M*A*S*H episode
Miller sisters-showtime
The Miller Sisters perform for the 4077th in "Showtime".
Season 1, Episode # 24
Number (#24) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) William Christopher
Sheila Lauritsen
Patrick Adiarte
Harvey J. Goldenberg
John Orchard
Marilyn King
Jean Turrell
Joan Lucksinger
Oksun Kim
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: J-320
Writer(s) Larry Gelbart (teleplay/story) & Robert Klane (teleplay)
Director Jackie Cooper
Original airdate March 25, 1973
IMDb logo IMDB Showtime
Episode chronology
← Previous Next →
"Ceasefire" (J‑323) "Divided We Stand" (K‑401)

(Season 2 premiere)

(broadcast order)

(broadcast order)

"Ceasefire" (J‑323) "Divided We Stand" (K‑401)

(Season 2 premiere)

(production order)

(production order)

Season 1 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

Showtime was the 24th episode, the final episode of the first season of the TV series M*A*S*H, also the 24th overall episode of the series. Written by Larry Gelbart and Robert Klane, who assisted Gelbart on the teleplay, it was directed by Jackie Cooper. It originally aired on CBS-TV on February 25, 1973.


Henry's wife gives birth to a son stateside while a USO troupe arrives to perform at the 4077th. The camp dentist receives his discharge papers and takes great care not to injure himself before his departure. Frank Burns makes Hawkeye the butt of practical jokes, but Hawkeye gets even at the end.

Full episode summaryEdit

A USO stand-up comic and female singing trio, the Miller Sisters, backed by a small band, perform at the 4077th. The performances are juxtaposed with clips containing scenes of camp life.

Henry's wife back home gives birth to a son and feels depressed about not being there. Radar tries to cheer him up by showing him a baby born to a Korean woman. Captain Kaplan, the camp dentist (who also appeared in "Major Fred C. Dobbs") receives his discharge papers and takes great pains to make sure he does not get injured before he sets off for home. He declines to pass Hawkeye the salt and even rejects a goodbye kiss from a nurse. But all this is for nothing as his jeep crashes just as it departs. His driver is unharmed, but he gets a broken leg.

Father Mulcahy is depressed that he doesn't seem to be achieving anything tangible - unlike the doctors who can always see the end results of their work. Hawkeye tries to console him, but he remains doubtful.

Meanwhile, Trapper, Ugly John, and Margaret work on a critically wounded soldier, but it is touch and go. Trapper refuses to rest and stays with the patient. Hawkeye summons Father Mulcahy to the patient for some "cross action" and the patient appears to get better.

Major Burns actually gets the upper hand over Hawkeye with three practical jokes. The first is when he sabotages the still, causing it to spray Hawkeye in the face with gin. The second involves the classic "bucket-over-the-door" gag. The third and arguably craftier joke has Hawkeye attempting to use the shower, but is annoyed to learn that Frank has reworked the plumbing so that the shower in the next stall sprays when he pulls the chain in his stall, and vice versa. Hawkeye, however, gets his own back by collapsing the latrine tent walls with Frank inside it to the music of "Stars and Stripes Forever".

In a closing scene not often shown in syndication, the USO comic thanks the crowd at the 4077th and, as he's naming the members of his troupe, the camera cuts to members of the regular M*A*S*H cast in the audience, with their real names appearing as a type of closing credits.

Research notes/Fun factsEdit

  • Structurally, this episode, not unlike the two in this season where Hawkeye writes his dad, lacks the conventional linear structure of most television programs. It uses moments from the USO show, styled like the ones hosted by Bob Hope, to make commentary and contrast the ugliness of war with the fluff of the performances in the show. A sequence showing Radar playing drums with the musical band demonstrates Gary Burghoff's drumming talents onscreen.
  • The Stars and Stripes newspaper which Burns reads at the end of the episode contains the following story titles and comes from the Pacific edition, April 19, 1949. Either an anachronism or, like a doctor's waiting room, they read really old newspapers.
    • "Million Reds Await Orders for Drive Across Yangtze" - This first story about the Reds crossing the Yangtze probably refers to the Chinese civil war which was drawing to a close in 1949.
    • "UN Factions Split on Italy Colonies"
    • "No Lift Seen on Blockade" ... "Officials Scoff at Rumors Of Soviet Desire for End" - The third story about no lift seen on the blockade refers to the Berlin Blockade by the Russians between 1 April 1948 – 12 May 1949.
  • When Henry learns his son has been born, he grabs the phone and tells the operator to tell his wife "Mildred" that he loves her very much. This was the last time he referred to his wife as "Mildred". Through the rest of the series, she's known as "Lorraine." "Mildred" becomes the name of Colonel Sherman Potter's wife after his debut in Season 4.
  • This episode is also unique, in that is shows a series of rather clever pranks pulled off by none other than Frank Burns, with perennial joker Hawkeye as his victim.

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit


Memorable quotesEdit

(Radar is trying to cheer Henry up)

  • Radar: Would you like a surprise, sir?
  • Henry: Yes, I would. I'd like to be stolen by gypsies and taken to their camp in Bloomington, Illinois.

(Hawkeye congratulates Henry about his new son)

  • Hawkeye: Here's to your new son, Henry.
  • Henry: Yeah. Yeah. But let's hope I meet him before he gets drafted and sent over here.

(Hawkeye has just summoned Father Mulcahy to give a patient some "cross action" and the patient appears to get better)

  • Hawkeye: What was that about not being sure you did any good?
  • Mulcahy: It's not supposed to work that way, you know.