Jamie Farr simply couldn't wait to go to work while on M*A*S*H

Farr ''marveled'' at the cast's determination and care for the series. But what made M*A*S*H really great? The day-in-day-out fun on set.

On Now
MeTV Presents Klinger’s Best Looks
Up Next:

Though he wasn't a regular character at the start of the series, it's hard to imagine M*A*S*H without the cross-dressing, army-ditching Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger. 

Jamie Farr started his M*A*S*H career as a day-to-day player on the show, as he didn't have a contract until the character of Klinger was well-established. 

Though he wasn't yet a regular, the chemistry, intensity and fun atmosphere on set was a dead give away when he first stepped on set. 

"What struck me was the quality of the show," he told MeTV in a 2014 interview. "To see how everybody, the writers, the director and the cast had such great concern for the value of the property that they were doing... I marveled at that. A lot of times, you go on a set, you know, you'll run into egos and people on the phone with their press agents... They were all concerned about the show." 

"Originally it was an ensamble," Farr said of M*A*S*H during a 2011 interview with the Academy of American Television, meaning no one character was initially supposed to jump out more than the others. However, as any M*A*S*H fan knows, that wasn't the case.

"As the show went on, Alan [Alda] became, as they say, the linchpin. He was very, very generous about the show, making sure that everybody [got their chance to shine]. As Burt Metcalfe used to say, 'I got seven birdies I got to feed... sometimes I can't do it in every show,'" Farr said while laughing. 

Despite starting as an ensamble, M*A*S*H clearly had something going with Alda at the helm, portraying his historic character of Hawkeye Pierce.

"We were all very well aware of that," Farr added. "Alan was very generous and brought so much to the show. His talent, his camaraderie and fun. That's the other thing... There are certain people that you enjoy working with and you can't wait to get to work. That's what that entire cast had." 

Fun on M*A*S*H's set was easy to find. Aside from the scripted jokes and funny scenarios, there was no telling what could happen behind the scenes. Farr said these situations didn't happen from time to time, but that they were an every day occurrence. 

"You'd go home at night and your sides would be hurting from laughing and you couldn't wait to get up the next morning to go to work."

Farr mentioned the show started out as an ensamble, but the natural spotlight began centering around one character perhaps more than others. 

"Alan supposedly, quote,  was the star of the show, so throned by CBS and 20th Century Fox. I don't think he knew that was going to happen, but that's the way it worked out. He made it so much fun to come to work." 

Watch M*A*S*H on MeTV!

Weeknights at 6 PM, Sundays at 7 PM

*available in most MeTV markets
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

10 Comments

MadMadMadWorld 4 months ago
Jamie will be 90 this upcoming July 1 (1934). One of the oldest actors on the series, started in Oct. 1972, hired for one day for its 4th episode, already 38. He was drafted in 1957, and sent to Ford Ord, California, and then after some more training, before shipped out to...Korea! Farr was also one of three cast members who had actually served in Korea, He is one of 3 who did serve (after the War in Korea: the others being Alan Alda and Mike Farrell, and the dog tags he wore as Klinger were his own from his time in the service. An assistant to Red Skelton, and hired him as a writer. When Skelton died in 1997, his widow asked Farr to be a pallbearer at his funeral. He was known and credited as Jameel Farah, as he would not take on the name Jamie Farr until 1959, after done with the Army. With 216 episodes in "M*A*S*H", he appeared in more episodes than anyone but Alan Alda and Loretta Swit.
Nala92129 16 months ago
I'm probably the only person in America that never watched "MASH!" Couldn't stand gooey, saccharine Alan Alda or "Jamie Farr." If Hollywood hadn't been a "closed shop," that man wouldn't have stood a chance in show business.
Zip 16 months ago
Jamie's love of the show really "showed" in his attitude and in his role. However, I think most actors must feel that way when they land on a series. I mean, you play bit parts in different shows, never knowing where your next paycheck is coming from, and then you become part of a series(especially if it is a good series like MASH) where you pretty much know you will have at least a year of work.
Pacificsun 16 months ago
Some people, and in this case an actor (which makes it more rare) are natural Leaders. They don't, and they can't, designate themselves that way. Only Followers can bring it out in them. Jamie Farr's account (interview) confirms this to be true in Alan Alda's case.

The Production and the Network were wise to honor that advantage!! 😉
LoveMETV22 16 months ago
So glad that Jamie Farr was made a regular on the series. From the story it certainly sounds like they were a tight knit group, and had fun while on the set.
MrsPhilHarris LoveMETV22 16 months ago
One of my favourite characters on the show,
Coldnorth MrsPhilHarris 16 months ago
I couldn’t wait to see what outfit he was going to wear. That made it funny to start with. I got misty eyed when he gave Margret his wedding dress, so she had a white wedding dress to get married. Then I had a laugh when it fit her perfectly.
MrsPhilHarris Coldnorth 16 months ago
Yes his Carmen Miranda outfit was hilarious and so was his Statue of Liberty get up. 😁
Adamtwelvia MrsPhilHarris 4 months ago
He's my #1 favorite!! He was the one who kept the show a comedy, even during the worst seasons.
MrsPhilHarris Adamtwelvia 4 months ago
He was one of favs too.

Are you sure you want to delete this comment?