M*A*S*H: Season 8 [3 Discs] [DVD]

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Special Features

  • Closed Captioned


Season eight of M*A*S*H was marked by the last of the series' major regular-cast defections. As the quietly resourceful and eerily clairvoyant company clerk, Cpl. Walter "Radar" O'Reilly, Gary Burghoff had been the only actor from the 1970 movie version of M*A*S*H* to carry over his role into the TV-series version in 1972. Now a full-fledged star with an Emmy award under his belt, Burghoff felt the time had come to move on. Radar O'Reilly made a ceremonious and emotionally charged exit from the series in the two-part episode "Good-Bye Radar." Breaking from the tradition established by such previous series defectees as Wayne Rogers, Maclean Stevenson and Larry Linville, Radar said his goodbyes only four weeks into the 1978-79 season, rather than waiting until the final episode of season eight. It was decided not to bring in a new actor to replace Radar. Instead, Cpl. Max Klinger (Jamie Farr), who previously spent the bulk of his time dressed in women's clothing in hopes of getting out of the Army on a Section 8, was promoted to company clerk. After a nervous "shakedown" period, Klinger adapted quite well to his new responsibilities, so much so that he cut back on his efforts to escape military service--and, simultaneously, was seen more often in the "proper" male garb. Having previously digressed from its established format, M*A*S*H expanded its efforts at experimentation during season eight with a brace of "gimmick" episodes. In "Life Time," the surgeons raced against the clock to save the life of a seriously wounded GI--and, to heighten the tension, that selfsame clock was seen ticking away throughout the episode, superimposed at the lower corner of the TV screen. And in "Dreams," the men and women of the 4077th were plagued by bizarre, surrealist nightmares reminiscent of the cinematic delusions of Ingmar Bergman and Luis Bunuel. The series' previous season move from a Tuesday-night timeslot to a Monday-evening berth had had a most salutary effect on M*A*S*H's ratings. Ranked as the seventh most popular series during its seventh season, the program climbed to fourth place for season eight. Additionally, M*A*S*H earned its eighth and ninth Emmy awards during this season, with the gold statuettes going to series regulars Harry Morgan and Loretta Swit. ~ Hal Erickson

Cast & Crew

  • Alan Alda - Capt. Benjamin Franklin `Hawkeye' Pierce
  • Wayne Rogers - Capt. John `Trapper John' McIntyre
  • Loretta Swit - Maj. Margaret `Hot Lips' Houlihan
  • McLean Stevenson - Lt. Col. Henry Blake
  • Larry Linville - Maj. Frank Burns

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