Early scripts from M*A*S*H are pretty hard to find, especially season one. In season two, the series began to hit its stride, and with Larry Gelbart firmly at the helm, the show seemed to start over from season two, episode one. They started to write episodes that didn’t just focus on Hawkeye and the doctors in The Swamp. This episode, “Henry in Love” (02×16), focuses largely on Henry and the young lady he falls in love with while on R&R. The script for this episode is fairly complete, and even has some intriguing writing throughout. Let’s take a look!
This script is a Revised Final copy from November 20, 1973. The episode was written by Larry Gelbart and Laurence Marks. This copy has light blue pages throughout and it includes the call sheets for all four days of filming as well as the full shooting schedule. As far as production documentation goes, this script is pretty complete. Which, for my collection, its is pretty rare to have an early episode with all of the documentation included. But this script holds a few mysteries.
The first is these pages of notebook paper that are at the beginning. There are five, handwritten pages that appear to be wardrobe notes. It seems that the writer of these pages included the scene number, the set, the character, and the costume number. I am no sure where the costume numbers came from as there is no master list of costumes in this script. This is very different from the wardrobe pages that Albert Frankel used later in the series. But the mystery continues as we flip through the script itself.
On the back of the majority of the pages throughout, we see the costume details for each scene, or a series of scenes. On this page, for example, there are a few scenes covered in the Officers’ Club. The list of costumes, or in some cases simple costume notes, are listed for each character. But we only see the male characters listed: Henry, Frank, Hawkeye, Trapper, and Kwang. Margaret was also in this scene, so this must have been used by the men’s costumer on set. I have looked online, and I cannot find any information about who this might have been in the early season.
The rest of the script is pretty standard. Strangely, there are no revised pages in this script, but that doesn’t mean that revised pages weren’t issued. Several changes were made to this episode compared to what this script shows. Those will be reviewed in a moment. Whoever used this script was clearly on set since they had the shooting schedule and call sheets. They also marked out pages as scenes were filmed. There are several scripts in the collection that I can identify who they belonged to, but sadly, this isn’t one of them. I have reviewed it cover to cover, and I never found a name. I would really like to know who this script belonged to so their role in M*A*S*H can be properly credited.
The Final Episode
Season two is my favorite season because there really isn’t a bad episode in the bunch. This episode is no exception as it is funny and has some poignant moments. When Henry returns from Tokyo, we learn that he has fallen in love with someone who is much younger than him. She visits the camp, much to the dismay of just about everyone, and ends up kissing Hawkeye by the end of her visit. The episode ends with Henry admitting that that woman he truly loves is back in Bloomington and has overdrawn the checking account. The topic of infidelity is discussed several times on M*A*S*H, and it is usually Henry and Trapper that we see being unfaithful to their wives. Interestingly, this one of the episodes that doesn’t really have a “B” storyline. Everything in the episode revolves around the visit of Nancy Sue Parker.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a Revised Final copy of the script, but it also doesn’t have any revised pages. That itself isn’t all that unusual, but what is unusual is the number of changes made between the script and the final episode. At the beginning, when Radar tells Frank that Henry called, we see the call in the script (page 2). Then, there is a scene cut in the O.R. where Hawkeye and Trapper are discussing a prank they play on Frank (pages 5 – 7) and that prank is them putting Frank and his cot in a box. We do see a similar scene in another episode, however. The next scene, Henry returning to the 4077th, is much longer in the script (pages 8 – 10). Strangely, the cut for the commercial break between Act 1 and Act 2 is moved. Finally, the scene between Henry and Nancy in the VIP tent is longer in the script (pages 24-25). There are a lot of changes, more than I think I have seen for these posts! Since there is nothing in the final episode that isn’t in the script, I assume that the scenes were cut for time. Had these scenes remained, the script would have been another seven or eight pages!
Overall, this is a classic, season two episode of M*A*S*H and this script has an interesting story to tell. I am left with the mystery of who this script belonged to, but perhaps that is something that can be solved in time!