M*A*S*H: Season 9, Episode 8

Tell It to the Marines (12 Jan. 1981)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, War
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B.J. and Hawkeye try to get a hardship discharge for an immigrant Marine whose Mom is being deported before he can get home. Winchester becomes C.O. for a few days, using his new position ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview:
Col. Mulholland
Denny Miller ...
Military Policeman
Stan Wells ...
Pvt. Jost Van Liter
James Gallery ...
Murray Thompson


B.J. and Hawkeye try to get a hardship discharge for an immigrant Marine whose Mom is being deported before he can get home. Winchester becomes C.O. for a few days, using his new position to get himself silk sheets and other "basic necessities of life". Written by Kathy Hofmann

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Plot Keywords:

directed by star | See All (1) »


Comedy | Drama | War






Release Date:

12 January 1981 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone Sound Recording)


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title is based on the phrase "Tell it to the Marines' originally with reference to Britain's Royal Marines, meaning that the person addressed is not to be believed ("tell it to the marines because the sailors won't believe you"). See more »


Hawkeye answers the riddle, "What's black and white and read/red all over?" with "A newspaper, or a suntanned zebra." What he had in mind was a sunburned zebra. See more »


Capt. B.J. Hunnicut: Somehow we knew you were back Colonel when we saw Charles doing a 100 yard flash across the compound.
See more »


Back in the Saddle Again
Written by Gene Autry and Ray Whitley
Performed by Harry Morgan
See more »

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User Reviews

An Injustice Turned Into Gold!!
14 December 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Tell It To The Marines" described Private Jost Van Litter's unpleasant situation. He emigrated from Holland to the United States. He was a soldier in the United States Marines. His mother and father were married at one time; the mother ended up obtaining a divorce -- resulting in a deportation to Holland. He wanted to leave the outfit three weeks early to see his mother. Colonel Mulholland wanted his hide back to the outfit immediately ... and without any discussion.

Captain Pierce and Corporal Klinger had typed up a story about Jost Van Litter's deportation situation. Major Winchester was in charge of the outfit. Meanwhile, a military police officer had entered "The Swamp" and demanded to have Captain Pierce in Colonel Mulholland's office immediately. He had one reason to see him: that was to kill the story about Jost Van Litter's story about his deportation situation. The matter was killed through military channels. Captain Pierce knew that he was not interested in any discussion about issues of a more pressing nature.

Corporal Klinger was doing all the tasks for Major Winchester -- such as vouching for his newspaper, his meal, his money, and his other items. Captains Pierce and Hunnicutt suddenly grabbed the newspaper; and he had Corporal Klinger type an article about Jost Van Litter's injustice to the press train in Pousan. Murray Thompson had eventually looked at the article in further detail. In the end, Captains Pierce and Hunnicutt told him that public opinion was an issue in which people found an injustice and change the wrong into right through discussion. Jost Van Litter's mother obtained diplomatic immunity. The Dutch Consulate hired her for employment in San Francisco after reading the well-written article.

Corporal Klinger was ironing Major Winchester's shirt and silk linens in Colonel Potter's office. Colonel Potter came back to the 4077th; and in truth, he noticed that he was fulfilling his tasks instead of his own work. Colonel Potter surprised Major Winchester by taking his pants and polishing his saddle. Colonel Potter had the last word. Even if Colonel Mulholland was livid about Private Van Litter's "illness" at the 4077th, at least the two of them obtained justice for a Marine caught in a maze of red tape. The end result: A Brilliant 14!! Highly Recommended!!

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