TBT: M*A*S*H

11

You may not think of the TV series MASH (1972–1983) as a frock flick. But the half-hour sitcom was set during the Korean War, from 1950-53, and located in a U.S. Army Mobile Army Surgical Hospital near Uijeongbu, South Korea. This also happens to be my favorite TV show ever, I’ve seen each episode of the 11-season run a billion times, and I can quote the dialog from many of them by heart. I adore Alan Alda and his character of Hawkeye Pierce for his combination of comedic chops and humanitarianism. So it’s about time I throw my beloved show a TBT bone!

This show ended almost 40 gasp years ago, but it stands up to repeated viewings IMO because a) it’s funny and b) it’s relevant. MASH humor is both high and low, inspired by the Marx Brothers and Shakespeare in equal measure, with physical comedy, word play, sexual innuendo, running gags, and more jam-packed in every episode. Equally important is the deep empathy and idealism of the characters contrasted with the miserable war setting they’re in. The balance between comedy and drama is deftly done, and this was one of the first TV shows to really master the form.

Not to mention MASH may well be the longest running historical period TV show around, with 256 half-hour episodes. For comparison, Mad Men (2007-2015) ran for 92 hour-long episodes. Of course, for all our ‘golden age of historical drama’ talk of today, 1970s-90s TV really knew how to bust out historical shows. Little House on the Prairie ran from 1974 to 1982 with 204 hour-long episodes and several follow-up movies and miniseries. Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman (1993-1998) likewise kept at it for 149 one-hour episodes and several movies. And let’s not forget all those 1980s biopics Kendra loves! There’s some context for ya.

MASH - The Moose

M*A*S*H, “The Moose,” October 15, 1972.

1952 - 8063rd MASH, photo by Sidney Schaer / Getty Images

1952 – The actual 8063rd MASH. The TV show got the details right! (Photo by Sidney Schaer / Getty Images)

What’s truly impressive in watching MASH today is how modern yet not totally anachronistic the storylines are in terms of attitudes towards race, gender, and sexual orientation. Americans of the 1950s were notoriously repressed and bigoted, and MASH included several main characters that represented these points of view, such as Frank Burns (played by Larry Linville) and special guest stars. But they were contrasted with main characters like Hawkeye, Trapper John (played by Wayne Rogers), and then B.J. Hunnicutt (played by Mike Farrell). Because these doctors were supposed to be iconoclasts and “non-typical” 1950s Army doctor-conscripts, they could express non-traditional 1950s attitudes without it seeming weirdly out of place.

MASH - George

For example, in a season two episode titled “George” that first aired February 16, 1974, a wounded solider, George, admits to Hawkeye that he’s gay. Frank Burns finds out and wants to have the soldier dishonorably discharged, which was standard for homosexuals in the Army of the period. Hawkeye and Trapper conspire to stop Frank and protect the soldier. They do this both because George’s sexuality is none of Frank’s business and because Frank’s sanctimoniousness irritates them. However, throughout the first three seasons, Hawkeye and Trapper make casual gay jokes, calling each other “Mary” and doing a “sissy” prance, etc. They nominally act like typical ’50s guys, but they’re just not crusading bigots about it. A more modern tolerance is not shoe-horned in; it suits the characters.

Similarly, the series has a nuanced take on race in the 1950s. The U.S. Army had just been officially desegregated by executive order in 1948, so MAS*H accurately depicted African-American soldiers and nurses. In the first season, there was a black surgeon who’d been featured in the movie version, Capt. Spearchucker Jones (played by Timothy Brown), but the role was dropped.

MASH - Henry Please Come Home

More interesting were the storylines that dealt with active racism, such as the episode “Dear Dad … Three,” first airing November 10, 1973. A wounded white soldier asks to make sure he gets the ‘right color’ of blood, implying a difference in race and blood. Hawkeye, Trapper, and Nurse Ginger Bayliss (played by Odessa Cleveland, an African-American woman) teach him a lesson and tell the audience about the real Dr. Charles R. Drew, the African-American medical researcher who greatly improved blood storage during World War II.

Later in the show’s run, in season 10’s “The Tooth Shall Set You Free,” first airing February 8, 1982, a racist commander was exposed for assigning his African-American soldiers to particularly dangerous assignments that were likely to get them killed. The MASH doctors used data and eyewitness accounts from their patients (including guest star Laurence Fishburne) to get the man to confess and resign his commission.

MASH - Laurence Fishburne

Because the show was ostensibly set in South Korea, relations between the white Americans and the local Asians was a consistent theme. Characters like Radar O’Reilly (Gary Burghoff) consistently treated “local indigenous people” with respect. In contrast, the usually bigoted Frank Burns and guest stars like Col. Flagg from Army Intelligence and some soldiers fresh off the front line might use crude racist slang, but this was disparaged by other characters. Considering that Asians were included in the prevalent racism of the 1950s (note how anti-miscegenation laws in the Pacific Coast states were targeted at Chinese people), this again balances the historical point of view with the increasingly tolerant 1970s-80s attitudes from when the show was made.

MASH - Exorcism

The show’s treatment of women was more ambiguous. There was only one main female character, Margaret Houlihan (played by Loretta Swit), the head nurse. The rest of the nurses were practically interchangeable — they were Nurse Able or Nurse Baker most of the time. But Margaret transformed over the years from just a stickler-for-the-rules to a complicated woman trying to balance her Army career and desire for a personal life. At least her portrayal feels appropriate to the 1950s, she’s not an anachronistic feminist. Margaret is tough because she’s a woman working in a man’s world, but she’s still a woman doing a woman’s job. She embodies the contradictions of the period.

MASH - The Birthday Girls

Hawkeye and most of the surgeons started the show as rampant womanizers, although their sexual escapades were always consensual, with women just as likely to turn a doctor down as accept a proposition. Over time, these storylines faded away, but occasionally they’d pop up but more pointedly. In the final 11th season, the episode “Hey, Look Me Over” takes Hawkeye to task for his shallow focus on female appearances by Nurse Kelley (who is “part Chinese, part Hawaiian”), and in the episode “Who Knew?” Hawkeye’s one-night stand with a nurse ends tragically.

MASH - Kellye Nakahara

 

Historical Costumes in M*A*S*H

Given that this is a show set in the military, the vast majority of the costumes are uniforms, and as I’ve said before, uniforms don’t give us much to talk about costume-wise. They’re either accurate or they’re not, and there isn’t a ton of variation. While I’m no Korean War uniform expert, I do spend time on MASH fan forums where actual Korean Army vets post, and they’ll nitpick various things, but I haven’t seen major complaints about the uniforms. So let’s look at what I do know and what stands out — the few 1950s women’s dresses, plus some of the pretty darn modern hair.

It’s been very difficult to find costume designer info for the run of the series. All IMDB lists are Rita Bennett and Albert H. Frankel as costumers for the final episode in 1983, which they received an Emmy nomination for. The individual TV episodes don’t list costume designers in the credits at all (just set decorators). So I don’t have a lot to go on other than my own obsessive lifetime of watching and rewatching the show here!

Hairstyles in M*A*S*H

MASH - Dr. Pierce and Mr. Hyde

A season 2 episode in 1973 — these nurses’ hair is *very* 1973, not 1950-53.

1950 - Lieutenant Jonita Ruth Bonham, near Pusan

1950 – A casual photo of U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Jonita Ruth Bonham, a nurse stationed near Pusan, Korea. Note the short curled hair, rather a Lucille Ball style.

MASH - Radar's Report

Another 1973 episode with very early ’70s hair.

MASH - Officer's Only, Loretta Swit

Major Houlihan did wear her hair up in surgery, but always had long hair, usually wearing it down outside of the OR, which contrasts with her gung-ho military style.

MASH - Loretta Swit

And as the series went on, she got blonder. This is probably around 1980.

1952 - First Lieutenant Virginia McClure

Compare with this 1952 photo of First Lieutenant Virginia McClure. She was a U.S. Air Force nurse assigned to Tokyo & then Korea, where she was killed in a plane crash.

And a mention of B.J.’s mustache. Starting with World War I, all branches of the U.S. military prohibited beards and mustaches on recruits. Specifically, this was so gas masks would fit better with the start of chemical warfare. Facial hair regulations were loosened in the 1970s and have gone back and forth since in different branches. But during the Korean War, guys would have been expected to be clean-shaven. B.J. starts that way, but by season 7, he’s grown a mustache that becomes a target for Hawkeye’s jokes. However, the ‘stash is never subject to critique for being against regs.

MASH - Mike Farrell

 

The Klinger Collection

Most of the ’50s dresses, civilian dresses that is, were worn by Corporal Max Klinger (played by Jamie Farr), a soldier who was bucking for a Section 8, meaning a psychiatric discharge. MASH creator Larry Gelbart was inspired by tales comedian Lenny Bruce told of wearing women’s clothes in the military, and Gelbart created the character of Klinger as a one-off joke. But the joke landed well, so they kept Klinger with the dresses.

MASH - Chief Surgeon Who? - Jamie Farr

In his first appearance in the episode, “Chief Surgeon Who?,” on October 8, 1972, Klinger wears a simple nurse’s uniform to perform guard duty.

MASH - S1 - Dear Dad Again - Jamie Farr

In Klinger’s next season 1 appearance (“Dear Dad Again”), the wardrobe department seemed to be going for “loud & garish” over historical accuracy.

MASH - S1 - Ceasefire - Jamie Farr

At the end of season 1 (“Ceasefire”), Klinger is given a better 1950s dress and he’s wearing a stuffed bra (at various points later he wears a bra but it’s not obviously full).

MASH - S1 - Ceasefire - Jamie Farr

Same episode, Klinger is giving away “the Klinger collection” upon rumors of a ceasefire. That orange dress is a great ’50s style, but looks like one that wouldn’t fit Jamie Farr.

The character of Klinger was not gay or transgender, and he makes a point of saying so in the season 2 episode “Radar’s Report” when he’s interviewed by psychiatrist Dr. Freedman. Klinger says he’s “just crazy!” — his assumption is that a cisgender heterosexual man wouldn’t want to wear dresses unless he was mentally unstable in some way (a mainstream attitude for the period). But Dr. Freedman can only grant him a Section 8 if he’s gay or “transsexual,” per 1950s usage. Klinger’s dress-wearing is generally accepted by most of the characters, and even the “regular Army” commander Colonel Potter who takes over in season five realizes this is a charming quirk. Only the negatively drawn characters such as Frank Burns criticize Klinger’s dress-wearing.

MASH - Radar's Report - Jamie Farr

In less-subtle pink ruffles to see the psychiatrist, season 2, “Radar’s Report.” 1973.

With his increasing role in season 2, we start to see Klinger’s wardrobe develop. It’s not strictly 1950-53 all the time, and I think his dresses tend to be more late 1940s or early 1960s. This may be what fit Jamie Farr and looked interesting from a storyline and art direction point of view. The full-skirted “New Look” 1950s silhouette would have been cumbersome in a busy war zone, not to mention a tight filming set, so a straight-skirted shape would be easier all around. “V” necklines and low-cut necks show off Farr’s hairy chest for comedic effect. Bright colors, pastels, and prints show up pleasingly against the Army drab that everyone else wore. Accessories didn’t need to match, they were just as likely chosen to be more garish or outlandish, hence flowery hats, fur stoles, big clip-on earrings, and shiny baubles.

1940s - Simplicity Pattern 1016

Many of Klinger’s dresses have a simple late 1940s shape like this Simplicity pattern 1016.

1950s - McCalls Pattern 9512

For KP & orderly duty, Klinger often wears house dresses like these in McCalls pattern 9512 from the early 1950s.

MASH - S2 - Divided We Stand - Jamie Farr

Excellent green wiggle dress in season 2 (“Divided We Stand”), a rarely seen style.

MASH - S2 - Dear Dad ... Three - Jamie Farr

A red cocktail dress for serving cocktails (season 2, “Dear Dad … Three”).

MASH -S2- Trial of Henry Blake -Jamie Farr

That red dress from the first season’s “Ceasefire” returns in season 2, “The Trial of Henry Blake.” He doesn’t appear to be wearing a stuffed bra anymore. This dress will be worn consistently through season 5.

MASH - S2 - Officer's Only- Jamie Farr

Klinger dances, flirts, & dates the nurses, even while wearing dresses; a reminder that he’s a hetero guy playing dress-up (season 2, “Officer’s Only”).

MASH -S2- As You Were - Jamie Farr

He’s resourceful too — he alters and sews his own clothes (shown in season 2, “As You Were”), although how an enlisted man gets a whole tent to himself is unexplained.

MASH -S3- Jamie Farr

The purple dress he’s sewing is a more fitted ’50s style than he typically wears — probably because it looks good on dressform that has hips!

Season 3 is when Klinger really comes into his fashion sense, starting with the first episode, “The General Flipped at Dawn.” The character is still a minor player but is included in most every episode.

MASH - S3- General Flipped at Dawn - Jamie Farr

This smart gingham dress makes a positive impact on the visiting big-wig, who assumes Klinger is his wife. While not worn often, this dress pops up again in seasons 6 and 8.

MASH -S3- Officer of the Day -Jamie Farr

Definitely a 1940s vibe with the shoulder style of this fur jacket (season 3, “Officer of the Day”).

MASH - S3 - O.R. - Jamie Farr

Klinger began to frequently wear a traditional nursing outfit (season 3, “O.R.”).

MASH -S3- Springtime - Jamie Farr

In season 3 “Springtime,” Klinger is wearing this frothy floral frock when his stateside girlfriend accepts his marriage proposal. Obviously, played for laughs.

MASH -S3- Check Up -Jamie Farr

For a party in season 3, “Check Up,” he brings out the tiara again & pairs it with this gold lame gown. I wonder if the dress originally had an open neck that was filled in because TV censors objected at *that much* man-cleavage? (M*A*S*H regularly got in trouble with the censors over strong language & sexual innuendo).

MASH -S3- There Is Nothing Like a Nurse -Jamie Farr

Promo photo from season 3, “There Is Nothing Like a Nurse.”

Look closely — here in season 3, “Adam’s Rib,” under that fur stole is the same pink dress from a season 2 ep.

Later in “Adam’s Rib,” Klinger pairs the stole with a bright green polka-dot dress.

MASH -S3- Bulletin Board- Jamie Farr

Four episodes later, same dress & hat, but different purse.

In season 3 “House Arrest,” Klinger dresses like a ’50s bobby-soxer. He’ll repeat this outfit, in whole or as separates, for several years.

MASH -S3- Aid Station - Jamie Farr

Season 2, “Aid Station,” is the second time he loses “the Klinger collection” because he’s temporarily assigned to the front line. Most of these dresses are worn at some point in the series.

For the General MacArthur visit in season 3 “Big Mac,” Klinger pulls out all the stops. He has this bright pink floral frock.

Blue floral for guard duty.

And, while not a historical costume, his Statue of Liberty is a classic!

MASH -S3- Payday -Jamie Farr

Another ’40s style coat & probably the blouse too (season 3, “Payday”).

MASH -S3- Abyssinia Henry -Jamie Farr

Another classic costume is Klinger’s farewell to Lt. Colonel Henry Blake in the season 3 finale, “Abyssinia Henry.” The costume is a version of Carmen Miranda’s ‘The Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat’ ensemble, which was featured in the 1943 musical The Gang’s All Here.

MASH -S3- Abyssinia Henry -Jamie Farr

Complete costume, from the fruit hat down to the silver pumps.

Jamie Farr became a series regular cast member in season 4, and his wardrobe begins to expand.

MASH -S4- Change of Command -Jamie Farr

In season 4, “Change of Command,” Klinger tries to impress the new colonel with the gold evening gown & tiara he wore back in season 2.

MASH -S4 -The Kids -JamieFarr

Later, Klinger is back to everyday ’50s florals (season 5, “The Kids”).

MASH -S4- Quo Vadis Captain Chandler -Jamie Farr

A very ’50s print (season 4, “Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler?”), which will be worn several times again through season 7.

MASH - Jamie Farr

Promo photo of Jamie Farr in the same dress. This shows some of the fit issues they were dealing with — dresses tended to be short-waisted on the actor, & full-skirted dresses were visually long when worn without a petticoat.

MASH -S5- Out of Sight Out of Mind -Jamie Farr

Season 5 is the probably the peak of Klinger’s full-time cross-dressing, & more of his outfits are repeats. This dress was first worn in season 2 “Big Mac,” & the green-dot dress from season 3 returns. Both are worn frequently.

MASH -S5- Abduction of Margaret Houlihan -Jamie Farr

This red & black plaid dress is a new acquisition (season 5, “The Abduction of Margaret Houlihan”), & he’ll wear a couple times every season until the very end.

MASH -S5- Exorcism -Jamie Farr

This one is close to the repeat above, but except for the sheer overlay (season 5, “Exorcism”).

MASH S5 -Hawk's Nightmare - Jamie Farr

A repeat & full view of the pink dress from season 3 “Big Mac.” I really can’t tell what year this dress is from, maybe early ’60s? (Season 5, “Hawk’s Nightmare.) It’s repeated again in season 6 and 7 with different accessories.

MASH -S5- Ping Pong - Jamie Farr

Klinger yet again recycles this pink sparkly dress, now with a straw hat, to wear to a wedding in season 5, “Ping Pong.”

MASH - Jamie Farr

This promo photo shows that the pink sparkle gown is definitely a 1940s piece with a layered hem & capelet back.

MASH -S6- Fade Out Fade In -Jamie Farr

In the first episode of season 6, “Fade Out Fade In ,” Klinger wears this distinctly ’60s yellow paisley print dress.

MASH -S6- Fade Out Fade In -Jamie Farr

The shape of the yellow dress kind of blends in, so I guess it passes the 5-ft rule.

MASH -S6- War of Nerves -Jamie Farr

This suit in season 6, “War of Nerves,” seems rather ’60s as well.

MASH -S6- MASH Olympics -Jamie Farr

But this looks like a typical ’50s house dress in season 6, “The M*A*S*H Olympics.”

MASH -S6- Mail Call Three - Jamie Farr

Here’s a wonderful ’50s print on this blue dress (season 6, “Mail Call Three”). It’ll get worn again in season 7.

MASH -S6- Temporary Duty -Jamie Farr

Another ’50s look, first worn in season 6, “Temporary Duty,” to be worn again.

Season 7 is the last full year of Klinger’s cross-dressing, and many new outfits are introduced, along with repeats and several of the most outrageous costumes. Going out with a bang!

MASH -S7- Commander Pierce -Jamie Farr

In season 7, “Commander Pierce,” Klinger repeats the brown coat from season 3, but with green accents.

MASH -S7- Commander Pierce -Jamie Farr

In the same episode, I bet this jacquard dress is early ’60s because I had one just like it!

MASH -S7 Billfold Syndrome - Jamie Farr

But I’m not as sure about this yellow jacquard dress since I can’t see the skirt, only the rosette at the waist. (Season 7, “The Billfold Syndrome.”)

MASH -S7- Point of View -Jamie Farr

I think this is the same ’40s white jacket from season 3 with a different dress & hat, now in season 7, “Point of View.”

MASH -S8- April Fool - Jamie Farr

Here’s the lace dress underneath that jacket, which Klinger rips on a gurney.

MASH -S7- Dear Comrade - Jamie Farr

The princess seams starting at the shoulder say 1960s to me (season 7, “Dear Comrade”).

MASH S7- Eye for a Tooth - Jamie Farr

But the neckline & darts of this blue check look more like a ’50s house dress (season 7, “An Eye for a Tooth”).

MASH -S7- Ain't Love Grand - Jamie Farr

This outfit is so 1960s-does-1920s, I wonder if it’s from Thoroughly Modern Millie or something! (Season 7, “Ain’t Love Grand.”)

MASH -S9- Taking the Fifth -Jamie Farr

And one last wearing of the red plaid for an outing with Col. Potter in season 9, “Taking the Fifth.”

In season 8, Klinger stopped wearing women’s clothes on a regular basis. Jamie Farr was getting tired of the shtick, and the tone of the show was changing from fewer sight gags and more serious topics. This coincided with the actor playing Radar O’Reilly leaving, so Klinger’s character became the unit’s company clerk. All of this meant the cross-dressing bit was only trotted out again for specific stunts with high impact.

According to a blog post from the Smithsonian, Klinger’s female costumes were often recycled from the 20th Century Fox wardrobe department. In particular, during the season 7 episode “Major Ego,” first airing on November 6, 1978, Klinger goes through a series of ‘stars of the silver screen’ costumes, including a Gone With the Wind tribute, Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, and a Bette Davis homage proclaiming “what a dump!” (which she says in the 1949 film, Beyond the Forest), while wearing a coat pink wool coat that was originally made for Betty Grable.

MASH -S7- Major Ego -Jamie Farr

Promo photo of the Gone With the Wind-style dress.

MASH -S7 Major Ego - Jamie Farr

Klinger wearing Betty Grable’s coat

Then, in the season 8 episode. “April Fools,” that aired on March 24, 1980, Klinger wore a gold lamé gown first made for Ginger Rogers. It was altered for Jamie Farr and turned into a ‘queen of the Nile’ outfit.

MASH -S8- April Fool - Jamie Farr

I’m guessing Ginger Rodgers didn’t wear it with the cone bra bits?

MASH -S11- As Time Goes By

In the penultimate episode, season 11 “As Time Goes By,” the gang puts Klinger’s Gone With the Wind yellow dress in the camp’s time capsule.

Get a taste of Klinger’s fashion in action here:

 

 

Other Civilian Clothes in M*A*S*H

We only see Margaret Houlihan out of uniform and in civilian clothes twice — for her wedding to Lt. Colonel Donald Penobscott and for an attempted date with Private Jack Scully. It’s interesting that both of these “dress” events are romances that turn sour, because her overarching story is how difficult it is for a woman in the 1950s to have her own career and also have some semblance of a romantic or family life. Margaret doesn’t figure this out within the series, but she revisits it and adds depth to the idea each time. A decade before The Feminine Mystique, she’s worried about being confined into the life of a housewife when she could be so much more.

MASH - Margaret's Marriage - Loretta Swit

Season 5 ends with “Margaret’s Marriage,” & she’s wearing a wedding gown given to her by Klinger.

MASH - Margaret's Marriage - Loretta Swit

The ensemble wedding promo photo.

MASH - Margaret's Marriage - Loretta Swit

Margaret ends up wearing her wedding gown in surgery (though this provides a clearer look at the details).

MASH - Dreams - Loretta Swit

The wedding gown returned in the disturbing season 8 episode “Dreams.”

MASH -S8- Stars and Stripe - Jamie Farr

In season 8 “Stars and Stripe,” Margaret enlists Klinger’s help to try out a very feminine dress.

MASH -S8- Stars and Stripe - Loretta Swit

But she realizes this isn’t the real her, & impressing a guy isn’t worth the masquerade.

MASH -S8- Stars and Stripe - Loretta Swit

Probably the only time in the run of the show that this type of ’50s dress was worn with the proper crinoline!

Other civilian clothes are worn by guest stars. The first season ends with a USO show, where the singing trio looks more 1960s than 1950s.

MASH -S1- Showtime

Compare with this actual singing group that performed for troops in Korea:

1950 - Taylor Maids performing during Bob Hope tour of Korea, photo from Hanson A. Williams, Jr. Collection of Photographs and Negatives, Pepperdine University Libraries

1950 – Taylor Maids performing during Bob Hope tour of Korea, photo from Hanson A. Williams, Jr. Collection of Photographs and Negatives, Pepperdine University Libraries.

Another view into civilian life was home movies. These tended to be where the wardrobe department got the costumes most correct.

MASH - Dear Dad ... Three

In season 2, “Dear Dad … Three,” Henry Blake receives a movie of his daughter’s birthday party. This is his wife in a nice ’50s dress & hairstyle.

MASH - Dear Dad ... Three

In the same episode, the home movie also has some “outtake” footage, showing Henry’s wife in a cute dotted sundress, while Henry & a neighbor fool around.

MASH - There Is Nothing Like a Nurse

In season 3 “There is Nothing Like a Nurse,” Frank Burns’ wedding movie turns up.

 

 

Are there any other MAS*H fans out there?

11 Responses

  1. Susan Pola Staples

    I, too, adore M. A. S. H. And to quote Hawkeye ‘Finest kind’ not sure if it’s one word or two.

  2. Colleen

    I love MAS*H. I will truly mourn when Alan Alda passes. My grandfather was a two-time Korea veteran, and he couldn’t stomach the show making light of the war. Of course he lost his hearing and nose as a medic in Korea, so I can see his point.

    • AbominableSnowPickle

      My Grandpa was a MASH medic in WWII and Korea. He sadly passed when was 12 (Alzheimer’s, you asshole). He was the kindest man, and I wish I could have talked to him about his experiences more (after Korea, he and the family lived on Taiwan for a couple years. He made medical training films and helped train the Nationalists. Mao’s army had a price on his head! Their house was about two doors down from Chaing Kai Shek’s summer house. Mom saw Madam Chang Kai Shek once. In the early 60s he and the family [my Grandma, mother, and her two sisters] lived in Ethiopia and my mother saw Hailee Selassie several times in parades). So many stories, and he was such a loving, gentle man. I’ve always been curious how he felt about the show, too.

      • Colleen

        I only know of his war experiences from my mom and grandma. He died in 2003 when I was 19, but he never talked about his time in Korea and Vietnam. He did start talking to my sister about Vietnam, but she bailed to go sleep. Why didn’t he talk to me? I’ll never know, but what I do know is that he loved Hogan’s Heroes, but was disgusted by humor being made of the Korean War.

  3. Paul Lafferty

    The first 3 years are probably the greatest tv episodes of all time. Not that the other years weren’t great, but there is not a bad episode from the pilot to when some of the original cast left

  4. saffireblu

    A show that was so great, it lasted longer than the war it covered!

  5. Meg

    I grew up with this show, and I still love it. But it was a little jarring when I actually visited Korea and found it was a mountainous, richly forested country – nothing like the California backlot they filmed on.

  6. Kaite Fink

    I adore MAS*H with all my heart. There aren’t many shows that make me feel all the feelings. It really covered all the topics, even the most serious of them, as the show went on amazing showed the characters changing. I never really cared that the hair and makeup weren’t all that historical. The show was that freaking good.