Fans of “M*A*S*H” will remember actor Wayne Rogers for his role as Captain “Trapper John” McIntyre on the beloved show. Unfortunately for fans of the actor and his character, “Trapper John” did not stay on the show during its entire run.
According to IMDb.com, Rogers appeared on “M*A*S*H” for only 74 episodes. Most of his appearances took place from 1972 until 1975. The show was on the air from 1972 until 1983.
During an interview with Pop Goes The Culture TV, Rogers was asked why he decided to leave the show. His immediate response was a very straightforward one.
“I had a beef with the studio,” the “M*A*S*H” star said. “I never had a signed contract.”
Wayne Rogers then went on to explain why he didn’t have a signed contract and how that impacted his future on the show.
“And as you know, in the movie business, you get a deal memorandum. And, it’s five or six pages. You show up on this date … And, the contract comes after you finish the picture – certainly in the movie business. And in television, if you don’t last beyond the first season it comes after that too,” he said. “So, you get the contract in the middle of the first … and it weighs 50 pounds, or whatever it is. So, your attorneys look at it. Their attorneys look at it and they go back and forth about all the small (things).”
‘M*A*S*H’ Actor Wayne Rogers Said He Could Not Agree With Studio On Contract Details
In negotiating his “M*A*S*H” contract, Wayne Rogers and the studio could not see eye-to-eye on different issues. One example he discussed during the interview was the morals clause included in his contract.
“Well, there were just some things we couldn’t agree on. For example, they had an old-fashioned morals clause. …” Rogers said. “And, the clause literally said, I can’t quote this quite verbatim, but it was something to the effect of if in the eyes of the studio you commit an act deemed to be immoral by whoever’s running the studio, then they have the right to suspend you or dismiss you – or whatever the consequences were. …”
Rogers didn’t like the clause, so he decided not to sign the contract.
“… I said, ‘I don’t think I want to sign that.’ And they said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘Well, I don’t think it’s morally appropriate. My ethics don’t think I should sign. And, it’s too general. It’s not specific. If you want to go into all the legal reasons,'” he explained. “I said, ‘I tell you what. I got an idea, though. I’ll sign it. I want everybody in the front office to sign it.'”
Unsurprisingly, the powers that be at the studio were not very happy about this demand from the “M*A*S*H” actor.
“‘Well, who do you think you are?'” Rogers said recalling what happened next. “Well, I got a better question: Who do they think they are? You know, why should I sign a morals clause and the guys running the studio don’t sign a morals clause. Are they doing something immoral? God knows in today’s corporate world we know there are a lot of people doing things immoral. And we know in politics people did things immoral all the time. Why should I be subjected to something that everybody else isn’t subjected to? … There were things like that and we could never agree.”
You can watch Wayne Rogers talk about “M*A*S*H” below. His comments about why he left the television show begin around the 2:30 mark of the video.