The remaining cast members of M*A*S*H will be part of a reunion on Fox and it will feature a new interview with Wayne Rogers. This is interesting because Rogers, who died in 2015, left the show after its third season. Yet he remained attached to M*A*S*H as new generations grew up seeing him play Trapper John McIntyre.
Fox will air the two-hour reunion on Jan. 1. It marks the 40th anniversary of their record-setting finale, Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen.
Executive producer John Scheinfeld talked about including Wayne Rogers’ interview as part of the special with TV Line. “What we did is we shot two days here in L.A., and Wayne and Jamie (Farr) and Burt (Metcalfe) and Gene (Reynolds) were all here the same day,” he said. “It was kind of a love-fest, lots of hugging, lots of memories and all of that. And then we shot three in New York — Alan (Alda), Loretta (Swit), and Gary (Burghoff) — all in one day, but they all had busy schedules so they came in on time and they did not cross paths.”
Remaining ‘M*A*S*H’ Cast Members Appear In Special
Alda, Swit, Burghoff, Farr, and Mike Farrell all will appear in the special. Fox is terming this as the “definitive” special about M*A*S*H.
Why did Wayne Rogers leave the show? He felt like the scripts were putting Alda’s Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce above him. Rogers just felt like M*A*S*H was getting too top-heavy toward Alda. It was upon his departure that Farrell came in and joined the cast as B.J. Hunnicutt.
The show ran for more than a decade on CBS. In the beginning, show creator Larry Gelbart handled a number of the show’s scripts and dealt with issues that came up. Metcalfe and Reynolds played integral roles in keeping the show moving forward. Their contributions came in off-camera roles.
There was not a proper send-off for Rogers because he left between seasons. Writers didn’t have a chance to put together a farewell for Trapper John. So, Rogers could not receive a well-crafted goodbye as Burghoff and McLean Stevenson did while they were on there.
Alan Alda Had Cast Together On His Podcast
It also should be noted that Rogers’ contributions were not for naught. He proved to be a valuable partner in mayhem along with Alda.
About five years ago, Alda had the remaining cast members join him on his podcast. They talked about the endearing nature of M*A*S*H over the years. This new special probably will have scenes featuring the show’s cast interspersed with interviews.
M*A*S*H did lean heavily on jokes and a laugh track in early seasons. As the show went along, though, episodes reflected different facets of living in a war zone. Alda, who wrote and directed a number of episodes, let “Hawkeye” and his unbridled emotions flow out. Swit’s Margaret Houlihan also was shown dealing with marriage and divorce.
In other words, it appears the show tended to bend toward serious subjects. The laugh track became pretty much obsolete, letting the dialogue speak for itself. Also, cast members could go through problems and deal with them individually.
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