FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Question 1:

What does B.J. stand for?


B.J stands for Bill Jurgenson, who was the series' original cinematographer. His nickname was B.J. That's why the character is so named. Trust me. In the series B.J. stands for his parents "Bea" and "Jay" Hunnicutt or for anything you want.

Question 2:

Why did Spearchucker disappear after a few episodes?


The <true> truth about Spearchucker is that there simply were <no> black surgeons in any MASH units. We did show after show in which we demonstrated the evils of bigotry but we did not want to be so politically correct in the manner of Spearchucker that we through historical accuracy out the netting.

Question 3:

Why is Henrys wife sometimes named Lorraine, and sometimes Mildred?


I take personal responsibility for mixing up Mildred with Lorraine. I would just forget from time to time who I called what - and no on the show called my attention to the inconsistencies. Too busy getting the series out to get it 100% every time.

Question 4:

Is it true, that Gary Burghoff has a deformed hand?


Gary Burghoff was born with one hand deformed. Obviously, it was no impediment to his career. Most people have never, ever noticed it. In the last episode of the first season, Ceasefire, Gary played the drums with a USO unit. Expertly.

(Note by the author: His hand is only in the pilot episode cleary visible. His two drum solos, by the way, are really played by him.)

Question 5:

What does "T" stand for in Sherman T. Potter?


I don't know if I explained in any episode, but the idea was that, like Harry S. Truman, who had no given middle name put simply put that "S" in there because it made him sound more impressive, Potter adopted the "T" for the same reason.

Question 6:

What does M*A*S*H stand for and why the "*"?


M*A*S*H is short for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, a military hospital located near the front, where doctors usually tried to save the life of wounded soldiers. The "*" character was introduced by Robert Altman, the director of the movie, the title of the novel is M.A.S.H. Larry Gelbart, the creator of the series, simply used the same name.

Question 7:

What are the main differences between the camp in the series and a real MASH unit?


In the series only 4 surgeons and about 40 people belong to the camp. In reality there were about 10 surgeons and about 200 man. Also the word mobile fitted more in reality. Some MASH units moved 30 times in the Korean war.

Question 8:

What, according to General Steele, was the dying utterance of General Custer?


The dying utterance of General Custer was: "One picture is worth a thousand words." (Episode III/49: The General Flipped At Dawn)

Question 9:

Who is Sparky, and was he ever shown in an episode?

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Sparky was the (mostly) face- and voiceless person on the other end of the phone line. Usually Radar or Klinger called him, if they need something to trade or if they try some sort of underhand methods. However there was one occasion, where Sparky actually was shown: In the Tuttle - episode, when he looped back a phone call to the camp. There we see his rank (Staff Sergeant) and get to know his real name: Sgt. Pryor, played by Dennis Fimple.

Question 10:

What does "Abyssinia" mean?


Saying "Abyssinia" (I'll be seein' ya) was a very common slang way of saying goodbye in the thirties and forties, probably because of the prominence of the country in the news in 1935 with the Italian invasion and Haile Selassie's much publicized (and unheeded) plea to the League of Nations.

Question 11:

Does Radar O'Reilly's teddy bear have a name?


Radar's teddy bear hasn't been referred to as anything other than "bear", "teddy bear", etc. (but his rabbit was called "Fluffy").

Question 12:

In which occasions did Hawkeye salute?


There were not many occasion, where Hawkeye saluted, in fact there were not many situations, where anyone saluted (Henry: "The closest thing to a salute on base is the camp mutt scratching his ear."):

  • He (and Trapper) saluted Margie Cutler, when she lost her towel after running out of the shower (in episode I/3: Requiem for a Lightweight)

  • When two new nurses arrive in the camp, Hawkeye saluted one of them (in episode I/14: Love Story)

  • He saluted for Capt. Jonathan Tuttle at his commemoration (in episode I/15: Tuttle)

  • He saluted as he left the swamp naked for the mess tent (in episode I/18: Dear Dad...Again)

  • He saluted Frank as he sits on the latrine after playing a trick on him (in episode I/24: Showtime)

  • He saluted Frank before playing a trick on him (in episode II/25: Divided We Stand)

  • He saluted Frank on the way to nurse Erika (in episode II/27: Radar's Report)

  • Hawkeye and Trapper saluted Hot Lips in her tent, while she was holding a massage appliance in her right hand (in episode II/32: The Trial of Henry Blake)

  • He saluted a major, as he and Trapper were standing in front of the three incubators (in episode II/36: The Incubator)

  • He saluted Radar after he handed him over his medal (in episode VI/122: Fallen Idol)

  • He saluted Radar in the OP before Radar left home (in episode VIII/174: Good-Bye Radar)

  • He saluted Father Mulcahy, when he was promoted to Captain in Rosie's bar (in episode VIII/182: Captains Outrageous)

  • Hawkeye and B.J. saluted Col. Potter, when they said 'Goodbye' to him (in episode XI/251: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen)

Question 13:

How many sex lectures were held by Henry?


Henry held three sex lectures, in which he also used the legendary "figure A and figure B" (in the episodes I/12: Dear Dad, II/44: As You Were, and III/64: Bulletin Board).

Question 14:

Who owns the faceless voice that does all the P.A. announcements? It usually isn't Radar or Klinger.


The voice is that of Sal Viscuso, who you may remember from the 70's sitcom, "Soap". Sal was shown in 3 MASH episodes (episode V/103: Dear Sigmund, episode V/119: Post Op and episode VI/137 Tea and Empathy), though he wasn't playing his P.A. announcer character.

Question 15:

The emotions in the O.R. scene of Abyssinia, Henry right after Henry's death looked so real! Why was that?


The writers had kept Henry's death a secret from all of the cast members, so they had no way of knowing what was to come. Gary Burghoff (Radar) was given the revised script a couple minutes before he had to say those heart-wrenching lines, and he did a great job of it. Unfortunately one of the extras screwed up the scene and it had to be retaken, so what we see on TV is actually the second take! But the shock from the news was so great that the emotions still seemed very genuine.

Question 16:

How many episodes exist of M*A*S*H?


Originally there were 250 episodes (also in the episode guide) and a final movie of 2 1/2 hours length. On retransmissions, the 5 one-hour shows were split into two shows, therefore there are 255 half-hour shows. Sometimes the final movie is also split into 5 separate shows.

Question 17:

In which episode did Richard Gere appear?


Richard Gere did never appear in M*A*S*H, although this rumour is heard (or better read) a lot on the Internet

Question 18:

What is the name of Col. Potter's horse?


The name of Col. Potter's horse is Sophie.

Question 19:

Is the actress Terry Farrell (Star Trek DS9) related to Mike Farrell?


No, but Judy Farrell who played various nurses in the series was at one time married to Mike Farrell.

Question 20:

Did any actors on the show serve in the Korean War?


No, but Jamie Farr did tour Korea while in the army, but this was after the war had ended.

Question 21:

What brand of bra does Klinger wear and what size is it?


It was a Miss Highrise size 36B.

Question 22:

What piece of music is Charles teaching the Chinese musicians in the last episode?


The piece was the "Quintet for Clarinet and Strings (K. 581)" by Mozart.

Question 23:

What kind of helicopter is used in the opening credits?


It was a Bell 47, first flown in prototype in 1945.

Question 24:

Which episode did Vic Tayback appear in?


The IMDB (Internet Movie Database) claims he played in episode II/36 The Incubator.

Paul Gadzikowski wrote this: "Then the IMDB is incorrect, or incomplete. According to information from Larry Gelbart when this subject came up about a month ago, Tayback was cast in the role of the supply sergeant and shot the scene, only for the staff to decide his interpretation of the character didn't work. The scene was reshot for air with another actor in the part."

Question 25:

What is the episode "A Smile, a Song and a Surprise"?


There are some questions, such as "Why did Spearchucker leave?" or what is the name of that piece of music that Charles taught the Korean prisoners?", that come up regularly on the newsgroup. Some of the regulars started to refer to a mysterious episode containing the answers to all questions.

"A Smile, a Song and a Surprise" is the legendary and mythical episode that includes all the unexplained details the series left unresolved (the name of the bear, why Spearchucker left, etc). It is broadcast once every four years to celebrate Leap Year and every year on April 1.

"A Smile, a Song and a Surprise": For the only time in the series history, the lyrics are sung during the opening credits.

Radar mentions his bear's name, although the secrecy surrounding filming required that Gary Burghoff record 947 names (some of those are Mozart, Teddy and Rosebud) for dubbing onto that episode. The name is redubbed for every rebroadcast. It is rumored that is the true reason for GB's departure from the show.

After Radar left, Captain Tuttle looked after Radar's pets. Having found Klinger's discarded dresses, Tuttle decided to form a musical trio drag act with Captain Spaulding and Spearchucker. Their act was so bad they were driven out of camp.

While many were busy in the mess tent for the big send-off for Spearchucker, Richard Gere's character was dying in post-op. In a delirious state, he informs Frank that his brother used to call him "Ferret Face"; in his last breath, he whisper the names that stand for B.J.

As the body is loaded into the ambulance, Charles plays Mozart's Quintet for Clarinet and Strings with his reshaped instrument and the help of some local musicians.

The episode was written by Vic Tayback and Larry Gelbart played the supply sergeant.

Question 26:

What does the "I" on Henry's pullover and cups mean?

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Henry sometimes wore a dark blue pullover with an orange letter "I" on it, he also drank his coffee from a cup with an I on it. This is the logo of the University of Illinois At Urbana Champaign. The proof for this can be found in Henry's home video, which can be seen in episode II/33: Dear Dad...Three.


 

Click on the "Flagg" for the Lyrics