Saving Trapper John’s life

TV writer Ken Levine told the story on his blog this morning about a practical joke a “MASH” producer pulled on CBS.

On “MASH” we were only required to write up loglines (a sentence or two).
Often we would fall seven or eight shows behind. John Rappaport, one
of the MASH producers, pulled a classic stunt on CBS. The series “Trapper John M.D.” was about to premiere that fall on CBS. Among the
loglines John submitted was “Hawkeye
is devastated to learn that his buddy Trapper John has died back in the
states
.”

John gets a frantic call from the network. “You
can’t do that!” they pleaded. “We have a show starring Trapper John.”
Rappaport shrugged and said, “That’s not our problem.”

The
network insisted they drop the story. John said, “It’s too late. We
already filmed it.” The network rep was absolutely apoplectic until
John told him it was a goof. …

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