‘M*A*S*H’: Co-Creator Gene Reynolds Was Also Involved in These Classic TV Shows

by Joe Rutland
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Some people may not know Gene Reynolds beyond his “M*A*S*H” co-creator role. He was involved in directing numerous other TV shows.

Reynolds, who died in 2020, also had his hand in “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Lou Grant,” “Hogan’s Heroes,” and “Leave it to Beaver.”

It was more befitting of the one-time child actor to spend time behind the camera on “M*A*S*H” and other shows.

He sat in the director’s chair for a lot of TV shows. Those included working with actors ranging from Jerry Mathers and Tony Dow to Griffith, Ed Asner, and Bob Crane.

Reynolds Wins Awards For ‘M*A*S*H’ And Other TV Shows

Reynolds also had a hand in helping show creator James L. Brooks develop “Room 222” for ABC. That show, which aired between 1969-74, was the second TV show to have an African-American in a lead role with Lloyd Haynes.

For his career, Reynolds won Emmy Awards, Director’s Guild of America awards, and a Writers Guild of America award. His work on “M*A*S*H” received many accolades.

“In directing, I’m always looking for the little humane touch. Something that is real. It could be very, very small,” Reynolds said in a 2000 chat for the Archive of American Television website.

“It could be a hand on the shoulder,” he said. “(But) it could be just an extra lingering look on somebody you care about and so forth, for just a fraction. It could be a reaction from somebody … I’m looking for humanity, really. And that goes with comedy or drama.”

Loretta Swit Wanted Changes Made To ‘Hot Lips’ Character

While Reynolds focused on his work behind the camera, actors like “M*A*S*H” star Loretta Swit focused on their on-screen character.

Swit, though, wanted some changes made to the way Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan was being portrayed on “M*A*S*H.” She asked for some things to be done that align with a nurse’s reality in the Korean War.

“M*A*S*H” producers weren’t exactly open to her suggestions, so Swit left for a bit and went to Broadway. They acutely felt the loss of Swit and “Hot Lips” on their show.

What happened? They got on the phone and called Swit and wanted her back on the “M*A*S*H” set. They told her that they missed her presence on the show. Also, they started listening to what Swit was asking them to do with her role.

Women were volunteers, not draftees, during the Korean War. “M*A*S*H” producers gave the go-ahead to change things around for Swit and accommodated changes into future scripts.

“These were amazing women, brave, courageous and I was the head nurse in charge of all these incredible women,” Swit said. “That’s what I wanted to be. And little by little we revealed that.”

Outsider.com