A War for All Seasons was the 6th episode of Season 9 of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, also the 204th overall series episode, Written by Dan Wilcox and Thad Mumford and directed by Burt Metcalfe, it originally aired on December 29, 1980 and was repeated September 28, 1981.

As the year 1950 comes to a close, the 4077th staff and surgeons hope 1951 is "a damn sight better" and hopefully they'll be going home. The year 1951 is not uneventful: Klinger makes a bet on a baseball team Charles is sure will win, Hawkeye and B.J. build a kidney machine, Margaret knits a potholder which later becomes a blanket, and Father Mulcahy plants a garden. By the time New Year's Eve rolls around again, they all hope 1952 will be a "damn sight better" and that they will be returning home.

Full episode summaryEdit

The clock has struck midnight on January 1st, 1951. The entire camp is in the Mess Tent ringing in the new year singing "Auld Lang Syne", and Col. Potter, dressed as Father Time, offers a toast to the new year with the hope that everyone will be home before its over. This scene begins a sequence of events that take place throughout the year ahead.

Valentine's Day: Everyone wants a shot at the new Sears catalog: Margaret is looking to order knitting supplies and a winter jacket (the latter of which the Army unhelpfully didn't provide), Father Mulcahy orders some gardening supplies, Klinger orders a baseball glove, and Hawkeye and B.J. order a new radio.

April: Klinger and Col. Potter enter into a friendly argument over who's going to win the World Series; Klinger favors the Brooklyn Dodgers while Missourian Potter backs his beloved St. Louis Cardinals. Believing the war will be over before season's end, they both put down $20 on whoever is ahead by the Fourth of July.

4th Of July: the Dodgers lead in the National League by 8 1/2 games, so Klinger wins the bet with Potter, but then gives him a chance to win back his wager by giving him the rest of the NL against the Dodgers at 2-1 odds at the end of the baseball season. Hawkeye and B.J. get in on the action, and when Potter ups his bet to $50, Winchester, sensing a chance to make some easy money, covers Klinger's side of the bet.

August: With the Dodgers now up by a whopping 13 1/2 games, Winchester tries to rope more people into the bet. Klinger is certain they won't get any takers, but Winchester believes the key lies in raising the odds; Hawkeye and B.J. want no part of it, but when Winchester offers 6 to 1 odds, Potter can't resist and doubles his bet to $100. Houlihan breaks up with a pilot boyfriend.

October (3rd): The New York Giants have pulled into a tie for the lead with the Dodgers in the "Senior Circuit", so the two teams have a best-of-three playoff for the NL Pennant. With so much money at stake and so many people involved, the deciding third game is piped over the camp's PA system. Winchester is certain of a shoo-in though Klinger is in more of a panic and hides from Winchester. Bobby Thomson wins the game and pennant for the Giants with a walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth (which has come to be known as the historic "Shot Heard 'Round the World"). As the announcer shouts the iconic call, "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!" Klinger wails in defeat, Winchester faints in the compound still holding his cap, and the rest of the camp wildly cheers the Giants' miraculous win.

January 1st 1952: The episode ends in the Mess Tent with the camp ringing in 1952 in the same way as the previous year. Potter, again dressed as Father Time, somberly repeats exactly the same toast as before, which meets with a much quieter reaction, and Hawkeye and B.J. despondently go back to the Swamp. Potter then shows a film of newsreel highlights from 1951, including footage of Thomson's winning home run. Seeing this, Winchester goes berserk, slashes the screen with a knife and screams "WHERE IS THAT LEBANESE MONGOOSE??"

Fun FactsEdit

  • M*A*S*H officially observed its 200th episode broadcast on CBS with this episode.
  • This is another format-busting episode: covering the events of an entire year in just one show.
  • Additionally, the timeline is absolutely broken. When the P.A. system announces the actors and characters when Colonel Potter's character is first announced to join the show, it also announces that the date is September 19, 1952. According to this piece of information, it wouldn't be possible for Potter (and Winchester) to even be there for any parts of this episode. Potter's arrival Change of Command is episode 4/3; furthermore Timeline shows 4/20 The Novocaine Mutiny takes place in October 1952 and 4/4 The Late Captain Pierce takes place in December 1952 {Eisenhower visit to Korea after he elected PRESIDENT}; Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler 4/10 has a timeline mistake-Dr Friedman claims the latest news is the Marines Landing at Inchon-which happened in September 1950; Col. Flagg also refers to General Douglas MacArthur {Who was dismissed in April 1951-before Col Potter took command.} Later Friedman also claims that Captain Chandler has been fighting for 2 years {1952} {Note Chandler alleged B-29 Squadron either the 420th and 428th Bomb Squadron{s} did not exist 1950-1953; they did not have B-29s}. The 9th season Goodbye, Cruel World shows the President As Harry S Truman - Yet the President in The Late Captain Pierce was Dwight Eisenhower. In Pressure Points Potter remarks on Joe DiMaggio has retired from baseball which happened in DECEMBER 1951 YET POTTER DIDN'T TAKE COMMAND UNTIL SEPTEMBER 1952 Change of Command. Likewise in 4/15 Mail Call...Again Radar remarks on Syngman Rhee was reelected again-which happened in July 1952 and Potter didn't arrive until Sept 1952; in 4/22 Smilin' Jack refers to the stand of the Gloucester Regiment which occurred April 1951 (The Gloucesters are also mentioned in 6/18 Tea and Empathy) -yet BJ and Potter didn't arrive until September 1952 Change of Command; in 4/24 Deluge The Chinese come into the War-in November 27, 1950. Another examples the timeline is mixed up: in "Exorcism" there was a real battle of a Hill 205-in November 1950. See also a way the timeline is mixed up is in 4/11 Dear Peggy In which Hawkeye reads Elizabeth Taylor marriage to N-and thinks its Vice President Richard Nixon; it fact Taylor married Conrad "Nicky" Hilton May 6, 1950 yet B.J. didn't arrive in Korea until Sept 1952 and Nixon became Vice President after Dwight Eisenhower was elected December 1952. It is more mixed up of correct timelines Soldier Of The Month is 4.13 referring to President Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon yet Eisenhower and Nixon didn't take office until December 1952 which is in The Late Captain Pierce 4/4 and 4/20 The Novocaine Mutiny takes place in October 1952. Likewise the West Point Cheating Scandal in "Solder of the Month" took place after April 1951. In episode 4/22 Smilin' Jack is hopelessly mixed up -Smilin Jack refers to both the Yalu {which occurred in Nov/Dec 1950} and MacArthur headquarters {MacArthur was relieved from command April 17, 1951} while Battle of the Imjin River and the fighting by the British Gloucester Regiment took place in April 1951 Likewise the Canadian 2 PPLI were only in Korea till 1951 Taking the Fifth; yet neither Potter or B.J. came to MASH until September 1952. Change of command In 7/16 B.J. Papa San, Hawkeye claims to General Prescott that Major Winchester could never be the General's personal physician, mentioning Douglas MacArthur who was relieved from command in April 1951 while Winchester arrived in MASH 4077 after September 1952. {It would have been more funnier if Winchester part had been played by Frank Burns who indeed tried to become a General physician in 5/21 The General's Practitioner}. Likewise Winchester couldn't have been in MASH Oct 9,1952 "Our Finest Hour" nor in the Xmas episode Dear Sis {Burns was still at MASH 4077 December 1952 "The Late Captain Pierce" } In other words, changing the timeline from 1953 to 1950 is a classic case of TV fantasy "Jumping the shark"
  • Likewise, in the episode of Houlihans marriage Frank Burns claims Houlihan's engagement period has lasted "8 months" -this must have been a writer's slip, because in reality, Houlihan would have been engaged from the latter part of 1952 to July 1953 - the armistice of the Korean War; and judging Burns mentally unbalanced behavior when he can't date Houlihan the character of Burns would have been long gone as a Section 8 psycho...still, it would have been better for Houlihan's last appearance as she flies off on her honeymoon.
  • In 2/9 Dear Dad...Three, while talking about Dr Charles Drew is the remark that Drew died "last April" [thus it is 1951] yet Hawkeye mentions Dwight Eisenhower running for President; Eisenhower became President December 1952 4/5 The Late Captain Pierce
  • For the record, Bobby Thompson's home run took place October 3, 1951-yet in episode 2/3 Radar's Report the date is given as October 17, 1951. When Frank Burns and Trapper John are still at MASH. Likewise in 10/5 Give 'Em Hell, Hawkeye Hawkeye writes a message to President Harry S Truman-even though 4/4 "The Late Captain Pierce" the President is Eisenhower - and Hawkeye had already sent a message to President Truman in 2/5 "Dr. Pierce and Mr. Hyde.
  • B.J. Hunnicutt arrived in Korea September 1952, yet one character he nearly has an affair with was Aggie O'Shea {who was loosely based in female war Correspondent Maggie Higgins-who was in Korea only from summer to December 1950}. 
  • Likewise, when did Winchester become part of MASH? It couldn't have been before December 1952 when Frank Burns was still at MASH 4/4 The Late Captain Pierce. Yet Clete Roberts interviews Winchester in Our Finest Hour (TV series episode) with a date of October 9, 1952-yet Burns was in MASH 4077 and Winchester arrived after Burns had gone! In Fade In, Fade Out, Klinger claims that in April would be the second anniversary of his Section 8 dressing routine. Logically, Klinger would only refer to an upcoming month as April, and Potter arrived Sept 19, 1952. Lastly, with radar Giving the Morning report June 11 {with Potter in Command} The Most Unforgettable Characters (TV series episode) Winchester could have arrived in sometime of the middle of 1953, thus Winchester could not have been present at Christmas in either ‘Twas the Day After Christmas (TV series episode) or Death Takes a Holiday (TV series episode); thus Burns' birthday episode could only have been in 1953, and Winchester would have been in MASH 4077 only one month. In 10/17 Where There's a Will, There's a War (TV series episode) Major Winchester claims to have been part of a Battalion Aid Station at the Battle of Pork Chop Hill which started in March until July 1953...Even if Winchester was only at the Battalion Aid Station for a month at the beginning of the Battle....thus in view of the remark of Klinger dressing anniversary [which doubtless refers to the early months of 1953] if MASH had kept to a real Timeline...Winchester have only been at MASH 4077 about 6 – 4 months until July 1953. Winchester came to MASH by at least February 1953-he was certainly there when B.J. -who came in September 1952-had already been in MASH six months 7/6 None Like It Hot (TV series episode). He was certainly there in April after Potter's arrival {8/25} April Fools (TV series episode) in order to play a joke on Houlihan. Winchester is also present in 6/22 Potter's Retirement (TV series episode) when Potter considers retirement during the Ky Derby which only takes place in May/July-Winchester claims he was in MASH for 6 months-which means Burns went Bonkers in December 1952-although Winchester claims he was at the Battle of Pork Chop hill of March-1953-which means Winchester was only at MASH for only 4 months -until July 1953. Likewise in They Call the Wind Korea and out of Gas Mash 4077 is shown to been in howling cold windstorm - which happened in November/December 1950.
  • The Most Unforgettable Characters takes place on June 13 {10 Months after Potter arrival September 1952}; In 9/4 Father’s Day (TV series episode) takes place in the 3rd Sunday in the month of June. In 11/6 Bombshells (TV series episode) Baseball star Ted Williams goes home June 1953; the episode about the movie The Moon is Blue 11/8 The Moon is Not Blue (TV series episode) this movie wasn't released until just before the armistice in July 1953...too late to have gotten to MASH. Likewise in real life Winchester could not have participated in either the Halloween 11/2 Trick or Treatment (TV series episode) or in Thanksgiving 8/10 The Yalu Brick Road (TV series episode) or Christmas episodes 9/5 Death Takes a Holiday (TV series episode) nor could he have been their as the Canadian Princess Pat Light Infantry which was in Korea from 1950 to 1952. 9/9 Taking the Fifth
  • Note in real life, Potter could not have been in 11/2 Trick or Treatment since the Battle of Heartbreak Ridge actually happened during the Korean war but it happened in Sept/Oct 1951 and Potter didn't arrive in Korea until September 19, 1952. Lastly, B.J. acts more like Trapper John; his juvenile trick with the lamp would have been more funny with the superstitious Frank Burns as the dupe.
  • Lastly as Potter arrived Sept 19, 1952 and Winchester was in Korea by summer 1953 neither of them could have participated in Summer 1952 MASH Olympics 6/11 The M*A*S*H Olympics {It Would have been funnier if the CO in the "Olympics" had been Col Blake; Frank Burns in place of Penobscott and Trapper John in place of B.J.} Nor could Potter or Winchester have been in MASH treating the Gloucestershire Regiment which was in Korea in April 1951. 6/18 Tea and Empathy nor could Potter or Winchester have been in MASH 4077 in 1951 in 8/15 Yessir, That’s Our Baby {Blake would have been in command and Radar, Trapper John and Frank Burns would have been in MASH; of course the timeline had to be broken as it shows Winchester actually have compassion for an abandoned baby; Burns would have been his usual selfish inconsiderate self} Lastly, neither Winchester or B.J. arrived in Korea before Douglas MacArthur relieved from command in April 1951. B.J. Papa San. Nor could Potter or Winchester have been in Korea in "Point of View" as the date on the unfinished letter is 9-15-1951 (September 15, 1951). (Likewise Potter claims to have been married 35 years..thus he would have been married in 1916...when he was 15 to 16 years old.) According to IMDB Goofs on "Images" "Potter says he has been married for 38 years since 1913. In a previous episode he claimed to be in WWI (1917-1919) at age fifteen. That makes him 11 or younger when he got married." Lastly, in "Bombshells," Marilyn Monroe didn't get Korea until 1954. In 5/25 Margaret's Marriage Margaret has known Penobscott for 8 months - yet when she thinks she is pregnant, that would be at least 9 months - yet Jan-July 1953 is seven months - and Margaret wasn't pregnant when she got married {a drunk Frank Burns claims Houlihan was in the army 18 years - not her 10 1/2 years in service.} In Death Takes a Holiday, Winchester is shown celebrating Christmas - when in December 1952 Frank Burns was still at MASH 4077.
  • When everyone is celebrating the Giants' win, Father Mulcahy is so excited he plants a kiss on Margaret. The next time you watch the show, look how surprised she looks - this might have been an ad-lib on William Christopher's part.

For more MASH anachronisms see Anachronisms in M*A*S*H; also see TVTropes.

  • Colonel Potter was not wrong to support the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals would finish far behind the Dodgers and Giants, but they finished the season in third place. At the time MLB teams in their respective leagues all played under one competitive ladder, one for the NL, one for the AL; the leagues were not split into divisions until 1969, when they each divided into Eastern and Western divisions; with new teams being added they divided yet again in 1994 when they each began the Central division.

Guest stars/recurring castEdit


  • When Winchester hears of the Giants win he stops in shock and drops his Dodgers baseball cap; later he is shown in a faint on the ground with the baseball cap lying on his chest.
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