‘M*A*S*H’ Changed Television Forever With Henry Blake’s Exit

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Earlier than there was Associates, there was Seinfeld. And earlier than Seinfeld, there was Cheers. And earlier than Cheers? There was M*A*S*H. M*A*S*H is taken into account one of many all-time best sitcoms in tv historical past. Nonetheless, one in all its most memorable characters, Henry Blake, took his depart all too quickly on the tail finish of M*A*S*H’s third season.

The actor who performed Lt. Colonel Henry Blake, McLean Stevenson, colloquially known as “Mac,” needed to finish his contract with M*A*S*H. However the factor that made his depart stand out amongst different characters who left the favored tv sitcom was that Henry Blake’s depart was everlasting. On the finish of Season 3, in an episode titled “Abyssinia, Henry,” McLean’s character died in a aircraft crash.

When Henry Blake left ‘M*A*S*H,’ it was a shock to the forged, crew, and all of America.

Till M*A*S*H, each time an actor left a tv present, they’d be written off in a means that may very well be momentary. In an earlier present referred to as My Three Sons, as an illustration, an actor really died, however his character was mentioned to have gone on a visit to Eire. Nonetheless, on M*A*S*H, the writers had been unafraid when it got here to taking dangers and making an attempt one thing new. 

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Henry Blake before leaving MASH
Supply: Hulu

A present in regards to the Korean Battle, the writers knew that regardless that it was lighthearted, it was additionally vital to convey the gravity of wartime. In response to Snopes, author Larry Gelbart shared in his guide that, “Killing a personality in a half-hour present had by no means been accomplished earlier than. That was all the explanation [producer] Gene [Reynolds] and I wanted to know we must do it.” 

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Not solely was Henry Blake one of many first characters killed off of a tv collection, nevertheless it was even a shock to the forged of the present. Rumors have floated round that the forged had no thought he died till the creators filmed Gary Burghoff, Walter “Radar” O’Reilly, as he bumped into the working room to announce that Henry Blake’s aircraft had been shot down and “there have been no survivors.”

What really occurred was that the named actors had been proven the ultimate web page *simply* earlier than filming the scene. Nonetheless, all of the extras had real shock when Henry’s dying was introduced.

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After leaving ‘M*A*S*H,’ McLean Stevenson by no means turned “No. 1.”

Though Mac left the present to turn out to be “No. 1,” this sadly by no means performed out. He went on to play starring roles in a number of failed sitcoms, corresponding to The McLean Stevenson Present; Within the Starting; Whats up, Larry; and Apartment. Nothing actually got here of those, so McLean went on to play bit roles in additional profitable sitcoms like The Golden Women and The Love Boat, in addition to visitor internet hosting for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Present

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All through his decline, McLean turned considerably of a laughing inventory of Hollywood for having left a profitable present at its peak solely to return nose to nose with the truth that he had made a poor choice. Nonetheless, he was an ideal sport about it. He parodied his character’s dying on The Cher Present and later admitted in a M*A*S*H retrospective, “The error was that I believed all people in America beloved McLean Stevenson. That was not the case. All people beloved Henry Blake.”

To compensate for the traditional sitcom, watch M*A*S*H in the present day on Hulu.

About the author


Derek is the great gaming geek for longer than he cares to admit and love everything about the gaming world. He is connected with tech work from the last five years and always loves to learn and writer new about the current technology. You can mail him @ derek@rexweyler.com.

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