April 23, 2013

RIP, Dr. Sidney Freedman

If you're a true, deep M*A*S*H aficionado, as I am, beyond the regular characters, you can't forget semi-regular supporting character Dr. Sidney Freedman, played by Allan Arbus, who died last week at the age of 95.

Freedman, a down-to-earth "shrink" with a tongue-in-cheek 1950s period Freudianist angle on his work, was of course the perfect foil for the collective and individual neuroses of the 4077th.

It seems hard to believe that, per Hollywood Reporter, he appeared in just 12 episodes over the show's 13 seasons.  It also seems hard to believe that he was 95 when he died, which means he was 65 when M*A*S*H ended, which means ...

M*A*S*H ended a full 30 years ago.

So, as we fondly remember Sidney, and Allan Arbus, let's remember what's probably his best line from those 12 episodes:
"Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice - pull down your pants and slide on the ice."
You said it, Sidney.

Meanwhile, maybe Allan Arbus was the oldest, but the picture below, from NPR's story about his death, shows indeed that M*A*S*H ended a full 30 years ago.

Allan Arbus on the left, with fellow M.A.S.H. stars Loretta Swit, Mike Farrell, Burt Metcalfe, Alan Alda,
Kellye Nakahara Wallet and Wayne Rogers at an awards ceremony in 2009. Getty Images via NPR

Meanwhile, a bit of M*A*S*H trivia. Have you been to most the places where the characters grew up?

There's no Crabapple Cove, Maine, and I've never been to Maine at all, so scratch Hawkeye.
Trap? The show says he came from Boston; never been there.
Radar? I've been close to Ottumwa, Iowa, but not quite there.
Henry? I've been to Bloomington, Ill. (And why did Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds tell Alda in advance about the script change to kill Henry, if they weren't going to tell anybody else? Kind of gives credence to why McLean Stevenson and Wayne Rogers left.)
Potter? I've been to Hannibal, Mo.
Hot Lips? I've been to Fort Ord, Calif.
Frank? I've been to Fort Wayne, Ind.
Charles? Never been to Boston.
B.J.? I've been to Mill Valley, Calif.
Father Mulcahy? I've been to Philly.
Klinger? I've been to Toledo.

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