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Power Rankings: M*A*S*H

7 Nov

(Power Rankings sum up:  Each week, we’ll pick a television show and rank the actors/actresses/contestants/correspondents/etc. based on what they’ve done after the series ended (unless we’re ranking a current series, in which case we’ll have to bend the rules).  Preference will be given to more recent work, but if the work was a long time ago, but much more important/relevant, that will be factored in as well)

It’s been almost three decades since the legendary finale of M*A*S*H aired and the cast had various levels of success since then.  You’ll see lots of Murder, She Wrote episodes, lots of TV movies (I continue to insist that TV movies have the best names around) and as I was familiar with fewer of the cast members than with other shows I’ve ranked, a genuinely surprising ordering.  Also typing M*A*S*H is incredibly irritating – thank goodness for find and replace.

11.  Gary Burghoff (as Walter Eugene “Radar” O’Reilly) – He was in a couple of episodes of The Love Boat and Fantasy Island as well as two of spinoff After M*A*S*H.  He was in an episode of Burke’s Law before taking a 15 year retirement, breaking it only to appear in Christian movie Daniel’s Lot in 2010.

10.  Loretta Swit (as Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan) – Most of her post-M*A*S*H work was in TV movies.  These include The Execution, Sam, Miracle at Moreaux, 14 Going on 30, Dreams of Gold: The Mel Fisher Story, Hell Hath No Fury, A Matter of Principle and A Killer Among Friends.  She was in episodes of Batman, Murder She Wrote, Burke’s Law, Cow and Chicken and Diagnosis Murder.  She hasn’t worked in film or TV since the new millennium began.

9.  William Christopher (as Father John Francis Patrick Mulcahy) – He appeared in two seasons of After M*A*S*H as Father Mulcahy, and also in episodes of Murder, She Wrote, The New WKRP in Cincinnati, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, Diagnosis Murder, Team Knight Rider and Mad About You.

8.  Jamie Farr (as Maxwell Q. Klinger) – He appeared in Cannonball Run II.  He starred for two seasons in M*A*S*H spinoff After M*A*S*H as Klinger.  He was in episodes of Murder She Wrote, Men Behaving Badly, Mad About You, Port Charles and Hey Arnold!  After years without work, he appeared in an episode of The War At Home in 2007 and TV movie A Grandpa for Christmas.

7. Larry Linville (as Frank Burns) – Burns left M*A*S*H after the fifth season.  The next year he co-starred in ridiculous sounding one season series Grandpa Goes to Washington with Jack Albertson.  He was in four Love Boat episodes, two of CHIPs, one of Lou Grant and two of The Jeffersons.  He was three Fantasy Island episodes and co-starred in the one season Paper Dolls, a primetime soap set in theNew York fashion industry.  He was in episodes of Airwolf, Riptide, Night Court, Dream On, A Different World, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and of course, three of Muder, She Wrote.  He was in Earth Girls are Easy.  Sadly, Linville passed away in 2000.

6. Harry Morgan (as Sherman T. Potter) – Morgan is the oldest major cast member, still kicking at the age of 96.  He was one of three cast members (with Farr and Christopher) to appear in spin off After M*A*S*H.  He was in a short-lived series with Hal Linden about a magician who solves crimes called Blacke’s Magic in 1986 (I really hope it’s as amazing as it sounds).  He also co-starred in a short-lived series based on the play You Can’t Take It With You.  Like many of the cast members, he was in an episode of Murder, She Wrote.  He was also in episodes of The Twilight Zone, Renegade, Grace Under Fire, The Jeff Foxworthy Show and three of 3rd Rock From the Sun.  He was also in TV movies 14 Going on 30, The Incident and Against Her Will: An Incident in Baltimore.

5.  Wayne Rogers (as John Francis Xavier “Trapper” McIntyre) – Rogers left M*A*S*H after three seasons.  After leaving M*A*S*H, he starred in one season Stephen J. Cannell detective show City of Angels and in 1979 began starring in three season CBS hospital drama House Calls with Lynn Redgrave and Sharon Gless.  He filled out the ‘70s and ‘80s with an impressive resume of TV movies, including but not limited to Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery, Having Babies 2, The November Plan, It Happened One Christmas, He’s Fired She’s Hired, The Girl Who Spelled Freedom, Drop-Out Mother and One Terrific Guy and mini-series Chiefs.  He appeared in five episodes of Murder, She Wrote, as expected, and in single episodes of Diagnosis Murder and The Larry Sanders Show.  He now appears as a regular panel member on Fox News Channel investment show Cashin’ In, having made tons of money post M*A*S*H through investing.

4. McLean Stevenson (as Henry Blake) – Stevenson, like Wayne Rogers, left M*A*S*H after three seasons.  He finished out the ‘70s and early ‘80s with an incredible run of four one-season sitcoms.  First he starred in The McLean Stevenson Show, then In the Beginning, then Hello Larry and finally in Condo in 1983.  Wikipedia adds the particularly harsh statement that “All four sitcoms were dismissed by audiences and lambasted by critics.”(lambasted! ouch!)  He appeared in six episodes of Diff’rent Strokes as his Hello, Larry character.  He guested in four episodes of The Love Boat, one of Golden Girls and three of beloved childhood learning program (to me) Square One TV.  He also appeared in the one season Dirty Dancing show, based on the film (with Melora Hardin in the Jennifer Grey role).  He guest-hosted The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 58 times, into the mid-80s.  He sadly passed away in 1996 at the age of 68.

3. Mike Farrell (as B.J. Honnicut) – He spent the ‘80s working in TV movies, from Memorial Day to Choices of the Heart to Private Sessions, Vanishing Act, A Deadly Silence, Incident at Dark River, The Price of the Bride and as JFK in J.F.K.: A One Man Show.  He was in episodes of Murder, She Wrote like all good M*A*S*H cast members and Coach and two of Matlock.  He was back to TV movie work in the ‘90s, with appearances in Silent Motive, Hart to Hart: Old Friends Never Die, Vows of Deception and Sins of the Mind.  He voiced Jonathan Kent, Superman’s dad in Superman in 9 episodes.  He co-starred in NBC’s five seasonProvidenceas Dr. Jim Hansen, the father of main character Dr. Sydney Hansen.  He was in episodes of Smith, Without a Trace, Ghost Whisperer, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and Miami Medical and three of Desperate Housewives.

2.  David Ogden Stiers (as Charles Emerson Winchester III) – He was in The Innocents Abroad episode of Great Performances and in TV movies Anatomy of an Illness and The Bad Seed.  He co-starred in two editions of popular ‘80s civil war miniseries North and South.  He co-starred in several made for television Perry Mason movies as DA Michael Reston in the mid-to-late ‘80s.  He was in two episodes of ALF, three of Matlock and TV movies Day One, Final Notice, The Kissing Place, How To Murder a Millionaire and Wife, Mother, Murderer.  He was in single episodes of Wings, Married People, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Jack’s Place.  He was in movies such as The Accidental Tourist, Meet Wally Sparks and Jungle 2 Jungle and in Woody Allen films Mighty Aphrodite, Everyone Says I Love You, and The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.  He had several major voice roles in Disney films Beauty and the Beast as Cogsworth, Pocahontas as Governor Ratcliffe, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Atlantics; The Lost Empire and Lilo & Stitch.  He was in three episodes of Murder, She Wrote, 13 episodes of Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place and 13 of short-lived show Love & Money.  He was in four episodes of Bull and three episodes of Stargate: Atlantis.  He was in forty episodes, half of the run, of USA’s The Dead Zone in the mid-00s as Reverend Eugene Purdy.

1.  Alan Alda (as Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce) – I think the top three are really close – they’re a tier above the rest of the cast members, and I had a hard time deciding between them.  I gave Alda the slight edge because the show in which he appeared regularly in the ’00s was the most well known, even though he appeared in the fewest episodes.  Alda’s been active since M*A*S*H ended in 1983.  He appeared in a couple of Woody Allen movies, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Crimes and Misdemeanors and Everyone Says I Love You.  He appeared in Murder at 1600, Canadian Bacon and TV movie and And the Band Played On.  He was in Mad City, The Object of My Affection, What Women Want and appeared as Senator Brewster in The Aviator.  He was in five episodes of ER and 28 of The West Wing as moderate Republican presidential candidate of Senator Arnold Vinick.  He was in three episodes of 30 Rock as Alec Baldwin’s possible father and in three of The Big C.  He’s now in Tower Heist as a Bernie Madoff-like figure.