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Old 07-19-2014, 02:32 AM   #4
Will Dockery
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Originally Posted by Adamantium
I thought we could discuss each season at a time. So if people respond, I'll keep doing this up until the final year.

Season One: 1972-1973
Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce
Captain "Trapper John" McIntyre
Lt. Col. Henry Blake
Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan
Major Frank Burns
Corp. Walter "Radar" O'Reilly

[Recurring Characters]
Spearchucker Jones
Father Mulcahy
Maxwell Klinger

001. M*A*S*H -- The Pilot
002. Henry, Please Come Home
003. To Market, To Market
004. Germ Warefare
005. The Moose
006. I Hate a Mystery
007. Chief Surgeon Who?
008. Requiem for a Lightweight
009. Cowboy
010. Yankee Doodle Doctor
011. Bananas, Crackers and Nuts
012. Edwina
013. Dear Dad
014. Love Story
015. Tuttle
016. The Ringbanger
017. Dear Dad ... Again
018. Sometimes You Hear the Bullet
019. The Long John Flap
020. Major Fred C. Dobbs
021. Sticky Wicket
022. The Army-Navy Game
023. Cease-Fire
024. Showtime

In my opinion, the five best episodes of the first season are:

-Henry, Please Come Home
Henry gets a promotion and leaves the 4077th. With Frank in charge, Hawkeye and Trapper go to Henry and beg him to return.

-The Moose
Hawkeye and Trapper are offended by a Sergeant keeping a "Moose." So they try to use their coniving ways to free her.

-I Hate a Mystery
The gang at the 4077th accuse Hawkeye of stealing.

Hawkeye creates the character of Tuttle and everyone believes he exsists.

-The Long John Flap
During freezing weather, Hawkeye's long johns get passed around to everyone at the 4077th.

I know "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet" is one of the more popular episodes, but I liked the above five more.

So what do you think of the first year?
Located the collected first season of M*A*S*H yesterday for I'll be sitting down and carefully watching these 24 episode in order for really the first time in about 40 years.

Considering doing an episode by episode comment post on these here... anyone interested in joining in?

Perhaps a good spot to point out details and plot points in the Epic to watch out for, and so on?

I do remember the first few episodes were very much intended to be a continuation of the film, which I would personally call the "first episode" since so much detail and plot appeared there and was never repeated... the movie is really kind of a sweeping overview of the M*A*S*H Universe, as was the novel, while the television series is the meat of it all, so yes, I insist on trying to include all the continuity in some way, so sue me... heh.

Probably nothing overly literary, just interesting bits, quotes, references to Hooker and the movie... I seem to recall all sorts of little nods in those early episodes, when I was just slightly older than a child, and knee-deep in the M*A*S*H mythos, ever since the year before when the Hot Lips shower scene and so many other bits were the hot topic at Junior High.

Am I correct in remembering these early first season episodes were slightly bawdy for television, influenced by the gritty comedy of the movie?

It didn't get whitewashed all the way down for several years, right?

Just watched "The Pilot" and am preparing to run that one again now... one hoot I don't remember is Hot Lips telling/reminding Hammond she's "from Fort Benning", about a mile from Columbus, Georgia where I'm typing this now.

While the actual televised episode really is the third one in both cases, "To Market, to Market", which I watched really late/early this morning right before passing out, so my memory of it is hazy, needs a re-watch or two, the one scene that stands out is Henry's desk being carried around hanging from a helicopter, but I have no idea exactly how that fits the story, also, Trapper and Hawkeye locked in a supply room with Radar trying to break them out.

I like Radar better in these early episodes, those I've seen later where he's so cutesy and "innocent" to the point of absurdity just didn't cut it for me, but maybe that was some sort of mental problem caused by the grisly reality of the war, or can be explained away as such.

Some quick thoughts on "M*A*S*H - The Pilot"...

I'm so glad they replaced George Morgan with William Christopher as Father John Mulcahy. Christopher, to me, is just the perfect Mulcahy, although the greatest Father "Dago Red" Mulcahy line for me remains "He was drafted." from the film.

Loretta Swit looks so young in the pilot! It'll take some time getting used to her again, since watching the Altman M*A*S*H several times a couple days ago I confess I fell in love with Sally Kellerman all over again (after 40 years or so since first seeing her) - so many iconic Sally Kellerman moments, flashes, like our very first vision of her getting out of the helicopter, smiling, excited and ready for a new adventure... and just that two second glimpse of stockinged leg, oh my. That look on her face, a flash of repressed smile when Trapper is ranting on how he wants her brought to him, naked, et cetera, a glimmer in her eye as she quickly turns and leaves the tent. Again, when Hawkeye blesses her out about being a "Regular Army Clown"... the "He was drafted" scene again.

Loretta Swit's Hot Lips is one of the characters I tend to like better the "softer" she gets, maybe. Don't get me wrong, I think she works in the new version, it's just that early on, and in some ways for all time, Sally Kellerman owns the Hot Lips role. One edge the television version has is a very cool personal element, this Hot Lips spent time at Fort Benning/Columbus GA/Phenix City AL, late 1940s, apparently, which is right around the time my father was in and out of there and the Army in general. Personal and not particularly relevant, but a nice touch:

"...Margaret places a call to General Hammond, who has a quick flashback to a romantic encounter with her at Fort Benning."

Have to say the same for Elliot Gould's Trapper John, his version was and remains definitive... I can't blame Wayne Rogers for leaving, all he really gets to do in the pilot is stand around grinning. The role was weakened too much by giving Hawkeye all or most of Trappers backstory, credentials, et cetera. Rogers' Trapper reminds me more of Duke, really. And didn't I see somewhere once that the television Trapper John was sort of a combination of TJ and Duke, much like the way Frank Burns was combined from two original Richard Hooker characters? Not that I dislike Wayne Rogers as Trapper John, I, like he no doubt did, see so much wasted potential in what at first (and still is in the Gould rendition) my favorite of the Swampmen.

The actress who played Dish is pretty hot, but I feel her character is overemphasized here... I take it Dish was being tried out as a regular full-blown character at this early stage, as was Spearchucker?

Henry Blake in "The Pilot" is a thousand times better than the film version, who reminds me too much of Sgt. Bilko or that type. Stevenson as Blake is just as perfect, definitive, in the role as Christopher is as Mulcahy.

Frank Burns hits his target in both film and television, in that I don't like him, which is exactly the way this character is /supposed/ to effect the viewer, just a nasty, unlikable guy. At least to guys like me, Trapper and Hawkeye... heh. I'm sure Larry L. was just a sweetheart in real life, right?

Interesting how the television version in some place drastically improves on the original in several areas (Blake and Mulcahy) and still manages to fill the spaces of very tough (some would have said impossible) acts to follow (Trapper, Hawkeye, Hot Lips)... Spearchucker was just a ringer for the football game anyway, right? Just as the mention of "the Painless Pole." aka Capt. Walter Koskiusko Waldowski, just a quick nod to the source, I reckon at that time it was still possible these and others could have found their was back into the Epic...

More later... comments, anyone?
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