Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veteran's Day

For Veteran's Day, ME-TV is airing the last MASH episode along with interviews we did six years ago.  It'll be on from 7-10 PM on the West Coast.  Check your local listings.  I can't tell you what channel ME-TV is on because it's different for each carrier.  

For so many reasons I'm proud of my association with MASH but especially because the show reminds people of the Korean War and the courageous men and women who fought there or made the ultimate sacrifice.  I think without MASH the Korean War would now just be a tiny footnote in history, if even that.  I'm honored that I could help keep that flame alive.  

How much of me you'll actually see  on the show-- I suspect very little.  Five seconds here and eight seconds there.  Don't blink.  But to my surprise, I am on the promo.  I say something profound like "a lot of people watched this show."  

Most of the talking heads will be the actors.  And that makes sense of course.  When they're on the screen the audience isn't going "Who's that dork?"   In my case, they're already saying it because I'm on the promo.

Some final thoughts:  As a member of the US Army Reserves I take pride in my military service but recognize it was nothing compared to going overseas and fighting in a war.  To military personnel past and present, I salute you and this country owes you a great debt of gratitude.  And for the first time in four years, I celebrate you and not apologize for what our country had become.  You deserve way more respect and just know that starting January 20th you'll get it.  

Happy Veterans Day. 


Unknown said...

There was an episode of COMMUNITY where Abed is obsessed with the idea that Joel McHale is the "Hawkeye" of their group. He asks him, "What's your favorite episode of MASH?" McHale shrugs and says, "I don't know. The one with the Army." That cracked me up.

marka said...

Thanks for this post, Ken. My father was in the Navy for two years of WWII, got out and joined the Marines for five years, got out and then was in the Army for the Korean War. When I told him I was considering going the military after college he told me not to. I asked him why and he said "I've done enough for the both of us." Made sense to me.

There are two wonderful books on the Korean War. The best one (and I understand it is used at the Military Academy to this day) is by an Army historian called This Kind of War. It's really an amazing book on so many levels. The other was by Halberstam called The Coldest Winter and is also well worth reading. Also PBS has a one hour documentary about the Chosin Reservoir side of the Korean War.

Thanks for all the Veterans out there.

VP81955 said...

My father was a World War II veteran, though he remained stateside during the conflict. (He came close to being called to duty in Europe and another time in the Pacific, but both were canceled at the last minute.) Instead, he served in the Military Police, receiving training on the campus that ordinarily was part of Princeton's graduate school. My mother, who'd married my dad in December 1942 (unbeknownst to my paternal grandmother; she eventually found out and had a good relationship with mom), moved from Brooklyn to Princeton and got a secretarial job. She said she recalled seeing Albert Einstein walk down Nassau Street in socks, without shoes.

After the war, my father was hired as a civilian technician in the National Guard, and later founded a federal employees union to take care of their specific needs. He did plenty of lobbying on Capitol Hill and helped get legislation passed to give them rights similar to other federal workers. As one of its chapters was in Delaware, I believe he met with Sen. Joe Biden several times before his death in February 1982.

YEKIMI said...

As one of its chapters was in Delaware, I believe he met with Sen. Joe Biden several times before his death in February 1982.

Although sometimes it may seem like he's dead, Joe Biden is very much alive and due to become President Jan. 20, 2021. So at least on that day we'll be rid of ONE virus.

JED said...

My father was a World War 2 veteran but he was in the Royal Air Force. He was based in southern Wales where he grew up but my Grandmother had moved to London before the war. Dad said he felt safer at the air base than he did when he went to visit his mother on leave. He recalls first hearing the V1 bombs coming in (the so-called Buzz Bombs) and the engine would shut off and then there would be an explosion and he thought to himself, "Well, they got that one." Later, of course, he found out that was the idea.

Anonymous said...

1. My father fought in the Pacific in WWII.
The only story he chose to share was how —
whilst lying motionless on a beach while
under heavy fire — a fellow soldier,
thinking my father dead, tried to steal his watch.

2. Ken Levine “I think without MASH the Korean War
would now just be a tiny footnote in history...”

That would’ve been true but for the great publicity,
and renewed interest, the conflict garnered
when 45 received the Nobel Peace Prize
for having brokered the return of over one hundred
60-year-old bodies, including Dennis Rodman’s

Troy McClure said...

We'll have a president who had a son who served in the military and who will be a commander in chief that doesn't call those who served and died suckers and losers.

Troy McClure said...

By the way, why hasn't Jon Voight been committed for his own welfare? He's tweeted a video in which he says the fight against the election result is the "greatest since the Civil War, the battle of righteousness versus Satan. Yes, Satan."

I hope Angelina Jolie gets her father the psychiatric intervention he so urgently needs.

I'm annoyed that I can never watch Heat again, as he's in several scenes. Maybe Michael Mann could do a new cut by using CGI to replace him with another actor.

Mike Bloodworth said...

Thank you for your service to all of our veterans. I am able to sit here, comfortably, in my home because of them.

"We, too, born to freedom, and believing in freedom, are willing to fight to maintain freedom. We and all others who believe as deeply as we do, would rather die on our feet than live on our knees."
Franklin Delano Roosevelt


Jahn Ghalt said...

Here's a Friday Question:

Your Army Reserves commitment spanned six years. Thanks to your podcasts we have:

1) Your standup routine featuring you (as a less-soldierly Gomer Pyle) and your DS (as a less-bigotted Sgt. Carter)

2) Your meetup with Isaacs and how you two wrote your Jeffersons script at summer camp

3) Your "recruiting" adaptation of West Side Story (!) that put you on the road up and down the West Coast (and earned the admiration of the General who "commissioned" that legendary musical)

The Question - in what OTHER ways did you and your fellow radio jocks prepare as Reserves?

kitano0 said...

@Troy McClure When I was younger Voight was in two of my favorite films...Conrack and Coming Home...he was absolutely great in those. I wonder, did he fall and hit his head or something?
Because he's really crazy now.

Headacher said...

My father was in the army in Korea. He has spoken of being based at what had been an all-girls school up on a mountainside. His unit watched as the North Koreans burned a town in a valley below. He said the Americans moved the town's entire population into warehouses which became their new "town". He also has spoken of sitting with army buddies, on a hillside, watching down below as Americans trained South Koreans to become pilots. He said it was frightening watching the planes "bouncing" as they would come into land, but he never saw any bad crashes.

Tying into "MASH": My father's unit had to deal with inventories of army goods. He said he and his fellow soldiers had to work every day typing up lists upon lists upon lists of inventories. At the end of the day, they would have to transmit the information of all those inventories. But get this - and this is the sort of thing that would have come straight out of MASH - the equipment which was used to transmit the information... NEVER WORKED. Not just for a few days. Not just for a few weeks. Not even just for a few months. The equipment NEVER, NEVER, NEVER worked!

One other thing with "MASH": There was one episode (I wish I knew which) in which Colonel Potter has Radar place an important call to an inventory unit. While watching the episode (and I'm talking the first time it aired) Radar goes and places the call and starts talking to a never-seen person on the other end. My Dad bolted forward in his seat and exclaimed, "Holy cow, he's talking to me!!!" Whatever unit Radar was calling, it was where my father had worked, and he was the one who would have answered the phone. I've always thought that that was pretty cool!

Thank-you to all who have served our Beautiful Country!

VincentS said...

Have a happy and safe Veteran's Day, Ken, and thank you for your service. BTW - I read somewhere where some credit MASH with helping to end the Vietnam War.

Charles Bryan said...

About the finalé itself: Was it ever broken up into half-hours for syndication? I've wondered why MeTV hasn't shown it when the series cycles around. (I know that you weren't with the show at the end; just wondered if you or another commenter might know.)

sanford said...

I did not read all the comments but Ken has some fairly old followers. My father was also in World 2. He was in North Africa and Italy. I think he was a medic. I never understood what his job was. He was also attached to special services. He and two of his buddies did a lip synch act to the Andrew Sisters. General Mark Clark saw their act and that is how they got attached to special services. The did their act and also put on the shows. He was able to meet Hollywood stars who went overseas to entertain the troops. I don't think he met Bob Hope.

I was in the army for 3 years and spent most of it Germany. I went into the services in 1970 Lucky I didn't go to Viet Nam. The Army was ok. I got to see some of Europe. But unlike Ken I don't feel much pride in being in the service.

Peter Aparicio said...

That story was totally debunked.

Anonymous said...

“I read somewhere where some credit MASH with helping to end the Vietnam War.”

Much as candidate Reagan traitorously, secretly sabotaged/delayed the return of the hostages
(and -once elected- illegally dealt with our enemy - Iran Contra),
So did candidate Nixon traitorously sabotage LBJ’s peace talks

Candidate Nixon promoted unspecified peace plans

Which initially turned out to consist mainly of secretly illegally expanding
the war to neutral countries

And morphed into an abandonment of our allies which
Nixon labeled as Victory With Honor

Anonymous said...

My former neighbor, Clement Stacy, was a a wonderful raconteur who sometimes told me stories, including of serving in Korea, while drinking a fine wine or single malt. He had been a cub reporter with Royko in Chicago, a student at the University of Chicago of Norman Maclean, and later an English professor, and had enlisted in the Army at 18 to annoy his parents. He was sent to Korea the first year of the war where he told me that they had tropical uniforms because the Army did not realize that it got cold there. He told me that the farm boys would stuff manure in their boots to keep their feet warm and then lose them to gangrene. His job was to sneak into no man's land and radio back where to aim the artillery. His buddy came back in a shoe box. He also was blown up but survived with so much shrapnel, some near his heart, that he was told that he would die young. So he decided to drive fast cars, drink good whisky and chase fast women. Still, he lived to be 76 and told me that he would have taken better care of himself if he thought that he would live so long.

Troy McClure said...


You mean denied by Trump, which for Trump supporters is the same as being debunked. Hilarious.

I'm guessing you also believe his lies about the election result being a fraud despite having no proof. Oh, wait, for Trump supporters, the proof is that Trump said it, so it must be true. Hilarious.

Anonymous said...

“My former neighbor, Clement Stacy...

Some great stories that would have made for some dark M*A*S*H* episodes.

Though its audience would skew ancient, I wonder if FOX would be interested
in a season long continuation of M*A*S*H* - with each installment
centering on the fate of a different patient, as portrayed by the original actors.

Cheryl Marks said...

I watched last night although I had seen it before. I was struck by Dan Wilcox's comment about coming to Hollywood to prostitute his talent and that Mash showed him he could do it for love.

I got tears in my eyes throughout, especially at the end when they remembered Wayne Rogers, William Christopher, Thad Mumford, and Gene Reynolds.

Pat Reeder said...

My late father was in the Korean War, in the Army Photo Corps. He was a professional photographer in civilian life. He hung out of helicopters, shooting photos of enemy positions while they shot at him with guns.

I was recently looking through a box of home movies when I found a metal box filled with his color slides taken in Korea. They're astounding. Some of them look like they were taken on the MASH set. These are incredible Kodachrome color images of the soldiers going about their duties, hanging out with locals, etc. I'd like to give them to some Korean War history archive to preserve them, but to our national shame, there appears to be no museum devoted to the Korean War. Do you know of anyone who might be interested?

Unknown said...

Charles: since the MASH finale was 2.5 hours and had about 6 different plots I doubt it would even be possible to break it up into satisfying and coherent half hour chunks.

Albert Walgreen said...

Ken, I started reading your blog when I was in Baghdad back in 2007 . You really did capture the "tone" of deployed military service. My battery commander (of a field artillery target acquisition battery) commented that our tour at Kandahar Airfield in 2013 felt like a MASH episode without the doctors and nurses (or the booze); have to hate that General Order 1A.