sign outsde the swamp



Based on the book by Richard Hooker (the pseudonym of Dr. Richard Hornberger who served in Korea) the comedy centres around the antics of the medical staff in a field hospital, the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, during the Korean war in the early 1950's . opening sceneThe staff find that the only way to blot out the horrors of war is by using humour and alcohol (mostly alcohol) so all sorts of madcap events happen including an attempted suicide, which gave us the famous theme tune Suicide is Painless, in a scene portrayed as the "Last Supper"last supper. The film which starred Donald Sutherland, elliott gould & donald sutherlandElliott Gould and Tom Skerritt. The film, made on a budget of $3.5 million, under the directorship of Robert Altman and produced by Ingo Preminger with the screenplay by Ring Lardner Jr. introduced us to the characters of Hawkeye, Duke Forrest, Trapper, Hotlips, Frank, Henry, Spearchucker and Radar.

The T.V. series which started in 1972, (Pictured left to right )cast of MASH t.v. series Larry Linville (Frank Burns), Loretta Swit (Margaret (Hotlips) Houlihan), Alan Alda (who only signed up 6 hours before filming started), who starred as Dr. Benjamin Franklin (Hawkeye) Pierce, McLean Stevenson (Lt. Col Henry Blake), Wayne Rodgers ((Trapper) John McIntyre), William Christopher (Fr. John Patrick (Dago Red) Mulcahy ), Gary Burghoff, (Walter Radar (Gary Burghoff )(Radar) O'Reilly) who was the only cast member from the film, and Jamie Farr (Max Klinger), lasted 11 years and made household names of some of the cast. The series dealt with some sensitive issues as it progressed, poignant scenes such as the loss of friends, wounds inflicted on men just so some officer could say his men captured a hill, colour prejudice, sexual prejudice and perhaps one of the most tearful when in 1975 McLean Stevenson left, his character of Henry BlakeHenry Blake (McLean Stevenson) was discharged then his plane was reported shot down with no survivors.
Lt Col Henry Blake was replaced by Harry Morgan Col. Potter (Harry Morgan)(Col. Sherman Potter), Wayne Rodgers also left at the end of season 3 and was replaced by Mike Farrell (B.J. Hunnicutt), Larry Linville left later and David Ogden Stiers (Charles Emerson Winchester), arrived to replace him, when Gary Burghoff left he was not replaced although Klinger took over the position of company clerk. The character of Oliver Harmon (Spearchucker) Jones was also dropped early in the t.v.series when it was revealed that there were no black surgeons in Korea and Tom Skerritt's character of Augustus Bedford (Duke) Forrest never made the transition to the small screen when it was deemed that 3 principle leads would be too many. The final episode, Goodbye, Farewell and Amen, showing them all leaving when a truce was declared, was one of the most watched shows in television history.

"Look, all I know is what they taught me in Command School, there are certain rules about a war and Rule Number 1 is, young men die and Rule Number 2 is, doctors can't change Rule Number 1."
Lt. Col. Henry Braymore Blake, Commanding Officer, MASH 4077.(From the episode "Sometimes You Hear The Bullet")

For a comprehensive source of info on MASH try here The MASH4077 Homepage or The Bulletin Board where fans of the series discuss the film and tv series.
If you have a Nokia phone perhaps you would like the theme tune to M*A*S*H, Suicide Is Painless, Tempo=140, 4a#1,8a1,4a#1,4a1,4a#1,4a1,2g1,4p,8p,8a1,8g1,4a1,8g1,4a1,4g1, 4f1,16p,32p,8a1,8p,4g1,8f1,4g1,8f1,8p,8g1,16p,32p,8f1,8p,4e1, 8p,8g1,8p,4f1,8e1,4f1,8e1,8p,8f1,8p,8g1,8p,4a1.


The Korean War

The Korean War, or Police Action as it was officially known, started on 25th June 1950 when Kim Il SungKim Il Sung was given permission by Stalin to invade the South, (the country was divided after the 2nd World War) which was now the South Korean Republic under the leadership of Syngman Rhee,Syngman Rhee until the United Nations sent troops, (with the Americans under Gen. Douglas McArthur)Gen. Douglas McArthur from several countries to repel the invasion and drive the invaders back to the 38th Parallel, where the North only managed to maintain their ground due to a massive injection of support by China, and the war raged for the next 3 years until 27th July 1953. A truce was eventually called in 1953 and a demilitarized zone was set up at the 38th Parallel but peace was never settled and the area remained on a war footing for the next 45 years.

If you want to find out more about the real story read the book "MASH. An Army Surgeon in Korea",BOOK COVER by Dr Otto F. Apel Jr.

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