M*A*S*H (1977) – Change Day, Images, and The M*A*S*H Olympics

Laurence Marks delivers Change Day, which first aired on 8 November, 1977. It’s announced that the militaty will be changing its scrip to keep the counterfeiters and black marketeers at bay. Charles (David Ogden Stiers) comes up with a money-making scheme to buy up the locals’ scrip at a reduced rate, and then exchange it, garnering himself a profit.

Hawkeye (Alan Alda) and B.J. (Mike Farrell) find a way to foil him, even as Hawk is entrusted to exchange some scrip for a patient, and it gets stolen right from under him.

And in his latest scheme, Klinger (Jamie Farr) decides to apply to West Point, with the intentions of dropping out later, which would mean, he’s home in Toledo. If he can pass the exam.

Happily, everything evens out by episode’s end, and Charles gets his just desserts, and Hawkeye proves he’s as good as his word. This is just one of the fun episodes, there’s not a lot really going on in this one, except the moral that thievery, in any form, is not a good thing.

And knowing Charles’ family history, this makes you realise that as erudite and clever as the man is, he’s also just damned greedy, and looking to work over anyone in anyway he can. Tool.

Images was written by Burt Prelutsky and first aired on 15 November, 1977. Radar (Gary Burghoff) is debating on geting a tattoo after seeing one of the patients with some, and being intrigued by the idea. Hawkeye and B.J. try to change his mind, but the young corporal is determined.

Charles is causing problems, and Houlihan (Loretta Swit) is having difficulty with a new nurse, Cooper (Susan Blanchard), who she believes is too emotional to be serving in the mobile hospital.The nurses come to the Swamp to ask Hawk and B.J. to help out.

But in the end, they don’t have to help, Houlihan has a change of heart after an event in the camp leaves her shaken and upset.

This one is a straightforward episode but does show that different things have different effects on people, and that they all have a breaking point. Cooper gets to stay, and everything else seems to settle down for another week.

I am glad that the puppy mentioned in the mess tent, doesn’t get to be seen on camera, not sure how I would have handled that.

The M*A*S*H Olympics was penned by Ken Levine and David Isaacs, who also serves as story editors for the series. It first aired on 22 November, 1977, and sees Potter (Harry Morgan) a little perturbed by the shape (or lack thereof) of most of the staff of the camp, so he organises an olympics, and makes Hawkeye and B.J. competing team captains.

Intercut with newsreel footage and music, this one is filled with a sense of fun, and it may not get the unit into great shape, but they are sure gonna have a good time. B.J. and Hawk have a side bet that will see the winner pushed around in a wheel chair for a week, and the prize, as announced by Potter is a three day pass.

Houlihan is determined to win the pass, and is also delighted to hear that her husband, Penobscott (Mike Henry) is dropping by the camp to pick her up, and gets pulled into the event as well. There are a lot of laughs, silly antics, and Klinger’s new plan is to eat his way out of the army – he wants to get too fat to serve.

It’s goofy, enjoyable, and it’s always a delight to see the unit laughing and playing together. There’s more next week, when I dive into more M*A*S*H!

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