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View Full Version : Stevenson and Rogers - did they regret it?


Brad
03-11-2004, 02:12 AM
McLean Stevenson and Wayne Rogers never found much success after leaving M*A*S*H at the end of the third season. Did they express any regrets about leaving the series?

How about Larry Linville and Gary Burghoff?

treky
03-12-2004, 02:33 AM
hmm, god question. I don't know; however I've heard a couple times that McLean Stevenson made a biiiiiiig mistake when he decided to leave.

TJL
03-12-2004, 10:50 PM
Originally posted by AKA
McLean Stevenson and Wayne Rogers never found much success after leaving M*A*S*H at the end of the third season. Did they express any regrets about leaving the series?

How about Larry Linville and Gary Burghoff?

Good question. Let's look at each actor.

Wayne Rogers wasn't too happy that the series began to revolve more around Hawkeye going into the second season. He felt that his character wasn't growing and was taking a backseat to the other characters in the show. Rogers at the time was a very busy guy, having numerous business ventures going on, and he felt his time could better be spent doing those things, so he left.
Rogers did have some modest sucess with the sitcom "House Calls" which ran from 1979-82. Today, Rogers is probably one of the richest guys in the cast. He has made a ton of dough in the business world, and has no regrets about leaving the way he did.

Larry Linville left the show because he felt he had done as much as he could do with Frank Burns. He also grew weary of playing the one hated guy in the ensemble. After Hot Lips got engaged, Frank had no one on his side, and he grew tired of playing the bufoon who got dumped on by everyone.
Linville went on to do lots of theater and TV work. As a classically trained stage actor, he enjoyed the challenge of working on many different characters after Frank Burns.

Gary Burghoff resons for leaving were similar to Linville's. Burghoff was getting tired of the role. He also was very vocal about the punishing work schedule the cast endured. After the third season, Burghoff began cutting back on the number of episodes he was in each season (ever notice Radar was "in Tokyo" in a lot of episodes?) to spend more time with his family and to avoid what he called "burnout."
By the end of season seven, he had had enough and left when his contract was up.

McLean Stevenson is probably the only one who openly admitted that leaving the show was a big mistake. He left the show to go to NBC with the promise of a hit show of his own, which never happened.

While Linville, Rogers and Burghoff left for personal reasons, Stevenson left for the money, and thoughts of a hit show of his own.

Brad
03-15-2004, 11:30 PM
Thanks, TJL.

I knew Mac Stevenson went on a few years later to star in the Diff'rent Strokes spinoff, Hello, Larry. I don't think it made it past its first season, though.

treky
03-16-2004, 12:48 AM
no it didn't. I remember a couple times, they even had crossover appearences by the "Different Strokes" cast in an obvious attempt to get the ratings up, and toward the end they also put Meadowlark Lemmon of The Harlem Globetrotters on the show for the same reason, but neither of the ploys worked.

ficlopri
03-24-2004, 11:34 PM
Actually Wayne did want to return to MASH after awhile but the producers refused his request. THey were content with the inferior Mike Farrell.

Brad
03-25-2004, 01:36 AM
Originally posted by ficlopri
Actually Wayne did want to return to MASH after awhile but the producers refused his request. THey were content with the inferior Mike Farrell.

I love Trapper and didn't think I'd like Beej, but he grew on me. I like them both the same.

ficlopri
03-27-2004, 11:26 PM
Beej almost stinks to me as a character. Trap was way better. Most like Trap played by Wayne Rogers more than Mr. Farrell's character.

ficlopri
03-27-2004, 11:29 PM
Fact is. The majority of viewers feel the original TV Mash actors were better than any of their replacements. No exception to this rule. The original tv cast rules!

Screenwriter
04-11-2004, 12:39 AM
Wayne Rogers has been quoted as saying "Hawkeye was more cerebral. Trapper was more impulsive, seemingly more fun loving."

I think that's why they seem so uncanny.

As a kind of response to this Mike Farrel has been noted to say, "I made it very clear right then that I was not interested in replacing Wayne as Trapper. It had to be clearly a new character. I had no wish to do Trapper at all. Wayne had done it and done it well and was well accepted by the public in that role. The M*A*S*H people said right off that it would be a new role, B.J. Hunnicutt, and that he would be different from Hawkeye the womanizer."

ficlopri
04-13-2004, 10:40 AM
Beej's best season was his first one on the show. The one where he had rather few lines and little to do.

Screenwriter
04-13-2004, 11:25 AM
This is what Mike feared. That the fans would reject him because he was a new castmember in the middle of the show. I like B.J. I like the possibility of what it could stand for.

There was a sexual innuendo to that name that I find hilarious.

"What does B.J. stand for?" asks a girl at camp
"anything you want it too." responds Hawkeye.

Dr. Thong
06-10-2004, 02:23 PM
Originally posted by Screenwriter
Wayne Rogers has been quoted as saying "Hawkeye was more cerebral. Trapper was more impulsive, seemingly more fun loving."

I think that's why they seem so uncanny.

As a kind of response to this Mike Farrel has been noted to say, "I made it very clear right then that I was not interested in replacing Wayne as Trapper. It had to be clearly a new character. I had no wish to do Trapper at all. Wayne had done it and done it well and was well accepted by the public in that role. The M*A*S*H people said right off that it would be a new role, B.J. Hunnicutt, and that he would be different from Hawkeye the womanizer."

Actually, the producers' real response went something like this:

"We are not interested in your point of view. We will write the character and you will play it the way we tell you to. If you are not interested in that, then we wish you well on your way back to the unemployment line."

Okay, that's not what they really said, but it's awfully presumptuous of a new actor on the show to tell the producers how he doesn't want to play his character. ;)

Wiseguy2
10-03-2004, 07:32 PM
Originally posted by AKA
Thanks, TJL.

I knew Mac Stevenson went on a few years later to star in the Diff'rent Strokes spinoff, Hello, Larry. I don't think it made it past its first season, though.


Actually it did make it through a full second season (1979-80).
One of his daughters was played by a different actress in the second season.

Spats
02-17-2005, 11:24 AM
Mclean regreted leaving but Wayne didn't. Wayne said the only thing he missed was the people. The story about Wayne trying to get back on the show is not true. It would be impossible for his character tor return anyways. He would not re enlist or be drafted again.

Everyone comments on the people who left saying it was a bad move because they didn't do a lot afterwards. But even the people who stayed haven't done much since the show ended. Other than maybe dinner theatre.

pscisme
02-17-2005, 11:54 AM
Fact is. The majority of viewers feel the original TV Mash actors were better than any of their replacements. No exception to this rule. The original tv cast rules!


FACT? what is your source?

NO EXCEPTION TO THIS RULE-according to whom?

your opinion is the only one you can take responsibility for-if you feel you need to invent a "majority" to back it up, how valuable is your opinion in the first place?

treky
02-17-2005, 03:38 PM
true, although Alan Alda's done a lot of movies (including his current role in "The Aviator" for which he's been nominated for an Oscar) and he hosts "Scientific American Frontiers" on PBS.

senor boogie woogi
02-18-2005, 12:58 PM
Hola!

In my opinion, MASH typecasted most all the actors on the series. Even Alan Alda was more or less typecast as Hawkeye. Also, the original cast more or less was full of unknown actors. I have never seen Alda in anything pre-MASH, nor Loretta Swit, Jamie Farr or even David Ogden Stiers for that matter. A lot of fairly unknown people who got that proverbial "one big break" so to speak.

McLean Stevenson kicked himself in the ass for the rest of his life for leaving MASH. He did nothing but failed TV shows after that. I hate that he left too, because he was much better than that geezer Potter.

Wayne Rogers in now a financial guru, a celebrity accountant to the stars, as it were. He did another show called "House Calls" which was moderately successful.

Supposedly Larry Linville was the polar opposite of Frank Burns, a very intellegent, well read, kind man. He has stated that he has done all he could with the character, so he wanted to move on. The problem with him was that he was typecast, and he more or less played Frank Burns in anything else I ever saw the man in.

Gary Burghoff seemed like the type who worked when he wanted to, and cried when he had to work. He did AfterMash and now does nature shows for boring cable channels like Animal Planet.

Loretta Swit wanted to leave to do Cagney and Lacy, but the MASH producers would not let her out of her contract. She disappeared without a trace after that, but I she was my least favorite character and ugly to boot.

Jamie Farr and William Christopher were damned happy to have this long term gig and would of made the Korean War last another 20 years if they could of. For an actor like Farr, that series was his big break and probably knew that there is not too much demand for a big nosed type cast Lebanese actor in the movies.

Senor

treky
02-19-2005, 02:12 AM
Alan Alda did some movies and appeared on Stage, pre-MASH, and Mike Farrel, Harry Morgan, Lorreta Swit, Jamie Farr, William Christopher, Wayne Rodgers and David Ogden Stiers all did small roles in some movies and TV shows, pre-MASH

Just to name some: Jamie Farr was sometimes seen in "The Dick Van Dyke show" as a delivery boy, once he played an indian comic on "F Troop" (where he met Gene Reynolds, the producer of MASH),William Christopher had a small role in "Gomer Pyle :U.S.M.C." one season, Wayne Rodgers was in the movie "CoolHand Luke" w/Paul Newman, David Ogden Stiers was in a few episodes of "The Mary Tyler Moore show", Harry Morgan was a regular on "Dragnet" in the 60s, David Ogden Stiers did a few episodes of "The Mary Tyler Moore show" (where he was first spotted for MASH) and the others all pop up from time to time in shows and movies that they did pre-MASH.

Screenwriter
02-19-2005, 01:29 PM
Wasn't Wayne Rogers in a movie about segregational laws? Involving KKK and stuff?

treky
02-19-2005, 07:29 PM
that's right, I think he was also in a TV movie or a mini-series on CBS or something back in the 80s called "Chiefs" or something. It was about a series of police chiefs in a small southern town down through the years, and he played one of them, I think.

He starred in a short-lived show on NBC in the late 7os called "City of Angels" where he played a dectective in Los Angeles in the 30s.
It was based on a Jack Nicholson movie from 74, called "Chinatown".

Mikado
07-11-2005, 08:23 PM
Fact is. The majority of viewers feel the original TV Mash actors were better than any of their replacements. No exception to this rule. The original tv cast rules!
I totally dissagree with this , Col Potter was by FAR a much better, more believeable character; it was more interesting to see the commander of the post as an equal to Hawkeye rather than his wet-spaghetti-noodle-spined lackey, the way Blake was. :argue:

DDinTV
05-19-2008, 09:23 PM
This is just my opinion (I do not pretend to "know the facts"), so take it for what it's worth:

It is clear that the "M*A*S*H" of 1972 and the "M*A*S*H" of 1983 were completely different shows. The show evolved from its beginning to its end, and the true evolution of the show began in 1975, when the first major cast changes were made. "M*A*S*H" began life as a comedy with serious overtones, and ended life as a drama with comedic overtones. Who you liked better in the show depends on which era of the show you liked the most. Everybody's taste is different.

The first three seasons of "M*A*S*H" were patterned heavily after the film, which explains a lot of the slapstick humor, although the show did occasionally take a serious turn. The characters of Hawkeye and Trapper were great for the slapstick, because Rogers and Alda played off each other so well. The bumbling but loveable Henry Blake character fit into that mold as well. I have to wonder, though, if the series could have lasted 11 seasons with this formula, or if it would have run out of steam after 5 or 6 seasons. I'm guessing that, if McLean Stevenson and Wayne Rogers had not left when they did, "M*A*S*H" would have run its course quickly, and would have been gone by 1977 or 1978 (about the average run for a successful sitcom of the time).

When "M*A*S*H" began its transition in the fall of 1975, it was almost like a new show, and thus the way was paved for new ideas and different scripts. The slapstick element was gone, and the non-womanizing character of B.J. provided a new contrast to the womanizing Hawkeye. Likewise, the new character of Colonel Potter was a semi-comical but more serious, no-nonsense alternative to his predecessor, Colonel Blake. This is when, I believe, the show began to break away from the movie. When Larry Linville's Frank Burns left two years later, and was replaced by the contrasting character of Charles Emerson Winchester, the show continued its evolution....its reinvention, if you will. Some say it was good....others say it was bad....I say it was simply different. One thing I do believe, though, is that the changes in the cast of the show along the way were a huge reason why it lasted 11 seasons, and why the last episode of the show was the single most-watched prime time program in television history.

This is not a knock against the original cast of "M*A*S*H". I love those early shows, and I especially love watching them now without the canned laughter. Was it a mistake for McLean Stevenson and Wayne Rogers to leave when they did? Well, it didn't do much for their acting careers, but as previously mentioned here, at least Rogers had other interests outside of acting to pursue. Stevenson's move to NBC, and his subsequent series failures were a bomb for his career, mostly due to bad writing. It is apparent to me that the role of Henry Blake was, without a doubt, the best acting role he ever had on television. As far as Trapper John, I don't really think there was room for growth in that character, any more than there was room for growth in the character of Frank Burns. Eventually, the Hawkeye and Trapper slapstick would have worn itself out, and the show would have to move in a different direction, or face an earlier ending. After all, you couldn't turn Wayne Rogers' Trapper into a faithful non-womanizer....the audience wouldn't go for that.

I appreciate both "M*A*S*H"'s....the early, more comedic shows, more reminiscent of the movie....and the later, more serious shows, that delved into issues that the original incarnation probably couldn't have touched. I think we're lucky to have been able to enjoy two shows in one, and to be able to pick which one we prefer. Whether you prefer Colonel Blake or Colonel Potter, Trapper or B.J., Frank or Charles....that just depends on which part of the "M*A*S*H" evolution you were more in tune with.

Just my $.02

Mikado
05-19-2008, 09:40 PM
^^^^Extremely well said.....and i agree on most every point! :) :clap :clap :clap ^^^^

Dr. Thong
05-20-2008, 05:44 PM
^^^^Extremely well said.....and i agree on most every point! :) :clap :clap :clap ^^^^

Yeah, what you said. Excellent analysis.

HelloLarry
06-27-2008, 10:57 PM
At the time Stevenson left the show, he was seriously being considered as a Carson replacement on the Tonight Show. He was a very popular guest host on there. NBC had him under a personal development contract so while they didn't have a specific vehicle for him, the plan was to find one. Hello Larry didn't do as well as they hoped, however I don't think it is any better or wose than other shows that aired around that time which have better reputations. He was also in a series called Condo but I don't know much more about that one. I do recall him expressing regret but hey, he was offered the chance at a big payday. I can't say I would've turned it down either.

If you've ever seen the MASH movie, the Trapper character is the chief surgeon, the chest cutter. This was one of the things that bothered Wayne Rogers in that they took his characters credentials away and gave them to Hawkeye.

Harry Morgan was in a ton of stuff, MASH being the pinnacle of his success. He was in the aforementioned Dragnet and also in Pete and Gladys in the 50's (I think) plus a ton of guest shots on TV shows and movies. He had a great career. Oh...and he was in After MASH (ugh!)

MASH had several 'lives' which is a small key to it's success. When people left, it re-invented itself. You have (roughly) the wacky first three seasons, you have the middle third of the series 4-7 and then the increasingly painful seasons 8-11. I think MASH got out at the right time. The last few seasons are inconsistant IMO but the great thing about this show is that there are so many different types of episodes that depending on my mood, I can pop one in and laugh, cry, or think. Sometimes all in the same episode. Great show and we'll never see another like it (except After MASH and Hello Larry) :)

Chocolate Moose
06-28-2008, 09:50 PM
none of them became huge stars afterwards, alan alda excluded.

Wiseguy2
06-28-2008, 11:50 PM
At the time Stevenson left the show, he was seriously being considered as a Carson replacement on the Tonight Show. He was a very popular guest host on there. NBC had him under a personal development contract so while they didn't have a specific vehicle for him, the plan was to find one. Hello Larry didn't do as well as they hoped, however I don't think it is any better or wose than other shows that aired around that time which have better reputations. He was also in a series called Condo but I don't know much more about that one. I do recall him expressing regret but hey, he was offered the chance at a big payday. I can't say I would've turned it down either.


Between M*A*S*H and Hello, Larry there were also The McLean Stevenson Show (NBC, 1976-77) and In the Beginning (CBS, 1978). Then came Condo (ABC, 1983). A failed sitcom on each of the commercial networks of the time. By the time of Dirty Dancing, based on the movie, (CBS 1988-89) he was no longer the star of the programs he was on.

70s show watcher
06-28-2008, 11:58 PM
At the time Stevenson left the show, he was seriously being considered as a Carson replacement on the Tonight Show. He was a very popular guest host on there. NBC had him under a personal development contract so while they didn't have a specific vehicle for him, the plan was to find one. Hello Larry didn't do as well as they hoped, however I don't think it is any better or wose than other shows that aired around that time which have better reputations. He was also in a series called Condo but I don't know much more about that one. I do recall him expressing regret but hey, he was offered the chance at a big payday. I can't say I would've turned it down either.

If you've ever seen the MASH movie, the Trapper character is the chief surgeon, the chest cutter. This was one of the things that bothered Wayne Rogers in that they took his characters credentials away and gave them to Hawkeye.

Harry Morgan was in a ton of stuff, MASH being the pinnacle of his success. He was in the aforementioned Dragnet and also in Pete and Gladys in the 50's (I think) plus a ton of guest shots on TV shows and movies. He had a great career. Oh...and he was in After MASH (ugh!)

MASH had several 'lives' which is a small key to it's success. When people left, it re-invented itself. You have (roughly) the wacky first three seasons, you have the middle third of the series 4-7 and then the increasingly painful seasons 8-11. I think MASH got out at the right time. The last few seasons are inconsistant IMO but the great thing about this show is that there are so many different types of episodes that depending on my mood, I can pop one in and laugh, cry, or think. Sometimes all in the same episode. Great show and we'll never see another like it (except After MASH and Hello Larry) :)im a huge stevenson fan but condo stunk i liked most of the other post mash shows he did however

HelloLarry
06-29-2008, 03:47 AM
I forgot about the McLean Stevenson Show (as did many people I'm sure).

One interesting question I always wondered.....did Wayne Rogers, Stevenson, Larry Linville, and Gary Burghoff watch the show after they left it? If they did were any of their comments or thoughts about the direction it went in after their respective departures ever recorded somewhere.

Ya know, something like Larry Linville saying "I really thought that episode where Charles is hooked on speed was great."

70s show watcher
06-29-2008, 04:57 PM
I forgot about the McLean Stevenson Show (as did many people I'm sure).

One interesting question I always wondered.....did Wayne Rogers, Stevenson, Larry Linville, and Gary Burghoff watch the show after they left it? If they did were any of their comments or thoughts about the direction it went in after their respective departures ever recorded somewhere.

Ya know, something like Larry Linville saying "I really thought that episode where Charles is hooked on speed was great."i thik i remember reading somewhere that both mclean and wayne did catch the show every once in a while

Stuck In The '70's
06-29-2008, 05:00 PM
im a huge stevenson fan but condo stunk i liked most of the other post mash shows he did however
I loved Condo. :D That and Hello Larry.

DDinTV
07-11-2008, 09:02 PM
That's the beautiful thing about YouTube - you can watch an episode of "The McLean Stevenson Show", that is, if you can stomach the horrible writing. :crazy:

I had a pictorial book about "M*A*S*H", which was published around 1981, when the show was still on the air. It was an excellent resource, which included a complete episode guide, season by season, up to that time. Each one of the actors in the series, past and present, was interviewed for the book. I recall reading McLean's interview, in which he outlined his many reasons for leaving "M*A*S*H". They included everything from his displeasure with the conditions on the outdoor set (cold weather, lack of personal facilities, no hot coffee, etc) to the promise of big money and opportunity from NBC. He said that he wasn't informed of Henry Blake's fate ahead of time (neither, apparently, was the rest of the cast, except for Gary Burghoff), and that he didn't attend the wrap party at the end of season 3, because he didn't want to get caught up in mushy goodbyes (plus, he was a little bit pissed that Reynolds and Gelbart decided to kill off Henry - he thought it was a personal stab). Unfortunately, I don't know what ever happened to that book - I haven't seen it in years, but perhaps someone else here has a copy of it.

What I didn't know (and read on IMDB), was that McLean was a guest on the Carol Burnett show the week after the "Abyssinia Henry" episode originally aired. Apparently, the show opened with McLean, as Henry, on a smoking raft, sporting his fishing outfit, and yelling "I'm okay! I'm okay!". I'd love to find that one on Youtube!

TJL
07-12-2008, 02:33 AM
What I didn't know (and read on IMDB), was that McLean was a guest on the Carol Burnett show the week after the "Abyssinia Henry" episode originally aired. Apparently, the show opened with McLean, as Henry, on a smoking raft, sporting his fishing outfit, and yelling "I'm okay! I'm okay!". I'd love to find that one on Youtube!


Yes! I have read that too.
I hope one day someone posts that. I would love to see that.

Welcome to Sitcoms Online.

LuLu Rogers
07-13-2008, 12:31 PM
What I didn't know (and read on IMDB), was that McLean was a guest on the Carol Burnett show the week after the "Abyssinia Henry" episode originally aired. Apparently, the show opened with McLean, as Henry, on a smoking raft, sporting his fishing outfit, and yelling "I'm okay! I'm okay!". I'd love to find that one on Youtube!


You're kidding...I would KILL to see that! :eek:

treky
07-13-2008, 04:12 PM
Lauren; I remember seeing that. He also did a similar appearence on the show "CHER" (a short-lived variety show in 1975 starring-well, duh!!! Cher)

I also remember him appearing on "THE TONIGHT SHOW" and other shows at the time; joking that maybe they could find Henry Blake marrooned on an island or something "with kelp coming out of my ears or something".

Don Howard
10-14-2008, 09:20 AM
A few years after leaving M*A*S*H, McLean Stevenson was asked if Henry Blake was found, would he come back to the show? McLean said, "Hell yes!". When reached for comment, Harry Morgan said, "Hell no!".

Don Howard
10-14-2008, 09:23 AM
Hola!
Jamie Farr and William Christopher were damned happy to have this long term gig and would of made the Korean War last another 20 years if they could of.
Which, I suspect, is why they agreed to continue their roles on AfterM*A*S*H. Sure, it was a POS, but by thunder, it was a steady paycheck for a while longer.

Dr. Thong
10-14-2008, 06:00 PM
Which, I suspect, is why they agreed to continue their roles on AfterM*A*S*H. Sure, it was a POS, but by thunder, it was a steady paycheck for a while longer.

If they'd stayed on the air long enough, they could have sent them to Vietnam and reunited the whole gang!:eek: