This M*A*S*H episode took inspiration from Jamie Farr's only Twilight Zone appearance

The Klinger actor played a soldier first on Rod Serling’s show.

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This M*A*S*H episode was inspired by a Twilight Zone episode!
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It’s rare that M*A*S*H uses optical effects, but in one of the spookiest episodes, "Follies of the Living - Concerns of the Dead," audiences watched as a soldier’s soul leaves his body and then wanders the camp, unaware that he’s dead.

The only person who can see the soldier is Klinger, who spends the episode afflicted by a fever, which is what, we’re led to believe, allows him to see the ghost.

This unusual M*A*S*H episode was written and directed by Alan Alda and took direct inspiration from a Twilight Zone episode written by Rod Serling called "The Passersby."

In "The Passersby," a group of Civil War soldiers wander a road wounded, and in the end, it is revealed that all the people on the road – civilians and soldiers – are actually dead.

For the soldier whom only Klinger can see in the M*A*S*H episode, the ending is the same, a realization that he’s passed on, despite believing himself to still walk among the living.

Many fans have pointed out that it’s appropriate for Klinger to be the star of this episode because Klinger actor Jamie Farr actually briefly featured in that exact Twilight Zone episode in one of his earliest TV roles.

In the Twilight Zone episode, Farr appears at the very beginning of the episode as a wounded soldier, with a covering over his face.

Because he has no lines, Farr was uncredited on the episode, but M*A*S*H made up the difference by reviving the plot and casting Farr to star two decades later.

Because it references one of Farr’s earliest onscreen gigs, for fans, this episode marks how far Farr had come as an actor.

When Farr’s career began in 1955 on The Red Skelton Hour, the actor’s performances were credited under his birth name Jameel Farah.

He got discovered when he answered a casting call and beat out 650 others to land a role in the 1955 Glenn Ford movie Blackboard Jungle.

Growing up, Farr had gone to the same high school as Danny Thomas, and he considered the sitcom star his idol, which was why he pursued acting.

The same year he landed the movie gig, he also signed a five-year contract with CBS, setting himself up to head down the same road that would lead him to The Twilight Zone, then on to M*A*S*H.

He eventually changed his stage name to Jamie Farr. He said casting agents sometimes confused his original name as sounding feminine.

That makes sense, since he was named for his mother, Jamelia. He said he took after her in more ways than one.

"She sang a little and acted some when she was young," Farr told The Alternative Press in 1977.

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RedSamRackham 17 months ago
* That M*A*S*H episode indeed seemed like it could've been a Twilight Zone episode!
BrianThetubewatcher 19 months ago
Jameel sounded too feminine, so he changed it to… Jamie? Like that doesn’t sound feminine?
iloveromance 22 months ago
That's awesome. I've only seen Jamie on MASH and he's wonderful. I need to find that Twilight Episode. I haven't seen the MASH episode in question yet but it's my favorite show so I'm excited to see it.
WGH 22 months ago
The whole point of the episode is that once you die, only then do you realize that you spent much of your life bickering about stupid things, or worrying about broken Nails, Etc.

So go and give your kids and grandbabies a hug right now. And tell them how much you love them. Do something memorable.
WordsmithWorks 22 months ago
I would say that "direct inspiration" from a brief screen appearance with no lines is a bit of a stretch.
WGH WordsmithWorks 22 months ago
Since CBS owned the Twilight Zone, they allowed Alan Alda to basically steal the TZ plot.

It is essentially the same episodes so that is not a stretch. It's plagiarism.
Pacificsun WordsmithWorks 22 months ago
Alan Alda .... took direct inspiration from a Twilight Zone episode written by Rod Serling called "The Passersby." Meaning, it was easy enough to borrow a plot, and make it pertinent to MASH (wartime). No worries! Hardly anything is an original conception at this point after 70 years of television!
JHP 22 months ago
Jamie Farr was the paprika in goulash - think about it
JHP 22 months ago
as MASH went on - eps got very off the comedy train and more thoughtful and un-MASH like - kinda didnt like them but appreciated the actors skill in doing the nightmares ep

still can t watch the ep where Henry dies

Pacificsun JHP 22 months ago
My hunch (worthless to anyone else, of course) is that the Series got sold to the network by promising "comedy." As the actors and writers got more involved with the tragedy of war, from exploring so many situations. It was a challenge NOT to present the darker sider, which was rightfully a proper balance.
JHP Pacificsun 22 months ago
agreed:) There were some later eps with Potter that were fill you pants funny tho:)

BJ being a practical joker was one for sure

but when they were dark they were very un-funny
RedSamRackham Pacificsun 17 months ago
* True indeed but I still think killing off Henry Blake was so wrong!
Zip 23 months ago
Another Jamie Farr/MASH connection with a different tv show(though this one is decidedly less morbid) was the episode of Gomer Pyle USMC called "Gomer Pyle POW."

In that episode, Gomer escapes during war maneuvers with another platoon by dressing up in an officer's clothes. While doing so, he effectively captures the whole platoon that his platoon is competing against. And Jamie Farr(working as an MP) is one of the men he captures.
At the end of the episode Gomer is supposed to receive an award from Col. Gray for his brilliant strategy, but it turns out he is captured again in another war game, but this time he escapes by dressing up in women's clothes. The last scene is Gomer walking down a dirt road wearing a dress, and a helmet, and carrying a rifle, looking like he just stepped out of a Corporal Klinger lookalike contest.
Pacificsun 23 months ago
Alfred Hitchcock toyed with the same theme idea, in a much creepier way, because he was the master of horror. How that theme is interpreted (and I understand AA's point of view in how he wrote the idea for MASH). Does depend on having (or not) a belief there is a view from the afterlife. AH had a much more stark reality and a moral tale to share. But the episode spooked me enough, because there are stories of people becoming conscious while under anesthesia, but can give no indication of their state of mind. That would be the worst thing of all to have happen. Being aware of what is going on all around you, with no escape. So either way, the plot is still achieved!

Here's a link to a review of AH's version of adjusting the premise in another way.
WGH Pacificsun 22 months ago
The term is anesthetic awareness. You can read about it here if you want.
LoveMETV22 23 months ago
"Follies of the Living - Concerns of the Dead," was a good episode. Glad the producers gave Jamie Farr
the opportunity for a significant role in that episode. Another similar episode along that storyline was on a few nights ago " The Life You Save" where Charles after realizing a near death experience searches for some meaning as to what that experience was like. They probably could have done without the other sub-plot in that episode where the duty rosters are changed. Oh well.
harlow1313 LoveMETV22 23 months ago
All though a bit contrived (a bullet passing through his hat), I think it a bit thought provoking, and one of the better later episodes. David Ogden Stiers well shows his talent.

I think the character of Charles would have gone well in earlier years, before the writing became so, in my opinion, heavy handed.
LoveMETV22 harlow1313 23 months ago
Yes very contrived on the bullet passing through his hat, probably just to set the plot. The rest of the episode with the staff rotating jobs, seemed more like filler(imo).
harlow1313 LoveMETV22 23 months ago
Agreed. I would also say, the staff rotating jobs is absurd.
Pacificsun harlow1313 23 months ago
In a traditional setting, but perhaps in a mobile unit staff needed to be used as they were available and skilled enough.

IMO COS brought more depth into the role of the 3rd "sidekick" so to speak, as Hawkeye and BJ were so joined at the hip. With not enough friction between them, except for the few and very outstanding stories about their feuds and contests. COS stepped into a hot-seat, trying to fill the void that the tedious (by design) Larry Linville left. So he has a much deeper character to work with. And when he does soften up on the rare occasions, really makes and impact. Whereas Frank simply played off the laughs.
WordsmithWorks LoveMETV22 22 months ago
The non-Hawkeye storylines were very much welcome.
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