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He's Back, He's Older, He's Wiser...but Is It *Really* MASH? The Story Behind Trapper John, M.D. Will Blow Your Mind 🤯
2024/05/14

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Trapper John, M.D.: A Spinoff With a Tangled History

MASH, the beloved Korean War sitcom, saw its fair share of cast departures during its eleven-season run. One of the most notable exits was Wayne Rogers, who played the charming surgeon Trapper John. Rogers, frustrated with his role being overshadowed by Alan Alda's Hawkeye, left at the end of season three, navigating a legal battle to gain his freedom. But Trapper John's story wasn't over.

 

Trapper's Second Act: A New Series Emerges

In 1979, CBS debuted *Trapper John, M.D.*, a medical drama that picked up thirty years after the Korean War. Now the Chief of Surgery at a San Francisco hospital, Trapper, played by Pernell Roberts, had evolved from a mischievous prankster into a wise mentor, guiding a new generation of doctors. The series became a hit, enjoying a successful seven-season run.

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A Spinoff of a Movie, Not the Show?

Despite featuring a main character from the *MASH* TV series and airing on the same network, *Trapper John, M.D.* found itself at the center of a legal dispute. A lawsuit filed by the *MASH* movie's producer, Ingo Preminger, against 20th Century Fox ultimately declared *Trapper John, M.D.* a spinoff of the Robert Altman film, not the CBS series. This surprising verdict added a layer of complexity to the show's lineage.

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