Season 3 Episode 24

Abyssinia, Henry

Aired Unknown Mar 18, 1975 on CBS



  • Trivia

    • Goof: "Henry say that Korea is 1 day and 14 hours ahead of USA. Radar correct him by saying that its USA that is 1 day and 14 hours ahead." Because of the time zones North America can never be ahead of Asia.

    • When Henry swept Margaret into an embrace, she put her right hand behind her head (holding her hat) and her left hand on Henry's shoulder. When the camera angle switched to a back view, we see her hands reversed. When the camera switched back, her hands were in the original position.

    • The term 'Abyssinia' is a slang term meaning 'I'll be seeing you', so the title literally means "I'll be seeing you, Henry."

    • There was indeed a point system in Korea. Rotation points were earned by both enlisted men and officers. In September of 1951, an officer would need 55 points to be rotated stateside. Since Henry Blake was an officer serving in a frontline unit, (as opposed to rear echelon) he would have earned 4 points a month. It would have taken him 1 year, and 1 month to be rotated home. The goof here may just be the dodgy timeline.

  • Quotes

    • Henry: Trap, thanks for the outfit. It's really dressy.
      Trapper: Henry, that, uh, that suit is really you.
      Hawkeye: If you're Adolphe Menjou.

    • Henry: (after hanging up on his wife) Sweet Lo-rraine!
      Radar: (whispering to Hawkeye) She has a fantastic body!

    • Trapper (to Henry): Remember the time that Father Mulcahy caught you in your tent with that lady war correspondent?
      (Trapper, Henry, Radar and Hawkeye laugh hysterically)
      Hawkeye (to Henry): You said you were giving an interview on the importance of clean underwear!

    • Hawkeye: Stand up straight.
      Trapper: I'm standing straight. The country's crooked.

    • Henry: (to Radar) You behave yourself or I'm gonna come back and kick your butt!

    • Henry: Klinger, that outfit might just get you that Section 8!
      Klinger: I made it just for this occasion, sir. I was in such a big hurry, didn't get the back zipped.
      Henry: I'll do it. (Klinger turns around)
      Klinger: Up, sir.
      Henry: There you go, soldier.

    • Radar: (devastated) I have a message. Lt Col. Henry Blake's plane...was shot down...over the Sea of Japan. It spun in...there were no survivors...

    • (Henry's chopper has a patient on it)
      Henry: This kid's a little shocky!
      Hawkeye: We'll take care of him, Henry, you're fired!

  • Notes

    • In 2008, The Emmys Academy chose the most memorable comedy TV moments. The announcement of Henry Blake's death was in the top 5.

    • For the first time, Frank actually shows that he has a human side. He cried when he heard Henry had been killed despite all the arguments and hostilities they had.

    • The night after this episode aired, on Carol Burnett's show, McLean Stevenson made a guest appearance; he was on a row boat, in the middle of the "ocean", claiming that he was alive and survived the crash.

    • M*A*S*H received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series at the 1975 Emmy Awards. In addition, Alan Alda received an Emmys nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Also Gary Burghoff and McLean Stevenson received a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series and Loretta Swit received a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.

    • The ending to this episode was parodied on Family Guy.

    • In the scene where Radar announces Blake's death, during the silence, a piece of medical equipment is heard being dropped. This was unintentional, but it worked so well that it was kept.

    • Tragically, McLean Stevenson succumbed to a heart attack at age 66 on February 15, 1996---ironically, one day before the death of actor Roger Bowen, who played the role of Col. Henry Blake in the 1970 MASH movie (and of the same cause, too!)! Henry Braymore Blake, we hardly knew ye...

    • From the following season on, Jamie Farr, as Max Klinger, was listed as a regular cast member, and so no longer appears as a recurring character. This was the last of his 30 appearances as a recurring character.

    • Obviously the episode is best remembered for the departure on McLean Stevenson as Lt. Col. Henry Braymore Blake, but it is also the final episode to feature Wayne Rogers as Capt. "Trapper" John Francis Xavier MacIntyre, who, due to a contract dispute, had also decided not to return for the fourth season. His role would be superceded by Pernell Roberts in 1979 for the spin-off Trapper John M.D. (CBS, 1979-86), which found Trap as the Chief of Surgery at San Francisco Memorial Hospital, a good many years after Korea.

    • The final O.R scene where Radar announces Henry's death was not included in the script distributed to the actors, who, apart from Alan Alda knew nothing of the shock ending, so that when they read the script minutes before shooting the scene, they would show some real shock...and it worked! The filming was organized so that the O.R scenes would be the last to be shot. First they shot the opening scene where Henry was told he is going home. The crew assumed this was the end of the filming but then Gelbart handed out the final page of the script. The scene was shot without a rehearsal but because of a technical problem it had to be done a second time.

    • After numerous arguments with the studio and a desire to do a show of his own McLean Stevenson made the decision that season three would be his last. Gene Reynolds and Larry Gelbart decided that instead of doing a standard episode about a character leaving the show they would take the opportunity to make a statement about the senselessness of war.

    • This episode generated a great deal of mail, both positive and negative.

  • Allusions

    • Hawkeye compares Henry to Adolphe Menjou, who was an American actor. His career is notable for his appearance first in silent films and later crossing over into talkies. He received an Academy Award nomination for his appearance in The Front Page in 1931. Adolphe Menjou was born February 18, 1890 and died October 29, 1963.

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