Sadly, bullying is a part of life for many high school students. This was the case for “M*A*S*H” star Alan Alda. However, he once got back at the bullies who made his teenage years difficult.
According to MeTV.com, Alda attended a Catholic high school located in suburban New York. He was not an athlete, and he did not really fit in with the popular students at his school. So, unsurprisingly, he was bullied by the athletes there. In fact, they would leave harsh messages on his desk.
Luckily for the man who would go on to play Hawkeye on “M*A*S*H,” he would find friends at his high school. And, they shared his interests, which included writing. These new friends were, according to Alda, “more interested in writing than fighting.” Eventually, they would join forces on a project that changed the way Alda was viewed by the bullies who made his life difficult. Here’s what happened.
Alan Alda and his new friends went to their English teacher with an idea. This teacher was a youthful priest named Father McMahon. Alda and company asked their teacher to allow them to create a comedy sketch instead of writing a report about the book they were supposed to read. Seeing his students thinking outside of the box led the priest to encourage them to do even more.
‘M*A*S*H’ Star Spent Summer Months Writing a Play During High School
So, the future “M*A*S*H” star and his classmates decided they would use their summer months to create a play. When school resumed, they took it to Father McMahon for review. The show was titled “Love’s the Ticket!” The priest reportedly loved it and wanted the students to stage it. In fact, he loved it so much that the priest said he would pay for the production out of his own pocket.
“This meant he’d have to pay for musical arrangements, scenery, and costumes. I didn’t find out until much later how much he was risking by encouraging us. He had gone into personal debt to put the play on,” Alda explained in his memoir “Never Have Your Dog Stuffed.”
As things tend to do in high school, word got around about the play by Alda and company. And, his schoolmates were very excited about the idea. Some, including those who had bullied Alda, even wanted to be involved in the production.
“It seemed that everybody wanted to be in it: basketball players, football players, even the guys who had wanted to beat me up. Pretty soon, the bullies were up on the stage. And I had them dancing in a chorus line,” Alda said.
How the tables turned! In the end, the “M*A*S*H” star saw those who had made fun of him for being different enjoying things they mocked him for. The realization wasn’t lost on Alda.
“Now they were working on their dance steps and hoping their makeup wouldn’t run. This was very close to the perfect revenge,” he said. “… I was relieved that the bully days were over.”
“M*A*S*H” would become one of the most popular television shows in history. It aired from 1972 until 1983.