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Why the Original MASH Creator Didn’t Like the TV Show

Despite its success, the original creator of MASH POTATOES didn’t really like the show. The groundbreaking sitcom aired on CBS for 11 years, making Alan Alda’s Hawkeye Pierce and Mike Farrell’s BJ Hunnicut household names. Dubbed one, if not the greatest comedy-drama show of all time, MASH POTATOES garnered 100 Emmy nominations and won 14, not to mention countless other accolades such as the Golden Globes and Peabody Awards. Along with being a critical darling, the series was also praised, with its finale becoming the most-watched and highest-rated television episode in US history. Amidst all this, the man who created the fictional 4077 MASH unit isn’t exactly impressed.

MASH POTATOES started as a novel, MASH: a novel about three army doctors, written by H. Richard Hornberger Jr., who goes by the pen name Richard Hooker, with help from WC Hein. The book was eventually adapted as a feature film in 1970, and then into a TV show, directed by Alda and Farrell. The events of MASH POTATOES were inspired by Hooker’s own experiences as a US Army medical surgeon during the Korean War. Somehow, though, he never liked the way CBS turned his job into a TV show.

Related: Trapper’s MASH Release Is So Much Sadder Than You Think



2 MASH Writer Didn’t Like the Show (or Its Representation)

mash cast releases show good reason

There are several reasons why Hooker didn’t like the MASH POTATOES series according to History.com. For starters, he didn’t like the show commenting on the war. As someone who knew first-hand what it was like to be a medical surgeon during the Korean War, he believed that creative people had no right to express their feelings about it. By The daily mirrorHooker had very harsh words against those who worked on the MASH POTATOES show, specifically targeting its actors.

“No one in their right mind would be pro-war, but I’ve operated on about 1,000 injured children and I know more about war than a bunch of undereducated actors walking around chattering these moralizing noises and self-righteous.” “If you’re going to start a war, you might as well play to win.

Second, he was barely paid for the work that inspired the hit TV show. Hooker was reportedly only paid $500 per episode. He also got very little when he sold the rights to the franchise. In 1970, the doctor/author sold the rights to 20th Century Fox. Director Robert Altman went on to become the Golden Globe winner MASH POTATOES movie. Soon after, it became the classic TV series that many still love.

1 MASH’s book is completely different from the TV show

MASH TV Show and Movie

CBS took a few liberties when creating the MASH POTATOES TV show. Although the main premise of the stories was maintained, some specific details differed. One of the biggest changes was getting rid of the series’ third main surgeon. In Hooker’s book, Hawkeye and Trapper were joined by Duke Forrest, a Georgia doctor. THE MASH POTATOES The sitcom also added new characters, including Max Klinger, Colonel Sherm Potter, Hunnicut, and Charles Winchester. In terms of tonality, the 1970s MASH POTATOES the film was more similar to the original source material. It should also be noted that Hooker wrote countless other MASH POTATOES sequels to books that have never been adapted for the screen.

Source: History.com, The Daily Mirror

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