Doctors and nurses hustle through the surgery tent. The charismatic doctors deliver deadpan one-liners while digging through the young men torn up by battle. A young man walks into this whirlwind of activity.
“Radar, put a mask on,” one of the doctors yells.
“I have a message,” the young man says, faltingly. “Col. Henry Potter’s plane…was shot down over the Sea of Japan, it spun and…there were no survivors…”
The doctors all fall quiet. Just the clank of scalpels dropping on metal trays.
From the Associated Press: Harry Morgan, who died Dec. 7 at age 96 after having pneumonia, was in the top ranks of actors who could take a small role, or a small scene, and bring it deftly alive. He added richness to any comedy or drama smart enough to call on him.
I always loved M*A*S*H and wanted to give Morgan a send-off that Henry Blake had.
Even as a kid, I liked how that show could go from goofy to serious and then back again. The seriousness made the goofiness that much more important and the goofiness made the serious parts all the more real.
What I Learned: If you want to balance comedy and drama, it starts with the characters. They have to be funny because they are reacting to the sad parts. The two feelings go hand in hand.