Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Visit of Big Mac

Col. Whiteman (Graham Jarvis): While the general is here, do not address him unless he first addresses you, and then always use his full name and rank in reply, as 'Yes, General MacArthur,' 'No, General MacArthur,' 'Thank you, General MacArthur.'

Trapper (Wayne Rogers): God almighty!

Hawkeye (Alan Alda): Close, very close.

Douglas MacArthur was frequently the butt of jokes on TV's M*A*S*H, but rarely was an entire episode devoted to it. The episode that first aired 40 years ago tonight was devoted to it.

The camp received a phone call when all the surgeons were in the O.R. Radar took the call. It was a head's up that MacArthur was coming to visit. Seems the 4077th had the best survival rate of any medical unit in the theater.

At the pre–visit briefing, there was some one–upsmanship going on.

Frank (Larry Linville): I think the colonel might like to know that Major Houlihan's (Loretta Swit) father was under General MacArthur in the cavalry.

Hawkeye: (To Trapper) Her father was a horse! Did you know that?

Trapper: (To Hot Lips) Our engagement is off!

Everyone was busy getting the 4077th spruced up for MacArthur's visit. Radar put all kinds of special doo–dads in the VIP tent, including two red–white–and–blue lamps, prompting Trapper to waggishly ask if he was looking for two honest men.

Frank, meanwhile, was busy burning books because of objectionable content of one kind or another.

Trapper: Frank! What are you doing?

Frank: Burning books.

Hawkeye: Oh. Any special reason, Dr. Hitler?

Frank: One of the greatest living Americans is coming and I'm not going to let him see some of the trash that's read around here.

Trapper: Plato's Republic? The Life of Red Grange?

Hawkeye: Revolutionaries.

Frank: Right!

Trapper: Robinson Crusoe?

Hawkeye: Everybody runs around half naked.

Trapper: Norman Mailer.

Frank: It's got that word in it.

Hawkeye: Frank, you burn one more book, I'm gonna give you a dancing lesson in the mine field. Now, knock it off, gnat brain!

At one point, Hawkeye took a group picture of the 4077th staff. It was intended to be included in the commemorative photo album that would be presented to the general.

Hawkeye told Frank to get in the front row because "I want to catch those eyes."

Frank was pleased — until Hawkeye added another instruction: "Keep them spinning counter–clockwise!"

The 4077th was doing a rehearsal for MacArthur's arrival when Big Mac actually did drive through the compound — but he didn't even stop. All he saw was the rather astonished staff saluting him as he drove past ...

And Klinger (Jamie Farr), dressed as the Statue of Liberty, at the sentry post as MacArthur's jeep left the compouond.