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AfterMASH

By Wikipedia

AfterMASH was a situation comedy that ran for two seasons (1983-1985) on CBS. A spin-off of the long-running hit series M*A*S*H, AfterMASH took place immediately following the end of the Korean War and chronicled the adventures of three characters from the original series: Colonel Sherman Potter (Harry Morgan), Max Klinger (Jamie Farr) and Father Francis Mulcahy (William Christopher). These were the M*A*S*H actors who had voted in the minority when the cast elected not to continue the original series.

Synopsis

In the pilot episode, Colonel Potter returns home from Korea to his wife Mildred. He finds retirement boring, so he returns to work as the chief of staff at General Pershing Veteran's Hospital ("General General"). Max Klinger has found himself in trouble with the law in Toledo, disowned by his family for marrying a Korean, and unable to find an apartment that will rent to a mixed-race couple, so he contacts Colonel Potter and soon thereafter he is hired as his assistant and leaves Toledo. Father Mulcahy, whose hearing was damaged in the final episode of M*A*S*H, is now suffering from depression and drinking heavily. After his hearing is surgically corrected, he stops drinking and joins Potter and Klinger at the veteran's hospital as the chaplain.

Format

AfterMASH exploited its connection to M*A*S*H whenever possible. Sometimes this took the form of plot devices, such as the episode in which Klinger arranged Col. Potter's civilian office to look exactly as it had in Korea. More generally, however, AfterMASH attempted to parallel the dramatic structure of its parent series. Because it took place in a veterans hospital, most of the episodes featured a storyline that highlighted the horrors and suffering of war, just as most episodes of M*A*S*H had done in the final seasons. Furthermore, many of the characters in M*A*S*H had counterparts in AfterMASH. Like Hawkeye, the show had a trouble-making but idealistic and talented young surgeon, Jules Pfeiffer (who was replaced in the second season). The Frank Burns/Major Houlihan role of narrow-minded, bureaucratic authority figures was filled by hospital administrator Mike D'Angelo and his assistant, Alma Cox. However, the series did not succeed in recapturing the feeling of the original, and was cancelled after thirty episodes were completed. The series finale was never aired.

Other facts

The only other regular character from the original series to appear on AfterMASH was Radar (Gary Burghoff), who appeared in a two-part episode shortly before the show's cancellation. The same character was also the star of a pilot called W*A*L*T*E*R, in which Radar moved from Iowa to St. Louis and became a cop. (The series was never picked up.) Edward Winter also appeared in one AfterMASH episode as Colonel Flagg.

AfterMASH premiered in the fall of 1983 in the same time slot as another newcoming series called the A-Team. The marketing campaign for AfterMASH featured pictures of Max Klinger (portrayed by Jamie Farr) in a nurse's uniform, shaving Mr. T's signature mohawk off. The none-too-subtle implication was that AfterMASH would trounce the A-Team in the ratings. But history was to have the final judgment -- the A-Team continued until 1987, long after AfterMASH had become a distant memory.

 

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TV TIDBITS

Aired: September 26, 1983 - December 18, 1984

Cast: Harry Morgan, Jamie Farr, Barbara Townsend, William Christopher, John Chappell, Rosalind Chao

Network: CBS

Genre: Sitcom

Theme song

Image courtesy of CBS


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