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This pilot seems like the show is off and running and this episode
seems like it is already in mid-season form. Interesting how the
beginning sequence shows for the only time what preceded the choppers
Hawkeye is already the conniving Doctor here who plots to get what he needs to send Ho Jong to college which was the purpose behind his selling Nurse Dish in a rigged raffle along with a week-end in Tokyo.
Of course the drawing is rigged and the superiors are out smarted. Everything is here for what happened when the series continued. The difference is that the drama is not ramped up yet. That will happen later, this one is just a fine introduction to the series.
I have to hand it out for M*A*S*H, it's my favorite piece of television. I'm not in the TV industry, but I believe it's hard to put together a pilot for a TV show and to put all your future expectations on it. I only think how dreadful it would've been for us fans if this pilot wasn't picked up so I guess it had all the right things in it. For someone who's not a M*A*S*H aficionado like me :) I guess watching the Pilot wouldn't stir someone's emotions too much but it might stir up some laughs.M*A*S*H started out as a comedy show mostly as it was intended in the cinema version as well but it managed to morph itself into this TV show that kept generations and became atemporal. The pilot might not have the works of the greatest TV series(according to my humble opinion) but it's certainly remembered in the history of the show as the seed that developed into a sequoia. For all who say the pilot wasn't all that, try watching "Abyssinia, Henry" "Goodbye,Farewell and Amen", "5 O'Clock Charlie" just to name a few... Anyway, for all of you who will be watching the MASH pilot for the first time, maybe even decades from now, I tell you, you are in for a great show, stick with it and it will give you life-time memories. Enjoy watching it!
The first episode or in this case the pilot aired on September 17 1972. The show opens with Trapper and Hawkeye (and Ho-Jon) are playing golf on a plateau, only to hit a ball into a minefield. Col. Blake and Nurse "Dish" are working feverishly on something, only to learn later that they were opening a bottle of Champagne. Father Mulcahy is swatting a fly while crossing himself at the same time. Hot Lips and Frank are reading the bible while playing Tootsie with each other; and Radar and Spearchucker are tossing a football. In the final scene of the prologue, Radar catches the football thrown by Spearchucker and yells, "Here they come!" Spearchucker says, "I don't hear nothing'," to which Radar says, "Wait for it!" He then puts the football under his left arm and looks skyward. The "Suicide is Painless" song begins and we see Radar's familiar back and cap (and football) that is used in subsequent episodes for the opening sequence. After surgery, Hawkeye is standing outside when Major Burns and Hot Lips start giving him and Trapper hard time. They go into the swamp where there given mail from Radar. Hawkeye tells Ho Jon that he has been accepted by his graduating school and all they have to do is come up with $2000.00 dollars to send him to school. Hawkeye and Trapper decide to throw a party with the with a raffle and the winner gets two days in Tokyo with the gorgeous LT Dish. Now some facts on some of the character of "Hot lips Houlihan" was inspired by the real-life Korean War MASH head nurse "Hot lips Hammerly," also a very attractive blonde-haired person, of the same disposition, and from El Paso, Texas. Wayne Rogers was originally considered for the Hawkeye role; finding the character too sardonic for his tastes, he asked if he could instead test as Trapper John, who was more upbeat. In the original pilot episode, the song playing at the beginning (My Blue Heaven) is the same one that is played frequently on an Armed Forces Radio broadcast in _M*A*S*H (1970)_ .For this episode only, the show does not begin with the "Suicide is Painless" theme song. Rather, the individuals are introduced in using the following comedic sequence. Before the theme song in this episode, the words "KOREA, 1950, a hundred years ago" appear on screen. He introductory theme song in this episode is about twice as long as in the version shown in syndication for all other episodes. Other changes to this sequence include: "Attention all personnel, report immediately to admitting ward and operating room" being announced over the PA, a man running from the shower stall, a man following a woman out of a bunk marked "Off Limits to Male Personnel", and Hawkeye shouting "This guy's got a rapid pulse, he's in shock, get him down, we're going to work on him first thing. Let's go!" during the landing pad triage. I give the episode 10 weasel stars because of Lt Dish.
Like most pilots, there is something stiff and jerky about this first MASH episode. It does accomplish what it should have. It introduces us to the personalities and foibles of what were to become solid characters. We get to meet Hawkeye, Trapper, Henry, Radar, and Hot Lips. There are also peripheral characters who had varying roles in the early episodes but would be unrecognizable later. The plot involves efforts to get a young Korean man who works as a houseboy to go to the States to become a doctor. In order to finance this, they decide to raffle off a weekend with a nurse in Tokyo. First they must convince the nurse and then figure out a way to get permission. Because Henry goes away, Frank is put in charge of the MASH unit and vindictively puts a stop to everything. This is a mistake. Anyway, the conclusion is quite cleverly done and allows things to wrap up nicely. The maiden voyage of one of the best of all television series.
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