Alan Alda could have done without those iconic shower scenes on M*A*S*H.
When people think of M*A*S*H, two images likely come to mind—the wooden signpost and the makeshift shower.
The signpost served as great memorabilia, and the shower created some of the funniest moments. But what most fans don’t realize is that filming those classic shower scenes was incredibly uncomfortable. And “Hawkeye” actor Alan Alda has some not so fond memories of them.
In 1983, Alan and his wife Arlene put together a scrapbook titled The Last Days of M*A*S*H. In it, he detailed filming his very last shower scene. And he noted that all the scenes were just as embarrassingly unforgettable as that one.
“As we worked in the shower that week, I remembered all of the scenes we had shot there and how they would often be scheduled at just the wrong time. They would usually come after I had spent a solid week indulging myself in Chinese food,” he wrote. “I would often stand there exposed from the waist up, wishing I had just a little less Moo Goo Gai Pan hanging from my pectorals.”
Those familiar scenes with our favorite characters cracking jokes as they used up their daily water rations were some of our favorite parts of the series. But the castmates were doing a great job acting—because, behind their personas, they were miserable.
“Even when lithe and beautiful, I was a little embarrassed by shower scenes,” Alda admitted in his book. “We were naked except for little flesh-colored bikinis. And from the side of the set, you could see all our loveliness.”
So the next time you’re enjoying one of those iconic scenes, try and remember what those poor actors went through to film them.
‘M*A*S*H’ Star Mike Farrell Was Proud to Serve in the Marines
Before Mike Farrell was serving in the Korean war as Captain Honeycutt on M*A*S*H, he was a real-life Marine stationed in Okinawa.
“There is a sense of pride attached to being a Marine,” Farrell told We Are the Mighty. “You can’t avoid having that sense of pride because they just beat the crap out of you in order to make you what you need to be.”
Being a Marine and acting on M*A*S*H was a bit of a conflict for Farrell, though. The dramedy was heavily anti-war due to the climate of Vietnam.
However, Mike Farrell was able to separate the current conflict from his role in uniform. Because the people in charge don’t always instruct soldiers to do the right thing. And those decisions were not the fault of the service member.
“I was in the Marines, and in the Marines, you learn to do what the people in charge tell you,” Farrell said then. “And mostly, it’s a matter of meeting the demands of the authorities which posit you against the bad guy, whoever the bad guy might be.”