Walk of Fame 20 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the Show M*A*S*H! Published 2 years ago on Jun 1, 2016 By Isabelle Garreaud Who ever thought that a TV show about doctors stationed at the 4077th Medical Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean war could be so popular? 33 years after M*A*S*H ended and people still consider it one of the greatest TV shows of all time. It was one of the original sitcoms and managed to keep its high ratings for all 11 seasons, which is rare considering the last seasons of a TV show usually suck. I mean, the show lasted 3 times longer than the war it is about! There are a lot of things, though, you probably didn’t know about this show! 1. Maxwell Klinger was going to be gay It is funny how things turn out! The directors weren’t planning on making Jamie Farr’s character a series regular and only wrote him in for one episode. Obviously, that idea got scratched! fanpop.com Instead, Maxwell Klinger became a cross-dressing straight guy who attempted to get kicked out of the army. The audience loved this character so much that the producers decided to keep him around but Klinger stopped cross-dressing after that episode. For the guy who was only supposed to be in one episode, ended up acting in 215! 2. What was up with the laugh track Remember that really awkward laugh track you’d hear throughout an episode? CBS actually required the producers to include it despite their objections because all comedy shows back then included it. Even the actors hated it because it was rather annoying and this is a war show, so sometimes it was inappropriate. tvseriesfinale.com The only scenes that were allowed to be off limits for the laugh track were the operating room ones for obvious reasons. Eventually, it was phased out because the show was funny enough without it! Now, on the DVD episodes, you can choose to not include the laugh track. 3. There was a range of Asian ethnicities Considering it was a show set in Korea about the Korean war, the producers needed many people to play those characters. When the series was filmed in the 70’s, there wasn’t a whole lot of Korean actors in Hollywood to play the roles so instead, the producers cast people of various Asian backgrounds. reddit.com There was actually only one character on the show that was Korean, Soon-Tek Oh, and he played a bunch of different North and South Korean characters. The actress who played Klinger’s girlfriend/wife, Rosalind Chao, was a second-generation Chinese-American. Pat Morita from Happy Days played the South Korean Army Captain Sam Pak but he is actually a Japanese-American! 4. They made sure everything was patriotic Considering it was a show about Americans serving their country during the Korean war, the network wanted to make sure nothing was unpatriotic. In other words, all the soldiers on screen had to represent America and are totally ok with fighting their war. Also, the Vietnam War was going on when this show was aired so war was a sensitive topic. podbean.com Because of this, some historical facts were left off the show. For example, many soldiers used to purposely get themselves sick by staying outside in the cold because it would mean they could be sent home. CBS wouldn’t let the producers show this. 5. Radar’s teddy bear was MIA for awhile Ah, the iconic scene where Hawkeye said, “Let [the bear] symbolize all the boys who came over here that left as men,” before putting Radar’s teddy bear in the time capsule. That bear ended up staying on the show for all the seasons as Corporal Radar’s companion and although it was never named on M*A*S*H, Burghoff secretly named it Tiger! metv.com No one has any idea what happened to Radar’s teddy bear when the series ended–it just simply disappeared. Oddly enough, 22 years later the bear was found at an auction and sold for $11,500 to a medical student. The student didn’t want to keep the prop for himself, though! He ended up selling it back to its original owner, Gary Burghoff! I wonder if Charlie Brown’s blanket sold for the same amount! 6. It only took 2 days to write the pilot Ever wonder why this show was so well written and directed to make it as accurate as possible? Well, the screenwriter Larry Gelbart was actually a veteran! He was drafted during War War II and worked for the Armed Forces Radio Service. quotesfor.org It only took his two days to finish writing the pilot episode that was aired on September 17, 1972. For that one script, he was paid $25,000! He based it off of Richard Hooker’s book MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors (1968) and the 1970 Robert Altman film. Hooker and Altman actually stated that they didn’t like the TV show because it “softened the anti-war and anti-authoritarian spirit of the movie.” 7. Some actors were actually vets! It just seems fit that a war show should actually include some actors that were actually in a war! The star, Alan Alda has actually fought in Korea in the 1950’s as a junior officer and was in their Army Reserve for six months. Maybe that is why he could play Hawkeye Pierce so well! commons.wikimedia.org Jamie Farr, who plays Maxwell Klinger, was also stationed in Korea after he joined the army and on the show, the dog tags his character wears are his own. Wayne Rogers was a Naval Reserve officer and Mike Farrell served in the U.S. Marine Corps! 8. So many famous guest stars With any hit show, a lot of famous actors/actresses make guest appearances! Sometimes they aren’t even famous yet so it is funny to look back at their beginning roles! M*A*S*H had a lot of famous guest stars, such as the one below! metv.com Patrick Swayze was in the episode called “Blood Brothers,” playing an injured soldier with Leukemia. Marine Private Walter Peterson, the underage soldier who illegally enlisted, was Ron Howard’s character! And the list goes on, including John Ritter, Laurence Fishburne, Pat Morita, Rita Wilson, George Wendt, Shelley Long, Jeffrey Tambor, Susan Saint James, Joan Van Ark and Andrew Dice Clay. 9. Alan Alda wrote some episodes! Alan Alda didn’t only just star in the show, playing the chief surgeon, Hawkeye Pierce! He was far more talented than that. He actually wrote 13 episodes and directed 31! cbsnews.com To add to his list of accomplishments, Alda became the first person ever to win an Emmy Award in all three categories (acting, directing, and writing) for the same TV show. Henry Morgan, Mike Farrell, David Ogden Stiers, McLean Stevenson and Jamie Far directed/wrote some episodes but not as much as Alda did! 10. There were 3 spinoff shows Of course, every time a hit show ends, someone tries to create a spinoff of it, hoping they will have the same success as the original. More times than none, these shows/movies aren’t successful and that is what happened with the M*A*S*H spinoffs, Trapper John M.D. (1979-1986), AfterMASH (1983–85) and W*A*L*T*E*R (1984). letmewatchthisfree.net The first one did much better than the others and was about Trapper John McIntyre’s life as a surgeon in San Francisco after the war. AfterMash picked up where M*A*S*H ended, as some of the gang begin working at a veterans’ hospital in Missouri but only lasted two seasons. The latter never made it past the pilot episode so I guess no one was interested in what happened to Walter “Radar” O’Reilly (Gary Burghoff). 11. What happens when you complain about a script When the actors started complaining a lot about their lines and kept telling the asking to change some things, the writers decided to teach them a lesson! They rewrote an episode and titled it “cold show.” gedblog.com It was set during a freezing night in Korea and the characters had to huddle around a fire barrel to keep warm. Not only that but everyone had matching parkas on! Let me remind you that the series was filmed on a Malibu ranch in California and it was 100 °F that day! The cast never complained after that! 12. Wayne Rogers never signed a contract Apparently, there was some jealousy on the set! Wayne Rogers, who played Trapper John McIntyre, felt that the how was only about Alda’s character, Hawkeye Pierce and that his wasn’t given any importance. After three seasons, the actor, without any warning, quit the show. Because of this, McIntryre was never given a proper sendoff on M*A*S*H. chicagotribune.com The producers weren’t happy about the unexpected leave and threatened to sue for a breach of contract. The problem, though, was Rogers never had a contract to begin with so he couldn’t be sued! When he first joined the show, he didn’t think it would last 11 seasons! 13. The series finale is still the most watched episode On February 28, 1983, the final episode of everyone’s favorite TV show aired: “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen.” 77% of Americans with televisions that night had their eyes glued to the screen for all 2.5 hours. The US army in Korea, at that time, was able to watch it on special TV’s placed in their in PX parking lots, auditoriums, and dayrooms. metv.com 125 million viewers tuned in to watch the M*A*S*H series finale, making it the most watch episode in TV history. What is amazing is that 33 years later and no other episode of any show has broken that record. 14. The urban legend Whether this is true or not, it is a popular story people like to tell about the “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” episode. The episode was two and a half hours long but no one dared to get up to go to the bathroom because, you know, FOMO. mash.wikia.com The story has it that in the populated city of New York, so many people were watching it that night and holding their bladders that when the episode ended, everyone went to the bathroom at the same time. This caused a lot of toilets to be flushed at the same time, causing some of the plumbing systems to break down! 15. It was expensive to advertise for that episode You know how Super Bowl commercials are expensive to air because so many people will be tuning in to watch the game? Well, CBS was expecting a whole lot of people to watch M*A*S*H’s final episode (although, I bet they weren’t expecting 125 million!). podbean.com Because of this, they increased the advertising cost. That price has been increasing over the seasons as the show became more popular, starting at $30,000 for 30 seconds but the finale broke records! If you wanted to show your commercial that night, it cost you a whopping $450,000! 16. The time capsule was found after 2 months Remember that episode “As Time Goes By,” when Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan suggested they bury a capsule? Well, that was something they actually did on the Malibu range and intended to leave it there until someone discovered it! nydailynews.com The whole point of a time capsule is so that it gets found way into the future and show whoever found it, what life was like during their age. The M*A*S*H time capsule, though, was found only 2 months later after the land was sold. Alan Alda told the construction worker who dug it up to keep it but apparently, he “didn’t seem very impressed.” Guess he wasn’t a fan! 17. They had fun with naming patients Why name the patients on the show when you can be creative and funny? While watching the show, you probably noticed that some of the names of the patients sounded familiar. Well, the M*A*S*H writers decided to have some fun coming up with names so they named them after real people! wikia.com In one episode of season 6, 4 patients were named after players on the 1977 California Angels and in another episode, they chose names from the 1978 LA Dodger roster! One of the writers even named a character after his ex-girlfriend! I wonder what kind of role he gave them! 17. Gary Burgoff had a deformed left hand Now this is probably something you didn’t know! Gary Burgoff’s left hand had 3 smaller than normal fingers and two fingers were slightly fused together. When filming, he would always hide his deformity by holding something that would cover it, like a clipboard or keeping his hand in his pocket. It wasn’t because he was embarrassed by his hand but rather, he knew in real life, they wouldn’t allow him to be in active service. Burgoff did a great job of hiding it throughout the 8 seasons he was in but you can see it in two episodes. In the pilot episode, you see his left hand when he is holding a football and in episode 9 of season 6 when he is lifting weights. 18. Only 3 characters were in both the pilot and the finale Notice I said characters, not actors! This is pretty unusual considering shows usually follow the same gang throughout their seasons. In M*A*S*H, though, only Hawkeye, Margaret Houlihan, and Father Mulcahy appeared in the first and last episode of the series. mash.wikia.com Alan Alda and Loretta Swit played their characters Hawkeye and Margaret Houlihan throughout all 11 seasons. Father Mulcahy, on the other hand, was played by two actors. George Morgan only played the chaplain for the pilot episode before being replaced by William Christopher for the other 217 episodes. 19. Mike Farrell asked to change his character’s daughter’s name After Wayne Rogers (Trapper John McIntyre) quit, Mike Farrell was cast as his replacement, playing captain B.J. Hunnicutt. In the show, Hunnicutt has a daughter and Farrell asked the producers if they could name his onscreen daughter Erin after his real like daughter. mash.wikia.com They were originally going to have her be called Melissa but took up the actor’s request. In the scene where his character is on the phone with his wife Judy, he is actually talking to his daughter! 20. They rarely wore army boots Ever notice how in M*A*S*H, you didn’t see people’s shoes? Well, there was a specific reason for that. Although it is standard for military personnel to wear army boots, the producer avoided using them on set. Youtube This was because they made too much noise on the soundstage and the actors found them too uncomfortable to wear. Most of the time, they were wearing sneakers, which is why they were shot from the waist up. They only wore army boots certain scenes that were necessary. Don’t forget to SHARE this article if any of these facts surprised you! 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