Hawk and Trap are at each other's throats when Frank, who is temporary commander, makes the camp go "dry", meaning no alcoholic beverages of any kind (and no still), in "Alcoholics Unanimous" in Season 3.
| Season 3, Episode # 9 |
Number (#57) in series (256 episodes)
|Guest star(s)||William Christopher|
|Writer(s)||Everett Greenbaum & Jim Fritzell|
|Original airdate||November 12, 1974|
|← Previous||Next →|
| "Life With Father" (B302)|
| "There is Nothing Like a Nurse" (B309)|
Alcoholics Unanimous was the ninth episode of Season 3 of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, also the 57th overall series episode. Written by Everett Greenbaum and Jim Fritzell, and directed by Hy Averback, it first aired on November 12, 1974.
While temporarily in command of the 4077th, Major Burns bans all alcohol on the post, learning in the process that Hot Lips herself (along with almost the entire camp) drinks to avoid the pains of war and eventually succumbing to temptation.
Full episode summaryEdit
Hawkeye, Trapper, and a cast of dozens try to watch the evening movie (Tin Pan Alley, 1940) during a rainstorm, but the audio cuts out and finally, a torrent of water pours thorough a hole in the roof on the projector, making it explode. Sipping martinis from specimen cups, the captains retire to the Swamp, where Frank, temporarily in command with Henry in Seoul, has Radar dismantling the still.
Hawkeye and Trapper lovingly reattach their “wellspring of life” and pour another drink under the watchful glare of Frank, who calls them alcoholics. Fed up with their constant drinking, Frank issues an official order banning alcohol in camp while he is in command. The 4077th is dry.
During the next surgery session, Frank has the still torn down and hidden, prompting Hawkeye and Trapper to hit up Father Mulcahy for some sacramental wine. The Father refuses, so the captains stay for the 11:00am Protestant service (they're the only attendees) so they can pray for booze.
Frank cackles with glee to Margaret about Hawkeye and Trapper's reaction to his prohibition order. Margaret is taken aback when she hears the still was deactivated and Frank's banning of alcohol. Margaret confesses she has an heirloom flask filled with brandy to help combat the cold and fatigue of war. Not surprisingly, Frank allows her to keep it.
Undeterred, Hawkeye and Trapper continue their quest for alcohol and break into a storage cabinet in the supply room. They quickly hide when Margaret enters the room and are delighted to witness her unveil a full bottle of brandy from a locked file cabinet. The three of them adjourn to the Swamp to empty the bottle. The drunken revelry is interrupted by Frank, who is horrified there is alcohol being consumed and screams that anyone caught with intoxicating liquids will be severely disciplined. As he leaves in a huff, a drunken Margaret asks, “Who was that?” and the equally drunken captains scream in laughter.
Frank approaches Father Mulcahy about giving a lecture on temperance and the evil of drink. He agrees, but admits nobody comes to his services. Frank says that is no problem for he will order the whole camp to attend.
The lack of booze is making Hawkeye and Trapper cranky. They snap at Margaret in surgery and later trade verbal jabs in the Swamp which nearly escalates to physical violence. Ready to strike each other (see photo above), they come to the realization they might be alcoholics.
The mess tent is a full house, and Father Mulcahy, prepping in his tent, is nervous, so Klinger pours him a whiskey “bracer” to calm him down. Unfortunately, he pours him too much booze, for the poor Father is snockered. He keeps repeating himself during the sermon and asks Radar to open a stained glass window. Mulcahy swoons, and when Trapper stands up to help him, unwittingly starts a scuffle that ends with Frank getting hit in the groin. Margaret quickly nurses him on her flask of brandy. Hawkeye and Trapper notice and happily announce prohibition has been repealed.
- William Christopher as Father Mulcahy
- Jamie Farr as Klinger
- Gary Burghoff as Radar
- Bobbie Mitchell as Nurse Baker
- Jeff Maxwell as Igor Straminsky
- In typical MASH 4077 fantasy, Hawkeye and Trapper John's alcoholism is treated as a joke; in actual fact Hawkeye; Trapper John, not to mention Blake, Houlihan, BJ Hunnicutt; and Winchester's alcohol addictions would have seriously impaired their ability to operate as Surgeons and Nursing staff; indeed their "Drying out" would have left the incompetent Major Frank Burns as the only sober Surgeon in camp...their 97% success rate would have gone down to -10! In fact its only a visiting officer Helen Whitfield in Bottoms Up (TV series episode) who drinks as much as these personnel and who gets the DT from drying out...!