General Clayton wants to film a documentary on a M*A*S*H unit and nominates the 4077th for filming. A movie director from Special Services, Lieutenant Bricker, is assigned to construct the film.
He meets the doctors, likes Hawkeye’s sense of humor, and wants to cast him as lead actor (art imitating life!)
Hawkeye quickly tires of Bricker’s filming methods, direction and turning the film into propaganda. Later that evening, Hawkeye and Trapper break into Bricker’s film storage unit and ruin the celluloid.
The captains are accused of ruining the film, but Bricker can prove nothing, so he decides to abandon the project and return to Seoul
Hawkeye then decides they can shoot their own film, using the camera equipment Bricker left behind along with his cameraman. After a few days of shooting, they debut it in the Mess Tent, in front of the whole camp and the visiting General Clayton.
The film featuring Hawkeye as Groucho, Trapper as Harpo, Radar, Nurse Cutler, and the rest of the gang. Makes Henry laugh and Clayton mad.
It ends with a single shot of Hawkeye talking to the camera, dead serious, “Three hours ago, this man was in a battle. Two hours ago we operated on him. He’s got a fifty-fifty chance. We win some, we lose some. That’s what it’s all about… no promises, no guaranteed survival… no ‘saints in surgical garb. Our willingness, our experience, our technique are not enough. Guns have more power to take life than we have to preserve it. Not a very happy ending. But then no war is a movie.”
Clayton isn’t thrilled, but admits parts of it were funny. He asks for all the goofy stuff in the movie to be removed, and just keep his intro and Hawkeye talking at the end, but suggests Henry keep a print of the whole thing…so they have “Something to laugh at when all this is over.”
Season 1 DVD, Episode 6: Yankee Doodle Doctor
Original Air Date: 10/22/72
Frank Burns: [practicing reciting for upcoming film] “A group of brave men are at work in a make shift operating room struggling to save your sons and brothers while outside the dogs of war bark at the door of this sanctuary.”
Trapper: [Hawkeye barks like a dog] Down, boy, down, down! Roll over. Jump through that.
Frank Burns: “These are the saints in surgical garb, dedicated surgeons, all volunteers. Every red-blooded American knows, if he is wounded, he will be in the strong, capable hands of a Yankee Doodle Doctor.”
Hawkeye, Trapper: A Yankee Doodle Doctor?! Stuck a feather in his nurse and called her macaroni.
Frank Burns: You didn’t like it?
Hawkeye: Didn’t like it? Let me count the ways.
Margaret: That’s hardly a constructive criticism.
Hawkeye: Oh, you want a *constructive* criticism. You’re right. How about, you stink! And so does this little movie show and Lieutenant Bricker.
Frank Burns: Stinks?! Oh, you, you . . .
Hawkeye: Who you calling a you-you?