Thursday, April 02, 2020

MASH and the coronavirus

Enough people have sent this to me that I feel I should share it with you.  Good advice from the 4077th.   Even though we were writing about the 1950's we were ahead of our time.


Kevin FitzMaurice said...

"Radar, put a mask on"! was the last line Trapper John ever delivered on "M*A*S*H." It was in the final OR scene in "Abyssinia, Henry" in which a stunned Gary Burghoff enters to inform everyone of Col. Blake's death.

The episode, which dealt with McLean Stevenson's departure from "M*A*S*H," also marked Wayne Rogers's last appearance on the show.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

Major Kudos (I think he was in 8th Battalion) to whomever came up with that creative piece.

scottmc said...

I had a MASH flashback when I heard that J. Kushner said that the national stockpile is for 'our' use and not for the states. It reminded me of the episode when field medics broke into the supplies area at the 4077. When they explained what they needed, Frank said something to the effect that if they were provided the material the 4077 would not have anything left for inventory. It's as if Frank Burns is in charge of our virus response, only worse.

ScarletNumber said...

> Wayne Rogers's last appearance on the show.

It was discovered that because 20th Century Fox inserted a morals clause into Wayne's contract, he refused to sign it. And, because he refused to sign it, there was nothing preventing him from leaving after season 3.

Tommy Raiko said...

In similar vein, asked writers and showrunners of fan-favorite TV series how they'd imagine their characters dealing with social distancing and the virus. This is what Frasier executive producer Christopher Lloyd imagined...

Joseph Scarbrough said...

I hope this video goes viral!

Buttermilk Sky said...

Couldn't be more timely, as there seems to be a MASH unit in Central Park.

Wash your hands and stay well.

Dave-El said...

Responding to what scottmc said... about the MASH flashback when Kushner said that the national stockpile is for 'our' use and not for the states. I too thought of MASH but a different episode. I think it was the incubator episode when Hawkeye and Trap encounter a supply sergeant who has 3 incubators but he want let the 4077 have one. Why? Because if he lets the 4077 have one, he'll only have two.

Andrew said...

Thank you for posting this. It's oddly comforting. There's so much humanity in that show. Will there ever be another one like it?

I used to play clarinet, and I'm still a classical music lover. Yesterday a scene from the Mash Finale came to my mind. It was after I learned that Ellis Marsalis Jr. passed away from the virus. Besides being a great musician in his own right, he's also the father of Brandon and Wynton. There have been several jazz greats who have died recently because of COVID-19.

It brought back to my mind the MASH Finale. One of the subplots was Charles teaching a group of Korean musicians the Mozart Clarinet Quintet (an exquisite masterpiece, one from the end of Mozart's life). There weren't that many laughs in the Finale, but one exception was Charles getting furious because the musicians were interrupting his concentration. "This is Mozart!" I was a young kid, and it reminded me of the opera singer being interrupted by Bugs Bunny. But it quickly became poignant, when one of the musicians played the main theme back to Charles, after hearing it only once. I still remember the look in Charles's eyes, as if an epiphany had dawned on him.

And so he starts conducting them, teaching them the piece. Again, another rare laugh in an otherwise heavy episode - Charles losing his patience during the rehearsal.

And then of course the musicians have to leave prematurely. And Charles waves at them as they are driven away. So much sadness as they play Mozart on their way out.

And then, the scene that haunted me more than any other from that episode, even more than Hawkeye and the reason for his breakdown.

Charles is looking at a wounded man on a stretcher, talking to Nurse Kelly. The man has no chance. And then Charles realizes it's one of the musicians. He asks about the others, and finds out that this was the only one who made it. And even this one was going to die.

It's probably only thirty seconds, but the look on Charles's face, and the sound of his voice, and the awkward pauses, contain more emotion than most two hour movies. He just looks completely perplexed and defeated. As if he goes through every stage of grief in a moment.

Nurse Kelly kindly suggests that he take a break. Charles goes back to the Swamp, puts on the Mozart, listens briefly, and then takes off the record and breaks it to pieces over his player.

The saddest, most haunting part was his words, when he recognizes the wounded man. "He wasn't a soldier. He was a musician."

That was why I thought of the MASH Finale, concerning Ellis Marsalis, Jr. He wasn't a soldier. He was a musician.

RIP: Marcelo Peralta, Manu Dibango, Mike Longo, Wallace Roney, Bucky Pizzarelli, and Ellis Marsalis Jr. You were not soldiers, you were musicians. Thank you for the music.

RIP, Kellye Nakahara. Thank you for embodying the virtue and nobility of your profession, one which we all salute right now.

RIP, David Ogden Stiers. Thank you for speaking the language of loss in a war.

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing.

Yes. The original Facebook post has over 4 million views. I created and posted this on Saturday, March 28 at almost 7P.

Here is the link to the YouTube channel that belongs to the person who did the editing:

But the link above does give me credit so it's all good.

Here's the original FAcebook link:


Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing. I need a lighthearted view dealing eg. lack of firewood!