Alan Alda is parting ways with some of Captain Benjamin “Hawkeye” Pierce’s things via a MASH auction. The actor played the iconic role for 11 years in one of the most successful sitcoms of all time. 40 years since MASH ended, Alda is putting up some of his best mementos from the series.
Per the Associated Press, Alda is putting Hawkeye’s dog tags and combat boots up for auction. He wore both items during his more than a decade stint as a surgical doctor at MASH‘s 4077. Read the actor’s full quote below:
There’s an old belief among actors that when you put the shoes of the character on, it’s easier to believe you’re the character and I think the boots had that effect on me.
I saw those names every day. It was an interesting experience to put them on. I wasn’t dealing with props. I was dealing with something that put me in touch with real people.
Why Hawkeye’s Dog Tags and Combat Boots Are Important To MASH
Considering how long it was on the air, the sitcom had its fair share of character departures and arrivals. Early on, MASH had a cast exodus, with players like Trapper and Henry Blake leaving the series. Throughout the years, however, Hawkeye remained the center of the show. Despite being an ensemble series, there was no denying that Alda’s wise-cracking surgeon was its central figure. He was funny, which fit with MASH‘s comedic nature, but he also delivered some great dramatic moments. The actor was also an integral part of the series’ creative team, directing and writing countless episodes.
Hawkeye’s dog tags and boots were an extension of the character. Per Alda, the dog tags he wore didn’t even have his own names because they belonged to actual soldiers. Considering MASH‘s anti-war messaging, it was symbolic for his primary character to sport something worn on the front lines. As for the combat boots, they were at the forefront of one of the most hilarious, yet grounded episodes of the show. In it, Hawkeye had to go to ridiculous lengths just to get a brand-new pair because his were tattered. It highlighted how difficult life had been for him and his fellow 4077 personnel.
Alda’s MASH memorabilia items will go up for auction hosted by Heritage Auctions on July 28 in Dallas. The proceeds will go to Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University in New York, a center that aims to help scientists and doctors to better communicate.