It’s rare that MAS*H uses optical effects, but in one of the spookiest episodes, “Follies of the Living – Concerns of the Dead,” audiences watched as a soldier’s soul leaves his body and then wanders the camp, unaware that he’s dead.
The only person who can see the soldier is Klinger, who spends the episode afflicted by a fever, which is what, we’re led to believe, allows him to see the ghost.
This unusual MAS*H episode was written and directed by Alan Alda and took direct inspiration from a Twilight Zone episode written by Rod Serling called “The Passersby.”
In “The Passersby,” a group of Civil War soldiers wander a road wounded, and in the end, it is revealed that all the people on the road – civilians and soldiers – are actually dead.
For the soldier whom only Klinger can see in the MAS*H episode, the ending is the same, a realization that he’s passed on, despite believing himself to still walk among the living.
Many fans have pointed out that it’s appropriate for Klinger to be the star of this episode because Klinger actor Jamie Farr actually briefly featured in that exact Twilight Zone episode in one of his earliest TV roles.
In the Twilight Zone episode, Farr appears at the very beginning of the episode as a wounded soldier, with a covering over his face.
Because he has no lines, Farr was uncredited on the episode, but MAS*H made up the difference by reviving the plot and casting Farr to star two decades later.
Because it references one of Farr’s earliest onscreen gigs, for fans, this episode marks how far Farr had come as an actor.
When Farr’s career began in 1955 on The Red Skelton Hour, the actor’s performances were credited under his birth name Jameel Farah.
He got discovered when he answered a casting call and beat out 650 others to land a role in the 1955 Glenn Ford movie Blackboard Jungle.
Growing up, Farr had gone to the same high school as Danny Thomas, and he considered the sitcom star his idol, which was why he pursued acting.
The same year he landed the movie gig, he also signed a five-year contract with CBS, setting himself up to head down the same road that would lead him to The Twilight Zone, then on to MAS*H.
He eventually changed his stage name to Jamie Farr. He said casting agents sometimes confused his original name as sounding feminine.
That makes sense, since he was named for his mother, Jamelia. He said he took after her in more ways than one.
“She sang a little and acted some when she was young,” Farr told The Alternative Press in 1977.