Thursday, December 8, 2011

R.I.P. Harry Morgan

I can't begin to describe how sad I am to be writing this post. After all while my fellow teenagers were out partying, participating in after school activities, or engaging in some other acts for which I shalt not describe, I stayed at home and watched MASH. Seems odd, I know, but that's exactly what I did. And I loved it. Oh man, what a show. Easily my all time favorite by a good mile and a quarter.

And while so many of my fellow fans of MASH have lauded the days of Lt. Colonel Henry Blake and Captain "Trapper" John McIntyre, I always found myself gravitating toward the comforting sentimentality of Colonel Sherman Potter (Morgan) - even if Potter was a vastly different character to the one Morgan guest starred in, General Steele, earlier in the series - and his fellow new inductee, Captain B.J. Hunnicutt.

To me, once those two came on board, MASH was achieving perfect fruition (that's not to say it was anything but damned close before). Potter - and by extension Morgan - brought the show something I felt it was lacking during the formative years of Blake and Trapper. He brought perspective. A seasoned war veteran who knew the trials and tribulations of combat and had seen the coming and going of both boys and men in the army. Morgan played the role to perfection.

A seasoned supporting actor, Morgan had the daunting task of constantly butting heads and yet still remaining sympathetic and friendly with the show's frontrunner Hawkeye Pierce (played by the incomparable Alan Alda). For me, this was a massive success. Whereas Blake by and large caved in, Potter was never afraid to stand up to Pierce and challenge him on his ideology. And through that I became a fan of Morgan.

Finding him in movies became a sort of amusing side hobby of mine. My own version of Where's Waldo as he seamlessly blended into crowds with staunch character acting. Admittedly an easy cheat for the greater portion of his bigger movies would be to just look for the Sheriff or a deputy of some sort.

Still, at 96 none of us can say Morgan didn't live a full life and no matter what we'll always have MASH to remind us just how good he was.

1 better thoughts:

Ruth said...

While I'll always have a soft spot for Trapper and Henry Blake (who probably had the saddest departure that I'll remember), they both had their moments, once Colonel Potter and BJ came on the show everything seemed to fall into place. Morgan was so brilliant, and he had some of the most touching scenes I can recall from the series. I think I'm going to have a MASH marathon in the near future. RIP Harry Morgan.

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