Operation Noselift was the 18th episode of the 2nd season of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H series; it was co-written by Erik Tarloff, along with W.C. Heinz,, Ring Lardner Jr. and Paul Richards based upon a 1970 screenplay by Richard Hooker, author of the original novel M*A*S*H* - A Novel About Three Army Surgeons.

directed by Hy Averback, it was actor Stuart Margolin's second guest appearance on the series. The episode first aired on January 19, 1974.


A self-conscious soldier, Private Danny Baker (Todd Susman) comes through the 4077th with a huge morale problem due to his very large nose and wants a nose job. Though it's in defiance of army regulations, one of Hawkeye's old mates, a plastic surgeon, (Margolin) comes in from Tokyo to perform the operation, as Hawkeye and Trapper (Wayne Rogers) work feverishly to keep it from both Frank's (Larry Linville) and Margaret's (Loretta Swit) detection.

Full episode summaryEdit

As Henry dictates a letter to General Mitchell defending his appearance as King Neptune at a 4077th Mardi Gras celebration, the military police deliver him Danny Baker (Todd Susman), a Private with a rather large nose who is notorious for going A.W.O.L. Henry reads Baker the riot act, adding “stern measures” are needed, but admits he's not good at dispensing discipline. He's at a loss at what to do until Radar slips him a note suggesting the Colonel send Baker to Father Mulcahy for counseling. Baker tells Mulcahy his big nose is “ruining” his life. The Father thinks the doctors may be of assistance, so he accompanies Baker to the Swamp to see Hawkeye and Trapper. The captains try to comfort Baker and admit it would be against regulations to do cosmetic surgery like a nose job. Baker pleads for their help and they finally relent, so Hawkeye and Trapper take the request to Henry. Henry agrees, but only unofficially, even going as far to have Radar forge the daily report making him absent.

Hawkeye's old friend, Major Stanley "Stosh" Robbins (Stuart Margolin) is a Hollywood plastic surgeon in his civilian practice who is currently stationed at Tokyo General working with burn victims. Hawkeye calls Robbins, who professes to be busy, but at Hawkeye's mention of a “barracuda” nurse, informs his old friend he will be at the 4077th in two hours.

Robbins arrives and is appalled with the conditions of the camp, suggesting calling in an air strike and starting from scratch. He meets the rest of the medical team and is (no surprise) most impressed with Margaret and her “tremendous jowl potential.”

"Stosh" is hell bent on meeting this “barracuda”, to the point of giving himself a headache, but Hawkeye tells him the nose operation has to come first. Baker is shown a book of nose profiles; he chooses the same one Robbins performed on his wife, and under the guise of a pass to Tokyo, leaves the camp, but under the suspicious eyes of Majors Burns and Houlihan.

As Hawkeye preps the O.R., Baker sneaks through the hillsides back into camp while Radar pretends to injure his nose in a baseball accident. All is ready except for Robbins who, thinking Margaret must be the “barracuda”, follows her into the supply tent. She is barely able to fight off his advances when Hawkeye arrives, looking for his friend. Trapper stays behind to console Margaret, while Hawkeye whisks Robbins off to surgery.

Frank discovers Radar is "just fine" and he confronts Hawkeye and Robbins to demand who was getting illegal nose surgery. Knowing nose surgery can't be hidden, he storms out of post-op to find the culprit, but discovers the entire camp – even the camp mutt – sporting nose bandages.

As Stosh is leaving, the captains thank him for helping out, and he thanks them for the amazing time he had with a nurse that he "may have to write about in a medical journal." As the major drives away, Hawkeye says to Trapper, "Hey, Virginia, there really is a barracuda!" As a group of nurses walk by, the captains start asking them if they have any special nicknames.

Research notes/Fun factsEdit

  • Stuart Margolin had previously appeared in "Bananas, Crackers and Nuts." In both episodes, Margolin's characters are called in as a favor to one of the main characters. Both of his characters are arrogant about their profession, and in both episodes, his character tries sexually assaulting Margaret.
  • Anomaly: Col. Blake tells Pvt. Baker that they showed The Thing and The Blob in the same week. The Thing From Another World came out in 1951, but The Blob didn't come out until 1958, five years after the Korean War was over.
  • When Pvt Baker is in the Swamp picking out which nose he wants from Major Robbins' book, there's a shot of a page turning, and the hand that turned the page pointing enthusiastically at the picture on the right. It then cuts to Major Robbins saying, "You've got taste, kid." But the hand that did the turning and pointing was Robbins', not Baker's--Baker didn't choose that nose.

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit

External linksEdit

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