Tuesday, August 20, 2013

One of my most cherished possessions

When working with the great Larry Gelbart, I had mentioned to him that my favorite MASH script of his an episode called "The More I See You" from season four.  Blythe Danner guests as Hawkeye's former love who is assigned to the 4077.

Larry used to write his scripts in longhand on legal pads with black Sharpies.  Rarely would he have cross-outs.  It was like Mozart.

The next day Larry came in and gave me a Xerox copy of his handwritten original draft.  From legal pad to air, the script remained virtually the same.

Wanna see what a Larry Gelbart script looks like?   I was able to scan a page.  This will give you some idea.   If I scanned a page of my handwritten scripts, even I wouldn't be able to decipher it.  There'd be arrows, lines in the margins, cross-outs throughout, sometimes arrows to other pages.  But Larry's were clean, legible, and damn near perfect. 

So here it is... literally from the PEN of the master  -- Larry Gelbart.  Enjoy.
Here it the actual revised final script.    Thanks to reader Matt Barnett for this.


31 comments:

Michael said...

Geniuses can be so annoying ....

It is amazing to think about how he could essentially do a final draft on the first shot. How many writers can do that?

Smarty Pants Kid said...

This is so cool! Always loved Seasons 4 and 5 of M*A*S*H and this episode is one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing, Ken. =)

Matt said...

More ... MORE!

...please?...

Terry said...

Thanks for sharing, Ken. Very, very cool. Even just reading it I can hear Alan Alda's voice in my head.

Dana King said...

You asked a few weeks ago about what kinds of things regular readers like to see.

Stuff like this.

Thanks.

Charles Warn said...

now this is cool...big thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Now THAT is a treasure! As was said above, I can just hear Hawkeye saying those words. Thanks Ken for sharing such awesomeness.

Johnny Walker said...

Here's the broadcast version for anyone who wants to compare:

CARLYE'S TENT - DAY
Carleye is lying on her bed, lost in thought. A knock.

CARLYE
Come in.

Hawkeye enters.

CARLYE
Oh! Hi.

HAWKEYE
"Hi"? I just found out you put in for a transfer. "Hi"? You'd have to use a divining rod to find a "hi" in me.

CARLYE
Boy, Radar doesn't waste any time, does he?

HAWKEYE
Radar's my informer, my snitch, my friend, my helper. If he could fly, he'd be my falcon.

CARLYE
I was going to tell you. I wouldn't have just slipped away.

Wow.

Pete Grossman said...

An extremely rare ability. Phenomenal.

LouOCNY said...

Thanks Ken - like seeing Willie Shakespeare's first handwritten draft of As You Like It or something..and I am repeating everyone else, but....wow

Hamid said...

Off-topic but - Elmore Leonard RIP. :-(

Max Clarke said...

Now I know how Salieri felt when he looked at Mozart's sheet music.

They could have shot the MASH episode from Larry's legal pad.

gottacook said...

Not only one of my favorite episodes but my favorite Blythe Danner role (and performance). Did he write it with her in mind?

Mark Jordan Legan said...

LOVED reading this - I admired Mr. Gelbart and his work so very much. His book Laughing Matters is wonderful. Thanks Ken - what a treat!

chuckcd said...

I used to do that on term papers all the time.
Carlye? What kind of name is that?

kenju said...

The episode of Mash I remember the most had Radar saying or hearing: "God answers all prayers, but sometimes the answer is no". I wonder if he wrote that?

owlchum said...



One of my all-time favorite episodes

Gayla Nethercott said...

Ken - you know this just makes me grin. Seeing Larry's words on his own pad is so exciting to me! Thank you so much for sharing your treasure... it is also further evidence that you are one of the coolest people i know. BTW, have you heard the story about Larry and his wife walking through Beverly Hills and running into Mel Brooks? A gem from his brilliantly hilarious and instantaneous comic mind. i'll share if you do not know it...

emily said...

Interesting anecdotes in this article/obit on Mr. Gelbart:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/tv-radio-obituaries/6183950/Larry-Gelbart.html

Jake Mabe said...

Wow -- this is priceless, Ken. What a true talent. Thank you for sharing the script. That episode is one of my favorites. (I had and have a crush on Ms. Danner, too.) I'm going to watch it now!

Tom Mason said...

"If I taught him to fly, he'd be my falcon." Oh, man, that's beautiful.

Paul Levine said...

Cute bit of television history/trivia. Rebuts the notion that "all writing is re-writing." BTW, I've been in love with Blythe Danner for 30 years.

LouOCNY said...

kenju - that is "Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler?", the episode about the amnesiac pilot who comes into camp thinking he is Jesus Christ - Written by - no surprise - Larry Gelbart.

Radar asks Chandler/Christ, "Is it true God answers all prayers?"

Dan Ball said...

That's some legible handwriting Mr. Gelbart had.

Jeff Maxwell said...

I was fortunate to have been on set while that scene was filmed. Hearing and watching those elegant words find their way out of the amazing Alan Alda and Blythe Danner was chilling. I was a young, wacky guy then, and feeling the power of such creativity was life-changing for me; I grow'd up a little.

Thanks, Ken, it's a real treat to see the original.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

This was actually one of my least favorite episodes; I'm sorry, but it just does nothing for me. :\

Storm said...

"Radar's my informer, my snitch, my friend, my helper. If he could fly, he'd be my falcon."

Not only was this post just generally awesome, but I now have the perfect quote to describe my best friend, Baxter. Because that is SO him.

Cheers, thanks a lot,

Storm

Johnny Walker said...
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Johnny Walker said...
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Johnny Walker said...

Here's a version:

http://videobam.com/VXDWr

Make sure you click CLOSE TO PLAY to close the advert. You don't need to install anything to watch it.

Perkins said...

Actually, LouOCNY, Sydney says the quote in "Quo Vadis Captain Chandler" when he was talking to Captain Chandler.

Sydney: Is it true that God answers all prayers?

Captain Chandler: Yes, but sometimes the answer is no

That episode is my absolute favorite of M*A*S*H. Only a genius can write an episode that can capture the seriousness of psychiatry and the funny interactions of two polar opposite characters fighting over one man's life. Thanks Mr. Gelbart!

P.S. Ken,

Back to what you posted, I love it. Seeing the work of a master is amazing. This is the kind of stuff that I love to read; It always puts a a smile on my face. Thanks for posting it! :-)