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June 21, 2006



I just saw this episode in the last few months when they replay it on Fox at 1pm. I remembered seeing it as a kid, too, I think. It's an episode you can't pull yourself away from.Cool thing is, I couldn't pull myself away from reading the script here either. Hell, I was getting all emotional reading it, as if I had never even seen the episode before.So well done. Thanks for posting these excerpts.

Tom Quigley

You guys -- and all the writers on M*A*S*H, I might add -- did such a wonderful job of delineating the characters with all their pesonality quirks and flaws and feelings and behavior patterns, as well as telling the story without ever having to resort to the type of "in your face" comedy or straightforward exposition that's so prevalent these days. In just the few short lines of dialogue and direction you posted here, Ken, we learn so much about the characters, that if we were watching this episode, we could have picked the story up from this scene and known what it was about.Great writing!

Beth Ciotta

What Tom Quigley said.I got chills reading this. Could envision the episode, that scene, in my head as I read. Haven't seen it in forever, but I remember THAT well. My coffee maker (which I treasure), for a DVD box set of M*A*S*H. Do they even offer that? Off to check at Amazon...


What I like about this episode -- in contrast to similar efforts that would follow in the final few seasons -- is there's a sense of subtitly here that was also present in the earlier experimental episodes by Gelbart that for some reason was lost in the last few years. You're not being hit over the head with the idea that this is anything more than a routine war injury handled by the 4077th, and the actors aren't over-emoting as would be common in the final seasons, as if the audience won't grasp the concept unless spoken to loudly and deliberatively. Good work.


By just reading it I can see the scene in my head. I love this episode because you get to see the characters not for who they are trying to be, but for who they are. They are not interacting with Rich, but he is observing them, for better or worse. Potter's devotion to Mildred has always touched me.Oh and Beth, the 1st 10 seasons ARE on DVD, and I have them. I know Tower Recored is having a huge TV DVD sale right now; if you have them in your area, check them out.


Beautiful scene. Dumb question:Why is "walks by" in lowercase (Nurse Baker's action) while "ENTERS" is in uppercase (Charles' action).ThanksLaurie Kilmartin


MASH, quite frankly, is a "How to."Thanks Ken. Reading that, you can hear that low and resonant quiver in Potter's voice.Network TV today, as Potter would say is, "Horse hocky."Mark


>Why is "walks by" in lowercase (Nurse Baker's action) while "ENTERS" is in uppercase (Charles' action).My guess is the capitalized directions are major stage directions that involve the camera itself ("Rich LYING," "Rich SHAKES his head") or happenings within camera range ("ENTER," "EXIT," "steps INTO view"), whereas the others are for actions from characters that are *already* in camera range ("Potter hands the pad back"). Nurse Baker may already be in camera view when she has to walk up to Potter.

Beth Ciotta

Unfortunately, Cookinblonde, I don't have a Tower Records near by. However, I did hop over to amazon.com and they have several seasons of M*A*S*H avail Thanks!


In September 1994 I wrote and registered a film treatment entitled SNAKES. Synopsis: Poisonous snakes are freed from a crate on a passenger airplane while in flight over an ocean. The pilot is soon bitten and dies. Ultimately, the copilot, the flight attendant, and the passengers must join forces to destroy the snakes and safely land the plane. It was pitched as "JAWS" on an airplane. Snakes on a Plane? I later turned it into a screenplay, registered May 1998. A letter from New Line Cinema's attorneys told me in essence that if I make a claim, they'll huff and puff til they blow my house down. Who and where is David Daleassandro? Has anyone seen his screenplay? Did he file a lawsuit against Saturday Night Live over the February 1998 skit, The Cobra? New Line's attorneys wrote me on 1/14/05 that Snakes on a Plane originated with a screenplay written by Daleassandro. If this is so, why did he have to go to WGA to receive a credit? And the name change (Pacific Air Flight 121) was after I sent New Line proof of the pitch for SNAKES: "JAWS" on an airplane. Snakes on a Plane? ? ?

Tom Dougherty

This blog is really going to move the units! I'm heading out to Tower to pick up a couple of seasons. Any suggestions on which seasons I should start with, that is to say, which ones are your favorites?

Jaime D

Every time I read this (I can't stop I've read it three times) O want to go watch M*A*S*H. Yhanks and I agree with the others, you could post a M*A*S*H blog and it would be read and enjoyed by all... Thanks Jaime

Jaime D

I don't know what happened but on my end there were no typos. Sorry to all the spellers out there:)


Hey Tom, Start with the beginning, season 1. As much as I love Col. Potter; Henry Blake's inept leadership was some of the best stuff this show ever had to offer.

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    Ken Levine is an Emmy winning writer/director/producer/major league baseball announcer. In a career that has spanned over 30 years Ken has worked on MASH, CHEERS, FRASIER, THE SIMPSONS, WINGS, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, BECKER, DHARMA & GREG, and has co-created his own series including ALMOST PERFECT starring Nancy Travis. He and his partner wrote the feature VOLUNTEERS. Ken has also been the radio/TV play-by-play voice of the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, San Diego Padres.
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