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Season 6 Episode 1

Fade Out, Fade In

Aired Unknown Sep 20, 1977 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
53 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

Fade Out, Fade In
After Maj. Margaret Houlihan-Penobscott leaves for her honeymoon, Maj. Frank Burns becomes very distraught, so Potter sends him on R&R. As they deal with the physical and psychological wounds in a heavy load of casualties, members of the 4077th wonder why Maj. Burns is late in returning from R&R and why Margaret returned from her honeymoon in a deep funk. Soon they learn that Maj. Burns has been arrested for antics with a general and his wife in Seoul; later, Hawkeye and BJ will discover that Margaret has already encountered marital troubles. Radar gets a temporary replacement for Maj. Burns: a Major Charles Emerson Winchester III. Maj. Winchester arrives at the 4077th, only to painfully discover that he's the permanent replacement after Frank Burns is thoroughly examined, uncannily acquitted, undeservingly promoted (to Lt. Colonel!!!), and quickly transferred to a VA hospital in Indiana. Hawkeye and B.J. struggle with Charles' conceit about his professionalism in OR, but they discover that he can take it as well as dish it out when it comes to practical jokes!moreless

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  • Once again a new character is introduced in a very clever way.

    Replacing Frank Burns might have seemed an impossible task. There's the risk that you introduce a Frank Burns-wannabe. The producers/writers of MASH came up with the idea of using an anti-Burns instead. Whereas Frank Burns was an incompetent doctor who liked the army, Major Winchester turned out to be an army-hating medical specialist who could show Hawkeye a thing or two. He's cleverly introduced in this episode, an irritating snob who can live with his cushy life in Tokyo. His introduction creates a new problem for Hawkeye, who up until this episode was portrayed as the medical solution to Korea's problems.

    The only problem in this episode is the actual absence of Frank Burns. It's a pity that we don't witness his descent into madness. If Larry Linville had agreed to appearing in this introduction to the sixth season, the episode would haven been perfect. Also, I find it difficult to accept Hawkeye's reaction to Frank's redeployment. There should have been more anger because of its inherent injustice.moreless
  • GOODBYE AND GOOD RIDANCE FERRET-FACE!!! The show is finally rid of Frank Burns. While he was funnier than Winchester, he was as close to a villain as the writers could get. I will miss one thing. All the pranks that Hawkeye, Trapper, and B.J. pulled on himoreless

    Goodbye and good ridance ferret-face!!! The show is finally rid of Frank Burns. While he was funnier than Winchester, he was as close to a villain as the writers could get. I will miss one thing. All the pranks that Hawkeye, Trapper, and B.J. on him. Oh well. Adios ferret-face.
Alan Alda

Alan Alda

Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce

Mike Farrell

Mike Farrell

Captain BJ Hunnicut

Harry Morgan

Harry Morgan

Colonel Sherman T. Potter

Loretta Swit

Loretta Swit

Major Margaret J. "Hot Lips" Houlihan

David Ogden Stiers

David Ogden Stiers

Major Charles Emerson Winchester III

Gary Burghoff

Gary Burghoff

Corporal Walter Eugene "Radar" O'Reilly

Kimiko Hiroshige

Kimiko Hiroshige

Korean Woman

Guest Star

Raymond Singer

Raymond Singer

Dr. Berman

Guest Star

Tom Stovall

Tom Stovall

The Sergeant

Guest Star

James Lough

James Lough


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (5)

    • Klinger reveals that he's been wearing ladies clothes for two years April 22. That means Charles arrives at M*A*S*H in Spring 1953 and the war's end should be only a few months later.

    • Charles stops in the Officers' Club while waiting for his Jeep to arrive. He asks about getting something a little better to drink. The person serving in the O.C. that afternoon happens to be Igor...but he's speaking with Zelmo Zale's voice.

    • Colonel Potter offers Radar a cigar in this episode, and we get the impression that Radar has never smoked a cigar before. But he smoked Henry's cigars back in Season 1.

    • Throughout episodes this season during scenes that take place in the operating room, the surgical gown Winchester wears is stained with the same pattern of blood (three distinctive-looking parallel lines located on his chest above the "main" stain). Apparently when shooting OR scenes the same gowns were used over and over again without applying fresh bloodstains; it would be interesting to look more closely at the gowns worn by other cast members in this season or even others. Once you notice the pattern on Winchester's gown it is very easy to pick up on it every time.

    • When Charles is greeted by Radar at the camp, his white scarf rotates between being tucked in the coat and blowing freely the whole conversation. Each shot it is different.

  • QUOTES (30)

    • Hawkeye and B.J. are trying to get Margaret to open up about why her honeymoon went bad.
      Margaret: Why should I tell you?
      Hawkeye: Because we're all you've got.
      B.J.: Because we care.

    • Hawkeye: What's so great about him?
      Charles: I do one thing at a time, I do it very well, and then I move on. Gentlemen, please pay close attention to this bowl resection. I don't want to have to show it to you twice. (leaves)
      Hawkeye: (chuckles) I'm not gonna play second scalpel to this garbanzo for the rest of the war.
      BJ: Why don't we avoid the Christmas rush and start hating him now?

    • (Klinger and Schaeffer enter Potter's office)
      Schaeffer: I expected other officers, a review board.
      Potter: Road apples, Private!
      Klinger: Uh, Captain, Colonel.
      Potter: Private, Corporal!
      Klinger: Private?
      Schaeffer: Well, tsk, caught again.
      Klinger: Hold it. Wait, wait, wait a minute. I thought--
      Potter: Button it! Button it.
      Schaeffer: Let him talk.
      Klinger: You're my lawyer!
      Potter: Your lawyer's a buck private, and he's no lawyer!

    • BJ: Klinger!
      Klinger: What am I, the only medic in the shop?
      BJ: You're loved, you fool.
      Klinger: Command me, oh tall one with the Presbyterian features.

    • Charles: Good Lord, what do we do now?
      Driver: Sit tight, hold your breath, and pray if you've got 'em.
      Charles: What about the Jeep?
      Driver: Don't worry about it, sir. It's paid for. Better stay put, Major. (Jeep is hit) Now we can go.

    • Sergeant: But Doc, I don't want to go back.
      B.J.: I can't say as I blame you. Would you like to talk with Father Mulcahy?
      Sergeant.: Okay, but I'm an athiest.
      B.J.: Really?
      Sergeant.: Swear to God.

    • Potter: According to his captain--a real captain--Schaeffer here has been bucking for a Section Eight longer than you have.
      Klinger: A looney?
      Potter: Busted twice. Done four months in the slammer, has impersonated a doctor, a bombadier, a tank commander, even a chaplain.
      Klinger: A chaplain!
      Schaeffer: At this very moment, somewhere in America, twenty-five couples are living in sin.

    • BJ: Hey, we got us a new record player!
      Hawkeye: Please, Beej. Mozart. Have you no respect for classical music?
      BJ: Are you kidding? I've got the William Tell Overture. By Spike Jones.
      : Oh. (moves around in his cot, finds the dead snake, and, yelping, gets it out the door before turning to Charles) Clever, very clever.
      Charles: Please. Mozart.

    • Radar: (about the phone) It's broken. Somebody madder than you got to it first.
      Charles: Corporal, I assure you, nobody in Korea is madder than me.
      Radar: I'll take your word for it, sir.

    • Potter: Neatness don't count in meatball surgery.
      Charles: Is harassment standard operating procedure?
      BJ: Page 26 of the Surgeon Songbook.

    • Potter: Potter here. Yes, of course, I still need a new surgeon. Who? MacKenzie? Look, Baldwin, I've seen that clown's 201 file. He's a boozer. Chief engineer on the Red Nose Express. Martinelli? I've seen his surgery. Let me give you a tip. Sew his fingers together and make him a psychiatrist. What about Winchester? Yeah, I know he's temporary. Make him permanent and it's a deal! Good!!

    • MP Sergeant: (about Burns to Col. Potter over the phone) He was on this bus, and he sat down next to a Red Cross lady. Tried to bite off her buttons. He kept hollering "Margaret! Mar--" Is that his wife?
      Potter: No, just a well-built ship that crossed his wake. Have you got him locked up?
      MP Sergeant: Well, uh, not exactly sir. You see, the lady screamed, and the bus stopped, and he jumped out the window.
      Potter: Look, Sergeant, do me a favor. When you finally lasso him, put him in a padded stall.

    • MP Sergeant: (talking to Col. Potter on the phone about Frank) He was involved in an incident here in Seoul. And our report says that while drunk, he accosted a blonde WAC. Kept calling her Margaret. Acted like he was shampooing her hair. And then begged to clip her toenails. Ran off before we could apprehend him.

    • (After Hawkeye throws the portable phone out the door)
      B.J.: You seem a trifle irked.
      Hawkeye: The Army in its infinite wisdom has not only cleared Frank of the charges, they have assigned him to a veterans hospital in Indiana, and have promoted him to lieutenant colonel.
      (Radar brings the phone back in and B.J. tries to grab it from him.)
      Radar: Oh, no, no, no no!
      B.J.: I was just gonna complain to my Congressman.
      Radar: Yeah? No, no, no! (After B.J. stops) Hello? Hello?

    • Potter: I've got some good news, Major: you've been assigned to us permanently!
      Charles: (stunned) Impossible!
      Potter: Orders are cut, it's final!
      Charles: No, no. Col. Baldwin assured me this would only be temporary.
      Potter: Is this the same Col. Baldwin who owes you $600?
      Charles: Yes.
      Potter: Need I say more?
      Charles: (enraged) You mean to tell me that I have to stay here just because somebody owes me $672.17? That's ridiculous!
      Potter: Of course, it's ridiculous. You're staying because I need you.
      Charles: And if I refuse?
      Potter: You'll be making gravel at Leavenworth. Comprende?
      Charles: Comprendo.
      Potter: Good! Well, Maj. Winchester, I can't tell you how happy I am you've decided to join us. (shakes Charles's hand)

    • Radar: Colonel, how can you smoke these things?
      Potter: You get used to it. I got sick on my first one.
      Radar: How old were you?
      Potter: I was 9. The cigar was 11.
      Radar: Is that how come you're so short?
      Potter: How'd you like to be a PFC?
      Radar: You're tall.

    • BJ: First thousand patients are the hardest.
      Hawkeye: Second day it gets easier.

    • (Klinger limps into the OR)
      Potter: What's the matter?
      Klinger: I snapped my garter belt.
      Potter: Don't expect a Purple Heart.

    • Hawkeye (about casualties): The younger they get, the older I get.

    • Potter: Do me a favor, no practical jokes, no horsing around, until he gets broken in. Okay?
      BJ: I wish you had told us that before we put the snake in his bed.

    • Radar: Sir? Sir, Major Burns is on the phone. He says he wants to talk to you and BJ
      Hawkeye: I'm busy.
      Radar: He says it's the last time he'll ever talk to you.
      BJ: I can't pass that up.

    • (in the officer's club, Charles takes a drink and coughs)
      Charles: Is this the best you got?
      Igor: I got some private stock, but it will cost you a nickel more.
      Charles: Oh, let's splurge.
      Igor: Wow, we don't get too many people like you in here.
      Charles: Yes, I'm painfully aware of that.

    • (Charles leaves post-op)
      Dr. Berman: I don't think he likes it here.
      Hawkeye: I wonder why. This time of year we offer so much more than Monte Carlo--ringworm, shingles, dysentery--and at decent prices.

    • Dr. Berman: Dr. Pierce tells me your technique was extraordinary.
      Charles: To him, perhaps.

    • Charles(to the driver getting him to the unit) Private, if you are very careful, you can hit every pothole along the way.

    • Dr. Berman: I thought I was a goner.
      Charles: Yes, I can understand that.
      Hawkeye: (chuckles) I think I've just been insulted.
      Charles: Very observant.

    • Charles: Colonel, I--(clears throat) I think I should tell you that my father knows Harry Truman. He doesn't like him, but he knows him.
      Potter: Fine. You have dad call Harry, then Harry'll call me, and maybe we'll work something out. In the meantime, vamoose.
      Charles: All right, Colonel. I am... vamoosing. (motions to Radar to work on the phone, starts to leave, then turns at the door) But know this: You can cut me off from the civilized world. You can incarcerate me with two moronic cellmates. You can torture me with your thrice-daily swill, but you cannot break the spirit of a Winchester. My voice shall be heard from this wilderness and I shall be delivered from this fetid and festering sewer! (walks out of the office)
      Potter: I think he's getting the hang of this place.

    • Potter: Jackass Burns. Radar!
      Radar: Yes, sir. Is he on his way, sir?
      Potter: On his way to a Section 8. He's down in Seoul, flippin' his beanie!

    • (upon Charles' arrival in camp)
      Charles: Charming place. An inflamed boil on the buttocks of the world. What is that odor?
      Radar: Uh, north wind, cesspool, east wind, latrine.
      Charles: The wind is from the south.
      Radar: Oh, that's the kitchen.

    • Hawkeye: (toasting Frank's departure) Goodbye, Ferret-Face!

  • NOTES (14)

    • Beginning with this episode and continuing until the penultimate episode, instead of playing to its conclusion each episode ends with a freeze frame shot of the final scene. Over said freeze frame a series of additional credits are placed, including the one identifying Alan Alda as a creative consultant. Gene Reynolds is also credited as a creative consultant, roles he and Alda hold for the remainder of the series.

    • Slight change to the opening credits, beginning with this episode and continuing for the remainder to the series: a clearer overhead shot of two helicopters when the horn rift begins, and a zoom-in shot of the M*A*S*H logo on one of the helicopters after seeing the ambulances as the horn rift intensifies.

    • This is the first episode where Alan Alda receives a production credit, as this was the first episode he served as creative consultant on.

    • Frank is the first of three main characters to be promoted on the series (not counting Radar, since his was temporary). He is followed by Father Mulcahy and Klinger.

    • Makes reference to The Howdy Doody Show.

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

    • Although not referred to by name in this episode, Igor appears in the officer's club scene with Major Winchester. His voice is very obviously dubbed, as it sounds nothing like the actors' voice as heard in all his other appearances.  In fact, it sounds very much like Sgt. Zale (Johnny Haymer).

    • Fans of the series may notice that David Ogden Stiers' portrayal of Charles Emerson Winchester is actually closer to the way Robert Duvall portrayed Frank Burns in the film version of M*A*S*H. In the film version, Duvall portrayed Frank as aloof and very uncaring, much like Winchester is, while in the television version Frank is more of a weasel and, in later years, very paranoid.

    • The hour-long "Fade Out, Fade In" reran on CBS as a 30-minute 2-parter on March 13 and 20, 1978.

    • Ironically, Frank manages to get the last laugh on Hawkeye and B.J.. Burns calls to inform his two bunkmates that he was not only going to be transferred, but that he was going to be promoted to Lt. Colonel and that he was going to take over as chief of staff at a V.A. hospital in Indiana.

    • Beginning with this episode and continuing for the remainder of the series (with the exception of the finale), each episode ends in a freeze-frame while several credits are displayed (the last of which always credits Gene Reynolds and Alan Alda as creative consultants) while an abbreviated version of "Suicide Is Painless" plays. The closing theme is extended slightly for this season as well, and is preceded by "Suicide Is Painless"'s opening guitar licks.

    • Robert Symonds will reprise the role of Colonel Baldwin, Winchester's tormentor, in episode 211.

    • Though constantly mentioned, Larry Linville does not appear in this episode as Frank Burns (Linville having left the show last season).

    • Bon jour to David Ogden Stiers, who enters the show in his role of Major Charles Emerson Winchester III.