Monday, February 16, 2009

Mash Revisited...

Today’s (Feb. 16) Duluth News Tribune web site includes, in Andrew Krueger's “News Tribune Attic” feature, an interview story I did in 1974 with Larry Linville of the MASH TV-show cast. Linville, who played Maj. Burns on MASH, came to Duluth as part of a nationwide tour publicizing the show.

I remember the interview well -- it was held in a conference room at KDLH TV, the CBS affiliate. There were several others -- four or five -- in the room, a few of them just fans of MASH who worked at KDLH. It was difficult to interview him under those circumstances, with the others fawning all over him. That explains why there are almost no direct quotes in the feature story.

Linville was a total jerk, kind of surly and condescending at the same time. Maybe he was tired. He made a big deal about how he had attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and was a serious actor and not just some sitcom character. Must have been a frustrated Shakespearian. None of that is reflected in the story.

I was also hampered by the fact that I wasn't a fan of MASH, and had only seen the program once -- the week Linville came to town -- as preparation for interviewing him. I thought MASH imposed Vietnam-era values regarding war on the Korean War, when those values were not widespread in America in 1950-'53.

I recall that Linville died a few years ago, so I can't libel him here.


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