Since last week was Valentine’s Day, it seemed fitting to look at a M*A*S*H episode with a love story at its core. As I was looking through the possible episodes, I noticed that I have two copies of the script for “In Love and War” (06×08). In this episode, Hawkeye falls in love with a local woman after first misjudging her attempt to get medical care because she is wealthy. He quickly learns that is not the case. After pulling out the scripts for this episode, I discovered that each one tells a very different story. Let’s take a look.
As you can see from the cover photo, one copy of the script has “sound boom” written on the cover. The sound boom is a microphone on a stick that is held over the actors who are speaking in a scene. This microphone is out of the view of the camera, but it picks up the sound nevertheless. I also really like the little illustration of a stick figure holding a sound boom mic for illustration. What is obvious though is that the sound boom copy of the script saw a lot of use. Both of these covers would have been bright green when they started, but by the end of the filming at the Ranch and on Stage 9, the sound boom copy was in rough condition.
The title page pictured above is from the sound boom script. You can clearly see foot prints and dirt on this page. This is likely from the sound boom operator putting the script on the ground as he was holding the microphone for each scene. The cover page also tells us that this script is a Revised Final copy dated September 22, 1977. The episode was written by Alan Alda, who had written a number of episodes by this point. He is credited with writing 19 episodes of M*A*S*H.
Both scripts contain several production documents including the call sheets and the shooting schedule. You can learn a lot from each of these sheets. Each day of filming has its own call sheet. It listed who was needed for each day. Not just actors, but also stand-ins (this will be important information soon). It also listed which scenes were going to be filmed each day. Looking at the call sheet, we learn that Alan Alda also directed this episode. He is credited with directing 32 episodes of M*A*S*H.
On the back of the call sheet is the production requirements sheet. This lists everything needed on set that day from cameras, production crew, lighting, costumes, and even coffee and food. Finally, the shooting schedule breaks down which scenes were scheduled to be filmed each day and how many pages of the script that would cover. Each character needed for that scene is listed as is the set on which the scene will be filmed (the Ranch or Stage 9). These documents alone demonstrate just how much effort and how many people it took to produce 26 minutes of television.
Both of these scripts have their revised pages as well, but the cleaner copy of the script (the one that does not say “sound boom” on the cover) belonged to “Ted.” I have learned that Ted was the stand-in for Mike Farrell. In a single camera show like M*A*S*H, each scene between two actors had to be filmed twice. For example, a scene between Hawkeye and BJ would be filmed once with the camera looking over BJ’s shoulder at Hawkeye, then it would be filmed again with the camera looking over Hawkeye’s shoulder at BJ. The scene would then be edited together to give the appearance of a conversation. In most cases, however, the shoulder of the person who is not talking at the time is not the actor portraying that character. So in our example, Ted would have stood in for Farrell while Alan Alda recited his lines. Ted still had to know the lines so the other actor could hit their marks. Stand-in was an interesting job, in fact, Jeff Maxwell has spoken about being Alda’s stand-in for several years on the M*A*S*H Matters podcast.
I like Ted’s scripts because he kept the cover sheets that came with the revised pages. This memo would simply instruct the actor or crew member to replace the pages in their scripts with these new pages. Each of the new pages were color coded and dated. In this script, the original pages are a pale green. The first set of revisions are on pink paper and dated September 23, 1977. The second set of revisions are on bright green paper and dated October 5, 1977. Ted also kept the pages that were replaced, so it is fun to see what changed between each draft of the script. Often, minor wording changes or typos were changed, but in some cases, scenes were completely rewritten during filming.
Ted’s script has two pages that I have never seen in any other script. The first is a “Cast Requirement” sheet that lists every character for the episode. The days and dates of filming are then listed across the top of the matrix, and an “X” is placed under each day that character is required for filming. There is a day listed for “pre-production” on this sheet that I would assume was the original table read. This is when the writers would hear the episode read out loud for the first time, then they could make any necessary changes before headed to the set. The principle cast was mostly needed every day, but some of the extras or guest cast may only be needed for a day or two. This was important because it determined their pay levels.
Both copies of the script included a map, and this is another page that has not appeared in many of the scripts that I own. M*A*S*H filmed in two locations: Stage 9 on the 20th Century Fox lot and at Century Ranch (now Malibu Creek State Park). For days that they filmed at the ranch, it makes sense that they would need to provide a map for the guest cast to find the place as it is in the hills of Malibu. This map was provided, and it is interesting that is indicates that there will be markers placed at intersections to point the way. These markers would be meaningless to someone without the map, but to the members of the cast and crew trying to find their way, it was one way to confirm that they were heading in the right direction!
Finally, Ted’s copy of the script contains two pages I had never seen before. This cast sheet is more detailed that the list we usually see in the script with only the character names. This sheet includes the actor’s representative information, address, and phone number. For the actors appearing only in this episode, their salaries also listed. Pay rates for actors are complicated and depend on how long they appear on screen and whether or not they have lines in the episode. The rates are set by the Screen Actors Guild, and must be followed by all productions. We can see the variance in pay on these pages. Kieu Chinh had a major role as Kyung Soon, and she was paid $1,000 per day for all five days. The actresses who appeared on screen and had speaking roles were paid between $300 and $350 per day, and they were only there for one day. The Korean Boy and Korean Musician didn’t have speaking parts, so they were paid $250 per day. To ensure each actor got their part filmed and ensure that the production stayed on budget would be quite a task!
Discovering that I had two scripts for this episode really excited me as I could illustrate the point that I always try to make about how each script tells a little story about how M*A*S*H was made. In Ted’s script, we learn about how the actors were scheduled as well as how they were paid. Then we also got a glimpse into the life of a sound boom operator, who was a key member of the crew, but those members of the crew are often uncredited. These two scripts remind me why I started collecting scripts 15 years ago!
The Final Episode
Hawkeye is less than pleased when Col. Potter pulls him away from triage to help a local woman requesting medical assistance and appears to be wealthy. But once he gets to know Kyung Soon, he falls in love with her. However, their brief romance is interrupted by the war. Meanwhile, a new nurse, Lt. Gleason, joins the 4077th. Margaret is upset to learn that during her farewell party in Tokyo, Lt. Gleason had a good time with a certain Lt. Col. This is a pretty good mid-series episode. The combination of the series and comedic storylines has become M*A*S*H‘s staple by this point. The love story is well written as is its end, but for me, the highlight of the episode is the scene in which Hawkeye tosses Charles steak out the front door of the Swamp!
Despite this script having two sets of revised pages, there were still a number of interesting changes between the script and the final episode. On pages 1-2, there is an interaction between BJ and Charles that was cut. On pages 16-17, the final scene between Hawkeye and Kyung Soon is shorter than it was written. Then on page 22, we see the scene between the Korean boy and Klinger asking for Hawkeye to come to Kyung Soon’s because her mother is dying. In the final episode, Hawkeye is told a boy is waiting for him, but we don’t see him. Hawkeye is in surgery and unable to leave. Finally, and most interesting to me, page 26 was revised but the lines from the original pages are what are used in the final episode. It is possible that both scenes were filmed, and in editing, the original lines between Margaret and Col. Potter were preferred.
This episode may not be one of the stand-out episodes of the series, but these two scripts stand-out in my collection and highlight two uncredited roles. The completeness of the script used by Ted with the production documents, extras sheets, and the map to the 20th Century Fox Ranch add to the story of how M*A*S*H was made. Then the copy of the script used by the sound boom operator with the fun doodle on the cover is a great contrast with Ted’s script. The sound boom operator’s script is heavily used with footprints on the title page. As I have said many times before, each script tells a story, and these two tell unique stories, but both stories contribute to the bigger picture of the production of a hit television series.