When novels are altered for the big or small screens, it’s a given that some information may get changed along the way. However, in the hit Korean war-based comedy-drama television series M*A*S*H, there is one perpetual inconsistency that has left fans stumped: just where exactly does Alan Alda’s Hawkeye Pierce hail from?
One of M*A*S*H’s fan-favorite characters has always been Alan Alda’s Hawkeye Pierce, a wise-cracking surgeon who often serves as a moral center among the cast of characters. However, in the original M*A*S*H novel, the surgeon is noted as being a character who hails from Maine. The state in which the author spent quite a bit of time. The 1970 film also notes that Hawkeye’s home state is Maine. However, the first few seasons of the classic television series reflect something different.
M*A*S*H’s Hawkeye Is From Vermont…Until He Reveals Maine Is His Hometown
When the M*A*S*H television series hit the airwaves in 1972, Vermont is originally Hawkeye’s home state. This little tidbit is mentioned in the twelfth installment in season one titled Dear Dad as the combat surgeon mentions he and his father still live in the New England state. This, of course, is different from both the original story reflected in the novel; as well as the one depicted on the big screen.
Eventually, however, a few seasons into the show’s successful run, M*A*S*H showrunners decide to connect the television Hawkeye Pierce character with the original one. Establishing Maine roots for the popular television character.
In the fourth season episode titled The Late Captain Pierce, Hawkeye makes a mention of one Maine town, Crabapple Cove for the very first time in the series. In this mention, however, Crabapple Cove Maine is simply where a summer cottage is located. But, later that same season, the series establishes Crabapple Cove as Hawkeye Pierce’s hometown.
Hawkeye’s Hometown Isn’t the Only Confusing Piece of Alan Alda’s M*A*S*H Character
Hawkeye’s hometown was a major mystery in M*A*S*H. And, so are other aspects of the hit series. Especially when compared, again, with the novel – and the film -on which the series is based.
According to the novel, Hawkeye Pierce is 28 years old at the beginning of the Korean War. That would mean that when the war wraps up three years later, Hawkeye would be 31 years old, right? Well, not so much when comparing the character to his big-screen counterpart. In the movie version of the popular war-based drama, Donald Sutherland’s Hawkeye leaves Korea at the age of 35.
Things get extra confusing when looking at Alan Alda’s age while portraying the M*A*S*H character. While Hawkeye was between the ages of 31 years old and 35 years old at the end of M*A*S*H, Alda had quite a few years o the character as he ended the series at the age of 47 years old.