This M*A*S*H episode is your chance to hear teenage Superman’s real voice
Jeff East had his vocal performance redubbed in the superhero classic.
“Settling Debts” comes late in the MAS*H, mere episodes before the landmark finale. The 11th-season tale largely surrounds Hawkeye receiving a letter from Col. Potter’s wife. She has paid off their mortgage and that merits a celebration. The more dramatic subplot revolves around Lieutenant Pavelich, who has been hit by a sniper leading to a loss of feeling in his legs. His friend and fellow soldier Sgt. Lally looks to exact revenge for the paralysis.
Jeff East plays Pavelich. Something in the back of your brain will nag you when you see him. He’s eerily familiar. Because he has a key part in one of the biggest blockbusters of all time.
Only, his hair was a different color — and his voice was not his voice.
East is best known as teenage Clark Kent in the 1978 Superman: The Movie. He kicks a football in the stratosphere and runs home faster than a locomotive.
A few years earlier, East had portrayed Huck Finn in a couple of Mark Twain adaptations you might have once watched in school. Some roles on The Magical World of Disney led to his casting in Superman. Though he was playing high school Clark Kent, the actor was about 21 at the time.
He also had no idea that producers would redub his vocal performance. The director replaced East’s voice with the film’s star Christopher Reeve speaking the lines. Listen to Reeve’s voice coming out of East’s body here.
“Not happy about it because the producers never told me what they had in mind!” East confessed in a 2004 interview with Superman Homepage. “It was done without my permission and it turned out to be okay. Chris [Reeve] did a good job but it caused tension between us!”
The secretive replacement of his voice led to some bad blood which simmered for years. Thankfully, they eventually put it behind them.
“I spent several months with [Christopher Reeve] in London and had a generally good experience with him he was helpful in bringing my character of young Clark to life,” East recalled to Superman Homepage. “We resolved our issues with each other years later and I was with Chris in Niagara Falls 2001 to raise money for the Christopher Reeve Foundation! It was a very important resolve for us both!”
It’s a lesson similar to his powerful MAS*H moment — you have to learn to make peace.