Wardrobe selection matters, especially for “M*A*S*H” actor Jamie Farr in his role of Cpl. Max Klinger. One outfit had a little history.
Obviously, if you have seen “M*A*S*H” reruns, then you know Klinger was always trying to get out of the Army. He wore dresses as a way to show Cols. Henry Blake and Sherman Potter that he deserved a Section 8, which would send Klinger home to Toledo, Ohio.
Blake was played by McLean Stephenson and Potter was played by Harry Morgan. Both actors from the classic TV series are now dead.
But those dresses, wow, talk about some show-business history with them. One, though, has a little extra touch of ginger to it.
‘M*A*S*H’ Star Wore A Lot Of Dresses From Famous Leading Ladies
“I wore all of the famous dresses,” Farr said in a 2019 interview with the Australian TV show Studio 10. “I had a Bette Davis dress. I had a Betty Grable dress on.”
“Ginger Rogers?” Studio 10 interviewer Craig Bennett asks.
“OK, I love this story,” Farr, who played Klinger for the entire “M*A*S*H” run on CBS, said. “This was a Ginger Rogers outfit that was hanging in the Fox wardrobe department. And I’m in the commissary the next day shooting the next episode and who’s in the commissary but Ginger Rogers.
“You know, she comes over and says, ‘Jamie, I saw your show last night and you wore my outfit on that show,’” Farr said.
“And she says, ‘I wanna tell you something. It looked a hell of a lot better on you than it did on me,’” he said.
Show Writers Help Raise Awareness Of Farr’s Hometown In Unique Way
Remember we mentioned earlier about Klinger wanting out of the Army to go home to
Toledo, Ohio? Well, that city actually is Jamie Farr’s real hometown.
When “M*A*S*H” show writers were looking for a way to raise awareness of Klinger’s hometown, they found an interesting way to do so.
Klinger’s character slowly moved away from his cross-dressing ways once he took over working directly under Col. Potter. He stared wearing regular Army clothes. Sometimes, though, you can catch him in a Toledo Mud Hens uniform top.
There really is a minor-league baseball team in Toledo called the Mud Hens. During the show’s run, the Mud Hens were part of the International League.
Writers Larry Gelbart, David Isaacs, and Ken Levine all were minor-league baseball fans. Having Klinger wear a Mud Hens uniform to connect him even more to his hometown of Toledo made sense.
It not only helped give Klinger more depth. It also brought some major-league advertising to the Mud Hens on one of television’s highest-rated shows.