M*A*S*H star Wayne Rogers, who played Trapper John on the hit show, once shared a story about watching old episodes with Alan Alda and thinking “that’s pretty good.” Considering M*A*S*H is one of the most popular shows in American television history, we’d say that’s a fair assessment.
From 1972 to 1983, the CBS comedy-drama became one of the most beloved shows on TV. That continued in syndication after 11 seasons of M*A*S*H. While Rogers only starred on the sitcom for the first three seasons, he was an integral part of the beginning years of the show. The late actor opened up about his role and time on the classic TV show in an older interview.
He shared that he used to never watch episodes of his own show. Occasionally he’d come across them when flipping channels and stop and watch a scene, but that was about it. However, he tells an amusing story of himself and Alda at an event where the cast was being honored.
During the M*A*S*H event, they showed two or three episodes, which was the first time he’d seen full episodes in years. While viewing the episodes Rogers and Alda looked at each other and each hilariously said, “You know, we weren’t too bad were we? That’s pretty good that stuff.”
“But you’re looking at it as if you’re looking at somebody else. Like it’s not you. That guy was pretty good,” Rogers said with a laugh to Pop Goes The Culture TV. “But I think a lot of that came down to the way we rehearsed… We worked very hard.”
Sadly, Wayne Rogers died on December 31, 2015.
‘M*A*S*H’ Star Talks About Tirelessly Rehearsing Scenes with Alan Alda
While speaking in the same interview, Wayne Rogers revealed more about his rehearsals with Alan Alda. The two M*A*S*H actors didn’t just practice scenes before they filmed. In fact, the pair would continue practicing scenes they had already shot and wrapped up. According to Rogers, that’s how they practiced to ensure that future scenes were as tight as possible.
The pair also read the dailies to gauge how previous episode’s scenes were received. Their need for perfection led Rogers and Alda to continue to rehearse their performances away from the M*A*S*H set. The Trapper John actor recalled a friend that was a producer who witnessed Rogers and Alda rehearsing off set.
“He said, ‘I remember. I was on the lot and I would see you and Alan on the sidewalk doing a scene,’” Rogers remembered in the interview. “Now, that’s a scene we’d already shot and was in the can. It wasn’t going to change. But, we would go to the dailies and see something that we could have done to improve it. So, we’d go out and do it for our own benefit.”
“Now, you won’t find too many actors that are that crazy,” the M*A*S*H star added. “Who are so interested in doing the work that they go back and do a scene that they’d already committed to see if they could do it better.”