Actor David Ogden Stiers did not appear on “MAS*H” during the show’s entire television run. His time playing the role of Major Charles Winchester took place from 1977 until 1983. The popular military drama began its 11-year run in 1972.
But, Stiers was there for the last episode of the show. And, during a press conference that took place after the final scene of “MAS*H” was filmed in January 1983, the actor talked about how being part of the cast made him believe in teamwork.
When it was his turn to be interviewed, Stiers was asked: “How long did it take you to feel a part (of the cast) after you came onto the set?”
At first, the Major Charles Winchester actor opted to make a joke.
“It sort of all dropped into place a week and a half ago. I really stopped fighting it,” he said. “You got a week to go, you might as well cram all the feelings you can in it.”
‘M*A*S*H’ Actor David Stiers Got Everyone Laughing During A Press Conference
This joke drew a big laugh from those gathered at the press conference, including his fellow “MAS*H” cast members. Harry Morgan, who played Colonel Sherman T. Potter on the show, then chimed in and said: “He is being serious.”
Stiers heard what Morgan had to say. Then he added: “To a great extent I am. I’m feeling like I have another couple of years to become most fully and most honestly myself with this group of people. Because I’m not a natural joiner. I’m essentially a private person.”
Being part of the cast of “MAS*H” helped Stiers see the value of working with other people on a project. It appeared that he realized that a lot could be accomplished, including a very successful television show, when everyone comes together in a united effort.
“This is the longest I’ve ever been at any of these parties,” Stiers also said. “And, now I’m wanting to, and it isn’t just the end of the show. But, I’m beginning to see the power and the potential in committing yourself to a group and that it doesn’t threaten your individuality, but it teaches you about it. …”
One reason that “M*A*S*H” was such as successful show other than the teamwork on set was that it was authentic, according to another of its stars. That star was Captain Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce actor Alan Alda.
He talked about the importance of authenticity on the show with the Television Academy Foundation.
“The thing that was essential to, I think, make the audience connect to it was that we knew we were telling the story of real people,” Alda said. “The producers — and you know Larry (Gelbart) and Gene (Reynolds) — went to Korea. … They saw what the conditions were like. They interviewed real doctors and nurses. And all of us who did it knew we were playing real people who had lived through real conditions. … I think that I think the audience got that and appreciated it.”