Thursday, December 30, 2010

The guy who built the MASH set comments for this blog

A few weeks ago I posted photos of a MASH set built in someone's backyard.  The person who did that very graciously left this anonymously in the comments section, but I felt it was worth re-posting because as unbelievable as this might sound, not everybody reads the comments.  Thanks much to this person, whoever he is. 


I sold it over a year ago. It's now in a museum.
These pictures were not posted by me. I did not want this attention. Mainly because I could write the "wayyy to much time on his hands" comment in my sleep. These pictures were first posted on a blog I had never heard of by a friend that was last here 2 years ago.
It was something I wanted to build, and I did. Nothing more,nothing less.
I ask you. Has your hobby, or "obsession" been asked to be in a museum? If not. Maybe you need more time on your hands.
Thanks very much to all of you who made kind thoughtful comments.

36 comments:

sparky said...

I think he deserves a Section 8

David Schwartz said...

There is nothing at all wrong/odd/silly/etc. with focusing your attention on something that interests you and doing it. Too many of us talk about lofty plans and things we'd like to do and then never do them. I admire this person for taking an interest in a specific hobby that he obviously had passion for and following through. Plus, doing such an incredible job is just icing on the cake.

And not to sound too self-serving with this additional comment... For years I wanted to perform some comedy material I'd written but had no outlet for it. So, after boring my friends numerous times with the continuous comments of "I'm gonna do a one person show someday" I actually did one a little over a year ago and videotaped it to boot! Now when I'm old and gray (probably next year) I can have something to show my grandkids! If you click on my name you can see the trailer for my own little excursion into actualizing something that I really wanted to accomplish.

Pamela Atherton said...

May we all be silly, passionate, crazy, out-there and risky in 2011. You said it well, David Schwartz.

Chas Cunningham said...

Exactly which museum has the room to exhibit or store a full-scale replica of the MASH set?

D. McEwan said...

"Has your hobby, or 'obsession' been asked to be in a museum? If not. Maybe you need more time on your hands."

Now there's some twisted logic. When you've becomes museum-fodder, it's a sign that "you have too much free time" is not merely an expression, it's literally true. It's not the "exhibit" that belongs in a museum.

When you have made your apartment into a duplicate of the Enterprise bridge, when you've legally changed your name to "Doctor Who," when you have had plastic surgery to look like Cher, when you dress every day in a deerstalker cap and Inverness cape, when you have you banging Beyonce while Elvis watches tattooed on your butt, or when you've built a replica of a TV show set so vast and detailed that museums want it, you need a life, a real life. Or just to read a book about something - anything else.

I have a fair amount of Barry-Humphries-related memorabilia I've collected, but not enough to crowd out all my non-Barry stuff, like DVDs, pictures of family and friends, my pets, my furniture, not to mention my Marx Brothers stuff, my Wizard of Oz-releated stuff, Karloff, Vincent Price & Peter Lorre-related stuff, and books on thousands of different topics. My home is not, however, a meticulous recreation of the sets from House of Usher, nor Jacob's home under the statue on Lost, nor a recreation of a Disneyland ride from the 1960s.

Three's a line between "interest" and "obsession." Interests and enthusiasms are fine. Obsessions are not healthy. They're scary.

beckys91 said...

If you've never been at least a little obsessed by something, you're missing one of the great experiences of life. Sounds to me like this gentleman had a passion to create, and that's a good thing.

Jeffrey Leonard said...

Sounds to me like D. McEwan is the one who needs to get a life. Also, an attitude adjustment. He's the one who is 'scary'.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

MASH Backyard Guy -

I love your focus on something you love.

I appreciate your work.

Hey, D. McEwan: I bet after a fine meal and three glasses of Merlot, you might want to help build it, too.

"Twisted logic?" Maybe not. Maybe it's just passion for something loved.

Peace all in 2011,

Gary said...

Mr. MASH Builder, I salute you!

D. McEwan said...

Sorry Barefoot, I don't drink.

Max Clarke said...

Excellent creation.

Life is too important to take seriously.

The MASH backyard reminds me of the last line in the great movie, "Inception." Leonardo DiCaprio's character is finally reunited with his children. The boy tells his Dad what he and his sister have been doing, "We're building a house on the cliff!"

Very nice way to spend the time, building things.

MattA said...

McEwan, considering the average length of your comments on this blog, you shouldn't talk about how someone else spends their time.
I guess you think people should extend tolerance only so far.
And of you think this guy is out there for building it, what about the guy who bought it?

Antwon said...

I think it's awesome that this guy managed to put together such a superb MASH re-creation in his backyard. Too often, you hear about people with "big plans" that are nothing more than sound and fury, ultimately culminating in nothing of consequence. Not here, though: he had a vision, and he worked hard to make that vision a reality. That's excellent right there! Good on him.

I have my own "crazy" projects that I've been quietly plonking away at, e.g., to visit every county in the United States before I die. I can only hope that those endeavors end up as successful as the MASH Backyard person's did.

Sally creeping down the alley said...

That guy who has his very own Pez Museum (it's in his house) could be considered "obsessive" too. Everybody needs something, for the MASH guy it was building a replica of MASH set, for me it's collecting used wine bottles (I empty 'em myself, too), for D. McEwan is leaving long-winded negative commentary on a blog where he spends way too much time (that's a hint D, get a life yourself before passing out unsolicited advice to others). We all have a "thing." Mr. Mash ain't hurting nobody, leave him alone.

Happy New Year!

Roger Owen Green said...

Very few phrases tick me off as much as "he's got too much time on his hands", which has been directed at me just because I find the need to blog every day.

bevo said...

There is nothing wrong with what D. McEwan said or how he or she said it.

As to the set, how is it different than the people who build model railroads layouts? I have seen elaborate and simple layouts that range from N-scale (the smallest I think) to the outdoor variety and everything in between.

How is it different than people who grow shrubs and trees, and put in flower beds with working water falls? The MASH guy went in a different direction in terms of landscaping his yard.

To the commenter who wrote that everyone needs an obsession, I would agree up to a point. An obsession implies a combination of intrinsic motivation and singular focus. By this definition, too many people lack an obsession.

Conversely, like the line between genius and madness, an obsession can become dangerous. Ask John Lennon about Mark David Chapman's obsession with Jody Foster. Ask Jerry Langford about Rupert Pupkin's obsession (yes, that's a reference to The King of Comedy).

To that end, I want people like D. McEwan telling me my obsession is not healthy. At that point, I should reflect on it, and say "hey, your right. Thanks for the perspective," or I can extend a middle finger. Either way, people like D. McEwan should not be chastised simply because they are asking those of us who are obsessed to reflect on the amount of activity devoted to our obsession.

carol said...

When I was in high school (back in the 80's) my friend decided to knit a 4th Doctor scarf for our friend, who was a fan of the show. The scarf is 6 feet long and multi-colored. It took her ages. She would knit every spare moment she had. (And this was pre-internet, and pre-VCR, so she had to watch the show 'live' to get what the pattern was. It was challanging)

Some people might have told her she needed to 'get a life' while doing that. Some people probably told our friend HE should 'get a life' when he wore it. Those outside looking in only saw the scarf, not the reasons behind it, and lept to conclusions.

I think if MASH guy sold his house and moved into the tents, changing his name to "Hawkeye" then, yeah, maybe he went a hair too far. But if he created something because he loved it and wanted the challange, then good on him.

Miserable Dreamer said...

So maybe this guy built the MASH set in his spare time. I spend my spare time watching TV, renovating my house, cooking, hanging out with my wife, and playing with the dog. How is what this guy did any less valid than what I do in my free time?

We're all gonna die at some point, anyway. Some people want to skydive. Others want to hunt wild animals. This guy wanted to build a replica of the MASH set.

I'll say this: I hope my DIY home renovations turn out half as good as this homemade MASH set. Well done.

Naz said...

One should do whatever they care to do in their free time. Some people do crossword puzzles and others might wonder what's the point. It's all subjective.

Happy New Year.

Somersby Creek said...

The MASH guy is clearly an artist - maybe not the sort of artist we imagine when we think of what an artist does. But he's clearly talented and, sure, slightly OCD - but what artist isn't? I suspect contemporaries of Michelangelo, van Gogh, Mozart et al accused them of having too much time on their hands as well. After all, what does chipping at marble, slopping paint on canvas or pounding on piano keys have to do with real life? (Okay, don't bother responding. I'm being rhetorical!)

Happy 2011 everyone! May you all find a wonderful obsession in the new year that makes you - and others - smile.

Wes said...

It's been said before, but bears repeating:

How is building a M*A*S*H set in your own backyard worse than any number of different, more "acceptable" hobbies, e.g., golf (talk about time-suckage)?

This guy created something unique and fascinating.

Bravo, Backyard-M*A*S*H Builder!

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Three's a line between "interest" and "obsession." Interests and enthusiasms are fine. Obsessions are not healthy. They're scary.

Hey Douglas, there's a guy named Frank Ferrante whose obsession with Groucho Marx has led to him expertly portraying the legend in a one-man show throughout the country. Terrible, terrible. The guy should be committed.

D. McEwan said...

Actually Rory, I've met Frank Ferrante, and seen him play Groucho live. Doesn't work for me. I know Mark Evanier never stops plugging him, but don't get it.

What I see when I've seen Frank play Groucho is "Not-Groucho." I was lucky enough to see the real Groucho work live, and to interview him for the radio. He was unique. An imitation of him, however well-done, just isn't Groucho. To me, it just rubs in that the real Groucho is gone forever.

This applies to all celebrity impersonations. What makes a great celebrity great is a magic something in their heads which dies with them. I truly see no point to impersonations, other than comic impressions like what Rich Little and others impressionists do, and they're bringing what's special about themselves to their impersonations.

Thanks Beve. And I'm a "he" except when I'm Tallulah. I must admit, being told I'm wasting my own time writing comments by other people DOING THE EXACT SAME THING, strikes me as odd.

Happy new Year. May we all get lives this year, our own, not Groucho's.

James said...

Definitely too much time on his hands. That's time he could have been sitting on a sofa watching Carolina Panthers football, drinking beer and eating cheetos. Precious memories.

Greg Ehrbar said...

Walt Disney built an elaborate model railroad in the backyard of his Holmby Hills home. From all accounts, he had a very busy schedule, but he made time for his hobby. It provided a respite from the pressures he faced doing everything else he did.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Wow. THE Greg Ehrbar. It's an honor, sir. Mouse Tracks was a hell of a read.

DodgerGirl said...

A little tolerance for someone's eccentricity goes a long way. Comparing the MASH set guy to Mark David Chapman and John Hinkley is a hell of a stretch.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

What I see when I've seen Frank play Groucho is "Not-Groucho." I was lucky enough to see the real Groucho work live, and to interview him for the radio. He was unique. An imitation of him, however well-done, just isn't Groucho. To me, it just rubs in that the real Groucho is gone forever.

By that logic, Frank Langella should never have played Richard Nixon (and neither should have Philip Baker Hall done the same in his own style), and neither Gary Sinise nor James Whitmore should have played Harry Truman.

Big deal.

It's about capturing the essence of those people, about the opportunity for people to see aspects of what these legends were like. Some of us weren't so fortunate to see Groucho perform live, and we certainly weren't alive when Mark Twain was on the lecture circuit, hence Hal Holbrook still performing masterfully year after year (one DVD I proudly own, of his 1967 CBS special, along with one of Frank Ferrante as Groucho, thank you very much).

The real Groucho is not gone forever. Maybe not as real as you saw him, but he still exists in those famous movies, in those Dick Cavett appearances, in his writings, and yes, even as Frank Ferrante performs him. I'm 26, these are the opportunities I have to study such a great man as Groucho, and I'm happy to have them.

D. McEwan said...

Well Langella's Nixon was a character in a play (and one Nixon would have loathed, as he did all honest portrayals of him), not a one-man recreation of a night with Nixon. (And WHO would want Nixon back anyway?) Obviously using real-life figures as characters in movies and plays is legit. That's hardly the same thing as building a career impersonating one specific man, rather than doing your own act.

As for the one-man shows of Twain or Truman or Janis Joplin or anyone else, actually, they do seem pointless to me. And that robot Lincoln at Disneyland is downright creepy. "The essence of these people" is EXACTLY what is missing.

Studying Groucho is very much a worthwhile past time, but when you're watching Ferrante, you're not watching Groucho. You're watching Ferrante. Watch Groucho's movies, his TV appearances, and read his books. They are the real Groucho.

I do not see the point in appropriating a dead star's act as your act. In the words of an old show business axiom: "get your own act."

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Watch Groucho's movies, his TV appearances, and read his books. They are the real Groucho.

Uh, duh, that's what I'm doing and have done, but I also enjoy watching interpretations.

MLW said...

The late Eddie Carroll did a wonderful one man show as Jack Benny and there is an actor named Michael Airington who does a terrific one man show as Paul Lynde. I have seen both of these shows (Carroll in person and Airington on DVD)....what these performers have done is to keep their subjects's legacies alive. Yes, these stars can be seen in many videos, but it is gratifying to see these entertainers keeping those show business legends in the spotlight.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

The late Eddie Carroll did a wonderful one man show as Jack Benny and there is an actor named Michael Airington who does a terrific one man show as Paul Lynde. I have seen both of these shows (Carroll in person and Airington on DVD)....what these performers have done is to keep their subjects's legacies alive.

I interviewed Airington by phone for part of my first book. 95% of what he said didn't make it in that final draft, but he is mentioned warmly. And my god, it was like Paul Lynde had come back to life.

D. McEwan said...

Why would you want to see any Jack Benny but the real Jack Benny? That just makes no sense to me at all.

Paul Lynde's surviving work is more than sufficient. Not sure why anyone would want to recreate Paul. On screen or stage he was very funny. Off-stage, he was a bitter, sour, nasty, and generally drunken man to avoid.

Rory L. Aronsky said...

Off-stage, he was a bitter, sour, nasty, and generally drunken man to avoid.

Personal experience?

I know about all that Lynde went through, as that was one of the essays for this forthcoming book of mine. The man went through enough as it was, especially with not finding work as easily after Hollywood Squares and having to remain somewhat in the closet.

He was trying, though. He wanted more. I don't intend to defend him any further, but he was what he was. Isn't some of current-day Hollywood bitter, sour, nasty and generally drunken anyway? The decades will always produce people of that ilk.

Greg Ehrbar said...

Gee! Glad you liked the book, Rory. I've never been a "THE" before. More likely it's been a "THAT" or a "And you are...?" and most frequently, "Aren't you...no? Oh, well never mind."

Rory L. Aronsky said...

More likely it's been a "THAT" or a "And you are...?" and most frequently, "Aren't you...no? Oh, well never mind."

Any Disney nut who parlays that love into a book is a "THE" to me.

When I was a tyke, my parents (and later my sister), lived in Casselberry, Florida, so close to Walt Disney World that we went every weekend and sometimes during the week just for dinner. People who performed in the parades knew us, and stopped on their routes to say hello.

We also had large Mickey and Minnie mirrors that faced each other on one wall, and a Mickey telephone. Plenty of Disney animation on VHS, too. And my favorite childhood movie (which is now merely one of my favorite films) was "Flight of the Navigator." My tippy-top favorite film? Mary Poppins.