PDA

View Full Version : RIP Harry Morgan 1915-2011



banquo's_bumble_puppy
2011-Dec-07, 07:28 PM
We at 4077 will miss you.

ToSeek
2011-Dec-07, 07:33 PM
And at the LAPD.

banquo's_bumble_puppy
2011-Dec-07, 07:41 PM
yes...I forgot to mention that..thanks

Gillianren
2011-Dec-07, 07:44 PM
Hadleyville, New Mexico Territory? Not to mention half the comedic Westerns I watched as a child. He lived a long, full life and was in some amazing (and not-so-amazing) things. There's an episode of M*A*S*H where he plays not-Colonel Potter, instead playing a crazy officer Hawkeye and Trapper are trying to get a Section 8; it was an audition. They knew Colonel Blake was leaving, and they wanted to know how Harry Morgan got along with the rest of the cast. Pretty well, it turned out.

Stubby Boardman
2011-Dec-07, 07:52 PM
The scene in that first M*A*S*H appearance, where his character suddenly demands that a black soldier perform a musical number, then starts singing "Mississippi Mud", was pure gold.

redshifter
2011-Dec-07, 08:17 PM
RIP Harry Morgan aka Col. Sherman T. Potter! MASH is one of my all time favorite shows and his character is part of the reason why.

Oh, and his name in the 'whacko officer' episode was Col. Steele (can't remember his first name in that episode)

Moose
2011-Dec-07, 09:09 PM
Sherm! Nooooo! :-(

Gillianren
2011-Dec-07, 09:57 PM
So will the funeral feature a riderless Sophie? (I note that today is Eli Wallach's birthday; they were the same age.) That's one of the sweetest moments of the show, when Radar walks her (though in that episode, it's constantly "him") into the colonel's office.

I was thinking about the second half of the series the other day as part of my contemplation of "laughing at" shows vs. "laughing with" shows, and I think the advent of Colonel Potter and BJ is the real transition of M*A*S*H from the former to the latter. You could occasionally be sympathetic to Henry, but you were never really on his side. With Colonel Potter, you put in a lot of thought about things like what it must actually be like to be a Regular Army officer in that camp. When, on the first interview episode, he talks about how difficult it is for him to not have anyone his own age around, that's something most people can understand. He doesn't have the same reference points as the rest of the camp, and that's not easy. He's a wholly sympathetic character, even though he is also sometimes the butt of jokes.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Dec-07, 10:00 PM
YouTube clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGVMDWHASho) of Alda talking about working with Morgan, with extra comments in the related clips including Morgan on different things he'd done.

Swift
2011-Dec-07, 10:18 PM
That is sad.

I was thinking about the second half of the series the other day as part of my contemplation of "laughing at" shows vs. "laughing with" shows, and I think the advent of Colonel Potter and BJ is the real transition of M*A*S*H from the former to the latter. You could occasionally be sympathetic to Henry, but you were never really on his side. With Colonel Potter, you put in a lot of thought about things like what it must actually be like to be a Regular Army officer in that camp. When, on the first interview episode, he talks about how difficult it is for him to not have anyone his own age around, that's something most people can understand. He doesn't have the same reference points as the rest of the camp, and that's not easy. He's a wholly sympathetic character, even though he is also sometimes the butt of jokes.
Brilliant analysis Gillianren. I never put it exactly in words that way, but very correct. I would say my favorite period of MASH was after Potter and BJ arrived, but before Frank Burns left.

Moose
2011-Dec-07, 10:29 PM
So will the funeral feature a riderless Sophie? (I note that today is Eli Wallach's birthday; they were the same age.) That's one of the sweetest moments of the show, when Radar walks her (though in that episode, it's constantly "him") into the colonel's office.

I don't really have anything to say about this that I can articulate right now, except 'yeah'. I just wanted you to know that this paragraph is resonating. I may have more to say later if I can find the words.


I was thinking about the second half of the series the other day as part of my contemplation of "laughing at" shows vs. "laughing with" shows, and I think the advent of Colonel Potter and BJ is the real transition of M*A*S*H from the former to the latter.

Potter and BJ were the beginning of the transition which ended the moment Charles first pwned Hawkeye and BJ at the end of his first ep. (They'd already moved away from Margaret being a "laugh at" to a "laugh and, by turns, commiserate with" by that point, when it became obvious that she'd almost have been better off with Frank. Almost.)


You could occasionally be sympathetic to Henry, but you were never really on his side.

I think I have to disagree here. Oh, Henry was _very_ uncomfortable and moderately out of place as a CO, there's no question. As a surgeon, I'd trust my life to him in a second. He slips into the role of "commander of his surgical team" like he was born there, and he's not afraid to hand the scalpel over to his talent before he's in over his head. Not even the slightest hint of dithering over decisions medical. Fictionally medically speaking, I respect him even above Trapper, BJ, and Potter, all excellent fictional surgeons. Blake settles down and leads in a crisis. Just so he doesn't have time to over-think it.

I'd follow him. And the rest of the time, I'd do my utmost to bolster him.


With Colonel Potter, you put in a lot of thought about things like what it must actually be like to be a Regular Army officer in that camp. When, on the first interview episode, he talks about how difficult it is for him to not have anyone his own age around, that's something most people can understand. He doesn't have the same reference points as the rest of the camp, and that's not easy. He's a wholly sympathetic character, even though he is also sometimes the butt of jokes.

Potter. I tried to express this earlier, unsuccessfully, because of how this is going to sound. It's rare that the written word fails me so completely, but fail me it has. I'm kind of startled at how upset this has made me, and I feel utterly stupid about it.

In my lonely teenage and young adult years, long before Dad and I learned how to like each other, Sherm Potter was the father I'd always wanted. I'm a pacifist, I've said so before, but I'd have kicked down the proverbial "gates of Hell" for him. I still would. Harry Morgan gave me the only TV hero I'll ever have, and I'm going to mourn him, even though I'll never meet him.

Gillianren
2011-Dec-07, 11:18 PM
My dad died twenty days before "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen" aired. I was six; he was forty-four. He'd been a twenty-year man in the Air Force and retired the August before I was born. M*A*S*H was a family tradition, which is why I have such a hard time taking people who say "no one who knows the military can actually watch that show" seriously. Dad loved it, and if you'd asked him, I'm sure he would have expressed real regret at missing the finale. They seemed to want Henry to be Radar's father figure, but in many ways, he was more like a fun uncle. Harry Morgan said on the show that Colonel Potter thought being the father figure was a pain (those interview episodes were unscripted, with the actors' saying what they thought their characters would), but the whole thing about Radar's really needing a father only developed in the Potter years, I think. It may be what drove Gary Burghoff off the show, or part of it, but it really resonated with those of us who also needed fathers.

As to "not on his side," I more mean that the show was never really on Henry's side unless he was on Hawkeye and Trapper's. He was a fine surgeon and doing the best he could as an officer, but you never championed him over the others the way you occasionally did with Potter. And I have always wanted Sidney to be my psychiatrist, something I put a lot more thought into than which of them I'd want operating on me!

Moose
2011-Dec-07, 11:23 PM
As to "not on his side," I more mean that the show was never really on Henry's side unless he was on Hawkeye and Trapper's.

Gotcha.

Still somewhat at a loss for words right now, but I pretty much agree with everything you've said.

Gillianren
2011-Dec-07, 11:44 PM
It will not surprise you to know that I have almost never in my life been at a loss for words.

Jim
2011-Dec-08, 02:44 AM
"Yep, whoever marries my daughter gets the shaft."

Harry Morgan had a way of delivering even the most outrageous line with a sincerity that made it seem plausible. The line may have been funny, but he made it funnier by taking it seriously. The only time he didn't, the only time he went over the top, was when the role required it. And then he did it masterfully. (See "Steele, Colonel.")

I agree that M*A*S*H became a different, and better, show when Morgan joined the cast. It took a more serious turn, still hilariously funny, but in a less clownish way. The characters stopped being caricatures. They either grew up (Margaret), or got replaced (Frank).

And, yeah, Sidney was awesome.

captain swoop
2011-Dec-08, 09:37 AM
Never a fan of MASH but I liked him in his cowboy roles. 'Support your local Sherriff' is a good example

Jason Thompson
2011-Dec-08, 10:28 AM
As brilliant as Harry Morgan was in MASH, to me he will always be Carolinus, the Green Wizard, in the superb animated film The Flight of Dragons. RIP.

ToSeek
2011-Dec-08, 03:24 PM
Hadleyville, New Mexico Territory? Not to mention half the comedic Westerns I watched as a child. He lived a long, full life and was in some amazing (and not-so-amazing) things.

On top of the TV appearances, he did over a hundred movies.

grapes
2011-Dec-08, 03:48 PM
yes...I forgot to mention that..thanksI never ever did not see him as Pete Porter. December Bride, late fifties TV show carried over from radio. He was great. Even had his own spin-off that lasted a couple seasons.

DonM435
2011-Dec-08, 04:24 PM
I still like to watch the 1960s' Dragnet shows when they turn up.

Jim
2011-Dec-08, 05:29 PM
What's impressive is not the number of roles, but the diversity. He was able to portray a wide range of characters and make them all seem believable... people you could easily meet during a normal day.

Tensor
2011-Dec-08, 06:09 PM
With Colonel Potter, you put in a lot of thought about things like what it must actually be like to be a Regular Army officer in that camp. He doesn't have the same reference points as the rest of the camp, and that's not easy.

Gillianren, I have to disagree, at least somewhat. Also in the first episode, when he comes upon BJ and Hawkeye's still, he talks about the still he and his buddies had in WWI. He also, throughout the rest of the run of the show, would occasionally bring in parallels with his time in WWI and what goes on in the camp. While he may not have the cultural reference points, due to age and his RA status, he does understand and share the insanity that is the front line and combat surgery and the need to have something to blot those things out. Having gone through the experience, however briefly, he is the type of commander I would crash through walls for. Yes, I know he was fictitious, but there were plenty of other ranking individuals in that series that would have ended up as a missing Niedermeyer.

As for Harry Morgan, M*A*S*H and Dragnet are favorites of mine. As for movies, I loved his role as the small town judge trying to maintain order on a national stage in Inherit the Wind

Gillianren
2011-Dec-08, 08:02 PM
I have a lot of friends here who are at least five years younger than I am. In fact, almost all the friends I see in real life on a regular basis are at least five years younger than I am. I grew up over a thousand miles away. And there are already things I reference which they don't get which depress me on a regular basis. How much worse must it be if you're decades older than everyone around you?

SeanF
2011-Dec-09, 04:49 PM
If anyone's ever read any of the "Starfleet Corps of Engineers" series of e-books, the creators have said that the character of Captain David Gold was written as if he were to be "played by" Harry Morgan.

starcanuck64
2011-Dec-09, 06:53 PM
He was a big part of the reason MASH lasted almost four times as long as the war it was based on.

TJMac
2011-Dec-10, 04:16 PM
I have always placed him in the category of actors who can play almost any role. One of those people who pop up here and there when you are watching some old movie, but rarely 'the reason' you watch that movie.
That category is often, in my opinion, full of actors who have so much more talent than most of the "star" actors who get all the headlines and awards.

Quite often, when I hear of the passing of a celebrity, it has no effect on me. Part of life, we all get there sooner or later. Mr. Morgan's passing actually made me pause for a moment. Interesting, because MASH is the only thing that I remember him from. (if that were the million $ question)

TJ

The Backroad Astronomer
2011-Dec-10, 06:51 PM
horsefeathers.

publiusr
2011-Dec-10, 07:43 PM
Whatever sense of humanity I have I owe to watching TOS Trek, Barney Miller, and MASH with Col Potter.
Goodbye, Harry.