The Ironies Of MASH Written by Stephen Schochet
The TV show MASH ran for 11 years taking nearly every opportunity to bash US involvement with Korean War, which was actually an allegory for Vietnam. Many episodes showed a moral relativism between US side and communists, doctors(with exception of Frank Burns) made no distinction between wounded and often talked about declaring war a tie so they could go home.
The MASH set sometimes was a tense place to work, especially in early years. One episode featured a sniper who was eventually shot by an army helicopter. Alan Alda objected to use of gunfire to settle issue, some on writing staff pointed out that he had recently played an armed sheriff who had drawn his gun in a TV movie which angered star who retreated to his dressing room.
Some who worked on show speculated that pro-feminist Alda had problems reconciling playing skirt chasing Hawkeye. Although, he was always professional he stayed aloof in early years of show, going to his dressing room whenever there was tension on set. Part of job of being star is setting standards of behavior for cast, but Alda just wanted to deliver his lines, contribute his creative ideas, and fly home to New Jersey on Friday. One time he was asked to record a video greeting to Navy stations, he refused claiming it would encourage troops to prolong Vietnam war. Even at Christmas he remained withdrawn refusing to buy any presents for cast and crew, going against traditional television star rituals.
Tales Of Hollywood And PoliticsWritten by Stephen Schochet
Arnold Schwarzenegger's surprise announcement that he was seeking California Governorship brought to mind many times Hollywood figures have been involved in politics. Here are some related anecdotes:
When actors first came to Hollywood there were signs put up in front of hotels and apartments that said no dogs or actors allowed, with performers ruefully complaining about not getting top billing. The insecurity of profession has come through in political campaigns. When Ronald Reagan successfully ran for Governor of California in 1966 one of fruitless tactics used by his opposition was a television commercial featuring Gene Kelley stating," In films I played a gambler, a baseball player and I could play a Governor but you wouldn't really want an actor to really be a Governor would you?"
Ronald Reagan at one time was such a Liberal Democrat he drove friends to distraction with his views. One day in thirties he was driving a friend home from work, yammering on about President Roosevelt's New Deal policies. Reagan who was near sighted and an erratic driver at best, seemed oblivious to road conditions. "Ronnie, watch out for that truck!" friend yelled. Missing an accident by a hair, Reagan continued," Truck drivers, that's who New Deal will help!"
Like former President Reagan, Walt Disney claimed to be a Roosevelt New Dealer until a nasty worker's strike at his studio made him take a right turn. Although he campaigned heavily for Republican candidates cartoon maker kept friendly relations with other side. Walt loved giving personal tours of Disneyland, and enjoyed having former president Harry Truman as his guest, even when his fellow Missourian turned down a ride on Dumbo: Too much Republican symbolism.
Another mogul, Louis B. Mayer founder of MGM was a staunch Republican his entire life. Mayer never quite got over Franklin Roosevelt beating his good friend Herbert Hoover but accepted an invitation to meet Democratic President at White House in 1933. Immediately upon arriving in Oval Office Mayer surprised Roosevelt by pulling a clock from underneath his coat and placing it on President's desk. "What's that for, Mr. Mayer?" "Pardon me Mr. President. I heard you have ability to have a man in your hip pocket after 18 minutes." Brandishing his long cigarette holder Roosevelt threw his head back and laughed, then began chatting with film executive . He was startled when after seventeen minutes mogul got up, grabbed clock and left room.