While they were filming the hit series “M*A*S*H,” Alan Alda and one of his costars would often rehearse scenes from a show. However, the scenes they rehearsed had already been filmed. They did this, according to Alda’s costar, as a way to improve their work for the future.
That costar was Wayne Rogers. As fans of the show will know, he played Captain “Trapper John” McIntyre on “M*A*S*H.” His time on the show was brief. The vast majority of his appearances took place from 1972 until 1975. The show aired from 1972 until 1983.
Rogers talked about these rehearsals with Alda during an interview with Pop Goes The Culture TV. The topic came up after he was asked if he watched “M*A*S*H” after he left the show.
“This is going to be terrible. I never watched the show,” Rogers said. “I would go to the dailies.”
Rogers wasn’t the only actor who viewed the show’s unedited footage from a day’s work.
“Alan (Alda) and I would go to the dailies – to see, to learn,” Rogers said. “To see if we told the jokes right or if we did it right.”
‘M*A*S*H’ Costars Rehearsed Together Away from the Set to Improve Their Performances
Watching the dailies led Rogers and Alda to work together away from the set on their performances.
Wayne Rogers then recalled how a producer friend of his witnessed Rogers and Alda working on their performances away from the set of “M*A*S*H.”
“He said, ‘I remember. I was on the lot and I would see you and Alan on the sidewalk doing a scene,'” Rogers recalled.
What makes that story interesting is what the friend of Rogers witnessed the two actors performing away from the set was a scene that had already been filmed.
“Now, that’s a scene we’d already shot and was in the can. It wasn’t going to change,” Rogers said. “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.”
This isn’t common practice among actors, according to this star of “M*A*S*H.”
“Now, you won’t find too many actors that are that crazy,” Wayne Rogers also said. “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.”
As the interview pointed out to Rogers, most actors don’t rehearse scenes that have already been filmed.
“I would go to the dailies,” Rogers then said. “So, in answer to your question, did I see the shows? I rarely saw the shows. And, I rarely see them now. …”
You can watch Wayne Rogers shared behind-the-scenes details of “M*A*S*H” below. His comments about rehearsing with Alan Alda begin around the 5:20 mark of the video.