Capt. Willie Stratton, a chopper pilot who deals in trading and selling "war souvenirs" derived from war materials, checks up on one of his young collecters, who gets injured in shell fire, much to the chagrin of Hawkeye and B.J., not to mention the boy's mother, in the episode "Souvenirs".
| Season 5, Episode # 23 |
Number (#120) in series (256 episodes)
|Guest star(s)||Michael Bell |
June Kyoto Lu
|Writer(s)||Burt Prelutsky (teleplay/story) and Reinhold Weege (story)|
|Original airdate||March 1, 1977|
|← Previous||Next →|
|"Movie Tonight" (U824)||"Post Op" (U825)|
|"The Most Unforgettable Characters" (U818)||"Margaret’s Marriage" (U820)|
Souvenirs was the 120th episode of M*A*S*H, the 23rd in the fifth season of the show, which originally aired on CBS-TV on March 1, 1977. It was written by Burt Prelutsky from an original story by Prelutsky and Reinhold Weege and directed by Joshua Shelley.
Hawkeye and B.J. try to stop a chopper pilot from selling souvenirs derived from war materials picked up from locals facing danger getting them, and Klinger becomes a pole-sitter in his latest attempt to get a Section Eight.
Full episode summaryEdit
A batch of wounded include some young Korean kids who were out looking for scrap metal (to sell for money), which leads to a discussion about the curious need for people to collect war souvenirs.
One of the biggest souvenir pushers is a chopper pilot named Chief Warrant Officer Willie Stratton (Michael Bell), who buys a lot of the stuff the kids are risking their lives collecting. While hawking his wares in the Mess Tent, he runs afoul of Hawkeye and B.J., who are disgusted by Stratton's creation of the market that is getting so many kids hurt. Stratton is unimpressed, and walks out.
They ask Col. Potter for help, who gives a lecture in the Mess Tent, all-but-officially banning the buying and selling of such material at the 4077th. Stratton is the only one who seems uninterested in following Potter's "advice."
Later, in the Swamp, an M.P. (Brian Dennehy) arrives, on the trail of an antique Korean vase which was stolen and sold on the black market. The trail leads to Frank, who insists he doesn't know anything about it. Turns out it's a priceless treasure, and owning it is illegal. The M.P. leaves, leaving Frank to chortle uncontrollably.
Margaret also wants something from Frank - a ring she gave him when they were a couple, and now that they're not together, she wants it back. Like the Korean vase, Frank says he doesn't have it, but calls her an 'Indian Giver" she puts his hand into his oatmeal. Later this leads tp Margaret to getting drunk in the Officers Club, depressed at how poor a friend Frank is.
Stratton is also in the O-Club, mouthing off to Hawkeye and B.J. about his souvenir trade, which gets Margaret so riled up she punches him out and calmly returns to her drink.
Later that night, Frank packs up the Korean vase he says doesn't have, sending it to his wife Louise. Hawkeye and B.J. follow him, remove the vase, and replace it with a bed-pan, returning Frank's dryly-written note to his wife about it being a "priceless Korean antique."
Frank catches someone rifling through his stuff in the Swamp, and he attacks the thief. Frank is soon pinned into submission within a few seconds, and the thief turns out to be Margaret, who was looking for the ring Frank said he didn't have. She waves it in front of him in disgust. Frank apologizes weakly, but Margaret storms off.
The next morning, Col. Potter admonishes Margaret, saying she can't go around "getting bombed and beating up our officers." Margaret, despite this being from a superior officer, is having none of it, and she says she feels she was justified in her actions (while it's not clear which incident Potter is referring to [Stratton or Burns], Margaret states she was provoked "in both cases"). Potter tries to argue his side of it, but she won't listen. Potter gives up, sarcastically saying he's "glad we had this little talk."
Back in Post Op, Hawkeye and B.J. are disgusted by Stratton's gift to one of the wounded scrap-metal collectors: a cigarette lighter in the shape of a pistol. They drag him outside and demand he stop, but he is unmoved, defiant even.
Hawkeye and B.J. then suggest that Stratton has some vague symptoms that might mean he's very sick - so sick, he can't fly anymore. Stratton thinks they're bluffing, but he's worried enough about losing his "wings" that officially agrees to get out of the business of souvenir selling. Stratton mocks the doctors' noble efforts, pointing out that there are "A hundred other guys out there like me - what are you going to do, change the world?" B.J. answers, "No, just our little corner of it."
In a closing scene not usually shown in syndicated airings, Margaret confronts Frank in the Swamp, demanding $15 because not only did he keep her ring, he had it engraved to give to his wife, Louise. He swears the engraver made a typo, but Margaret isn't having it. She gives him a choice: $15 or 15 teeth. Frank asks if she'll take a check.
Guest stars/Recurring castEdit
- Michael Bell as Willie Stratton
- Brian Dennehy as M.P. Sergeant Ernie Connors
- Scott Mulhern as Andy Cooper
- June Kyoto Lu as Korean Woman (as June Kim)
- Crandal Jue as Korean Boy
- Alvin Kim as 2nd Korean Boy
The Me-TV version has two added parts not normally seen in syndication:
- An extended version of Potter, Hawkeye, B.J., and Burns talking to Klinger atop the pole
- The original end has Houlihan demanding $15.00 from Burns to erase the inscription inside her ring - he had planned to give it to his wife, Louise.
- Potter talk to Houlihan his remarks she comes from race that settles things by fighting (i.e. Irish her surname is O'Houlihan); in fact she is an ethnic polish (Swit means "Dawn" in Polish language).
- In Fade In, Fade Out Houlihan finds other Burns "souveniors" in his footlocker of their past relationship-an alarm clock of hers and aa picture of herself in a bikini.[An anchrosim- while the bikini was invented in 1946 it didnt catch on in the USA until the late 1950's -1962]
- Anomaly: B.J. arrived at the 4077th around the same time as Col. Potter, which was September 1952. He tells Hawkeye that his daughter Erin was born shortly before he was shipped out. In this episode, he says she's almost 2, but the Korean War ended July 1953, so he should have been home by the time she turned 2. The year is either This would have been late 1952/ early 1953 as the wounded boy as been salvaging scrap in minefield for "Two years"
- Ironically Klinger staying outside in cold Nights could have very well have led to him getting a medical discharge-to have getting penemonia which in turn would have led to an extended stay in the hospital and probably stays iN VA hospitals as well.
- Actor Michael Bell, who plays Willie Stratton, while having an impressive list of live action roles, is far more well known for his long list of animated voice work, including various Smurfs on the 1980s cartoon, Duke from GI Joe: A Real American Hero, and Red Lion pilot Lance in Voltron.