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The fingerpost from the M*A*S*H set, as seen in the Smithsonian museum

M*A*S*H is an American media franchise consisting of a series of novels, a film, several television series, plays, and other properties, owned by 20th Century Fox and based on the semi-autobiographic fiction of Richard Hooker.

The franchise depicts a group of fictional characters who served at the fictional "4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M*A*S*H)" during the Korean War, loosely based on the historic 8055th MASH unit. Hawkeye Pierce is featured as the main character, played by Donald Sutherland in the film and by Alan Alda on television. Later spin-offs involve characters who appeared in the series, but were set after the end of the war. Almost all versions of the series fit into the genre of black comedy or dramedy; the lead characters were doctors or nurses, and the practice of medicine was at the center of events. However, to relieve the pressures of duty in a field hospital close to the front and the attendant horrors of war, the staff engage in humorous hijinks, frivolity and petty rivalries off duty.

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"Abyssinia, Henry" was the 72nd episode of the M*A*S*H television series, and the final episode of the series' third season. First aired on March 18, 1975, and written by Everett Greenbaum and Jim Fritzell, the highly rated episode was most notable for its shocking and unexpected ending. The plot of the episode centers on the military discharge and subsequent departure of the 4077th MASH's commander, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake (played by McLean Stevenson).

The highly controversial ending to the episode, which has since been referenced and parodied many times, prompted an estimated 1,000-plus letters to series producers Gene Reynolds and Larry Gelbart, and drew ire from both CBS and 20th Century Fox.

After the production of this episode, both Stevenson and Wayne Rogers, who played the character of Trapper John McIntyre, left the series to pursue other interests; while Stevenson's departure was announced prior to and written into "Abyssinia, Henry", Rogers unexpectedly left the series during the break between Seasons Three and Four, and so his character's departure takes place off-screen in the following episode, "Welcome to Korea". These combined departures and their subsequent replacements also signaled the beginning of a major shift in focus of the M*A*S*H series as a whole.

Did you know...

  • … that the character of Spearchucker Jones disappeared after the first five episodes when the writers found out that there were not any African American surgeons serving at MASHes in the Korean War?
  • … that after the news of Colonel Blake's death shocked the world, the very next night on The Cher Show, the opening shot was of "Henry Blake" in a raft, waving his arms, hollering, "I'm OK!" I'm OK!"?
  • … that in the episode "The Moon Is Not Blue" the movie State Fair is mentioned and a short excerpt shown? Harry Morgan (Colonel Potter) was in State Fair.
  • … that almost 125 million people watched the final episode, the largest audience ever for a television program?
  • … that Tom Woodeshick, who played nine seasons at running back with the Philadelphia Eagles, made an uncredited appearance in the film MASH?

M*A*S*H news

Complete Series and Season 11 Region 1 DVD Release Date and Preorders

You can now preorder M*A*S*H: Martinis & Medicine Collection (the complete series) and Season 11 on DVD for Region 1 from Amazon.com. According to Amazon.com, the release date for the Region 1 DVD sets is November 7. Region 1 is the format used by the U.S., Canada, and U.S. Territories. The "Martinis & Medicine Collection" is the complete series mentioned here before which includes all 11 seasons, the original movie, and 2 DVDs of extras.

Rogers Joins the Board of Directors of Vishay Intertechnology, Inc.

Philadelphia Business Journal and Sys-Con Media reported that the Board of Directors of Vishay Intertechnology, Inc. elected Wayne Rogers to fill a vacancy on the Board of Directors. Rogers is the President of investment management firm Wayne M. Rogers & Co., a renowned investor and a regular expert commentator on Fox News Channel's business program Cashin' In. Vishay Intertechnology, Inc., a Fortune 1,000 Company is one of the world's largest manufacturers of discrete semiconductors and passive electronic components.

Stiers Filming Together Again for the First Time

Deseretnews.com has an article on the work involved with shooting a movie such as Together Again for the First Time, which stars David Ogden Stiers and Julia Duffy. The dramady is about a large family that gathers for Christmas — the first time all the kids have been together since they've grown and left the nest. The article includes a photo and some quotes from Stiers.

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  • Hawkeye: "Major Burns, Major Houlihan... May I present Captain B.J. Hunnicutt."
    B.J. Hunnicutt: "What say you, Ferret Face?"
  • Hawkeye Pierce: "I will not carry a gun, Frank. When I got thrown into this war I had a clear understanding with the Pentagon: no guns. I'll carry your books, I'll carry a torch, I'll carry a tune, I'll carry on, carry over, carry forward, Cary Grant, cash and carry, carry me back to Old Virginia, I'll even 'hari kari' if you show me how, but I will not carry a gun!"
  • Henry Blake: "Frank, whatever it is, just write it down and put it on my desk where I can't find it."
  • Radar: "They aren't gonna like this."
    Frank Burns: "I didn't come here to be liked."
    Radar: "You certainly came to the right place."
  • Charles: "Know this. You can cut me off from the civilized world. You can incarcerate me with two moronic cellmates. You can torture me with your thrice daily swill, but you cannot break the spirit of a Winchester. My voice shall be heard from this wilderness and I shall be delivered from this fetid and festering sewer."
    Potter: "You know, I think he's getting the hang of this place."
  • Hawkeye: "Silk linen?"
    Winchester:"Pierce. you may have been swaddled in burlap but a Winchester does not rub elbows with mattress buttons."


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