Alan Alda was arguing about the M*A*S*H pilot six hours before it was set to be filmed

"I didn't want them to let the war off easy," Alda said.

Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution

Some actors are hired based on the merit of their acting ability, and some actors a hired because their personality greatly resembles the character themself.

In Alan Alda's case, he was most likely hired for the role of Hawkeye on M*A*S*H for the latter reason. While Alda was not the womanizer Hawkeye was, the two men both share a pacifist nature, a belief that Alda spoke about during an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald.

It was those strong beliefs that led him, along with M*A*S*H producers Gene Reynolds and Larry Gelbart, to begin an argument with higher-ups about the show's pilot episode mere hours before it was set to be shot. While it seems that some people wanted the series to ring a bit more comedic, Alda, Reynolds, and Gelbart wanted to remain authentic in their portrayal of war.

"I didn't want them to let the war off easy," Alda said. "but to show it for what it is — a place where people get hurt."

The rocky start that M*A*S*H began on didn't necessarily sweeten with time. "Oddly enough, M*A*S*H gets harder to do each year," Alda said. "We don't just get up out of our easy chairs and expose our personalities. There is an enormous amount of hard work and care that goes into what we call show business. And skill. It's at least as hard as pole vaulting."

Despite this, it may seem to many audience members that acting is a simple task, given the ease that many M*A*S*H cast members seem to act with. Alda assured readers this was not the case. "Show business has always been sold on its glitter, and glitter is not serious," the actor said. "So why should the public take us seriously?"

But despite the hardships, Alda loved the M*A*S*H cast, and ultimately, the series itself. "I love it," he said. "We're a big, happy group."

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