‘M*A*S*H’: The Time Leslie Nielsen Guest Starred on Iconic Show

by Megan Molseed
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Surely you remember the episode where M*A*S*H Captains Hawkeye and Trapper convinced Leslie Nielsen’s Colonel Buzz Brighton that he was crazy. And that he was suffering from battle fatigue – all in an effort to remove him from his post in the war.

Ultimately, making sure that the officer is sent back home to the United States.

In the 1973 episode of the iconic series, entitled Ringbanger, the movie star joined the cast on the classic television show as Colonel Buzz Brighton.

The M*A*S*H team got to know the colonel when he arrived at the 4077 with shrapnel in his behind.

As members of the 4077 M*A*S*H unit spend time with Leslie Nielsen’s Colonel Brighton character, they soon realize he has an unusually – and very concerning – high number of casualties connected to his leadership.

It’s extra concerning to the crew that Brighton has racked up these numbers while covering only half the ground of other colonels on the battlefield.

Leslie Nielsen Loses It On M*A*S*H

Concerned that his reckless and unheeding approach to his position, and the soldiers to which he is in charge, Hawkeye (Alan Alda) and Trapper (Wayne Rogers) decide that Buzz Brighton should not be sent back into the battlefield.

For Hawkeye and Trapper, it would only make sense that they devise a plan to send Buzz Brighton home.

How do they do this?

By convincing Colonel Brighton that he’s insane, and declaring him temporarily unable to serve as a commanding officer. Resulting in Brighton’s return to the United States away from the battlefield and potentially saving many lives.

Via a series of comedic gags, comedies of error, and miscommunications, – many of which are intricately designed and set up by Hawkeye and Trapper – members of the M*A*S*H team set out to convince the colonel that he is losing his mind. And that he needs to return home for rest.

Some of the 4077 M*A*S*H doctor’s sneaky plans include switching Colonel Buzz Brighton’s tent in which he is recuperating. This makes the colonel appear confused when he accuses the outfit of moving it.

Which of course they did. And randomly handing the colonel glasses of milk he never asks for…while insisting he, in fact, did request the beverage.

Of course, as with many of Hawkeye and Trapper’s schemes, the plan works.

Hawkeye officially declares Brighton suffers from battle fatigue and the overzealous colonel is sent back home to the states.

A Seriously Funny Movie Career


Leslie Nielsen got his start in acting as a very serious actor. His early roles include films such as the 1956’s, The Forbidden Planet.

However, as his career progressed, the star became a genius of deadpan comedy. Largely due to his role in the hit 1980 film Airplane! In this timeless comedic classic, Leslie Nielsen portrays Dr. Rumack one of the passengers on the ill-fated flight.

In the film, Nielsen provides some of the most comedic cinematic moments as only he can.

His stone-faced seriousness as he delivers some rib-cracking one-liners is absolutely unforgettable.

This role, of course, led the actor to another one of his most memorable roles as Detective Frank Drebin. Drebin was the uber-serious and hilariously inept detective in The Naked Gun movies. Nielsen starred alongside Priscilla Presley and OJ Simpson in the films.

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