Many of the M*A*S*H actors know how to be charismatic in interviews and on-screen, but that definitely wasn’t the case when one former U.S president visited the set. The show aired from 1972 to 1983 on CBS. M*A*S*H’s production company was 20th Century Fox Television, and one former president happened to be on the board: Gerald Ford.
Ford, who was on the Fox board, paid a visit to the M*A*S*H cast and crew with a large group of secret service in tow. It seems the actors didn’t quite know what to do. Ford, however, was reportedly quite friendly.
“It was like a funeral. No one spoke,” Luthor Rizzo actor G.W. Bailey told The Hollywood Reporter “We rehearsed and shot our scenes. Finally, the president leaves and Harry says in as loud a booming voice as he has, “How come nobody’s yelled ‘f***’ in the last two hours?”
Obviously, the cast was used to a certain level of rambunctiousness on set that wouldn’t have been appropriate for a presidential visit.
Alan Alda Once Spoke Up About His Favorite ‘M*A*S*H’ Episodes
Alan Alda led M*A*S*H throughout all eleven seasons as the legendary Hawkeye. One of his favorite episodes was titled Dreams. The episode was about, well – dreaming. It aired in 1980 and followed the characters as they all had vivid dreams. The episode was the first to be nominated by The Writers’ Guild of America for both a comedy and a drama award.
Point of View was another favorite for Alda according to CNN. Production shot the episode through the point of view of a soldier, with the camera functioning as his eyes.
Life Time, was an episode shot in real-time. It followed the M*A*S*H characters trying to save a soldier’s life within twenty minutes. Finally, The Interview is also a favorite of his. The episode takes on an almost mocumentary like style where a TV reporter interviews members of the 4077th.
A lot of Alda’s favorite episodes were incredibly experimental in nature, both in filming and on paper. For him, those episodes really stuck out. While some of the episode ideas such as the premise of The Interview don’t seem to experimental, they definitely were at the time.
The Show Was Wildly Popular Despite Some Episodes that Didn’t Work
He did tell CNN that some episodes really didn’t work.
“There are a few all of us wish we didn’t have to do because the idea didn’t work. The one about a gold jeep was a low point. There are a lot in the middle, and some that were really good,” he said.
M*A*S*H had multiple award-winning episodes. These barely scratch the surface of all that the show covered. And while it centers on the Korean war, it still feels relevant to both new and old fans. The series finale of the show holds the record for the most-watched episode of scripted TV of all time. With its popularity and intriguing episodes, it’s no wonder the former President wanted to pay a visit.