Friday, August 6, 2010

M*A*S*H "Major Topper" - 1978

M*A*S*H "Major Topper
Packet No. J11

MASH was one of those television shows that seems to have been part of everyone's life. I remember it playing in the background when I was young and even as a kid I would watch it because it had a laugh track (most of the time) therefore, I thought it must have been funny, even if I didn't really get all the jokes.

I also have a weird memory of a magazine cover that sat in a rack in my elementary school library that boasted the 10th Anniversary of MASH with a strange Picassoesque image of Hot Lip. As least I think it was Hot Lips.

I also had a hamster named Radar.

Anyway, as an adult I appreciate MASH on a whole other level. I also now understand Major Houlihan's nickname. (The nickname was so much part of the show that once I was old enough to realize the implications, I just never thought about it.)

Thanks to Rob Kelly, blogger dynamo, and operator of the blog After Mash, I am bringing you this 1978 View-Master tribute to everyone's favorite mobile medical team. Thanks Rob!

There are a couple elements of note on this reel set. While looking through you'll notice 3 frames ( B7, C4 and C6) which include a secondary images awkwardly inserted. As well as a Word Find included in the accompanying book. Now, I have seen the inset images, though rarely. But this is the first Word Find I have ever run across myself. Pretty cool stuff! (At least to a View-Master geek.)


MASH 4077, the little world of courageous men and women who care for the wounded as they come out of battle. When going gets tough, Klinger wears a dress! Or Radar offers to lend Colonel Potter his teddy bear. But for Hawkeye and B.J. there's no humor in their tent mate Major Charles Winchester, better known as "Major Topper." Whatever they can do, he can do better.

"Them bones, them bones, them thigh bones ... " sings Hawkeye to Hot Lips as they splint breaks in the Operating Room.

Operating Room

"This is a tough one. I'm going to have to do a lobectomy," says B.J.

Charles begins his daily bragging routine.

"Major Topper"

"Perhaps I should take that, Hunnicutee. I've done at least fifty of those in the Big War."

"What war was that?"

"The War of the Boston Commuters. You name it and I've done it ... successfully."

"Game, set and match to Winchester," quips Hot Lips.

"The snow's getting pretty think in here," says Colonel Potter, trying to keep peace.

"I'm going to get even someday," promises Hawkeye.

"Meanwhile in the mess tent, Klinger is breaking in a new man."This serving ain't a bad gig. Once you lose your sense of smell, you got it licked." But Corporal "Boots" Miller acts very strange. As Klinger hands him a ladle, he begins talking into it.

"One, two, three, testing."

"One, two, three, testing. One, two, three, testing."

Colonel Potter and Father Mulcahy come through the line.

"One brown
puddle. Hold
the shingle."

"Have some stew, Colonel?"

"What kind is it?"

"It could be beef, port or water buffalo. We'll never know and it won't tell."

"Just as long as it's dead. Spoon it on, son. No toast."

Boots barks into the ladle, "One brown puddle. Hold the shingle."

After the meal, B.J. and Hawkeye play chess.

"It's my turn
to beat you."

"That's not fair, B.J. It's my turn to beat you."

Up pops the voice of Charles!
"Did I ever
tell you... "

"Did I ever tell you guys about the time I won the Intercollegiate Chess Tournament for Harvard?"

"Oh, no! I swear someday I'll top you, Charles!"

Boots begins interviewing the men with this stew-dripping ladle.

"What's your name, soldier, and what do you do?

"My name is Colonel Potter, soldier, and I bust wiseacres like you."

Hawkeye backs away claiming "ladle fright."

Finally Boots spots Hot Lips coming into the tent.

"Ah, here's a young lad with peach fuzz still on his cheeks. How old are you, sonny?"

"How old are
you, sonny?"

"Sonny?" Hot Lips asks. "What's going on? Keep him away from me, Klinger. Isn't one of you enough?"

Back in Post-Op more serious troubles concern B.J. and Hawkeye. Nurse Baker alerts them to a serious reaction to a medication.

"We need more

When Radar goes for a new batch, he finds there'll be no more until another shipment arrives in the morning!

In their tent Klinger decides to be firm with Boots.

"Shape up,

"It's time we had a little nut-to-nut talk. The microphone bit is strictly for sandlots psychos. This is the Big Leagues, guy. Up here it takes seasoning, finesse. So from now on you just shut up, put down you ladle, and watch me."

"Right, Klinger! Well good night, Mr. Shoe.

"Good night
Mr. Shoe."

And good night to you, too, Mr. Socks. Don't you worry about this hole. Mr. Toes doesn't mind at all."

Klinger doesn't believe it!

Back in Potter's office, the gang meets and decides how to get through the night until the new medication arrives fro Seoul.

"Let's try a
new pain

Colonel Potter remembers when he was a boy in Missouri. His Aunt Grace come down with a terrible headache and old Doc Schumacher cured it with a couple of pills.

"What kind of magic was in those pills?" asked B.J.

"Sugar!" answered Potter.

"Sugar? Are you suggesting that we keep our wounded sedated all night with only sugar?"

"It's all we've got. If we sell it, it might work."

Hawkeye and B.J. agree that sugar pills are the only chance to prevent shock in their patients. At the pharmacy, they convince Glassberg that they have to do a spot inventory.

"We need to do
a shot

"One of our tongue depressors is missing."

When he finally leaves, Hawkeye and B.J. begin making the pills. Radar arrives with the sugar. "This is all I could scrape off the doughnuts."

Father Mulcahy drops by to see whether he can help.

"You know, I've finally gotten you boys working with me. The patients will be taking these pills on faith, and they have to work."

"Let me help
says Father

Out on the compound Klinger comes to relieve Boots from guard duty.

"I got two of
those gliders!"

Boots has had a busy night.

"Quiet, Klinger. You hear that? Enemy planes!"

"I don't hear anything."

"Of course not. They're gliders."

Suddenly Boots knocks Klinger to the ground and begins shooting at the imaginary gliders.

"I got two of 'em. I got two of 'em!"

"Boots, you are nuts. If they gave me a section 8 tonight, I'd give it to you. Now go back to your tent and sit up with Mr. Shoes and Mr. Socks."

Sugar pills finished, the MASH unit starts the big experiment. As they go into Post-Op, Colonel POetter warns B.J., Hawkeye and Charles, "Remember, these pills are our only chance. They have got to work. It's up to you to convince the patients they do."

"I'm a consummate actor," says Charles. "I was in the Hasty Pudding shows ... at Harvard, you know."

"Not again," moans Hawkeye.

The Drs. begin to pass out the pills.

"You guys will
feel much
better soon."

Hot Lips predicts the wounded will feel better in ten minutes. "No seconds on these pills. They're too strong," cautions B.J. Even Father Mulcahy assures a soldier the pills are better than the ones they usually get.

When Radar comes in a little later, he can hardly believe his eyes. The patients are relaxed; some are even falling asleep!

Exhausted, Hawkeye, B.J., Potter and Charles retire to the mess tent for some coffee.

"Those guys really helped themselves. The best doctor is right up here," says Potter, pointing to his head.

"Don't spread it around. Well all be out of jobs," says Hawkeye.

"Those sugar
pills really

"I knew it would work," gloats Charles.

"Of course. I
knew they'd

The tired men walk off to their tents. Potter is suddenly stopped by Klinger.

"Sir, I've got to talk to you. That Boots is really nuts I tell you. Right now he's holding two invisible prisoners."

Just then Boots rounds the corner and fires a warning shot into the air. Klinger hits the ground and pulls Potter down with him. Boots stars running in the other direction, screaming that the prisoners are leaving on gliders.

"I told you
he's nuts."

"As soon as he runs out of ammunition, get him, Klinger. I'll be in my office writing his discharge," says Potter as he gets up and hurries out of range.

Hawkeye and B.J. are trying to relax in their tent when Charles begins his bragging again.

"You never
dated Grace

"Have you gentlemen ever heard of Grace Kelly? Well, I dated her once."

"Don't you ever give up?" says Hawkeye.

"We're calling you on this one, Chuckles."

And then and there Charles produces a picture of himself having dinner with Grace Kelly!

"I'm gonna be sick," groans Hawkeye. "Uncle!"

But Major
Topper did!

A few months later Potter and Klinger receive a package from Boots Miller at the Novelite Toy Company. In it is a sock puppet named "Stinky."

Boots goes home,
sends MASH
a puppet!

Boots writes: "Mr. Sock was invented in your camp. We've sold over 50,000 of them. Now I have an idea for a new toy, "Enemy Glider." Did you by any chance take any photos of the glider I shot down? Please send them by registered mail. This office is full of spies.

"He really was nuts!" cheers Klinger.

"We're all nuts." That's part of the fun." ends Potter.


  1. I love how only a tiny portion of the dialogue is from the show. The VM writers were obviously very confident in their abilities to write better than the staff of M*A*S*H.

  2. Rob!: I was wondering about that. I have seen this episode (many times) but it has probably been a couple of years and I wondered if the dialogue was true to the actual show.

  3. "Fah! Emmy winners, Shemmy winners! We'll show them how its done, like substituting Grace Kelly for Audrey Hepburn for no good reason!"--View-Master writing staff.

  4. Nice blog. Very creative and brings back great memories of a childhood classic.