|Cpt. Calvin Spalding|
An atmospheric shot of Cpt. Spalding, the "singing surgeon" in "Rainbow Bridge" in Season 3 of the M*A*S*H TV series.
|Rank:||Captain (0-3), U.S. Army|
|Job/Role in Unit:||Doctor at the 4077th M*A*S*H|
|Hair Color:||sandy brown|
|Eye Color:||dark brown|
|First appeared in:||"Rainbow Bridge" (Season 3)|
|Last appeared in:||"Big Mac" (Season 3)|
|Appeared on/or in:||M*A*S*H|
|Played by:||Loudon Wainwright III|
Captain Calvin Spalding, better known as the "singing surgeon", was a doctor who appeared in three Season 3 episodes of M*A*S*H. The part of Cpt. Spalding was played by Loudon Wainwright III. Spalding is best known for his songs, sung in the folk guitar style, during his M*A*S*H appearances. The songs were composed by Wainwright himself specially for the series.
About Captain Spalding
Captain Spalding first appears in Season 3 "Rainbow Bridge" at the beginning of the episode. He is singing "North Korean Blues" on the upper chopper pad overlooking the camp as the camera pans slowly over the tents below. Later he sings the same song as the bus carrying Hawkeye, Trapper, Frank, Radar and Klinger depart to collect the wounded US soldiers from the Chinese at Rainbow Bridge. His singing provides the musical backdrop for the footage showing the bus on its journey to meet the Chinese and later back to the MASH.
Eight episodes later, in Season 3 "There Is Nothing Like a Nurse", Spalding shows up again. Early in the episode, he is singing "Unrequited to the Nth Degree" with Hawkeye and Trapper providing backing when they notice the nurses preparing to evacuate the camp because of an impending enemy attack. The nurses leave and the men left behind are feeling blue and gather in the Officers Club. Spalding stands upside down on his head, wanting to remain in that position until the nurses come back. Frank, unsympathetic, orders him back on his feet. The mood improves slightly when Klinger brings Spalding's guitar and Spalding sings "I Wonder If They Miss Us". The thoughts of the men flash back to all the good times they had when the nurses were around and they understand a little better how important the nurses were to the unit. Fortunately, the enemy attacker turns out to be the inept North Korean bomber Five O'clock Charlie dropping nothing more lethal than pamphlets. The nurses soon return and Spalding leads the people in a triumphant celebratory procession around the camp compound, singing once again, "Unrequited to the Nth Degree".
In "Big Mac", Spalding makes his third and final appearance. This time, the 4077th MASH is preparing for a visit by Gen. Douglas MacArthur. Henry Blake asks if Spalding can come up with a special song for MacArthur. Spalding says he has been working on it and performs a rendition of "Big Mac" - Henry finds it catchy but not exactly what he had in mind. In the end the visit by MacArthur is a let down. The General turns up unexpectedly while the MASH is formed up during a rehearsal but the VIP convoy drives straight through the camp without stopping. The disappointed MASH personnel disperse while Spalding sings "Big Mac is Comin".
Spalding is using a Gibson LG-2.