‘M*A*S*H*’: Rick Hurst Blamed the Show for One Sitcom’s Failure

by Taylor Cunningham
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In the 1970s, Rick Hurst was temporarily an out-of-work actor and blaming the classic TV series M*A*S*H* for his failures.

Hurst wasn’t always a scorned star, however. After trying out the New York scene with little success, he headed to LA. And from there, he immediately landed gigs in Gunsmoke, Happy Days, and The Bob Newhart Show.

But for a short while, like most Hollywood hopefuls, Hurst went through a string of misfortunes.

In 1975, the actor won his first lead role in On the Rocks. In the sitcom, he played a prison inmate who had a good-natured rivalry with the guards. But the show was canceled the following year.

Shortly after, Rick Hurst worked on another series called Steubenville. But after going through the trouble of filming the first episodes, it never even aired.

And during an interview in 1977, Rick Hurst told the Tampa Bay Times that he expected the show to fail because people were drawn to heavier stories like M*A*S*H. And the studios were already making changes to accommodate the new trends.

Rick Hurst Went on to Guest Star on ‘M*A*S*H*’ Twice

According to United Press International, Steubenville was a light-hearted family comedy based in a middle-class Ohio town with the same name. The never-aired episodes were directed by John Rich, who also worked on shows such as Gunsmoke, Dick Van Dyke Show, and The Twilight Zone.

Hurst played Cal Lukas, one of two brothers with a straight-laced hard-working father who was trying to instill some old-fashioned American values into his sons.

Despite being openly annoyed at M*A*S*H for bamboozling his series, Rick Hurst quickly moved on. Because not long after the interview with Tampa Bay Times, he went on to guest star in the series twice.

That same year, he joined the cast as Capt. Schaeffer during an episode called Fade Out, Fade In. And the following year, he reprised the character in Our Finest Hour.

The captain was an impersonator who played a mean trick on Klinger after spotting him in nurse’s dress. While chatting with him, Schaeffer convinced Klinger that he was a lawyer. And he said that if Klinger had been dressing as a woman for two years, he would be eligible for a Section 8.

But after a series of antics, Potter catches on to the hijinks and has Capt. Schaeffer arrested.

Luckily, his part on M*A*S*H* led to a big break, too. In 1979, Hurst won the role of Boss Hogg’s second cousin, Cletus, on The Dukes of Hazzard. And after earning his place in television history, he starred in a few more series and films before finally retiring in 2016.

Outsider.com