M*A*S*H episode
“Yankee Doodle Doctor”
Margie-yankee doodle doctor
Margie Cutler with Hawkeye and Trapper as the comic medical crew in their Groucho Marx-like movie about the MASH. Radar is acting as the patient.
Season 1, Episode # 6
Number (#6) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Ed Flanders
Bert Kramer
Tom Sparks

Marcia Strassman
Herb Voland

Network: CBS-TV
Production code: J-310
Writer(s) Laurence Marks
Director Lee Philips
Original airdate October 22, 1972
IMDb logo IMDB Yankee Doodle Doctor
Episode chronology
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"The Moose" (J‑305) "Bananas, Crackers and Nuts" (J‑311)

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"Cowboy" (J‑309) "Bananas, Crackers and Nuts" (J‑311)

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

"Yankee Doodle Doctor" is an episode from the television series M*A*S*H. It was the 10th episode to be produced but was the sixth episode to be broadcast. It first aired on October 22, 1972, and was rerun April 8, 1973. It was written by Laurence Marks and directed by Hy Averback.


Lieutenant Bricker (Ed Flanders) arrives at the 4077th to film a documentary about M*A*S*H units, on the recommendation of General Clayton (Herb Voland). However, when Trapper and Hawkeye find out it is little more than propaganda, they wreck it and make their own version. After replacing most of the film with absurd images taken from around the camp, Hawkeye appears in the recovery room, explaining that no war is glamorous. The general orders all copies of the film burned, except one. He says that they need something to laugh at when the war ends.

Full episode summaryEdit

An oily, fast-talking Lieutenant named Bricker arrives (Ed Flanders, Dr. Westphall on St. Elsewhere) looking to make a movie about the 4077th.

Although Hawkeye and Trapper are reluctant to contribute at first, they agree to help when they realize the alternative would be to have Frank get involved. However they soon see that the film is just a glorified propaganda piece. They are particularly disgusted to find that Frank will be the narrator and he is using the phrase "Yankee Doodle Doctor" in the script which conflicts with Hawkeye's and Trapper's anti militaristic ways.

Bricker suggests doing the film without Hawkeye and Trapper, but Henry says they are sort of the heart of the unit, and the film really wouldn't work without them.

Hawkeye and Trapper break in to Henry's file cabinet and expose the film already shot, ruining it. Lt. Bricker is enraged, and leaves the camp.

Hawkeye then decides they can shoot their own film, using the camera equipment Bricker left behind (along with his cameraman).

After a few days of shooting, they debut it in the Mess Tent, in front of the whole camp and the visiting General Clayton (Herb Voland).

The film turns out to be a Marx Bros. look-alike movie featuring Hawkeye as Groucho, Trapper as Harpo, Radar, Nurse Cutler, and the rest of the gang. It makes Henry laugh, but Clayton gets mad. It features scenes of Hawkeye, Trapper, and Radar dropping their pants, Radar getting operated on by Groucho Pierce, and all the gang throwing a massive party.

However the movie ends on a serious note with Hawkeye talking to the camera while sitting beside a patient. He tells the audience, "Our willingness, our experience, our technique are not enough. Guns and bombs and antipersonnel mines have more power to take life than we have to preserve it. Not a very happy ending for a movie. But then, no war is a movie."

Clayton isn't thrilled, but admits parts of it were good. He asks for all the goofy stuff in the movie be removed, and just keep his intro and Hawkeye talking at the end. But he quietly suggests Henry keep a print of the whole they have "something to laugh at when all this is over."

Themes and receptionEdit

This is one of the first episodes of M*A*S*H to deal strongly with anti-war themes.[1] In April 1973, this episode was cited by Newsweek as an example of "irony at its most abrasive".[2]

Research notes/Fun facts Edit

During the part of the comic movie, Groucho Pierce is "operating" on Radar with a saw, he says a line after "You'll be a better man for this." that usually comes out as intelligible. However, closed captioning has deciphered it as "Woodsman, spare that tree.", which was an old Victorian parlour song from 1837.

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit


  1. James Wittebols, Watching M*A*S*H, Watching America, (Jefferson NC: McFarland & Co., 1998) p. 34
  2. Wittebols, p. 37

External linksEdit