8 fascinating things you never noticed in the M*A*S*H episode ''Dreams''
A medical consultant, a famous Toledo eatery and skilled magic all turn up in this haunting episode.
You may forget dreams when you wake up, but it is impossible to forget the M*A*S*H episode "Dreams." This surreal season-eight entry underlined just how different and daring the "sitcom" truly was.
The members of the 4077th are over-stressed and under-rested. The exhausted surgeons and soldiers sleep in the rare moments when they can — which leads to some haunting nightmares. Well, okay, Col. Potter enjoys his youthful polo flashback, at least.
Written and directed by Alan Alda, "Dreams" contains some of the most striking images and revealing character insights of the series. Let's take a deeper dive.
1. Nurse Connie was a nurse in real life and medical consultant on the show.
Connie Izay trained as a nurse. After some time in New Mexico, she moved to Los Angeles, where she worked as a first-aid nurse at Universal Studios. That real medical experience in Hollywood led to behind-the-scenes production work. Izay became a medical consultant Marcus Welby, M.D. Izay was more than a nurse — she also had acting experience on stage. So, she also landed some small acting roles, beginning as a nurse and anesthesiologist on Marcus Welby. She later served a similar dual role on M*A*S*H, working as a technical consultant on the show while popping up in a few episodes. Sadly, "Dreams" would be her final screen appearance. Izay died of breast cancer in 1982, a loss that deeply affected the cast and crew. The episode "As Time Goes By" (the final one to be filmed in production) was dedicated to her memory. It was the only time M*A*S*H made gave such a dedication.
2. Tony Packo's Cafe is a real restaurant in Toledo — at that exact address.
In Klinger's dream, he finds himself home in Toledo, Ohio. He wanders an abandoned downtown street before he comes to a restaurant facade. "Tony Packo's Cafe" the window declares. That's a real Hungarian-American restaurant in Toledo — to this day. Even the address is correct. It sits at 1902 Front Street.
3. Jamie Farr's real name is on a mortuary.
Before Klinger gets to Tony Packo's he passes "Farrah Bros. Mortuary." Jamie Farr was born Jameel Farah. This little easter egg underlines the constant fear of death that is fueling these nightmares.
4. David Ogden Stiers had experience with magic on Broadway.
In Winchester's dream, the Shakespeare-quoting surgeon imagines himself as a magician. At first, he performs for Klinger and others from the company. Then, he attempts to heal a patient on a gurney with magic, only to find that his tricks fail. Stiers was no stranger to magic. In 1974, he was part of the original cast for The Magic Show, a Broadway production centered around Seventies magic superstar Doug Henning. Stiers played "Feldman."
5. The subtitles spell out the gibberish.
Father Mulcahy drifts off as a solider gives confession. The audience, like the drowsy Mulcahy, only hears gibberish. Ever wonder what the soldier is saying? Turn on the subtitles. It's not Latin nor some other foreign language. It's just fun gibberish: The first time was a bar in Seoul in which I trove sobbert in farley quince to civilar falamaries with closive infliches and depationary farven. So, of course, we started drinking and then I saw again staven in tusiflia thurgis. In frawl with sagullery purchel. But franges are gurvel, you know. Iskeep perobic tondo.
6. It's the first of two times we see Peg Hunnicutt.
B.J. dreams of waltzing with his wife… until he is pulled away for surgery. This is the first we see of Peg (Catherine Bergstrom). She would appear in one other episode, "Oh, How We Danced."
7. Lt. Garvey wears an Army Transportation Corps insignia.
The subplot in the awake world revolves around a foolish Lieutenant Garvey, who refuses to EVAC ambulances to the 4077th for fear that they might sustain damage from gunfire… in a war. It is the only time we see Rick Waln in the role of Garvey on M*A*S*H. Give credit to the prop department, though. He wears a pin on his lapel that is the Army Transportation Corps insignia. Lieutenant "Smilin'" Jack Mitchell wears the same pin in "Smilin' Jack."
8. Hawkeye was going to be in Margaret's dream.
The Complete Book of M*A*S*H (Suzy Kalter, 1988) offers an interesting behind-the-scenes glimpse at this episode and what might have been left on the cutting-room floor. A production photo shows Hawkeye (Alan Alda) alongside Margaret (Loretta Swit) filming her dream sequence in the wedding dress. Hawkeye does not appear in the final scene, so they must have cut this part.