M*A*S*H

The Billfold Syndrome

Season 7, Ep 5, Aired 10/16/78
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  • Episode Description
  • Charles becomes so irate, when he is turned down for a future medical position at home, that he refuses to talk to anyone in the unit, until Hawkeye and B.J. send him a false telegram from home. Meanwhile, a young soldier, Jerry Neilsen, can't remember his own identity, so Sidney Freedman is called for help.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Ken Levine

  • David Isaacs

  • Alan Alda

  • Allan Arbus

    Sidney Freedman

  • David Ogden Stiers

    Major Charles Emerson Winchester III (Season 6-11)

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  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (7)

    • (Hawkeye and BJ decide to go and mess with Charles at lunch in an attempt to get him to break his vow of never talking to anyone in camp again, so far they have failed to get him to crack)
      Hawkeye: Nothing. we should be telling him to shut up by now.
      BJ: Time to call out the verbal calvary.
      Hawkeye: Right. Charles, your mother wears very expensive combat boots. (to BJ) How was that?
      BJ: More vicious. Charles, your father buys his suits off the rack!
      Hawkeye: Charles, your parents voted for Roosevelt! FOUR TIMES!
      BJ: Hee, hee. Beautiful.
      (Charles almost says something but walks out)
      Hawkeye: Can you believe that? The nerve of that guy, not giving in.
      BJ: This is going to be harder than we thought.
      Hawkeye: Don't worry, you haven't heard the last of him.
      BJ: I haven't heard anything.

    • (After Winchester got his "telegram" that said he got the job at Massachusetts General Hospital, he's drunk and celebrating, Hawkeye, BJ, and Sidney, sit at the bar taunting him)
      Winchester: (slurred speech) Is that what you think...Beej? Is that what all you cretins think?
      Hawkeye: Did you hear something that sounded like Charles?
      BJ: The Rummy Speaks!
      Charles: Indeed he does, gentlemen. I shall rise from this tomb and leave you relics behind. Look here, I got a telegram that says I have been made chief of thorasic surgery. Gentlemen.
      BJ: Well, you got him to talk.
      Hawkeye: That's nothing, I can get him to scream. Charles, we kind of know about your news.
      Charles: You read my telegram.
      Hawkeye: Oh, we would never do that Charles. We wrote it.
      Charles: What?
      Hawkeye: You have to understand, Charles, you challenged us. We don't like to lose.
      BJ: Especially to you.
      Charles: (speech still slurred) This is one of the most, despicable, degrading...
      Hawkeye: Underhanded.
      Charles: Underhanded!
       (Charles gets up from the bar, furious with a bottle of beer as Hawkeye and BJ walk backwards toward the wall)
      Charles: You, burn for desecration. I LOATHE YOU!
      (Charles shakes up the beer bottle and sprays Hawkeye and BJ)
      Hawkeye: Good to see you back Charles, we missed you.

    • (Charles has sectioned off his side of the tent) B.J.: You know, I don't think I like the idea of being subdivided in my own home. Hawkeye: Well, look at it this way, Beej. Gives us a place to hide our dirty underwear. (Tosses a pair of shorts over the barricade) There you go. (The shorts are fired back, into his face) B.J.: You'll have to stop buying that Boomerang brand.

    • (Father Mulcahy is playing "I'm In The Lord's Army" on the piano) Father Mulcahy: I've been doing this song for twenty minutes. I can't seem to find the ending.

    • Hawkeye: Sidney! What kept you? Sidney: My Jeep had a nervous breakdown.

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    Notes (2)

    • At episode end, Charles uses a Jeep to pull out the center pole of the Swamp. He would try the same stunt with the mess tent in "Communication Breakdown" over his missing issue of the Boston Globe. Potter would prevent him by showing him the issue, which had been delayed.

    • This episode received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Film Editing in a Series.

    Allusions (1)

    • Hawkeye says he played Hamlet in college because he was pre-med and could get his hands on a skull. The scene in Hamlet he's referring to is when Hamlet holds up a skull and says, "Alas, poor Yorick."

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