M*A*S*HCast #39 – Officers Only

M*A*S*HCast –  Season 2, Episode 15: Officers Only

Special Guest Star: Scott X

Air Date: December 22, 1973

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Theme music by Johnny Mandel

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7 responses to “M*A*S*HCast #39 – Officers Only

  1. Was the African Explorer comment was probably a Groucho Marx reference? – In the movie Animal Crackers, Groucho is introduced as Captain Spaulding, African Explorer.

    1. Absolutely correct. And this reflects back on the fact that Hawkeye is apparently a Marx Brothers / Groucho fan. And remember that “Animal Crackers” (one of the Marxes most famous movies) was released in 1930. Since MASH is set in the early 1950s this would equate to someone today making references to Saving Private Ryan or There’s Something about Mary for example.

    2. Groucho’s theme song (for ‘You Bet Your Life’ and for every talk show appearance) was the chorus from Captain Spaulding’s intro song in ‘Animal Crackers.
      The lyrics are:
      Hooray for Captain Spaulding
      The African explorer!
      He brought his name undying fame
      And that is why we say:
      Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

  2. In this episode, it does appear that the officer’s club is an officially sanctioned establishment, because it was built with a general’s authorization, and doesn’t (initially) serve enlisted personnel. In later episodes, it clearly is not officially sanctioned, given its cobbled together nature, and the fact that another general temporarily shuts it down.

    You could chalk that (and the show’s other continuity issues) up to the whims of the writers, and the needs of an individual episode’s plot, but I now have a better theory. I believe that each season of MASH exists in its own subtly different alternate universe. That might even help to explain the extreme time compression that would need to occur to fit all of the events depicted in the series into the time span of the Korean War. Perhaps, there’s even a MASH-verse out there where Trapper gets more of the spotlight.

    With all of MASH’s continuity issues now solved (at least in my mind), I should be able to sleep better at night. Thanks for another entertaining and thought provoking episode.

  3. To the question of whether messes/clubs are separate in the armed forces, the answer is yes, and for good reason. If officers = bosses and enlisted = employees, then you can see why they would want to eat/relax separately. In fact, officers aren’t allowed into an enlisted mess/club without a specific invitation (or if they are inspecting them as part of their duties). It can be further broken down where higher ranking Non-Commissioned Officers would eat/entertain separately from the lower enlisted ranks. Also, in some cases the Commanding Officer isn’t allowed into the Officers’ Mess/Club without permission, since even the officers want to be able to unwind without the big boss around.

    MASH is it’s own thing, obviously, but it would make more sense to me for the enlisted to demand their own club rather than crashing the officers’ club.

    (Please keep in mind that I have no first hand experience in this, but I have done quite a bit of non-fiction reading on this kind of thing.)

  4. The officer’s club becomes such a fixture throughout the rest of the show, it’s great to revisit its introduction. And this episode is hilarious! I’m hard-pressed for a favorite line, it’s just a riot all the way.

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