel a little class.

 

Radar: It’s a horse, sir.  Here’s the keys.
Potter: A beautiful horse! I don’t know what to say, Radar.
Frank: (to Chin) I want my money back! In American, and not that stuff I paid you!
Margaret: Shh!
Potter: He can’t be more than four years old!
Hawkeye: Pretty nice, Radar.
Radar: At least I get to take care of him.
Potter: This calls for a drink!
BJ: At least!
(Potter slips on manure behind the horse)
Radar: Sorry about that, sir!
Frank: That’s disgusting!
Potter: Son, to me that’s a tiptoe through the tulips!

TRIVIA & OBSERVATIONS

 

If this shows seems out of place, it is.  The eighth episode aired in season 4, it was the fifth one filmed.  Potter is still the “new kid on the block” and Radar is jittery around the new Colonel, traits not seen in the last two episodes.  This episode probably should have aired after “It Happened One Night.”

How did Frank and Margaret know it was Colonel Potter’s anniversary?

Why did the chopper pilot think the horse was in misery and needed to be shot?  The wound was tiny and the horse was getting around just fine.  Viewing the horse from a chopper, the horse probably would have looked perfectly normal.

Radar says “You can’t dunk your zwieback in your Bosco.”  A zwieback is crisp piece of toast often used as a teething biscuit for infants.  Bosco is a brand of chocolate syrup.

Hawkeye says the movie in the mess tent is Custer’s Last Stand, but the movie seen is in color and the actual 1936 film of that name is black and white.

The woman who joins Father Mulcahy for a duet is William Christopher’s real-life wife, Barbara.  This scene is edited out of syndication.  It’s a shame, for it’s a charming little number.

Multiple horses were used in filming this episode.  The first horse seen in the canyon has only white coloring around the left rear hoof.  The horse BJ attempts to lasso has mostly white rear legs.  And the horse Radar approaches has rear legs with slight white coloring.

I like how Potter writes, “What folks do on their off-duty hours is no business of mine”, then immediately peers out his tent window.

Those are some really fake horse legs kicking through the wall.  Watch it in slow motion – you can see a person’s hands on the horse legs during both “kicks.”

In the motor pool, after Radar says “I’m keeping him,” you can see a couple crew members.  One is in a cap and sunglasses, the other is probably the horse handler because he is wearing a western shirt and cowboy hat.

The wood carving of Potter is never seen on the show again…guess he didn’t like it.

Richard Lee Sung’s best episode by far.  He was never featured enough on M*A*S*H, though he did appear in eleven episodes.

The Bus (4×07)

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Season 4, Episode 7

Episode #79

Broadcast: 10/17/1975

Written by: John Hess

Directed by: Gene Reynolds

WHAT EPISODE IS THIS?

The doctors and Radar are returning from a medical conference when they get lost on the Korean country roads.  They pull over to assess the situation and Potter orders each officer to travel 100 yards in different directions in search of a village or other roads.  Frank cowardly takes Radar with him, making him walk ahead and act as a shield in case of enemy attack.

Nothing is seen, so they board the bus to backtrack and take a new road, but there’s one problem:  the bus won’t start.  To compound the problem, they have no food, water, blankets, communication and might be stranded in enemy territory.

Frank takes a stab at fixing the engine but gets electrocuted for his trouble.  Radar finds a walkie-talkie on the bus, but the other unit is broken and back at camp.  Undeterred, Frank takes it and absurdly tries to contact “Allied personnel” that may be listening.  His attempt to alert someone he is directly under a passing jet is met with laughter from the other doctors.

With dusk approaching, there is nothing to do but wait, so the five men bunk down on the bus.  As Frank covertly munches a hidden chocolate bar, BJ decides they should tell stories about their first loves.  Potter tells a WWI tale (naturally) about falling for a French nurse while blinded from poison gas; Radar declines, opting to leave to go to the bathroom; Frank relates a story of a brunette Jewish girl who was “warm for his form”, but Frank refused her advances on moral grounds (“Creep!”, growls Potter.)

Radar hasn’t returned from his potty break, and when the doctors hear noises outside the bus, they hope it is the corporal returning, but it turns out to be a wounded North Korean soldier surrendering to the medicos.   His wound is patched and Frank stands guard over him while the others sleep.  Waving the North Korean’s gun menacingly at him, Frank starts a movie gangster-type monologue to scare the wounded man, but the North Korean falls asleep.

Radar, who was out scouting a way out, finally returns in the middle of the night, waking Frank and happens on his cache of chocolate bars.  Frank warns him not to say anything as the others warmly greet their missing comrade.

Next morning, the North Korean tinkers with the engine (Frank thinks he’s sabotaging it) and gets it running.  As they drive off, a proposal is made that food should be stored on the bus.  Radar makes a reference to chocolate bars and falling asleep on guard duty, needling Frank into “discovering” he has six chocolate bars in his knapsack and passing them out to his fellow riders.

Hawkeye and BJ get their revenge on Frank when they find the second walkie-talkie and have the North Korean speak into it, freaking Frank out entirely.  Frank thinks he is eavesdropping on enemy secrets and starts shouting pro-American trash talk as the captains break into hysterics.

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL

 

Frank: Corporal, take the point.
Radar: Hey, why me?
Frank: Oh, you present less of a target.  Anyway, they love to pick off officers.  We’re the cream of our generation.
Radar: I’m sort of the cream of my family, sir.
Frank: Besides, (brandishes a gun) I can cover you better from the rear.
Radar: Oh, my rear would feel a whole lot safer if you were in front of it, sir.

 

Frank: Any Allied personnel, here is my position… uh, there is a fighter plane approaching… and, uh, when I say ‘now’, the jet will be directly over my head.  NOW!
BJ: Frank, that thing’s 1,000 feet up and going 500 miles an hour!
Hawkeye: By the time you said ‘now’, the plane was in its hangar and the pilot was in his jammies!

 

Frank: She was really warm for my form.
Potter: And did you oblige?
Frank: I couldn’t.  I wanted to save myself for Miss Right.
BJ: Miss Right?
Hawkeye:  Orville and Wilbur’s sister. She invented the first airplane stewardess.

 

Hawkeye: Frank, if you talk about Radar in the past tense one more time, I’m gonna show you how to be a tailgunner!

 

Frank: (speaking into the walkie-talkie) Any Allied personnel, if you receive me, here is my position. Ready? Ah, there are only about half a dozen stars visible, skywise. I am directly under the brightest one. over.
Hawkeye: Terrific, Frank.
BJ: They’ll start searching for us in Bethlehem.

 

Frank: I can plug an ace of hearts at fifty feet.
Hawkeye: I’ll remember that if we’re attacked by a bridge club.

 

Frank (talking to North Korean while pointing gun at him): One wrong move and it’s curtains. Get the message, Mr. Moto? Yeah, I thought so. You know plenty English. Okay, friend, I’m not a talking man. Next time I talk, this talks for me. No questions asked. Curtains. Get the message, pal’o mine? I don’t chew my cabbage twice. One wrong move and you’ll find that out. I react [whips around] Zing! That’s a big kiss-off. Capisce? I tend to, uh, shoot first and ask questions later. Little habit I have. But you’ll find out fast if you get cute. We straight on that? [Speaks into walkie-talkie] Any allied personnel. Any allied personnel. I have begun to take prisoners. Request instructions re: prisoners or will be forced to shoot same. Over and out. I think you get the picture right, Amigo? [looks at the POW who has fallen asleep]

 

B.J.: I spent a week with you in command, Frank. You lost me the minute you wanted the toilet seats to stand at attention.

 

Frank (hears Korean chatter on walkie-talkie): I think I’ve got the enemy!  I can hear their secrets!
Potter: But you don’t understand the language
Frank (into walkie-talkie): If you people had any brains, you’d give up.  You hear me?
North Korean: [speaks some more, at Hawkeye's prompting]
Frank: No one ever beat Uncle Sam!  We’ve never lost a war!  We never have and we never will!
Potter: That’s telling ‘em, Major…

TRIVIA & OBSERVATIONS

 

This was the only episode not to be filmed at the camp – all scenes occur on the bus in the countryside.  Also, no laugh track was used in this episode.

If all four doctors were at a conference for at least two days, who was minding the hospital at the 4077th?  If wounded had arrived, there would have been some real trouble.

Hawkeye refers to the countryside as “Con Edison country”.  This is a reference to Consolidated Edison, the provider of electric and gas service to New York City.

The Frank Burns nuttiness and paranoia first glimpsed in last episode’s tank ride fully blooms here.  During seasons 4 and 5, Frank will slowly devolve into a half-crazed loon, which will prompt Larry Linville to ditch the character and leave the show.  He sure was funny, though…

Hawkeye writes “Kilroy” on the bus window directly beneath BJ, who has his hands on the window and is peering over the edge like the famous WWII-era graffiti.  The whole “Kilroy was here” image and slogan was a running gag for American serviceman, who scrawled it all over the place in the Pacific and Europe.  According to The New York Times, Kilroy may have been James Kilroy, a welding inspector who would write “Kilroy was here” to mark his inspections.

BJ said he spent a week with Frank in command.  Since we know Colonel Potter arrived on September 19, 1952, this places Frank in command of the 4077th during the middle of September, so Henry and Trapper must have shipped out in early September 1952.

Hawkeye tells Frank “You just go back to being Tom Swift and his electric paranoid. “  This is a reference to the book, Tom Swift and his Electric Rifle, written under the name Victor Appleton in 1911.  Tom Swift was the teenage star of over 100 science fiction/adventure books in the twentieth century.

Frank  claims he lost a debate to Helen Rappaport on the topic “Should Father Coughlin become our next President?”  Father Coughlin was a Roman Catholic priest who had a very popular radio program during the 1930′s that criticized the policies of President Franklin Roosevelt and delivered anti-semitic remarks, linking the Father to the Nazi party.  A supporter of isolationism, his popularity waned at the beginning of World War II.

Cochise:  Apache leader who participated in territory wars with the encroaching American expansion into Arizona in the 1850′s and 1860′s.  The U.S. Army finally made peace with him in 1872, but only after thousands died in these skirmishes.

This is the first of two episodes Soon-Tek Oh plays a North Korean soldier who helps lost 4077th personnel get home (season 8′s “Yalu Brick Road” is the other).

The tag, featuring the walkie-talkie joke played on Frank, was arguably the funniest scene of the whole episode.  What a shame it gets cut for syndication.

Margaret, Klinger and Father Mulcahy do not appear in this show.

This episode is best appreciated seen, rather than reading about it.  Frank’s paranoia is born and it must be seen and heard to be appreciated.  Overall, the dialogue and direction meld perfectly together, creating a classic episode that distributes great lines to all five performers.

Hey, Doc (4×06)

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Season 4, Episode 6

Episode #78

Broadcast: 10/10/1975

Written by: Rick Mittleman

Directed by: William Jurgensen

WHAT EPISODE IS THIS?

Another full, rich day:  a variety of maladies are presented to Hawkeye and BJ.  First up is the departing motor pool sergeant, Kimble, who asks for a special favor.  He is taking a lot of stuff home to open a restaurant (Kimble’s Korean Kafe) and he wants the doctors to sign a form stating he has an inner ear disorder so he can return to the States by ship.  Three signatures are needed and the captains laugh at the thought of Colonel Potter (too honest) or Major Burns (too mean) signing the form, but they pledge their help.

Sniper trouble causes Potter to phone HQ for help, who oblige by sending a British brigade.  Once in camp, the brigade commander, Lieutenant Chivers, discovers Hawkeye and BJ are doctors, so he asks for a special favor.  As the three of them retire to the lab, Chivers informs them British Command places a high priority on foot care and he’s been careless enough to get an ingrown toenail.  The captains agree to fix the digit and guarantee it won’t appear on Chivers’s service record in return for two bottles of high-end scotch.

Another visitor arrives – Colonel Griswald, Tank Commander, 1st Cavalry, has dropped by to visit his men.  After some insincere platitudes to the wounded (he can’t even tell his people apart), Griswald asks Hawkeye for a special favor.  He has a “delicate problem” and doesn’t want it on his service record.  Seems the Colonel has been bitten by the love bug and has a case of “carnal flu”, as Hawkeye puts it.

The camp’s microscope has been stolen, so BJ pays Kimble, a master horse-trader, a visit.  He offers Kimble a deal:  guaranteed passage home by ship if he can get them a new microscope.  Kimble is irate, admitting he went to great lengths to steal the one they had (!)  But since BJ has him by the Eustachian tubes, he agrees to the deal.

Hawkeye gives Griswald a shot of penicillin and the Colonel is grateful Hawkeye will keep this unrecorded.  He tells Hawkeye if he can do anything for him, let him know.

Hawkeye and BJ approach Frank to sign Kimble’s discharge form, but he refuses to falsify information, even if it means getting a new microscope.  Chivers arrives to pay his bill in scotch, but unfortunately, both bottles are immediately murdered by snipers.  Potter suggests the sight of a tank would help, so Hawkeye quickly calls Colonel Griswald, and after some subtle blackmail, soon arrives back at the 4077th with “today’s cavalry.”

Frank and Margaret admire the new tank, and Frank brags he took a week’s worth of tank training at Fort Benning and was told he had the same killer instincts as Patton.  To show off to Margaret, he takes the tank for a joyride, but he turns out to be as good a tank driver as surgeon, for he pulverizes the shower tent, the Swamp, and Colonel Potter’s jeep.  After finally stopping the tank, Frank emerges and gets pelted by garbage from an angry mob.

When Potter demands an explanation from a dazed Frank, Hawkeye and BJ cover for him, then use this as blackmail to get their third signature for Kimble’s discharge.

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL

Kimble: I’m only taking enough to open a restaurant in Philly.  “Kimble’s Korean Kafe.”  Three K’s.  You get it?
Hawkeye: You can buy your linen from the Ku Klux Klan
BJ: What about the two eye holes?
Hawkeye: He can put the salt and pepper shakers on them.

 

Hawkeye: England is still the only place I know where any young man can grow up to be the queen.

 

Hawkeye: Anybody’s who’d steal a hospital’s microscope would take Tiny Tim’s crutch.

 

Chivers: Thievery is getting quite out of hand.  Last week, I lost two machine guns and a tea cosy.

 

Hawkeye (to Griswald): He’s out of the game, Colonel.  We had to use one of his ribs to give him a chin.
Frank (sucking up): Pretty standard stuff.
Hawkeye (glares at Frank): Sometimes we use the jawbone of an ass.

 

Margaret: Major Burns handles our most difficult cases.
Hawkeye: Which is only fair. He’s our most difficult doctor.

 

Frank: I’m sick of hearing about the wounded.  What about the thousands of wonderful guys fighting this war without any of the credit or the glory that always goes with those lucky few who just happen to get shot?!?

 

Hawkeye: Doctor Burns!  He’d prescribe a laxative for a brain tumor.

 

Griswald: This bucket of bolts is going in for maintenance.  I can let you have it for 24 hours.
Hawkeye: Terrific, Colonel.  I’m sorry about the bad news.
Griswald: What bad news?
Hawkeye: All your medical records were destroyed in the last attack.  Burned to a cinder.
Griswald: Oh…well, I guess you can keep it for a week!

 

TRIVIA & OBSERVATIONS

 

Slight change in opening credits:  the scene of BJ running to the chopper is replaced by BJ checking a patient on the chopper.  This scene will remain intact until the dreaded mustache demands to be seen in the opening credits in season 7.

A decent episode from season 4 – it’s an easy, breezy show that is funny every time you watch it, but lacks a little substance.  All Klinger’s scenes are cut in syndication, but no big loss, for they weren’t very good.

We get a rare shower scene with Radar and Klinger occupying the two stalls.  I don’t recall another episode where we see either one of them taking a shower.  A real shower, not washing a kiss off the face…

Lambeth Walk:  a walking dance inspired by the 1937 film Me and My Girl.   It was a dance craze in England that year and became an American craze the next year.  The dance is like a jaunty,  strutting walk.  See it here.

That table in the lab sure was dusty for the microscope to leave such a pronounced imprint.  Wouldn’t a room like that be dusted regularly and kept spotless?

The long shot of the table does not match the closeup.  The closeup shows a box of glass slides and a brown glass bottle not seen in the long shot.

I like how the busted-up Moretti manages a slight, three-finger wave goodbye to his Colonel.

What is the purpose of the scene with Radar’s mock proposal to Klinger?  It doesn’t fit the episode at all.  Klinger’s parting line of “I told you we should’ve gone to my place!” clearly is overdubbed, possibly replacing a less-funny line.

Hawkeye makes reference to local physicians getting their medical training “Watching Jean Hershott deliver the Dionne quintuplets.”  This refers to the 1936 movie The Country Doctor where Hershott portrays a doctor who delivers quintuplets, played by the then-world famous Dionne quintuplets.

Dionne Quintuplets:  born in 1934 in Ontario, Canada, these five sisters are the first quintuplets known to survive infancy.  Each girl weighed less than 2 pounds at birth.  The Dionne family was poor and the birth made world headlines, so the quintuplets were taken away from their parents, made wards of the provincial government, and put on display for the public.  This was during The Great Depression and the Canadian government made millions of dollars in creating what came to be the most popular tourist attraction in Canada during the 1930′s.

Watch Mike Farrell’s face after he says “…Korean cafe home in two suitcases?”  He bites his lip to keep from laughing, waiting for Bruce Kirby’s punchline.

Frank starts cheating at gin when Margaret gets up to look out her door.

The snipers can pick off two bottles of alcohol on the ground but they can never hit a human target?

All the dialogue between Frank and Margaret once he enters the tank is overdubbed, for their words don’t come close to matching their lips and sounds studio-recorded.

Frank’s “Boom!” as he drives the tank always breaks me up.  I’d include this in Bulletin Board Material, but you have to see & hear it to get the effect.

Frank has the tank going through the front door of the Swamp, so he should have plowed into the hospital next, but somehow ends up on the main road.

Bruce Kirby played Sergeant Kimble.  Kirby is one of those excellent character actors who has appeared on practically every television show ever made.

The Late Captain Pierce (4×05)

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Season 4, Episode 5

Episode #77

Broadcast: 10/3/1975

Written by: Glen Charles and Les Charles

Directed by: Alan Alda

WHAT EPISODE IS THIS?

Klinger wakes BJ because he has a midnight caller:  Hawkeye’s father.  Hawkeye is told and accompanies them to the phone, but all BJ can hear is “How?” and “Why?” before the line gets knocked out.  Baffled, Hawkeye waits the rest of the night for a return call, but none comes.

As Hawkeye leaves to take a shower, he runs into Lieutenant “Digger” Detmuller from morgue detail, who just arrived to retrieve a corpse.  Detmuller asks Klinger where he can find Captain Pierce and the corporal tells him he’s in the showers.  Confused, Digger confronts Hawkeye in the showers and tells him he’s been listed as dead by the Army.  Digger shows Hawkeye a copy of his death certificate and notifies him the original would be sent to his next of kin.  Hawkeye now understands why his father asked for BJ instead of him – he’s already been alerted his son is deceased.

Hawkeye informs Potter, who has Klinger notify HQ of the screw-up, but all lines of communication are still frozen due to General Eisenhower’s Korean visit.  BJ is told of the gaffe and decides to throw his friend a wake.  As Hawkeye wonders what his father could be going through, BJ cheerfully tells him to cheer up, “you’re going to a funeral!”

Digger trolls the camp looking for a dead body to replace Hawkeye and is mildly upset when BJ’s patient survives his operation.  His trouble is compounded when he sets his butt on fire at Hawkeye’s wake.  Hawkeye has a chorus of “Fore He’s A Jolly Good Fellow” sung to him, but adds a macabre final line himself:  “I was much too young to die.”

Being dead isn’t all bad – it gets Hawkeye out of orientation classes, O.D. duty, inspections, and Frank’s exercise program.  One thing it doesn’t get him out of is debt – if he’s dead, he gets no pay.  Frank, the pay officer, takes great glee in cackling to Hawkeye he’s been “redlined” meaning deceased and off the payroll.  Frank refuses to give him a dime, causing Hawkeye to temporarily forget pacifism and attack the major.  In a truly bizarre scene (unfortunately cut for syndication), Hawkeye goes ballistic trying to pry money from Frank’s tight grip and ends up dumping carrots down Frank’s shirt and smearing potatoes on his face before being dragged out of the tent.

HQ sends Captain Pratt to explain the error and the incredibly complex way it will be fixed.  Pratt’s cavalier attitude infuriates Hawkeye who says his father is mourning him and giving away his belongings.  Hawkeye excuses himself, stating he is “late for an early grave” and goes to the Swamp to pack his belongings.  Hawkeye boards Digger’s bus, passing himself off as cargo, just as Klinger tells BJ lots of wounded will arrive shortly.

BJ boards the bus and gently tells his friend he cannot go home.  Hawkeye insists he does not care, but then hears the choppers arriving.  He tells BJ the wounded have always poured in and always will, no matter who goes home (Trapper) or gets killed (Henry.)  Hawkeye orders Digger to drive on, but changes his mind, making the bus come to a quick halt.  A sullen Hawkeye emerges from the back door, gives it a hard slam shut, and trudges back to duty his mind will not let him forsake.

After surgery, the phone lines are finally open and Hawkeye is able to tell his dad his is just fine.

BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL

 

Hawkeye:  Dad’s not a very big talker.  He only spoke to Mom if there was an “R” in the month.

 

Hawkeye: Did you ever hear of Crabapple Cove?
Klinger: Was that in the hygiene lecture?

 

Digger: Hey, aren’t you the guy who’s trying to get out by pretending you’re a woman?
Klinger: No, I’m the woman trying to get in pretending I’m a guy.

 

Digger: Where’s the best place to look for casualties?
Hawkeye: Try the mess tent.  Hash eaters are your best bet.

 

Frank: I’ve always felt people volunteer better by force.

 

Hawkeye: Excuse me, Colonel. I waited until Major Burns was talking so I wouldn’t interrupt.
Frank: Pierce hasn’t exercised once, hasn’t done so much as a squat-thrust.
Hawkeye: I’m saving myself for marriage!

 

Hawkeye (dictating telegram):  Dear Dad, I am not dead. Stop. Hope you are the same. Stop. Thinking of selling my clubs? Stop. Spending my insurance money? Stop.

 

Hawkeye:  Klinger, I need my mail.  I’m right in the middle of an obscene correspondence with a librarian and we’ve just started the letter “C”.

 

Frank: You smudged my pay sheet.
BJ: Sorry…
Frank:  You’re not sorry.  That was a vicious, deliberate smudge!

 

Frank (wrestling with Hawkeye): Stop it.  You’re hurting me in front of people.  Help!
Hawkeye:  Nobody’s gonna help you, Frank.  They don’t like you (looks at crowd.)  Right?  You’re the ten most-hated men in this camp!

 

Hawkeye: Wounded.
BJ: Klinger says a lot.
Hawkeye:  I don’t care. I really don’t. They’ll keep coming whether I’m here or not. Trapper went home.  They’re still coming. Henry got killed and they’re still coming. Wherever they come from they’ll never run out.

 

TRIVIA & OBSERVATIONS

 

Written by Glen Charles and Les Charles, these brothers went on to create and produce the TV classics Taxi and Cheers.

The time difference comes up again, and again, they get it wrong.  BJ says the time difference is 18 hours (Korea is 14 hours ahead of Maine), so if it was 2:00am at MASH, it was 12 noon the previous day in Crabapple Cove.

How is Burns sleeping barefoot with only a couple blankets in sub-freezing temperatures?

The yellow map of Korea is now in it’s permanent place in the clerk’s office over the P.A. equipment.

Hawkeye mentions Crabapple Cove for the first time, but it’s only their “summer residence.”  Later, in season 11, Hawkeye will remark their summer home was the back porch of their winter home.

Nice fake snow on the Fox sound stage.  Also nice to see the frigid weather was carried over for a second straight episode.

You’d think Hawkeye would be freezing cold while shaving.  The temperature is below freezing, he’s wet from the brief shower, and the water is turned off.  He should have a violent case of the shivers.

Hawkeye mentions “my boarding pass for the Stygian Ferry.”  This is a reference to the mythological ferry that transports the dead from earth across the River Styx to the underworld.

The aluminum beer cans seen during the wake are 1960′s-1970′s vintage.

The Charles brothers make two jokes revolving around letters:  the “Dad would talk unless there was an “R” in the month” and obscene correspondence starting with the letter “C”.

The line for pay differs from last season’s “Payday” episode.  This time, officers have to stand in line in the mess tent instead of a special delivery.  Or maybe it’s because Radar is absent?  Notice Digger is in line, too…why would he be getting paid at the 4077th?

Hawkeye jokes his serial number is 3, for he as “one of the first ones in.”  You know who has serial number 1?  General John J. Pershing, for the system started in 1918 when he was leader of the American Expeditionary Forces in WWI.

What a bizarre scene the mess tent fight is.  I guess even the most peace-loving pacifists can finally reach their breaking point and go berserk.  Why on earth is this scene deleted for syndication?  It’s an absolute riot.  There will be many other questionable cuts in season 4.

Eldon Quick plays Captain Pratt, which is essentially the same character he’s played before, Captain Sloan.  They should have given hi the same name for continuity purposes.  This is Quick’s third and – unfortunately – final appearance on the show.

Notice the photo of a horse’s ass on the wall behind Pratt when he’s explaining the inane form requirements.  Coincidence?

George Orwell wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four in 1948 and is about a society under constant government surveillance, where all independent thought is persecuted.  An “unperson” is someone who has been erased from existence by the State – all references to the person are deleted from public records and published material.

When Hawkeye boards the bus, it’s parked between the clerk’s office and the Swamp.  When Digger starts the bus, he immediately cranks the wheel to the left, which would send him right through the post-op wall.

A business called “Hollywood” is seen adjacent to Rosie’s Bar.

Ricard Masur played “Digger” Detmuller.  Masur played David Kane on One Day At a Time, Nick on Rhoda, and the boyfriend of a hearing-impaired receptionist wooed by the Fonz on an episode of Happy Days.

No Margaret or Radar in this episode.  This is the first episode not to feature Radar and it will not be the last.  Gary Burghoff will slowly start to distance himself from M*A*S*H, citing burnout and a desire to spend more time with his family, and will be only part-time by season 6.  Klinger has a lot of lines in this episode, lines that surely would have gone to Radar.

This episode earns Classic status for the Charles brothers’ script, fine acting, good direction from Alda, and the final scene with the bus.