Question: General Clayton says that he confirmed the news of a ceasefire with "CINCOMPAC" (according to the subtitles). What the heck is CINCOMPAC?
Answer: It is actually Cencompac for Central Command of the Pacific. It is like the headquarters for all military activity in the Pacific Region (Japan, Korea, Okinawa, etc. The newer version of that is United States Pacific Command (USPACOM).
Question: A number of times it is mentioned that the outfit is unarmed, yet several times, Frank has a rifle, or a pistol, and once Klinger had a grenade, and the guards and Klinger, while on sentry duty, has a rifle. Was this standard, or is this a mistake?
Answer: Even an Army field hospital would have SOME weapons for self-defense if the enemy attacked. What's meant is that it's not a combat outfit, and therefore wouldn't have enough weapons to actually attack anyone. (It's also mentioned a few times that the Officer of the Watch is supposed to carry a pistol at all times, but Hawkeye refuses to do it when he's in charge and Colonels Blake and Potter don't enforce the rule).
Question: Talking with stripper Candy Doyle, Potter remarks that he still remembers how she used to spin her tassels and that he is reminded of this every time he sees a C 42 revving up. On the net I do find references to a C40A, a C47 and others, but no reference to an aircraft of the time called a C 42. What would he have been referring to?
Answer: The C-42 was a military variant of the Douglas DC-2. Very few C-42's were built, so it's questionable that Potter would specifically have seen that particular model, but, given his military background, it's not entirely unreasonable that he might use the military designation even when the aircraft in question is actually a civilian DC-2.
Question: There are several close-up shots of the wounded soldier throughout the episode and I've wondered for some time what the surgeons (i.e. Hawkeye, B.J., etc) are really working on during their parts in surgery.
Answer: Throughout the show, you never actually see a wound, but some things about how they did it can be deduced from the shots: Hawkeye first simply sticks his hand under the rather thick, blood soaked pressure bandage. In the OR, they put the wounded soldier into a canvas bathtub, which of course is very handy for hiding prop tricks as well. We can see hawkeye juggling bandages and fiddling with sutures, but we can't really see where he puts them. Most probably, he put them into the bandages that he threw in, which probably the wounded soldier actor held in place for him. That guy probably also operated the squirting blood effect. Another possibility we know was used (because it's visible in one episode of Season 11) is prop-blood soaked polyurethane foam, which they either mounted onto the operating table or strapped onto an actor's body and could cut, sew and clamp it for real.
Question: All through the series the doctors can be shipped stateside if they earn enough points. How did the points system work and how come Hawkeye never gained enough even though he was there from the beginning?
Answer: Points are awarded for months in service, months overseas, medals received, combat stars awarded to their unit, and his number of children. Hawkeye, having no children, no medals, and no combat stars, would have a longer term of service than a soldier in combat. The episode 'Peace On Us' (Season 7, Episode 2)has the army upping the number of points needed to be discharged making Hawkeye angry because he needs to stay in Korea that much longer.
Question: Why was Margret's last name changed from O'Houlihan in the film to Houlihan in the TV series?
Answer: The sheer alliteration makes "Houlihan" a more natural match for "Hotlips" than "O'Houlihan," which the creators of the TV show recognized. The character was based on real-life MASH nurse "Hotlips" Hammerly, which also may have prompted the switch.
Question: Why was the song "My Blue Heaven" used so much in the first season?
Answer: My guess is because Fats Domino's version was #17 on Billboard's charts for 1957. It helps identify the time period. And, I think, at the time copyright laws only protected material for 25 years after release so the song was free to use. Now, material is protected for 75 years.
Question: During the opening sequence, there are side shots of the incoming choppers that make the choppers appear to be flying backwards. When you see the choppers from the ground, they are flying forwards. Was this intentional?
Answer: The first shot, that looks like the helicopter are moving backwards is a shot within a helicopter. The helicopter that is filming is moving faster than the others making it appear that the others are going in reverse.
Question: In the early part of this episode, what is the song playing on Pierce and Hunnicutt's radio, which Charles remarks that "They can neither sing nor spell!"?
Answer: The song is "Rag Mop" written in 1950 by Deacon Anderson and Johnnie Lee Will. The song is also later mentioned in the season 11 episode "Hey Look Me Over," when Nurse Kellye reads Hawkeye the riot act.
Question: While writing to his wife, Col. Potter refers to getting a cup of Joe meaning coffee, why does he call it a cup of Joe?
Answer: The term actually comes from the US Navy and made its way into modern civilian jargon today. Its origin comes from the following: Josephus Daniels (18 May 1862-15 January 1948) was appointed Secretary of the Navy by President Woodrow Wilson in 1913. Among his reforms of the Navy were inaugurating the practice of making 100 Sailors from the Fleet eligible for entrance into the Naval Academy, the introduction of women into the service, and the abolishment of the officers' wine mess. From that time on, the strongest drink aboard Navy ships could only be coffee and over the years, a cup of coffee became known as "a cup of Joe".
Question: What is the title of the song Ellie Carlyle dedicates to Maj. Winchester, calling him "a swell guy - with a head to match"? Winchester's reaction implies the song is some kind of joke in its own right.
Answer: The song is the accordion rendition of "Lady of Spain" by Robert Hargreaves and Stanley J. Damerell. It's Ellie's retort to Winchester's earlier quip in the mess tent, where he said "That's quite a retort from our lady of Spain"
Question: When watching M*A*S*H over the air, why does it seem like some/most of the audio sounds like an echo, as if it was coming through a soup can?
Answer: FOX wasn't always so sure M*A*S*H would turn out well. It was years before it achieved such success in syndication. As such, some of the earlier prints and negatives aren't in such great condition.