Why The Original Author Of M*A*S*H Hated Hawkeye (And The Series As A Whole)

Altman felt that the show made a mockery of the things that were important in his movie, and Hornberger was much the same. In his obituary for the The New York Times, his son William Hornberger said:

”He liked the movie because he thought it followed his original intent very closely. But my father was a political conservative, and he did not like the liberal tendencies that Alan Alda portrayed Hawkeye Pierce as having. My father didn’t write an anti-war book. It was a humorous account of his work, with serious parts thrown in about the awful kind of work it was, and how difficult and challenging it was.”

Fans of Altman’s rather cynical film would find less to love with the show’s more earnest, silly take on things (a take that was also distinctly anti-war). In fact, the only actor who reprised their role from the “M*A*S*H” movie in the series was Gary Burghoff, who played the company clerk Ensign Walter Eugene “Radar” O’Reilly, and even then his character was pretty different between the two versions. Instead of Donald Sutherland’s version of Hawkeye, who hewed closer to Hornberger’s vision, people were treated to Alda’s much more socially and politically progressive take on the character.

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