Last night was the first chance I've had since I heard about Harry Morgan's death to throw an episode of "M*A*S*H" in the DVD player and say good-bye to one hell of a great character actor.
I chose "Old Soldiers," a favorite from 1980, in which Col. Potter learns that he's the last surviving member of a group of friends and soldiers-in-arms from World War I. Yep, I'm not ashamed to say I teared up a little while the Colonel bid his comrades farewell.
I may have told you before that "M*A*S*H" made me a better person. The show's gentle humanism plucks the heartstrings like a violin virtuoso. When Potter says he wanted his new friends from the 4077th to be with him for the toast -- friends whom he said have come to mean more to him than even his old war buddies -- well, that just about does it, don't it?
My pal Charles Kincade says watching "M*A*S*H" is like spending a few minutes with an old friend. And he's right.
For my money, there will never be another show like it. Not a chance. Can't come close.
Here is a link via veteran "M*A*S*H" writer Ken Levine to Gary Burghoff's thoughts on Harry Morgan's passing.