Alan Alda said all those M*A*S*H shower scenes were actually pretty embarrassing

"Even when lithe and beautiful, I was a little embarrassed by shower scenes."

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The eighth season M*A*S*H episode "Nurse Doctor" starts with Hawkeye Pierce in the shower.

Nearby, Potter stands with a towel around his neck, in line behind B.J. Hunnicutt and waiting his turn to get in the stall.

"OK, Pierce, you’ve got 15 seconds of water left," Potter says.

"You’re kidding," Hawkeye says. "I haven’t washed my ears yet."

For Hawkeye actor Alan Alda, these shower scenes weren’t exactly his favorite part of making M*A*S*H.

In a scrapbook he made with his wife called The Last Days of M*A*S*H, Alda described how he headed to the showers one last time to film his final shower scenes and revealed how uncomfortable he really was every time you saw him cracking jokes and baring is chest under running water on the show:

"As we worked in the shower that week, I remembered all of the scenes we had shot there and how they would often be scheduled at just the wrong time," Alda wrote. "They would usually come after I had spent a solid week indulging myself in Chinese food. I would often stand there exposed from the waist up, wishing I had just a little less Moo Goo Gai Pan hanging from my pectorals."

Throughout the series run, the whole cast takes their turns doing these shower scenes, likely all feeling at times similar to Alda about the awkwardness of filming these particular shoots.

"Even when lithe and beautiful, I was a little embarrassed by shower scenes," Alda said in his book. "We were naked except for little flesh-colored bikinis and from the side of the set, you could see all our loveliness."

On M*A*S*H, even if actors like Alda weren’t a huge fan of the shower scenes, the audience certainly saw them as an iconic feature of the show.

In 1975, a debutante ball serves as a perfect example of how fans saw these shower scenes as key to M*A*S*H’s image.

At the ball, the honorees and their guests dressed as M*A*S*H characters while hanging poolside at a makeshift M*A*S*H tent, completing the scene with a jeep, American flags and stretchers in place of lawn chairs. Just as important in setting the scene:

"More American flags and a M*A*S*H shower were placed in the backyard," according to The Times.

And it wasn’t just debutantes stepping into M*A*S*H-like showers. M*A*S*H parties became a favorite party theme in the Seventies and the Eighties for all kinds of folks from different walks of life.

In 1981, for another example, a convention of Volvo dealers met in Palm Springs, where they were transported to and from their hotels to the convention destination by not just jeeps, but also ambulances and convoy trucks.

Once they arrived at the "camp," The Desert Sun documented in 1981, that the convention grounds were covered in a "spread with authentic tents, including the famous M*A*S*H shower and the surgery unit."

It's fair to say, then, for fans, the M*A*S*H shower was just as critical to the show’s success as an unserious setting, as the surgical unit was as the destination of the show’s masterful tension.

In "Nurse Doctor," Potter rushes Hawkeye out of the shower at the very second that his allotted time expires, and Hawkeye protests having to walk around "foaming at the elbows" all day.

Potter scolds Hawkeye for complaining and reminds him, "We’ve all got to bite the bullet" when it comes to limiting showers during a water shortage.

This is likely an apt description of how Alda and his castmates felt about doing the shower scenes — they all had to bite the bullet and get through them.

So next time you’re laughing at Hawkeye scrub-a-dubbing, maybe do him a favor and try not to notice whether or not he ate Chinese food that week?

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Quantumnerd 23 days ago
I Googled this because I was just watching one of the shower scenes and steam is rising off the water, and I'm wondering if the water was really hot? Thanks for an interesting article. We always had M.A.S.H. parties, also my parents bought so much M.A.S.H. memorabilia that it felt like we were at the 4077th. lol
JohnGibbons 19 months ago
Never knew the shower scenes were a thing
joeyjoejoe 29 months ago
I think frank burns made the show , he was hilarious.Winchester sucked , I don’t find snobs funny
JellyrollJackson 29 months ago
I still remember Radars little but shot in the sniper episode
gizmo2039 29 months ago
hello I am a huge Mash fan love the show hawkeye is my favorite character
Pacificsun 29 months ago
So I'm just curious. Do the regulars on the comment site use the "Like" element when they are complementing another Poster? When they agree? Appreciate the contribution? And / or want to get the Poster's attention (good or bad).

So some comment platforms are using more animated style emojiis. But for those who don't have them built into the tablet/smartphone, so you think MeTV should add more variety of emotion? Would that make the comment thread more interesting?

I like the comments as much as the stories!
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 29 months ago
I generally use the "Like" element if I like a comment. whether that's complimentary in agreement etc.... I guess would be an opinion. I think the current emoji's they (MeTV) have are adequate. There are a few copy and paste emoji sites if there's an emoji not in MeTV's menu. If by "animated" you mean memes and gif's that some use I'm not sure those are built in to devices as they're usually specific. The Add a youtube url is a nice feature. 🅰 great question, thanks for asking.
MrsPhilHarris Pacificsun 29 months ago
I Like for various reasons. If I like what someone said, if I like all the emojis they used. If they stated something I agree with or find funny. All sorts of reason.
Pacificsun 30 months ago
In trying to answer a commenter's question here, sent me over to trivia. Had never read as much being in one place before. And not having the behinde-the-scenes book.


Here's just one trivia question with the answer supplied via the link. But you'll have to read all through the interesting backstory to find. This quiz meant for ordinary (not ultra expert) MASH fans!
Have fun

Here's the link:

Here's the question. There's only one scene that took advantage of being nude. Which one?

LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 30 months ago
Are you referring to the shower scene in the MASH movie, not the series?
Zip Pacificsun 30 months ago
Before I look it up via the link you provided, I am going to take a guess that(if it was during the tv series of MASH and not the movie) it was during an early sniper episode, where Radar's towel comes off as he and Col. Blake are rushing back into the shower tent. I thought I read somewhere that that scene wasn't supposed to happen like that and that Gary was nude under that towel.
Pacificsun LoveMETV22 30 months ago
No, I'm sorry, only in the series. I never saw the movie or read the book
Pacificsun Zip 30 months ago
You guessed the scene. I think you'll enjoy the trivia anyway. As reported, they left only a "frame" of the shot in the sequence, which (if you've ever pulled any footage apart) would be about 3 milliseconds on screen. No doubt bowing to the censors' oversight. Although in today's market it would be a selling point, and might be for the DVDs! 😉
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 30 months ago
Looks like Zip guessed it, I didn't know if you meant the movie or the series. Lol ,so they took advantage in the movie and the series.
Zip 30 months ago
"I would often stand there exposed from the waist up, wishing I had just a little less Moo Goo Gai Pan hanging from my pectorals.""

Really?! Alan Alda was worried he would look fat?! He was always a bean pole.
That said, I can understand him being embarrassed doing those scenes wearing just a little bikini brief. But it's better than nothing, I guess. In any case, it didn't affect his acting or comic timing. And I agree, those shower scenes were so iconic for MASH. A lot of good dialogue, both comic AND serious, came from those scenes.
Coldnorth 30 months ago
I always wondered if they had to use cold showers. Lol probably why Hawkeye didn’t like them. Did I say thattttt?
Coldnorth Coldnorth 30 months ago
I hate cold showers except the summer
Pacificsun Coldnorth 30 months ago
I searched all over in trivia and couldn't find the answer.

Check the top of this thread under Pacificsun for a fun Trivia quiz (with the answer available in a search)!!
Pacificsun Coldnorth 30 months ago
From a production standpoint, and the reputation of all the actor's complaints, all the time (both producers complained it was the worst show they'd ever worked on) ... no, I doubt they'd stand around taking cold showers take after take.
Coldnorth Pacificsun 29 months ago
I appreciate you for looking for the answer. Thank you. I haven’t been here much so sorry I answered late
Andybandit 30 months ago
I can imagine being embarrassed while doing a shower scene. At least he was really doing the scene.
Pacificsun 30 months ago
Cute article! Nicely written!
harlow1313 30 months ago
I think it is a nice slice of verisimilitude.

I like the showing real human bodies, as opposed to make believe human bodies, which are often shown in movies and commercials. I don't like to pretend we humans are something that we are not. I have been to the Wall-Mart.
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Pacificsun LoveMETV22 30 months ago
😉 No. I'm not going to do it again.

Go back to the dictionary.

Unless, I''m desperate enough to procrastinate again ....

LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 30 months ago
Lol too funny.
LoveMETV22 Pacificsun 29 months ago
I like some of harlows comments from time to time, he puts a little humor in them occasionally.IMO
texasluva Pacificsun 29 months ago
Your weekend movies are here today. Please go to: Can you guess the TV show by the letter Y in its title? Where you can watch, copy, jump up and down for joy or put them into the recycle bin.
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