SUPPORTING GREAT TELEVISION

M*A*S*H: Wartime Blues, in Black and White

In Flashbacks on February 24, 2011 at 12:00 am

Hawkeye (Alan Alda) discusses war in the “M*A*S*H” episode “The Interview” (Screen cap)

On February 24, 1976, CBS aired The Interview, the M*A*S*H episode that is presented as a black-and-white 1950s documentary about life in the 4077th.

During the show, Clete Roberts, a real-life Korean War correspondent, interviewed the M*A*S*H actors, who improvised their answers while staying in character.

The Interview, like all classics, is resonant.

When buffoonish Frank Burns (Larry Linville) declares, “Korea will become a shining policy of benign military intervention,” you hear the echo of Dick Cheney’s prediction that Iraqis would greet the United States as liberators.

Although The Interview won no awards, it’s remembered fondly; TV Guide ranked it 80th on its 1997 list of television’s greatest episodes.

The Interview also served as a precursor to Modern Family and other contemporary shows that employ the mockumentary format each week.

See for yourself: The Interview is included in the M*A*S*H Season 4 and M*A*S*H: Martinis and Medicine DVD collections.

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