The Connection: Lancaster, Missouri and M*A*S*H

Ron Morgan, Tick’s Take

I do not want to get anyone’s hopes up that Missouri is making bourbon, but there might have been some involved, when the following story was brought to my attention. Some time back, a good friend of mine Clem N. Tyne, was visiting with some guys in Queen City. They were exchanging tales; I mean stories, when the old M.A.S.H. TV show came up. Now that is a story in itself. Anyway, one of the guys in the discussion, Gary Van Meter (Meter) asked, if anyone remembered the time Lancaster was mentioned in the show. None of them did, including Donald Crabtree (Crabby), who was in the discussion. Unbelievable, I know. Anyway, Clem and Meter asked me to check the facts and share it with the Schuyler County Times readers. Roger Lucas told them what he knew about the story, but I thought I would check the facts anyway.

As you may or may not know, M*A*S*H was based on MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctor by Richard Hooker. It follows a team of doctors and support staff stationed at the 4077 Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in Uijeongbu, South Korea (pronounced; wee jog bu), during the Korean War. A film was released in 1970. It was followed by a TV series that ran from 1972-83, and it became one of the highest rated shows in U.S. television history. Be patient, I getting to the mention of Lancaster in the series.

There was a character in both the book and TV series name Corporal Radar O’Rielly. Gary Burghoff portrayed him. Radar’s hometown was Ottumwa, Iowa, and in his final two episodes titled “Goodbye Radar Part 1” October 8, 1979, and Part 2 one week later; Radar goes to Tokyo for some R&R and is set to return to the 4077th. He is bumped from his flight, and while waiting for another flight he meets Patty Haven, an attractive nurse portrayed by Marilyn Jones.

They strike up a conversation. When Radar asks Patty where she is going; she told him home to Lancaster, Missouri. Radar knew of Lancaster, since he was from Ottumwa. They visited, kissed, and she caught her flight home. Radar promised to visit her, when he returned to Ottumwa. They both were fans of Grape Nehi, which I’m not sure was the liquid of choice for Clem, Meter, and Crabby.

In Part 2, Radar returned to the 4077th and learned his Uncle Ed, who lived on the farm in the Ottumwa area, had died. Radar was sent home on a hardship discharge to help his mother on the farm.

I know that is more information then you wanted or needed, but I am sure it pales with all the information on various subjects that came from the discussion held by Meter and Crabby. Sorry guys, but the truth is the truth.