M*A*S*HCast #82 – Dear Peggy

M*A*S*HCast -  Season 4, Episode 10: Dear Peggy

Special Guest Star: Tim English

Air Date: November 14, 1975

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17 responses to “M*A*S*HCast #82 – Dear Peggy

  1. Thanks for another great episode.

    You guys took a different stance on Col. Hollister’s approach to Father Mulcahy than I did. I felt it was closer to upper management complaining about a lower ranked worker’s performance. As in, Mulchahy isn’t getting enough meat in the seats, so to speak. Hollister seems the type who would request reports on how many converts the MASH unit has had, how much money has passed through in donations to the church (or at the very least to the orphanage Mulchahy is so fond of), etc.
    Hollister’s performative speech to Mulchahy is not unlike the Jonathan Edwards sermon commonly referred to as “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Both feature imagery and figurative language to persuade the already converted into a deeper state of faith. But maybe that’s just me drawing allusions where none exist.

  2. A couple of reflections about the Sunday service.

    During my youth I would go to Baptist camp nearly every summer. We would have a worship service every night. And worship services held without a church structure have a completely different feel. When I watch this scene my mind always travels to those services.

    At the end of the service notice that when the cast start their compliments by looking at the Father they then glance over to Hollister. This is probably why Hollister isn’t buying this feedback.

    I was pianist for a small country church for about a decade. Our largest crowd was usually on Easter. This was the only time where I had to sit at the piano for the entire service. The piano was directly behind the lectern so my back was to the back of the preacher. One year the pastor was fed up with people coming only for Easter so while he had this huge crowd the pastor decided to give a “fire and brimstone” sermon that lasted twice as long as a regular service. I think this is what Hollister wanted the Father to do now that he had a full house,.

    And concerning teaching the Koreans English — In 4th grade we would have a lady come into our room with a poster containing six or so pictures. She would teach us the Spanish phrase for each picture. However since we had no idea what we were saying it did us no good. I feel the same way about how they are teaching English to the natives. And wasn’t “Get US out of the UN” a phrase that originated in the 60s?

      1. Coming soon to the Fire & Water Podcast Network ‘Six Degrees of Ned Beatty.’ This bi-weekly podcast pits Chris Franklin against the rest of the F&W hosts. In each episode, a contestant presents a movie, actor/actress, director, writer, or grip to Chris and he will have just one minute to find a way to connect that person or film to Ned Beatty. Don’t miss a single nail biting episode!

  3. Great discussion. The more I rewatch the series the more I appreciate Father Mulcahy episodes, thanks to William Christopher’s strong performances. Ned Beatty was great as Colonel Hollister. He was such a versatile actor when you compare his performance here to his role as Otis in the first two Superman films.

    My favorite line is when Frank and Margaret are talking to Hollister after the church service. Hollister says that God appreciates your responsibilities, and Frank says, “Oh he’s a good person.” Larry Linville’s delivery when saying nonsense lines cracks me up. Sort of reminiscent of “It’s nice to be nice to the nice.”

  4. Taylor was married to Hilton 1959-51. She married Michael Wilding in 1952.

    Perhaps the bit about letters for religious affiliation is something that is coded in a soldier’s record and may be on the dog tags.

    Seeing Frank actually be a bad doctor instead of just joking about it is chilling.

    A friend of mine (who is generally conservative) said Trump is the answer to his question what would Frank Burns be like as president.

    1. My dad’s dogtags spelled out “Holiness” for what religion/denomination in case of any funeral rites, etc. But that was Vietnam era, not Korea, so maybe they did just use single letters then.

    2. George and Clinton, you’re both right, and so was the MASH episode. https://www.army.mil/article/123034/whats_on_your_dog_tag
      A little more research revealed that the “H” of WWII (Hebrew) had switched to “J” by Korea. But dog tags use many more characters to describe religious preference these days.

      It’s interesting to me that with all their anachronistic flubs (like Nixon and Nicky Hilton), they got this one exactly right. I think they probably asked their Korean War veteran technical advisors at some point, “So what was on your dog tags?”

  5. As to Colonel Hollister questioning the ‘morality of the jeep stuffing event, I believe you answered that yourself earlier in your conversation. The men cheering the addition of Lt Gage, Hawkeye’s suggestion of being beneath Margaret, and making sure to photograph her best side. Sure, they are fully clothed, but the obvious sexual nature of men and women being crammed together made him ask the question. This was the early 50s you know.

  6. I watched this episode and noticed that COL Hollister has jump wings, meaning that he’s gone to Airborne School. This reminds me of a chaplain that I knew. He and I graded from the same college and the same ROTC program. The chaplain had originally started off as an infantry officer that went to Airborne School. One day while jumping out of a plane, he saw the beauty of the world and felt a calling when he landed. The Army permitted him to leave service to become a priest as long as he came back to active duty. I met him the first year of the Iraq War. He traveled to different parts to provide services. Definitely more like Fr. Mulcahy.

  7. Another great episode, Rob! Good job, Tim! There was another allusion to the source material. When BJ write that Hawkeye is the “finest kind.” In the novel, it was part of the name of a facility that a friend of Hawkeye’s works at: Dr. Yamamoto’s Finest Kind Pediatric Hospital and Whorehouse. In the film, Hawkey uses “finest kind” as a catch-all expression of approval.

  8. Another great episode! Not my all-time favorite, but definitely right up there at the top. I can’t help but notice that the producers were giving a lot to William Christopher to do in Season 4. They must have been priming the accounting people to push for him to become a regular.

    I remember there really was a fad at colleges to stuff people into phone booths and other tight spaces. I remember my mother telling me that LIFE magazine would print photos of the young people’s efforts.

    I seem to recall my father’s dog tags had an M on them for Methodist.

    My local STL station would use scenes from this episode to promote their afternoon MASH reruns. So I saw Klinger blow up his raft for years before I re-saw the episode. Probably my favorite Klinger episode for all his wild attempts to get out. Also, I love the reactions of the cast when the raft expands. I really think that they had no idea it would get so big so fast. Gary Burghoff looks genuinely astounded.

  9. A lot of this episode has to do with the fact that Mulcahy is obviously a Catholic priest, and although it is not specifically mentioned, Hollister is almost certainly a Protestant minister.

    In the Catholic tradition, preaching is one part of one liturgy. It is important, everyone tries to do it well, but it is only one part of one part of the job. If a priest or deacon in the U.S. preaches for 10 minutes, the congregation gets angry.

    On the other hand, in the Protestant tradition – some denominations more than others – preaching is everything. It is basically the sole reason for the minister’s existence. If a preacher doesn’t preach for 30 minutes, the congregation wants their money back.

    So in addition to everything else, you are seeing a clash of religious denominations.

    Here is a medical analogy: Imagine that the I Corps Surgeon (in the military a “surgeon” is any physician with administrative responsibility, not necessarily a “surgeon”) is an internist (a fully trained physician who specializes in internal medicine, not a new medical school graduate in his first year of training.) Internists are noted for their obsessive taking of history and physicals, and spending eons creating long lists of possible diagnoses and then debating what should be in the 7th and 8th place on the list.

    So you can imagine this Colonel coming to the 4077th and berating the surgical staff for not taking complete histories and not coming up with a long differential diagnosis before moving on to surgery. And those few lines in the medical records afterwards? Horrible! Any self-respecting internist would write at least a several page history and physical.

    I think that is the type of cultural clash that is going on here. It is one of those things that is a little bit under the surface, and if you are not familiar with it, you would miss it. Compare this with the visit from the Cardinal in a future episode, where the Cardinal’s chief concern is where the key to the Officer’s Club is.

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