|Francis John Patrick Mulcahy|
William Christopher as "Father Mulcahy" on the M*A*S*H TV series.
|Rank:||First Lt. (O-2), U.S. Army Reserve, promoted to Capt. (O-3) late in series|
|Job/Role in Unit:||Chaplain at the 4077th M*A*S*H|
|Home:||Same as birthplace|
|Hair Color:||Sandy blonde (red in the film and at series start)|
|Eye Color:||Blue in TV series, green in film|
|Birthplace:||Philadelphia, PA, U.S.|
|Relatives/Children:||Sister Mary Francis (sister) (birth name: Katherine)|
|First appeared in:||"Pilot (TV series episode)"|
|Last appeared in:||"Goodbye, Farewell and Amen"|
|Appeared on/or in:||M*A*S*H (TV series)/MASH (film)|
|Played by:||René Auberjonois (film) |
(television series, 1 episode)
William Christopher (television series)
First Lieutenant (later Captain) John Francis Patrick Mulcahy S.J., more commonly called Father Mulcahy, is a fictional principal character from the 1970 Robert Altman film M*A*S*H, played by René Auberjonois, and the television series, played by William Christopher. He was played by George Morgan in the pilot episode of the television series, but the producers decided that a quirkier individual was needed for the role, and Christopher was cast in his place: Season 1 Episode 3 Requiem for a Lightweight.
Father Mulcahy's name was changed from John Patrick Francis Mulcahy to Francis John Patrick Mulcahy (as he revealed in episode 7 of Season 8 when asked by a nurse he was counseling). Either form of the name is an attempt to reconcile his identification as "Father John P. Mulcahy" in the pilot episode with the name "Francis Mulcahy" established later on.
One possible goof in the series shows Mulcahy rising to the rank of Captain; according to the US Army Almanac (1959) p.149, the rank of Captain from 1st Lieutenant comes after 7 years service. Mulcahy, having not had a lengthy pre-war career established by series canon, would likely have not served long enough to have merited such a promotion in ordinary circumstances. However, in times of conflict, it is not unheard of for members of armed services to be promoted at an accelerated rate for meritorious service or to meet a perceived need of the military (As a chaplain, Mulcahy would have entered as a 1LT, eligible for promotion to CPT after meeting the time-in-grade requirement).
Unlike the doctors, he cannot see the end result of his work, and often worries about whether he's doing any real good.
Father Mulcahy in the original M*A*S*H* film (1970)Edit
In the original film (as well as the Richard Hooker novel on which it is based), Mulcahy is familiarly known by the nickname "Dago Red" (a type of cheap Italian wine). In an O.R. scene in the M*A*S*H pilot episode, Trapper can be heard addressing Mulcahy as "Red," and Hawkeye calls Mulcahy "Red" in "Dear Dad"; however, the nickname was quickly phased out of the series.
The character Father John "Johnny" Patrick 'Dago Red' Mulcahy in the film is a US Army chaplain assigned to the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War. While most of the staff is not religious, they treat Mulcahy with some respect. It is Mulcahy who alerts the doctors that the camp dentist, Painless, is severely depressed. Afterward, Mulcahy reluctantly helps the doctors to stage the famous "Last Supper" faux suicide, to convince Painless that he should continue with life. René Auberjonois, a noted Broadway stage actor at the time of filming, and who would later achieve fame as Clayton Endicott on the hit ABC-TV sitcom "Benson" played Father Mulcahy in the original 1970 M*A*S*H* film.
Throughout the film, Mulcahy seems bewildered by the doctors' amoral pranks and womanizing behavior. When Radar places a hidden microphone inside Hot Lips' tent as she and Frank Burns make love, members of the camp listen in, and Mulcahy at first mistakes their conversation (and noises) for an episode of The Bickersons—then leaves abruptly when he realizes otherwise.