Recap: Mash S 1 E 1 Pilot
The pilot was filmed in December of 1971, and aired September 17, 1972.
Returning to the Swamp after a long session in the OR, Hawkeye receives a letter announcing that Ho-Jon has been accepted into his alma mater, though he and Trapper still have the task of coming up with the $2,000 for travel and tuition. Hawkeye convinces Trapper that they can accomplish it by raffling off a weekend pass to Tokyo with the company of a gorgeous nurse. They go to Col. Blake's office to propose the idea to him, and he nervously gives them permission.
Later on, Hawkeye and Trapper get into an argument with Frank Burns, who, in a fit of rage, destroys their still. Furious with him, they put a bag over his head and throw him out of the tent. When Blake hears about it, he withdraws the passes and cancels the party they had planned to throw for fear that Burns will complain to General Hammond. He adds that he has to see Hammond in Seoul and was unhappy about the party taking place in his absence. However, as Blake is leaving, Radar reveals that he tricked him into signing two passes, so the party can take place. Unfortunately, Hawkeye's and Trapper's happiness is short lived as they discover that Frank Burns was made temporary commander. To get rid of him so they can have their party, Hawkeye injects him with a sedative and wraps a bandage around his face, prescribing that Frank should be sedated every hour on the hour.
During the party, Margaret expresses her inability to find Frank. Suspicious of the activities of Hawkeye and Trapper, she calls General Hammond, who is so excited to hear from her he leaves at once. Meanwhile, Hawkeye announces that they have raised $1800 and then has the nurse draw a name for the raffle. Knowing that the nurse in question, Lt. Dish, is engaged, he announces that Father Mulcahy is the winner, but unfortunately, he does so just as General Hammond walks in.
While the infuriated general questions Hawkeye and Trapper, Margaret walks in with Burns, still sedated and with bandages around his head, and screams at the two of them. Hammond demands that they be arrested, but just in the nick of time, choppers arrive loaded with casualties. After the session, which Hammond participates in, he tells Blake that Pierce and McIntyre are two of the best surgeons he has ever seen and, for that reason, he is dropping the charges.
The Pilot contains the following examples:
- Adaptation Distillation: While the movie removed some of the uglier parts of the books, the series removed the uglier parts of the movie to make it air-able on prime time television.
- Adaptation Dye-Job:
- Father Mulcahy was a redhead in the books and film, affectionately called Dago Red. Both George Morgan and William Christopher have brown hair, though Hawkeye uses the nickname once in the pilot.
- Hawkeye was played by blonde-haired Donald Sutherland in the film and the black haired Alan Alda in the series.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer / Ultimate Job Security: Hawkeye and Trapper, for all their quirks, are released for being competent surgeons with high survival rates.
- California Doubling: Filmed on the famous (former) Fox Ranch in Malibu Creek State Park at the same outdoor set used in the film.
- Mythology Gag: The camp's dentist of the film, Walter Waldowski, is mentioned by (nick) name, when Hawkeye says "...ten dollars for the Painless Pole...", but, despite appearing throughout the first season, is never referred to by that name again.
- The Other Darrin:
- Father Mulcahy was played by George Morgan for the pilot only. For the rest of the series, he was played by William Christopher.
- Lt. Dish is played by Karen Philipp in only the pilot and "Germ Warfare", and no other episode.
- Unique Pilot Title Sequence: The pilot starts with the title "Korea 1950 - 100 Years Ago" as Hawkeye and Trapper John play golf with "My Blue Heaven" playing in the background. Radar gets tossed a football and stops as he hears the choppers coming, which then leads into an extended version of the standard opening.