Monster M*A*S*H

Hawkeye Get Your Gun is the 108th episode of M*A*S*H, and the ninth in the fifth season of the show, which originally aired on CBS-TV on November 30, 1976. It was directed by William Jurgensen, and written by Gene Reynolds and Jay Folb.


Hawkeye and Potter provide assistance at a Korean clinic, encountering enemy fire almost every step of the way. Meanwhile, Klinger begins posing as a Gypsy in another attempt to get his Section 8.

Full episode summary[]

During a long session in OR, Frank keeps making less-than-subtle comments about Potter's age, and how he might not be as capable as the three younger surgeons. Potter is, of course, insulted. Later on, the 4077th gets a message from a Korean hospital, asking for help - two doctors, and all the medical supplies a Jeep can carry. While trying to decide who will go, Frank puts his foot in his mouth again, suggesting that Potter is too old to go on this mission. Potter uses a deck of cards to decide who's going to go - and it ends up being Hawkeye and Potter.

As they climb into the Jeep, Potter notices that Hawkeye is unarmed. Citing that carrying a weapon will only invite unwanted trouble, Hawkeye doesn't want to bring his sidearm, but Potter orders him to get it, which B.J. does. They soon arrive at the Korean hospital, which turns out to be a dilapidated hut, and commander Major Choi greets them and immediately puts them to work. Dismayed at the abysmal conditions, Hawkeye makes one or two snide remarks, but Choi reminds him they are doing what they can with little they have.

The surgery turns out to be a marathon session, with nearby enemy shellfire and the language barrier complicating matters even more. Eventually, Hawkeye and Potter try to catch some sleep in a side room, resting on a wooden crate. Hawkeye boasts he can put Potter to sleep, and tries to pseudo-hypnotize him into doing so. It works, but in reverse, as Hawkeye puts himself to sleep, leaving Potter to go back to work.

By daybreak, the deluge and enemy barrage are over, Major Choi commends them on their work, and they head home. On the way back, Potter finds that Klinger had packed a canteen full of booze in their knapsack, and the two drink liberally as they drive along. They both get hammered and silly, but things quickly get serious when the two are again fired upon by enemy shellfire, which gets so close that they pull over and dive into a nearby foxhole, after which the Jeep is shelled and destroyed, and then bullets start to fly.

Refusing to be dragged off "to some Chinese prison camp", Potter empties his gun returning fire. He insists Hawkeye do the same, but he adamantly refuses, even after Potter makes it a direct order. He lets Potter know that as a doctor, it is not his place to cause wounds, but to treat and heal them. But when Potter persuades him to think of the gun as "The loudest cap pistol in Korea" and to "just shoot it and scare the living hell out of them", Hawkeye decides he can do that, and empties his gun firing straight up into the air, warning everyone within earshot to take cover; his actions earn the observation from Potter that "you're a crazier soldier than a surgeon". They both end up giggling in the ditch, just as the bullets stop flying. They then crawl out of the foxhole and encounter a platoon of U.S. soldiers on patrol who inform them that the NK have pulled out and the area is now secure, so Hawkeye and Potter drunkenly stagger their way back to camp.

Later that night, Potter is trying to get ready for bed, but Frank busts in, supposedly to make sure the Colonel is OK. Potter asks the Major if he wants to join him in doing 50 pushups, but Frank declines and leaves, much to Potter's relief. Right after, Klinger comes in to retrieve Potter's empty tea cup and offers to read the Colonel's future in the leaves. He says that Potter will take pity on a poor Gypsy boy and let him go home to his people. Potter retorts that if Klinger doesn't knock it off, he'll get a "boot in his tambourine," prompting the Gypsy King to say "goodnight" and leave. Potter finally gets to go to sleep.

In the subplot, Klinger's latest scheme to get a Section 8 involves him actually being Zoltan, King of the Gypsies. After receiving his costume from a mail-delivering Igor while doing office work (while Radar is on R&R), he entertains Hawkeye and Potter with the tale of his heritage (a pair of Lebanese peasants stole him from a Gypsy camp when he was a baby) and his desire to return to his people. He reads Frank's palm in the Supply Tent while they're gathering supplies for Hawkeye and Potter's trip, telling him he'll get a gold medal - for offering to replace Potter on the dangerous mission (of course, Frank turns the honor down - this scene is usually cut from syndicated airings). Later, he foresees snipers and other dangers on the road ahead for the traveling surgeons as they leave. While waiting on word from Hawkeye and Potter, Klinger works on a plan to turn the motor pool into a Gypsy caravan, and offers to tell B.J. about the absent surgeons using a deck of cards - but ends up drawing a straight instead.

Guest stars/Recurring cast[]

Uncredited appearance

  • Gwen Farrell (at the card game in the Mess Tent, sitting next to Igor)


Research notes/Fun facts[]

  • The title is a play on the title of the musical "Annie Get Your Gun" (1946), though the episode's story bears no relation to the musical's plot.
  • Gary Burghoff and William Christopher both receive billing, but do not appear in this episode. Radar is said to be on leave with a 4-day pass; Father Mulcahy is not mentioned.
  • Hawkeye asks a nurse for Metzenbaum scissors, but the instrument he receives and uses are Kelly hemostatic forceps.
  • Hawkeye talks of how terrified he is of his service pistol. Before MASH, Alan Alda starred in the 1970 movie "The Moonshine War" as a moonshiner who fires a machine gun protecting his still from a bunch of gangsters.
  • Both Potter and Hawkeye show themselves to be dangerously irresponsible, drinking while driving and then firing their guns wildly in the brush or in the air without aiming at a target (both while drunk). In real life, either one or both of them could have wounded or even killed members of a U.S. Patrol - or the Patrol could have fired back, injuring or killing either of the doctors.
  • The NCO patrol leader is shown wearing his Sgt. chevrons. No experienced patrol ever wears rank indicators in enemy/unknown territory.
  • In the scene where Gypsy Klinger reads Frank's future in his palm, suggesting the Major offer to go to the Korean hospital in Potter's place, Klinger says that the Major is "20 years younger" than the Colonel. In another episode, Potter mentions he's 62 years old. This would make Frank 42 (or thereabouts, in case Klinger wasn't being exact).
  • At the Korean hospital, Hawkeye tells Potter he looks like actress Greer Garson in the movie "Mrs. Miniver" (1942).
  • When the U.S. soldiers happen upon Hawkeye and Potter as they crawl out of the foxhole, they call out to the soldiers that they're "one of you, you're one of us." Hawkeye says, "Apple pie! Betty Grable!" Potter says, "Clara Bow!", to which Hawkeye replies, "Clara Bow? Frank's right; you ARE old!" Clara Bow, a Hollywood beauty who rose to stardom in the Silent Film Era, was pretty much the "Potter's generation" version of Betty Grable, a pin-up girl of Hawkeye's era.
  • While Klinger is regaling the Colonel with his latest Section 8 tale, one of Potter's paintings is crafted; this one is of Hawkeye with his feet on Potter's desk. The finished version first appears in "Exorcism".

External links[]