Missing M*A*S*H

Jen Johnston

Talking Pictures alias talkingpix.co.uk






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A Letter to Hawkeye Pierce from the residents of Nova Scotia...

Dear Mr. Alda:

This is going to sound a little odd, but considering the amount of time I have spent following your career faithfully, staying up until all of hours of the night watching your shows, tracking down copies of everything you've ever been involved with, I think it's only fair that you grant my one request....

Please stop making it snow. We've had five snowstorms, and a "weather bomb" out here in the last two weeks, coupled with at least four power outages that have gone on for hours and hours. In vain, I searched for the common thread. Then, I finally hit on it....You.

Let me explain.... You see, one of my New Year's resolutions is to try and get all of my favourite episodes of M*A*S*H on tape. Every time I stay up to watch the show without making any efforts to record it, the weather has been crisp and clear. Every time I mutter to myself at some point during the day, "mustn't forget to record to M*A*S*H" the skies open up. I know this, for I have a six hour tape which is presently chock full of the first half of most of the second season episodes. 

I must admit, it wasn't originally M*A*S*H that drew my attention. See, along with being president elect of the Nova Scotia chapter of your fans, I'm known far and wide as being the founding member of Dustin Hoffman Addicts Anonymous. (I have actually spent eight Canadian dollars for my own copy of Hero. (Stop laughing.) Whilst strolling through my local video shop a number of years ago, I picked up a movie that looked as though it would be pretty decent; Mad City. I took it out partially because of DH, and also partly because working with reporters I find that I enjoy having a gander at flicks that don't paint all of them as brainless dweebs. (How many movies can you name really fast on the level of All the President's Men?) As a film critic, I have always found it's the bravest actors who not only play the most unlikeable characters, but give them more than just a black and white personality. Your turn as Kevin Hollander (Hoffman's career driven counterpart) was just that. Brave, and skilful, letting the audience have a look into the mind of a man, who in other hands might have come off as one dimensional.

The Object of My Affection is one of the sweetest movies that I've ever seen. Not to spoil the plot for anyone, but I too have ambled merrily down the road of bad romantic choices, and identified perhaps a little too strongly with Jennifer Aniston's character. The spirit you gave to Sidney Miller (Aniston's brother in law for those who haven't yet seen it) reminds me so much of my family. I found his sense of feeling sort of befuddled by his sister's decisions, but not being judgmental at all to be incredibly warming I laughed ‘till I thought I'd die at Canadian Bacon. You made a FANTASTIC president of the United States.

When my friends and I went to see it you couldn't hear half the movie for us giggling. Especially at our "Canadian evil oozing down like maple syrup into the states". *hehehehehehehehehehehe*. You looked as though you were having the time of your life through the whole production. (How could you help it? It was a Canadian film after all. *insert a patriotic comment of your choice here*)

Alan Alda as Hawkeye PierceBecause of you Mr. Alda, I am watching PBS programming (much to the mocking of my digital cableite friends). I love Scientific American Frontiers. Being a parent, I was entranced by the episode 'Growing up Different'. The look on your face when that little girl hears sound for the first time was wonderful. (My little girl is struggling with her speech due to hearing loss). Unlike a lot of programming of its genre it's has a very friendly and open feel to it. I am completely aware of the fact that all the lights in my house will promptly go out when I attempt to record this one as well, but being the sports fan that I am, I am going to attempt to copy the next episode; 'On the Ball'. Your genuine humour and sense of fun is giving Disney's Bill Nye a run for his money. You just seem to always be having a lot of fun.

I realize just how much like a twelve year old this will make me sound (I have in fact just turned 24) but here goes:

I am completely charmed by your portrayal of Hawkeye. Every time I watch M*A*S*H I note what an endearing, strong, convicted character you gave life to. It seems so effortless. I am willing to make a bet that's because he's the closest to your personality; anti-violence, creative, caring, a good friend, but most of all with a huge heart.

So, in closing, Mr. Alda, it is now 11pm in Nova Scotia. My VCR has just turned on, and the local weather forecast for this evening is calling for ten to fifteen centimetres of snow followed by freezing rain and ice pellets. The lights may be flickering, but my hope is alive that I might finally get a copy of the M*A*S*H episode 'Lend A Hand' on tape. (Featuring you and your family members Father Robert and Brother Antony). I'm watching out the window with dismay, seeing the weather piling up, and am wishing feverently that you will stop making it snow soon. If this keeps up I'll be trapped inside my house wondering how all these half episodes end.


PS: There's a plane ticket and a snow shovel on it's way to you. My driveway isn't going to shovel itself you know...


For an episode guide to M*A*S*H plus cast and crew details go to:
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