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By Persona Non Grata

What could have been a better time for the debut of an antiwar comedy than 1972 when anti-Vietnam sentiment was still high? Set in the early 1950s behind the lines of the Korean War, the characters were all members of the 4077th M*A*S*H (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) sent there to treat the wounded. Based on the hit movie by the same name (released in 1970), which was, in turn, based on a book written by Richard Hooker (a pseudonym), a doctor who had actually served in a Korean War M.A.S.H. unit, the show offered a satirical look at the folly of war and military bureaucracy.

Revolving around Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce (Alan Alda), a loveable, sardonic, surgeon, the cast of quirky characters used humor to relieve the stress of treating a parade of wounded and dying GIs, the miserable conditions they were living under, and the hypocrisy of war. Capt. John McIntyre "Trapper John" (Wayne Rogers) was Hawkeye's tent mate and best buddy. Commanding officer, Lt. Col. Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson), was reluctant to exercise authority.

Typifying the military mindset were Major Frank Burns (Larry Linville) and Major Margaret "Hotlips" Houlihan (Loretta Swit), the by-the-book whistleblowers who were carrying on a not-so-secret affair in Houlihan's tent. Cpl. Walter O'Reilly "Radar" (Gary Burghoff), the bashful aide, was given his nickname for his ability to predict when helicopters would be bringing in more wounded. Cpl. Maxwell Klinger (Jamie Farr) ran around in high heels, feather boas, and dresses, hoping for a Section 8 discharge. Major Charles Emerson Winchester (David Ogden Stiers), was a stuffy, aristocratic, Bostonian who graduated at the top of his class form Harvard Medical School. Replacing Lt. Col. Blake, (who was discharged in only to have his plane go down), in 1975 was Col. Sherman Potter (Harry Morgan) a career army doctor, more authoritative yet fair and understanding.

When Trapper was discharged B.J. Hunnicut (Mike Farrell) replaced him as Hawkeye's co-conspirator. A two-and-a-half-hour final episode aired on February 28, 1983 and was viewed by the largest audience ever to watch a single television program.

Capt. Benjamin Franklin Peirce (Hawkeye) - Alan Alda
Capt. John McIntyre (Trapper John) - Wayne Rogers
Maj. Margaret Houlihan (Hot Lips) - Loretta Swit
Cpl. Walter O'Reilly (Radar) - Gary Burghoff
Lt. Col. Henry Blake - McLean Stevenson
Father Francis Mulcahy - William Christopher
Cpl. Maxwell Klinger - Jamie Farr
Col. Sherman Potter - Harry Morgan
Capt. B.J. Hunnicut - Mike Farrell

M*A*S*H on DVD!
M*A*S*H is now available on DVD! Get it at!
Season One, Season Two, Season Three, Season Four, Season Five, Season Six, Season Seven, Season Eight


Share Your Memories In Our Forums!

Check out our M*A*S*H forum! Do you have a favorite episode of the show? What do you remember about the series? Do you have any questions about it or its stars? Now you can post comments and questions directly to our TV forums! Click here to see what other M*A*S*H viewers have said or to post your own comments about the show!

Your Memories Shared!

My favorite MASH is the show that Hawkeye and Trapper teach a patient a lesson about being againist black people.It hit home to me,because I'm mixed,and I get flak-back from kids at school.It made me feel good that Hawkeye and Trapper were different.It's not easy being different. Hawkeye and Trapper have been my favorite on MASH sence I seem that show.

--Tiffany (age 13)

Note: This is just a random sample of the M*A*S*H messages in our TV forums! Click here to see what others have said or to post your own comments!



Aired: September 17, 1972 - September 19, 1983

Cast: Alan Alda, Loretta Swit, McLean Stevenson, Wayne Rogers, Jamie Farr

Network: CBS

Genre: Sitcom

Theme songSuicide is Painless

SpinoffsTrapper John, M.D.

Image courtesy of CBS

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