Mike Farrell got to show his motorcycle skills for three “M*A*S*H” episodes, and the actor loved riding despite two accidents.
According to MeTV, Farrell found his love of the bikes after his time with the Marines in the late 1950s. But soon after starting his hobby, he ended up in the hospital after an accident required surgery.
But Farrell was just too tough to quit while he was ahead.
Friend and actor Martin Sheen wrote a forward to the “M*A*S*H” star’s memoir, “Just Call Me Mike.” In it, Sheen talked about another Farrell accident. He remembered seeing the actor on crutches after an ankle break decades later.
“M*A*S*H” Character Loved Motorcycles
Mike Farrell enjoyed riding on the show and even incorporated his love into his “M*A*S*H” character.
In a Thanksgiving episode titled “Yalu Brick Road,” Hawkeye and B.J. miss out on a camp turkey that gets everyone sick. The two men get stuck behind enemy lines, but a chance meeting with an older adult ends with Honeycutt getting a motorcycle with a sidecar. The doctor helped the man with his ankle injury, and the favor turned into a bike.
Two seasons later, Honeycutt gets a bike in the “Blood and Guts” episode, but a thief takes it away. Then, in the “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” series finale, B.J. gets a bike from a group of musicians. He paints it yellow and rides it during the show’s final sequence.
Farrell Rode With His Wife
The “M*A*S*H” star told the Binghamton (N.Y.) Press and Sun-Bulletin newspaper that he and actress Shelley Fabares would take cross-country trips together.
They often went by motorcycle and traveled across the United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe.
On one occasion, Farrell just went by himself. Reportedly, the “M*A*S*H” star finished shooting a 1980s movie and felt a need to hop on a bike. He took the bike all the way home.
“It was my first true cross-country motorcycle ride and the beginning of what had become a series of such adventures in different parts of the world,” Farrell said.
Those trips, he said, helped with his dreams.
Farrell’s Time With The Marines
According to We Are The Mighty, Farrell enlisted in 1957 and served his country as a rifleman.
But why did he join the Marines? Farrell said two reasons.
First, the “M*A*S*H” actor said he was “smitten” at an early age by the group. Secondly, his best friend Pat was too. So the boys joined together.
He remembered wartime years earlier but gravitated toward that lifestyle.
“I was alive during World War II, but it was a distant reality for me,” Farrell said. “I remember coming home, getting out of my Dad’s car in 1945 when we heard on the radio the war was over.”
He went on to have roles in “Lassie,” “The Monkees,” “Combat!,” “Bonanza,” and “Bannacek” before “M*A*S*H.”