10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr - We Are The Mighty
MIGHTY MOVIES

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr

Jamie Farr hails from Toledo, Ohio, and remains grounded in his hometown roots. His work in Hollywood spans over half a century, which includes him as Klinger in M*A*S*H*, where his career started back in 1955 in The Blackboard Jungle which starred Glenn Ford and Sidney Poitier. He was drafted into the Army soon thereafter and served abroad in Japan and Korea where he was requested to work for famous comedian Red Skelton on his tour to entertain US troops in Korea. He is most grateful for his career, military service and the stars he got to work with who include Bob Hope, Burt Reynolds, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Lucile Ball, Andy Griffith, Dick Van Dyke, Danny Kaye, Milton Berle, Charlton Heston, William Holden, Don Ameche and many more. 

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Photo credit Jamie Farr.
  1. Can you tell us about your family and your life growing up?

My father came from Lebanon in the early 1900s with his brother. They initially settled in Cedar Rapids, IA.  My mother was born in Cedar Rapids where her family was from Lebanon as well. My grandfather and grandmother, her father and mother, had come from Lebanon to Iowa. My mother was a very smart woman even though she didn’t finish high school because she had to work to make her family sufficient monetarily. My mother could speak Arabic, sing and was a seamstress. My parent’s marriage was designated by my grandfather (maternal), which was normal, back then. She was married at seventeen and my father was a butcher for the Swift Meats Company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They moved to Sioux City where my sister was born and then moved to Toledo because of the great Lebanese colony there. I was born in Toledo as Jameel Joseph Farah.

Our original family name was “Abboud” where his father’s name was “Farah Abboud.” At Ellis Island when they came over, they were going to say “Farah Abboud”, but the personnel at Ellis Island stopped them at “Farah” so they didn’t take the full name, just Farah.

My older sister was the one who got me into show business as she would take me to the movies growing up and read me fairy tale books. She was like a second mother where she was very artistic, could dance and sing although she never got into show business. She would take me out for my birthday and I could get whatever I wanted no questions asked about the price. I do miss her as she passed away a few years ago.

Our whole neighborhood was Jewish, Greek, Lebanese, Italian and so on. You never locked your doors and you never dated them because we all knew each other, so it would be like dating a sister. It was very family oriented and Sunday’s after church there would be big get-togethers for food. We put out card tables, folding chairs and table clothes with good food. If we were lucky enough, we would go to the movies and then come back for leftovers to listen to the radio. I loved listening to Lux Radio Theatre on Mondays and on Tuesdays we had Bob Hope at 9pm and Red Skelton at 930pm. I had a Crystal Set radio and would listen to Hope and Skelton when I was supposed to be asleep in my room. 

Growing up I slept on Murphy Bed at the time since I didn’t have my own room. I had to put the bed down every night in our dining room and thankfully I never got caught up in the bed like you would see in comedy movies and cartoons. We had an old-fashioned bathtub back then as well where Saturday night was your bath day. 

The Abijay family had 13 kids and the father left where the mother raised them herself. They had a three-story house where each child of the house was of a different age group it seemed. My older sister had friends in their family and so did I. It was a poor neighborhood where we shopped at the bargain basement floor of the department store. I never knew what it was like to buy new clothes on the fancy floors. 

We had a lot of famous people from my high school that made it big in show business including Danny Thomas (comedian), Andrew J Fenady (writer, producer), Georg Fenady (director/producer), Clifford David (Broadway actor), and Phillip Baker Hall (actor). We were all from the same neighborhood where it must have been in the water or the Buckeye beer! Although Lake Eerie was so polluted back then you could walk on it to Windsor, Ontario.  

My cousin was James Jabara, first American and USAF jet pilot ace, and then my uncle Bob served as a medic in WWII in the North Africa campaign. My Uncle served in the Coast Guard and I served in the US ARMY in 1957 to 1959 in NYC, FT. Knox, Ky, Fort Huachuca, Az, Japan and Korea. I was in Special Services and wound up with Armed Forces Radio at the FAR EAST Network in Japan and Korea. I remember WWII very well with several of the Gold Star’s in the windows of neighbors and friends. It was disheartening and distressing to the entire neighborhood because we all knew them. We were all growing up together and our families were all very close. We had Victory Gardens where we could have a little plot to plant vegetables. Everything was rationed back then. My mother and sister made a lot of homemade pies, pastries and cakes from the Middle East as well.

  1. What is the most distinct memory of your mother and your father?

I have so many of them with my parents there is not a distinct one exactly. They were very family oriented and taught us values to live by, which have lasted.

  1. What values were stressed at home?

You respected your family and never disgraced them. You didn’t have to be Rockefeller or Vanderbilt, but you never wanted your last name disgraced. Whenever people say your name there is honor and honesty that comes with it. You want a good reputation. You never lied, cheated or stole. You always made it yourself and did things yourself. You didn’t go around asking people for things. Nobody locked their doors. If people were ill, we would cook for them and take them food. It was very communal where they would help one another. 

The people from Toledo that made it in Hollywood stayed very much the same. They were all from that same neighborhood. We all talked about what was going on back home in Toledo and talking about things we did there or were going back to do. It is ironic having watched stars like Bob Hope and Red Skelton on the big screen and then coming to Hollywood to work with these people. I even got to work with Lucille Ball.

  1. What influenced you to join the US Army, what was your experience and what lessons did you take away from your service?

I was drafted into the Army and it was an inopportune time for me as my career was taking off. The last movie I could take part in before heading off to the Army was No Time for Sergeants where I played Lt. Gardelli. My hope was that the movie took awhile to come out because I was a private in the Army, but a lieutenant in the movie so people would think I was demoted. I reported the next day after filming wrapped to the Army recruiting station. 

Working on No Time for Sergeants was a lot of fun, especially with Andy Griffith and Mervyn LeRoy. Andy’s first movie wasn’t out yet which was a Face in the Crowd. Elia Kazan directed Face in the Crowd where he came on set of No Time for Sergeants to ask Mervyn if he could shoot a close up of Andy that he needed for his film. LeRoy granted the request where we all got to watch Kazan direct Griffith in a short close up scene, which was amazing. Kazan said a few things and words to Andy and then “action.” Kazan stepped back and let Andy do his work, one look here and one look there. It was amazing what Kazan could do with a few words to direct Andy. You could see Andy’s talent and that he was going to blossom. 

Red Skelton was like a second father to me and was very instrumental in helping my life. I did his show and carried half the show with him live on CBS. They kept calling me back before I got into the Army. I took Basic Training at Fort Ord and my MOS was as a Broadcast Specialist. I was sent to NYC to the Army Pictorial Center, which used to be the old Paramount Studios and did training films for the US Signal Corps. Some of my fellow soldiers at the center had famous Hollywood parents to include the son of Charles Vidor (director) stationed there. I went on TDY to Fort Knox to do tank training films where I was a script supervisor and went to Fort Huachuca in Arizona for similar duty. 

I got shipped over on the pipeline and thought I would go to France. I worked on my French and practiced my introduction, “je m’appelle Jamie Farr” and then when ordered to Tokyo, Japan I practiced, “Watashi Wa Jamie Farr.” I was trained at the Pasadena Playhouse to break into the business and met Bob Furiga who was a fellow actor. We were both drafted at the same time and did our indoc training together and were even in the same squad at Fort Ord together. We were at the Army Pictorial Center as well and then went to the Orient together. My buddies mostly ended up in Korea. I served with the Far East network in  Japan. 

I served with Red Skelton as he had requested me to be his assistant through the Department of the Army. After Red’s son passed away, he wanted to do a tour to entertain troops and he wanted to do his shows with me. We flew on a United Nations airplane just me and him. I had VIP status which surprised me. We went to every encampment all the way up to the DMZ in Korea.

We opened up Armed Forces TV in Korea in a DC-3 airplane where we had all service branches and civilians on the plane. There was an extreme cold front that came in where everything was frozen, so we had to sleep in a luggage area with a pot-bellied stove there in Korea after we arrived. We slept with our clothes, boots and coats on because it was so cold. We were told in the morning that it was safe enough for us to fly back to Japan where we flew out over the Sea of Japan. It got to be below zero inside the plane during the flight and the two engines froze so they started handing out parachutes. We wouldn’t survive in the water because of hypothermia so it seemed kind of pointless. We started dropping and while we did, they pumped alcohol into the wings to get the ice to melt. As we dropped the ice began to break off the wings and propeller blades where we heard the pilots trying to start the engines.

I remember looking out of the window thinking, “I watched all those John Wayne movies of him in the military where how in the heck did I end up here?.” I was praying and finally we heard the ping of the engines starting. I don’t know how far above the water we were, but that was a scary moment for us in that plane.

I did two years of active duty, two years of reserve, and two years of inactive reserve. I came back to Hollywood and my father passed away. I went by CBS Studios to say goodbye to Red Skelton and he wouldn’t let me go and put me under personal contract and said, “I was one of us. A doctor of comedy..” He pulled out several hundred-dollar bills and told me to send those home to my mom. He said, “From here on in you are working for me and I will see you up at the house in the morning.” I went with Red for a whole year and helped him in his nightclub act at the Sands (Las Vegas), Fontainebleau (Miami Beach), Moulin Rouge (Los Angeles), and the Chez Paree (Chicago). I then branched out to get my career started again where Carl Reiner working on the “Dick Van Dyke Show” took a chance on me and put me as the Snappy Service delivery man. The part helped to resurrect my career again. 

Red Skelton gave me a St. Christopher medal to protect me when I went into the Army. I cherish it and wear it every day. Red was a very kind, conscientious and loving person. I also have a painting of Red’s as well and was one of his pallbearers at his funeral. Red’s third wife, Lothian Toland, asked me to be a pallbearer for his funeral. The four pallbearers were me, Bob Hope, Milton Berle and a stage manager that Red liked a lot. A few notes on Red are when his son Richard passed away from leukemia, he used to keep his room just the way it was when he passed away. It had a little train set and a few other things in it where Red would just stand there, look at the room and soak it in. On another note, Lothian’s father was Gregg Toland known for being the cinematographer of Citizen Kane

Red came from a different era where they could work on stage to be bad and then become good over time. Now you have to be really great right away and don’t have time to develop. George Buns used to say, “there isn’t a place you can be bad anymore.”

  1. What values have you carried over from the Army into acting and comedy? 

My values instilled in me by my family have stayed with me throughout my life. I try to be straightforward and honest in all my dealings. Zenith used to have an ad that said, “It has to be good because it has our name on it.” That is how I feel about my name and how it needs to be respected. I was an adequate soldier and whatever I did, whether producing shows for the Army or whatever, it was the best I could do. 

As an aside, a lot of my friends from the service have now passed on such as Paul Rausch, Bob Furiga, who later became an exec at ABC, and Bernie Papin. My friend Mort Goldstein became an exec at CBS and is still living. The older you get the phone doesn’t ring as much for your friends or the business.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Farr in an episode of “The Red Skelton Show” with famous actor Peter Lorre. Photo credit Vimeo.
  1. What is the most fulfilling project you have done and why?

For TV it would be “M*A*S*H*” for TV and The Blackboard Jungle for film. The film had Glenn Ford and Sidney Poitier with music featuring Bill Haley and His Comets which was filmed at MGM. I was watching MGM movies at the Lowe’s Valentine Theater in my hometown theater and 18 months later am working on an MGM film.  In high school I used to see shows at the Paramount Theater in Toledo, which has since been torn down and turned into a parking lot. It was one of the most beautiful theaters you could have ever seen. The touring version of “Guys and Dolls” came into town with Allan Jones playing the part Sky Masterson and saw the show as an usher. I couldn’t believe the music or characters in it where I wanted to play Nathan Detroit one day, which I did on Broadway. 

While on “M*A*S*H*” there was a guest actor, Jerry Zaks, on the show that had done the tour for “Grease.” He was having a rough time and I gave him a pep talk. Later on, he goes back to NY and becomes a successful director. A call comes out for “Guys and Dolls” and I ask my agent to get me an audition since Jerry was directing the show. I went downtown in Los Angeles, couldn’t sing a note, but still went to audition. The show was already cast with Nathan Lane as Nathan Detroit. My agent called me and asked if I would like to do “Guys and Dolls” as Nathan Lane is now leaving the show. Everyone remembered me from the audition and I went to NY to play Broadway. I only had two weeks and one rehearsal with the cast. I was never so frightened in my life. My chest came out of my body and across the room it was such an exhilarating and exciting thing to do. I did that show for almost a year and it was even exciting putting that on my resume.

Working with the Skeltons, the Berles, the Hopes and the Kayes was memorable and significant as well.

I played in “King Lear” at the Pasadena Playhouse as the title character, which was challenging. I learned all that Shakespeare for one performance. I did more theater at the Pasadena Playhouse as well and my first big play was “Mister Roberts” at the Los Palmas Theater. Craig Stevens was the lead actor and Harry Bernsen (father of actor Corbin Bernsen) produced the show. I earned my first Actors Equity card in that show thanks to Mr. Bernsen. I played the Navy guard that brings all the guys back when they are drunk in the play. I made the soap suds for Ensign Pulver as well. Did that for a whole year. I also did “Stalag 17” with John Banner, Tom Drake, Harvey Lembeck and Dennis Weaver. This was before Dennis Weaver did Gunsmoke and I was the understudy to Lembeck for the role of “Shapiro.” Theater trains you very well and teaches you a lot. 

A quick side note is, initially I was only on “M*A*S*H*” for one episode where my character was written by Larry Gelbart, creator of the show, for the episode. Larry’s father Harry Gelbart was the barber to the big comedians back then like Danny Thomas, Jack Benny, George Burns and a lot more. Harry would always tell his customers about his son and his comedy writing. Once when Harry was cutting Danny Thomas’s hair, Danny agreed to reading his son’s joke. Danny read them and found jokes funny and paid Larry for his material where Larry was just a high school student at the time. Larry ended writing for Sid Caesar and movies, most notably writing Tootsie which starred Dustin Hoffman. Larry’s pay back to Danny wrote my character as Lebanese and from Toledo where my character’s name came from his (Larry’s) childhood friend “Klinger” from Chicago, which is where Larry was from. 

I am not some handsome guy like Rock Hudson or a star carrying movies, so I am proud to have just been a working actor.

  1. What was your experience like in working with such talents as Red Skelton, Harvey Korman, Alan Alda, Mike Farrell, Loretta Swift, Gary Burghoff, Burt Reynolds, Bill Murray, David Alan Grier on such shows as MASH, After MASH, the Cannonball Run films, Scrooged, and The Cool Kids?

Harvey was great and we got to work with Danny Kaye, who also was great. I used to watch all of Danny Kaye’s movies where he could sing, dance, act and do mimicry. I was a big fan of Sid Caesar growing up and he was one of our writers on “The Danny Kaye Show.” Carl Reiner was very helpful to me in my career as well. Harvey was brilliant and trained in Yiddish comedy by Menasha Skulnick in NYC.

Alan Alda, Gary Burgoff, Mike Farrell, Loretta Swift, Harry Morgan, William Christopher, and David Ogden Stiers were all great to work with. You could not have asked for a better cast than the one on “M*A*S*H*” and we had such excellent material as well. We are still in touch even this long after the show. We lost Gene Reynolds (producer of the show), Harry Morgan, McLean Stephenson, Larry Linville, and Bill Christopher were all wonderful people and highly talented. We dearly loved Harry as the patriarch of the show. The egos didn’t get into the way on the show where the story was not about me it was about the particular scene we were doing. 

We had some great guest stars on the show as well to include Laurence Fishburne, Ron Howard, Brian Dennehy (Marine) and Burt Young (Marine) during our run. Harry Morgan was a dear friend of famous actor and veteran Jimmy Stewart as well. Harry would tell stories to me about working on films with Jimmy. Harry introduced me to Ralph Bellamy where we became friends. I got to meet Jimmy one time as well, which was great. 

The cameos I do now have people coming up to me all the time telling me they watched “M*A*S*H*” with their family and how much it meant to them. I am overwhelmed by young people that have taken to the show. It is amazing I happened to be on a series that was the best show you could do. The writing was so good and so were the production values. Audiences came to know us on the show as family. It was like watching “I Love Lucy” where we got to the audiences. 

Burt Reynolds was a lot of fun to work with. He was very loyal to his acting friends. Charles Durning (Army) did projects with Burt and had his friend Ossie Davis (Army). Burt was like the John Wayne players where he had the same people in his movies like Ward Bond or Paul Fix. Doing his movies was like being at a party. It was a party every single day and didn’t know what was going to come next. Hal Needham (Army) was the director of the Cannonball movies which even made it more fun.

We had Roger Moore (Royal Army) in The Cannonball Run where he would come out of his trailer in the early morning in Florida where we were filming with a white suit on, a beautiful Havana cigar, and a flute of champagne with no hair missing and not a bead of perspiration where he looked like he was out of GQ. We used to hate him for how perfect he looked and was disgustingly handsome. 

Dom DeLuise was a lot of fun to work with. The best was working with Dean Martin (Army) and Sammy Davis, Jr. (Army). I loved Dean where he had a great sense of humor and cared about the project. We had Charles Nelson Reilly, Telly Savalas(Army) and Frank Sinatra in the Cannonball movies as well. We all got along on the films and there were no egos that got in the way of the production. 

I got to work with Don Ameche, Bob Hope, Yvonne De Carlo, Stella Stevens, Jayne Meadows and Frank Gorshin in A Masterpiece of Murder. Don was a great actor to work with. 

Over my career I have had the opportunity to work Danny Kaye, Bob Hope, Milton Berle, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Ed Wynn, Charlton Heston, William Holden, Van Heflin, Glenn Ford, Walter Brennan, Jim Hutton, Dorothy Provine, Rod Steiger, Victor Buono and so many more. My gracious, what a wonderful career I have had.

I worked with Bill Holden on “The Blue Knight”, which was the first TV miniseries. Robert Butler directed it and he used to work with John Frankenheimer. I was having trouble with the studio at the time trying to get a raise.. I asked Bill about what I should do in my situation. If I fought back I could be written out of a show, like a script where my character Klinger steps on a land mine and is done. My agent was at a smaller agency not like a William Morris where he could be blacklisted as well from selling his clients. You used to call the man who set the budget the “hatchet man.” Bill said he had this problem with Harry Cohn at Columbia Pictures when he was under contract there. Bill said, “You have to take it out of the agent’s hands and put it into your hands. If you want that raise you need to go ask yourself, but just don’t point a gun at their head.”

Well that gave me the idea of getting a fake pistol from the prop department from “M*A*S*H*”, which I did. It was like a cartoon after I got the prop pistol and  finished filming for the day on stage nine on the lot. I hid behind a bush and then went behind a tree and could see the “Hatchet Man’s” office. He faced away from the window in his office toward the door. I went around into the executive building and kicked the door open. I said to him, “This is how it’s going to be my raise and that!”, where he said, “You’re crazy! You’re crazy!”, and I said, “That’s right I am and I am going to get my section 8.” Well at any rate he laughed and he saw what I was doing. I did get a raise from that instance. 

Bill Holden was a terrific actor and a really nice guy. I miss him a lot. He was working on the film The Towering Inferno which was just across the way from us on set with “M*A*S*H*” where he would come over just to say “hi” to me. If I was at Oblatt’s Deli across from Paramount eating at the counter, I would get a big bear hug from someone behind me which turned out to be Bill. He would be there shooting a movie and would come across to the deli to find me there.

Fred MacMurray was a great actor to work with where we did “My Three Sons” together. We got to know each other very well. Many people make him out to be all fluff and not much there, but his work in Double Indemnity and The Caine Mutiny showcases his talent. He did a lot of comedies on the big and small screen where he was so versatile. There was much more to him than what people may think.

A lot of my actor friends used to make fun of John Wayne where Wayne is one of the best movie actors around. When he says, “Follow me” in a movie whether it is the cavalry or the Marines you are going to follow him. He has that command about him. He may not be able to do Macbeth, but what he does he is 100% believable. He is one of our greatest film actors ever. 

I was in acting class with Clint Eastwood back in the 50s with where our teacher was named Jack Kosslyn (who later appeared in Eastwood films during the 1970s). He was cleaning pools during the daytime and I was cleaning chinchilla pens at a farm in Burbank for my side work. He did pretty good for himself. 

Being in “The Cool Kids” meant a lot to me and getting to perform for a new generation is great.

  1. What leadership lessons in life and from the Army have helped you most in your career?

Remain humble and it is a team effort. It is about the ensemble. 

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Farr(center) on an episode “The Cool Kids.” Photo credit IMDB.com.
  1. As a veteran, how do we get more veteran stories told in Hollywood?

We need to and have the veteran stories around, but some people in charge may not want to produce our stories. They don’t seem to be interested in the heroics of our people. When I see Audi Murphy in a film, I can’t believe what he has done for our country. Gary Cooper as Sgt. York is an excellent film with heroics. Some of the executives today don’t want to popularize the heroism because of cynicism and negativism towards our service people. There are stories to tell, but the executives and producers put too much “seasoning” into them to make the stories something they are not. If you can keep the story simple and show these military characters doing what they did then you can have a good project.

When my country called on me, I went even though it was detrimental for my career at the time. I knew if your country needed you at the time, then you went and did whatever they asked you to do. As President Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” A similar saying was written years before by the Lebanese American writer Khalil Gibran which I am familiar with. This is what the immigrants in our neighborhood did, we had community and cared for each other and our country. 

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Farr with his wife Joy at the Air Force One exhibit at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Photo credit Jamie Farr.
  1. What are you most proud of in life and your career?

This is not an easy business where people should be grateful for whatever they have done. It is not just given to you and you have to earn it. Some people that are absolutely brilliant talents never get anywhere. Some people are average and make it to the top of the industry. All I can say is what a lucky guy I am. 

Farr wanted to personally thank all the servicemen and women serving to keep this country safe and are living up to the values of why this country was born. 

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Farr’s park dedication ceremony in Toledo, OH. Photo credit Jamie Farr.
MIGHTY MOVIES

11 classic banned books written by veterans

Every year a coalition of organizations, from pro-library groups to anti-censorship associations, come together to celebrate “Banned Books Week.” It’s a celebration of the right to read and the right of access to information. At the same time, it’s a challenge to libraries and schools to re-examine the titles they try to keep off the shelves.


10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Maybe Henry Jones said it best.

The list of frequently banned books is surprising, especially considering the effect some of these books had on American history, including Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harrier Beecher Stowe, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown.

We can celebrate Banned Books Week by catching these legendary titles, written by combat veterans and banned by people who wouldn’t understand them anyway.

1. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway was an ambulance driver for the Allied Powers during World War I, working on the Italian Front. He tried to enlist as a regular infantry troop, but was turned down due to poor eyesight. He was wounded in action by shrapnel from an Austrian mortar round – but never stopped his front line duties.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Fact: Jody got to Hemingway’s love back home.

Related: 10 ways Ernest Hemingway was a next-level American warrior

A Farewell to Arms is the author’s book about his experiences in the Great War. The novel, first released serialized in 1929, was considered overly violent and borderline pornographic at the time. If anything, read this book because F. Scott Fitzgerald sent Hemingway 10 pages of notes on it and Hemingway told Fitzgerald to kiss his ass.

2. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Then-Private First Class Vonnegut was captured by the Nazis during the WWII Battle of the Bulge. He, along with boxcars full of fellow POWs, were taken to the German city of Dresden and forced to work in the city – until it was firebombed by the Allies. Vonnegut and a few others survived the devastation, in what looked like a different, horrifying new world.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr

Slaughterhouse Five is named after the underground bunker in which he waited out the bombing. The book is the story of a man who became “unstuck in time,” floating back to the past at seemingly random times. It has become the PTSD flashback story and one of the most banned books of all-time.

Once called “depraved, immoral, psychotic, vulgar, and anti-Christian,” the Indianapolis-based Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library sends dozens of free copies to districts which ban the book.

3. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer

Norman Mailer was from an affluent family. He was drafter after graduating from Harvard and drafted into the Army as a typist in 1943. He did many things, including communications, cooking, and even recon. He saw a lot of action doing recon patrols in the Philippines and his experience became The Naked and the Dead.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Mailer at 21.

Mailer’s book follows an infantry platoon fighting the Japanese in the Philippine island of Anopopei. The book was deemed so obscene, it was banned in Canada. CANADA. Though popular, the book is really long and detailed.

4. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

At age 19, Heller enlisted in the Army Air Corps. It was 1942 and WWII was in full swing. Heller actually enjoyed his military service as a bombardier on a B-25. He  flew the required 60 missions over Europe on the Italian Front, just like John Yossarian, the main character.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Heller flying in a B-25 Mitchell Bomber during WWII.

Catch-22 became so popular for lampooning the bureaucracy of the military, the term stuck and is now in common parlance. It was the other language in the book that caught the ire of towns and districts in the United States for being obscene – as if fighting in WWII was supposed to be clean.

5. Animal Farm by George Orwell

Orwell didn’t just write books against Fascism, he went out and did something about it. During the Spanish Civil War, he twice traveled to Barcelona to join the fight against the Franco regime. He was shot in the throat by a sniper and barely survived. This made him unfit to fight for Britain in WWII.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
George Orwell with his Fascist-hunting gun.

Orwell, despite fighting with Communists in Spain, saw the Soviet Union as a tyrannical dictatorship and wrote Animal Farm to criticize Stalin and his regime. The book also closely follows the events of WWII and predicted the coming Cold War. Animal Farm was banned in the Eastern Bloc until 1989.

6. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Of course A Clockwork Orange was written by a veteran, and of course someone tried to ban it. Burgess was a veteran of the UK’s Royal Army Medical Corps and spent much of the war in Gibraltar. Even though he disliked authority and regularly pranked his fellow orderlies and made a general mockery of the rules, he was often promoted.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
I couldn’t find a photo of Burgess in uniform.

His book is set in a dystopian England, and is the violent story of a teen named Alex and his gang. The book’s true focus is about free will and how much humans are born prone to destruction versus how much they’re taught. This book is violent even by today’s standards.

7. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien served in World War I France as a member of the Lancashire Fusiliers. His experiences at the WWI Battle of the Somme would not only come to color his descriptions of combat in The Lord of the Rings, it would also come to describe the worlds he created in Middle Earth.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
More than a million people died at the Somme and you can read about it in The Lord of the Rings.

Related: How Tolkien’s war experience shaped ‘The Lord of the Rings’

While the descriptions of war were from personal experience, he went out of his way to inform people that there was no real-world analogy to his work. Sauron did not represent any world leader and there was no ring to rule them all. The book was banned for being anti-Christian and anti-religious – despite the idea of a King returning being foremost in Tolkien’s mind.

8. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron

Author William Styron was once a United States Marine, serving much of World War II stateside. In 1944, he was sent to the Pacific for the planned invasion of mainland Japan – but the Atomic Bombs ended that idea. His book The Long March is reflective of his time training as a U.S. Marine, especially being called up to fight the Korean War.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
The author as a United States Marine.

Sophie’s Choice was banned in a number of countries, including Poland, the Soviet Union, South Africa, and a number of localities in the U.S. for explicit sexuality and drug use.

9. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh was 36 years old at the outbreak of World War II, but used his connections to get a commission in the Royal Marines. He fought in West Africa, North Africa, and the evacuation of Crete from advancing Axis forces, among other missions, inluding escorting Winston Churchill to a meeting with Yugoslavian leader Marshal Tito.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Lieutenant Waugh in WWII.

Though set in WWII England, the book doesn’t have much to do with the war. The principal reason for it being banned is because of the matter-of-fact depiction of homosexual characters. The book makes no judgement on whether it’s right or wrong, just that it exists.

10. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Golding joined the Royal Navy in 1940, spending much of World War II at sea, attacking submarines and battleships, even taking part in the sinking of the German ship Bismarck.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Golding with an epic Navy beard.

His experience prompted him to say, “I began to see what people were capable of doing. Anyone who moved through those years without understanding that man produces evil as a bee produces honey, must have been blind or wrong in the head.”

So a book about children exposed to the worst of human nature is hardly a surprise coming from a man of such experience. The book is banned for its violence and language (even though it’s necessary for the theme of the book) – and is often accused of racism.

11. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Salinger joined the U.S. Army in 1942 and stayed through the end of the second world war. He was on Utah Beach in Normandy on D-Day, drank with Hemingway in Paris, was at Hürtgen Forest, and it was his unit that first encountered the Dachau Concentration Camp.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Salinger landed at Utah with the second wave.

The whole time, he carried a typewriter with him. When he couldn’t type, he wrote. And what he was writing was the Catcher in the Rye, a book that saw more military action than most of the guys on this list. And like other entries on the list, it was banned or challenged for vulgar language, sexual references, blasphemy, undermining of family values and moral codes, and promotion of drinking, smoking, lying, and promiscuity.

MIGHTY MOVIES

Why ‘Saving Private Ryan’ captured the dark side of war

2018 marks the 20th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, an iconic film that remains one of the most honest depictions of war.


“It was a mentally demoralizing experience for us,” Spielberg told film critic Roger Ebert. Nevertheless, it was important for the director “to show America the dark side of the face of war.”

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Director Steven Spielberg on set during the filming of ‘Saving Private Ryan.’
(Photo by DreamWorks Studios and Paramount Pictures)

Spielberg made many deliberate decisions to ensure the authenticity and the truth of war portrayed in this film, and the behind-the-scenes footage is riveting. The D-Day invasion scene took over two weeks to shoot and involved thousands of extras — including Irish Army reservists and real amputees.

Even the camera movements and lenses were all designed to follow the movement of combat and obscure the viewer’s vision, replicating the chaos and confusion of battle. Spielberg shot the film chronologically, which is an unusual choice for filmmakers.

“We shot in continuity, from beginning to end. We were all reliving the story together…but I didn’t realize how devastating that was going to be for the whole cast to actually start off with Omaha Beach and survive that as a film team, and then move into the hedgerows, move into the next town, as we all began to get whittled down by the storytelling.”

It was important for Spielberg to honor those who fought in World War II. “I think it is the key — the turning point of the entire century. World War II allowed my generation to exist.” His own father, Arnold Spielberg, enlisted in the U.S. Army after the attacks against Pearl Harbor.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Behind-the-scenes image of Tom Hanks in the iconic D-Day invasion scene of ‘Saving Private Ryan.’
(Photo by DreamWorks Studios and Paramount Pictures)

Saving Private Ryan perfectly balanced the inhumanity of war with the very-human warfighters, and continues to be one of the most celebrated films of all time.

To honor the 20th anniversary, the film is now available on 4K UltraHD™ as well as Blu-Ray™ and Digital. Check out the video below for a deeper look at how it was made:

MIGHTY MOVIES

‘Rise of Skywalker’ will answer two big questions about Rey and the Force

If you’re a parent, you probably know exactly where your child is and if they are strong with the Force. But for Rey, the questions of where her parents are and who they are remain, after two Star Wars movies, a giant mystery. Chris Terrio, screenwriter of “The Rise of Skywalker,” says important information about Rey’s parents will be revealed in the next big Star Wars film. In fact, he says two questions will be addressed. Will we be happy with the answers? Maybe not! But, that’s not what counts right now.


On Oct. 2, 2019, a new excerpt from an Empire magazine story revealed that J.J. Abrams’s screenwriting partner, Chris Terrio, says there are two big questions that will be answered in “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” And those questions are:

  1. “Who is Rey?”
  2. “How strong is the Force?”

In terms of the first question, Terrio made it clear that this question is literal as well as philosophical.

Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker | D23 Special Look

www.youtube.com

“‘Who is Rey?’…is a question that people not only wonder about quite literally but wonder about in the spiritual sense,” Terrio told Empire. “How can Rey become the spiritual heir to the Jedi? We kept coming back to, ‘Who is Rey?’ and how can we give the most satisfying answer to that not only factually — because obviously, people are interested in whether there’s more to Rey’s story — but more importantly, who is she as a character? How will she find the courage and will and inner strength and power to carry on what she’s inherited?”

In regards to the other question — “How strong is the Force?” — Terrio says that “It sounds a little simple, but actually, when you get down to it, that is a sort of Zen Koan that we would really meditate on.”

Right now, it’s totally unclear what Terrio means by this, but if you’re placing bets on the answer to “How strong is the Force?” is simply: “about as strong as my toddler when they are resisting bedtime” you’re either very wrong or very right.

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” is out everywhere on Dec. 20, 2019.

This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.

Articles

5 military-themed ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books revisited

“Choose Your Own Adventure” books were an easy way to feel accomplished as a child. In a few short, simple pages, you could make the decisions which would ultimately kill your character and you could count it as an entire book read — all the way through. Book that, Pizza Hut.


If you had more time to kill or wanted to go on another adventure, you could just crack the book open again and find a new way to die. Either way, you know how these books end.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
There’s seriously no other way.

It should be simple to go back and revisit these books now that we have a lifetime of experience from which to help guide us and make decisions. Suddenly it’s a lot easier to break your friends out of Nazi Germany or get that secret message to George Washington. And now it all makes sense why your character died so often — some of these books give you absolutely terrible choices.

No matter what, it prepares you for a life of making bad life decisions.

1. Sabotage

No, they did not make a book from a Beastie Boys song (though that would have been awesome and could have explained so much). Sabotage places you in 1942 Casablanca, where you are an agent for Secret Forces. No country, just Secret Forces. You’re working with the French Resistance to break some friends out of a castle prison in Nazi Germany, but the notorious SS Agent Kruptsch is out to foil you.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr

Your handler gives you an envelope you’re supposed to open when you’re about to enter the castle and sends you off with Resistance operatives Simone and Raoul. Getting to the castle is really difficult because the Germans keep surprising you. When you get to the castle, the envelope lets you know why: Raoul is a double agent. There’s no explanation for why Secret Forces let him continue being a double agent or why they didn’t tell you that in the first place. But that doesn’t matter because if you take too long getting to the castle, your friends escape on their own anyway. Thanks for your help, chummmmmmmmmp!

2. Spy for George Washington

The American Colonies are in open rebellion against Great Britain. You are too young to enlist as a Continental Soldier, so a man you know enlists you (a child) to deliver a message to General George Washington about the British attack on Philadelphia. That’s not nearly as dangerous, right?

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Benedict Arnold would have trouble with this.

You are given every opportunity to tell everyone from Royal Navy Captains to strangers on the street about your super secret mission. The book lets you make that choice. And every time you avoid direct confrontation, you are waylaid and/or eventually killed off. The lesson here is Americans don’t avoid fights, even as spies.

3. Gunfire at Gettysburg

You are a bossy jerk of a kid in 1863 Pennsylvania who is more than a little confused about the ongoing Civil War. On one hand, slavery is wrong, but on the other, the Rebels are fighting in their homeland. I’m not kidding, this is your rationale, your great conundrum.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr

You just happen to be on the battlefield when the Battle of Gettysburg starts and your sociopath best friend implores you to stick around and watch for a while. You’re held at gunpoint by a Confederate officer who gives you the option of helping the Rebels with your knowledge of the local terrain or making a break for it. You consider helping the Confederates because — and I sh*t you not — you want to meet General Lee.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Sploosh. Apparently.

The author clearly has some kind of man crush on Robert E. Lee. With blazing speed you are given so many options to betray your country. If you try to help slaves escape, you lose. Eventually, you are staring, dumbfounded, as the battle rages around you. The endings where you actually survive always finish with a Southern loss, but your character always looks back wistfully at what might have been.

4. UN Adventure: Mission to Molowa

Only a book for kids would be naive enough to think the UN is anything more than a bureaucratic nightmare. But “to start on tomorrow’s paperwork, turn to page 91” doesn’t make for good reading.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
It looks like that mountain is giving birth to a Jeep.

Anyway, you are representing the U.S. in a model UN in New York. You meet a friend there named Achmed from the United Arab Emirates and a girl named Benati from Myanmar at a Middle Eastern restaurant down the street. For some reason the UN Secretary General calls on you three CHILDREN to solve a civil war in Africa and settle a nuclear arms deal with a dictator from a fictional breakaway Russian Republic.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
The U.S. President sends his kids to hotspots. Why not the UN Secretary General?

Achmed disappears entirely and you drive into Molowa in an armed convoy to negotiate with five warlords. In true UN fashion, unless you stop to talk, negotiate, or barter with people, you are either left to starve in the wilderness or are eaten by hippos.

5. Hostage!

You are on a field trip to Washington, DC when the Alarin Cartel, a crime syndicate, threatens the White House. Your bus is then taken captive by the worst terrorists ever. They immediately leave all hostages alone on the bus.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
You think Pablo Escobar would just leave you all there alone? That’s not how real cartels roll.

If you act unilaterally and immediately, you can escape in no time, leaving your classmates to whatever fate. The terrorists are after a deadly virus the government is making anyway — they don’t really care if anyone lives. In some endings, the virus is cured by antibiotics (which is medically impossible) and in others it spreads around the world.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
The first step toward zombies.

You will either work with the President of the United States to force a surrender (while completely glossing over this blatant American violation of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention) or join the terrorists in South America. All in all, the only decisions you make are really awful, just like the ones you make in real life. At least the cartels have free booze.

MIGHTY MOVIES

‘Ghostbusters’ sequel is bringing back at least 3 original busters

Whoa-ho-somebody’s coming! After having a series of cameos as new characters in the 2016 Ghostbusters remake, Sigourney Weaver, Bill Murray, and Dan Aykroyd are apparently all returning to their original roles for the 2020 Ghostbusters movie that is just a straight-up sequel to the two buster films from 1984 and 1989.


“It’s going to be crazy working with the guys again!” Sigourney Weaver told Parade Magazine last week and confirmed that she will, once again, be playing Dana Barret in the new Ghostbusters written and directed by Jason Reitman, son of original Ghostbusters director, Ivan Reitman. Back in January 2019, a new teaser trailer dropped for the new Ghostbusters, featuring classic Ecto-1 car being spookily discovered in a barn, somewhere. After that, it was revealed that the movie will focus on a new generation of teenage Ghostbusters (including Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things) and will, be set in the same continuity of the movies from the ’80s. This means Weaver is playing Dana, Murray is playing Venkman, and Aykroyd is playing Stanz. Ernie Hudson’s return as Winston wasn’t mentioned, but it seems pretty likely, too. (Sadly, Harold Ramis is out because he passed away in 2014.)

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr

(Netflix)

Relevant to Buster-lore, Dana had a son in Ghostbusters II; baby Oscar. Could Finn Wolfhard be playing Oscar all grown-up? Does that even work, actually? Sadly, probably not, if Oscar was a 1-year-old in Ghostbusters II, he’d be 31 in 2020. But hey, there are all sorts of weird dimensional portals in the Ghostbusters universe, right?

Back in 2016, Weaver, Murray, Hudson, Aykroyd, and Annie Potts all had cameos in the Ghostbusters reboot film (starring Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones, Kate Mckinnon, and Melissa McCarthy) though none of them were playing their original characters. For longtime fans of Ghostbusters, the idea that all the surviving actors would just be back in the movie playing the characters that made them famous is obviously, mass hysteria.

The new Ghostbusters is set to release sometime in 2020. As of this writing, Sigourney Weaver’s comments have not been officially confirmed by Sony Pictures or the director, Jason Reitman.

This article originally appeared on Fatherly. Follow @FatherlyHQ on Twitter.

MIGHTY MOVIES

US Navy Super Hornets ‘buzz the tower’ during filming for ‘Top Gun’

Two F/A-18 Super Hornets tore past an air traffic control tower at Naval Air Station Fallon in Nevada June 2109 during filming for the “Top Gun: Maverick,” a sequel to the classic 1980s fighter jet flick.

Kyle Fleming, who captured the spectacular flyby on video, told The Aviationist that it was necessary to recreate the iconic “buzz the tower” scene from the first “Top Gun” film.


Here’s the scene from the 1986 film starring Tom Cruise, who will reappear in the sequel.

Top Gun: ‘It’s Time to Buzz the Tower’

www.youtube.com

A public affairs spokesman for NAS Fallon confirmed to Business Insider that Paramount Pictures was out at the air base from June 10 through June 28, 2019, filming air operations using both in-jet and external cameras.

The spokesman explained that while he say what they were doing, he couldn’t detail how the footage would be used in the film. Paramount Pictures media relations division could not be reached for comment.

Production of the new film started in 2018.

The sequel scheduled for release summer 2020 will see Cruise again play the role of hotshot pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, now a Navy captain who is expected to be mentoring a new class of pilots, including the son of his deceased naval flight officer Lt. j.g. Nick “Goose” Bradshaw.

This article originally appeared on Business Insider. Follow @BusinessInsider on Twitter.

MIGHTY MOVIES

Why ‘Spider-Man’ was exactly the film that America needed at the time

There’s a constant debate within the nerd-o-sphere about which superhero film is best. Some score points for being accurate to the source material, some are of a higher quality than others, and some are just downright enjoyable to sit through while munching down a tub of popcorn.

In the end, this debate always boils down to personal preference, but there’s no denying that just one film truly cemented the audience’s desire for more superhero films — and that’s 2002’s Spider-Man, starring Tobey Maguire. Sure, it’s not the best filmmaking that the genre’s ever seen, nor is it even close to being the highest grossing, but what this film can claim that no other superhero film can is a crucial role in American pop culture following the horrific events that occurred the morning of September 11th, 2001.


10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr

I mean, the guy is so down on his luck that he has to live with his aunt.

(Marvel Comics)

For anyone unfamiliar with his role in the comic books, Peter Parker was never some big, strong superhero. He never wore a cape and he he was never really a permanent member of some greater superhero alliance. In fact, he was generally the opposite of what most people would assume a superhero would be. He’s a quiet, shy nerd who works a low-paying, entry-level job for a boss that hates him.

In both the films and the comics, Peter Parker is actually the stand-in for the audience. The general public isn’t made up of rich billionaire philanthropists or Norse gods — they’re just average Joes trying to make ends meet.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr

We told ourselves we would rebuild. And we did.

The film was in production for years and, just like in the comics, it showcased New York City a character, as much as anyone else in the film. So, in much of the film’s advertisements, they used the two most iconic buildings in the New York skyline: the Twin Towers. In promotional posters and even a stand-alone story trailer that showed Spider-Man stopping bank robbers in a getaway helicopter, the Towers placed a fairly central role.

Then, the day that none will forget came. Four passenger airliners were hijacked. Two successfully struck their target, the World Trade Center in New York City, and another hit the Pentagon. The fourth was brought down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

What seemed like an eternity to onlookers took one hour and seventeen minutes. There’s no denying that, in this moment, all American felt scared and, for once, vulnerable.

America was hurting bad. Meanwhile, certain scenes had to be re-shot that featured the New York skyline. This, of course, shuffled the release date back. But in the process, Sam Raimi, the director of the film, added one iconic moment that made the most lasting impression on pop culture — the very last twenty seconds of the film.

Spider-Man had saved the day, saved a hurting New York City, swung up to the top of the Empire State Building, and stood in front of a proud, billowing American flag.

It was exactly what most people, especially the film’s target demographic — a younger crowd that couldn’t really comprehend what had happened — needed to hear. Your average, everyday guy who just happened to be bit by a radioactive spider, is there to save the day.

And that America will be okay.

Articles

This filmmaker is the first Post-9/11 vet to be nominated for an Oscar

Henry Hughes deployed twice to Afghanistan as an airborne infantry officer and is now hoping his debut short film, “Day One” will bring home an Oscar on February 28.


10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr

Day One, which follows a female Afghan-American interpreter named Feda on her first day of patrols in Afghanistan, is Hughes’ first movie.

“I didn’t think it would happen this quickly,” Hughes told WATM about being nominated for an Oscar for his first film. “It’s a wonderful, serendipitous, golden ticket-type thing.”

In the film, the interpreter and the infantry platoon she works with go to the home of a suspected insurgent. At the house, the mission quickly gets complicated as the insurgent’s pregnant wife goes into labor. The interpreter, the platoon leader, and the insurgent all have to navigate the needs of the mother, the child, and the social and religious customs of Afghanistan.

It’s complicated stuff and very intense.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Henry Hughes and his interpreter purchase items from a stall in Afghanistan during a deployment. (Photo courtesy Henry Hughes)

The story is inspired by real events, and most of the details come from Hughes’ experiences in Afghanistan with the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team. He decided to focus on the interpreter instead of the platoon leader so the movie would feel fresh to audiences used to seeing things from a soldier’s point of view.

“On my second tour I had a female interpreter,” he said. “She is an American, an Afghan-American. And I kind of just realized that if I was going to tell a story about our community, about our experiences, we needed a new way to get into it.”

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr

Following this woman who was new to the war gave him a chance to show the dual nature of combat.

“I thought, maybe we hadn’t seen something that was as enlightening as some of the moments in combat felt to me,” Hughes said. “Very sublime, hyperbolic. Where things are beatiful and kind of harsh at the same time. And I thought a way to do that would be to go through this woman who has to deal with both these gender issues and the culture issues.”

Learn more about the movie at its website and check out the trailer below. “Day One” will be available as a streaming movie for rental or purchase March 15th on Vimeo.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mV3IgCTIDYkfeature=youtu.be

MIGHTY MOVIES

5 things Maverick would actually be doing after 32 years of service

The poster for Top Gun 2 has officially been released to let audiences know that Day 1 of principle photography has begun. Awesome. I just want to be that guy and point out that, after 32 years of being in the Navy, is Maverick still only a captain. Why? How?


While he’s still got nothing on Gen. Vessey’s 46 years of service, the average time it takes to make Admiral is 23 years — and that’s taking into account only the 2.24% of ensigns who stay in that long. I guess his need for speed is really that strong.

Here’s our take on what a real-world Maverick would be (or should be) doing after all this time.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr

But I can’t help but feel like we’ve seen this film somewhere before…

(Pixar Animation Studios)

Stuck in Training Command

The most obvious and likely scenario will reverse the roles as we know them: the former rambunctious student is now an underappreciated teacher who has to mentor someone just as rebellious and talented as he once was.

He’ll probably hold fast to his old gotta-be-the-best mentality before he finally accepts the fact that his time has passed and his new calling is to impart all of his knowledge onto a quirky, young, Latina pilot that nobody believes in. Chances are high that this is what the film is going to be about — according to rumors, anyway.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr

He would need to fight the urge to go inverted, though…

(Universal Pictures)

Commercial airline pilot

The most common scenario is that, after so many years, he’d just say, “screw it,” retire, and look for employment in the civilian sector. I’m just saying, it’s hard to scoff at a potential 3k a year when he’d otherwise make 9k by staying in.

Maybe Maverick feels like hanging it all up and making some serious bank by flying red-eyes between San Diego and Seattle-Tacoma International. It could be a heart-felt story about a once-badass Navy aviator having to cope with a dull civilian life.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr

Basically another role reversal if Maverick became Gene Hackman’s character from The Firm.

(Paramount Pictures)

Corporate lobbyist in Washington

One of the complaints many people have about the freshly-released teaser poster is that Maverick is seemingly about to board an F-18 Super Hornet instead of the F-35C Lightning II. Personally, I have no dog in this fight — maybe this all the work of Pete Mitchell (formerly known as Maverick) cozying up to politicians who want to keep the Super Hornet in production.

Top Gun 2 could shape up to be a politician thriller along the lines of Thank You For Smoking or something that wouldn’t get unofficially scrapped before the series arc could finish.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr

So it’d be ‘Jack Reacher’… but without the action.

(Paramount Pictures)

Old drunk at the bar

A place Maverick frequented in the original Top Gun was that bar outside of Miramar. But what if Maverick could never really leave that bar — just like so many veterans before him? Night after night, generation after generation, Maverick sat in the bar reminiscing. Now, he’s become that washed-up old guy who tells uninterested sailors about that time he “totally” fought the Soviets without starting an international incident.

It’d be just like Cocktail or Cheers — except it wouldn’t be a romantic comedy. It’d be a serious drama about an old vet who just wants someone to talk to.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr

…too soon?

(Paramount Pictures)

Unapologetic clothing line owner

Just like nearly every high-profile veteran that leaves the service, he could start his own veteran-owned military clothing company. He only sells jean shorts, body oil, and sunglasses. For obvious reasons, selling t-shirts is completely out of the question.

It could be a movie about Maverick and Iceman making YouTube shorts, sharing memes, and, eventually, trying to make their own movie about beach volleyball players during the zombie apocalypse…

Articles

A Ranger describes what being a ‘towed jumper’ is actually like

Airborne soldiers have some particular fears that most other troops don’t have to worry about. Total malfunctions of the parachute like a “cigarette roll” can cause them to hurtle into the earth at terminal velocity while mid-air entanglements can leave them with broken bones or worse.


One of their most unique fears is that of becoming a “towed jumper,” something that happens when their chute fails to separate from their static line and they are literally towed behind the plane like the pet dog from “National Lampoon’s Vacation.”

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Brian Hanson, a U.S. Army Ranger, bounces against the skin of a C-17 over the skies of Fort Benning, Georgia. (Go90 No Sh*t There I Was screenshot)

(Younger readers should not Google that reference. Instead, just imagine the worst possible version of parasailing.)

For Army Ranger Spc. Brian Hanson, the nightmare became a reality during a training jump under the stars of Fort Benning, Georgia. He and the rest of his company were under strict orders to conduct the perfect nighttime jump, to include not losing any gear.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Brian Hanson, a U.S. Army Ranger, tries to keep his gear together while flapping in the wind like a dog’s jowls. (Go90 No Sh*t There I Was screenshot)

But Hanson’s chute failed to separate and he became a towed jumper.

This left Hanson flying through the night sky as he fervently tried to keep all of his gear as close as possible despite the wind rushing over him while he dangled 1,200 feet above the surface of Benning. Watch the video above to learn how he made peace with these developments as well as the moment when he realized he was truly screwed.

Watch more No Sh*t There I Was:

Why it sucks to report to the ‘Good Idea Fairy’

This is why the military shouldn’t completely outlaw hazing

That time Linda Hamilton asked a Marine to the ball

This is a perfect example of how ridiculous boot camp is

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5 more common movie mistakes veterans can spot right away

When a veteran or active duty service member watches a movie that depicts life in the military, they automatically begin to look for flaws. With a little attention to detail, they can spot even the most subtle of goofs.


But even on the surface, there are some mistakes that Hollywood makes that can get pretty annoying — especially when it wouldn’t take much to get it right.

1. Radio etiquette

This is something that’s so simple that it’s frustrating when we see it done wrong. What most people don’t understand is that, in the military, using the word ‘repeat’ over the radio tells your fire support assets to repeat their mission. So, saying it is an absolute no-no unless, well, you want your destroyed target to be even more destroyed.

Aside from that, the proper response to a message over the radio is ‘roger,’ not ‘copy.’ The reason you would say ‘copy’ is if the messenger gave you the information that needed to copy down, such as map coordinates, headcounts, etc. If someone says, ‘stand-by,’ your response should be, “roger, standing by.”

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
You should also avoid cussing over the radio. Just saying. (Photo from Paramount Pictures’ Rules of Engagement)

 

2. Tactics

Since military tactics vary between countries and branches, this is somewhat excusable. But, for the most part, all countries understand the fundamentals: never enter a room or building alone, don’t stand in the open while being shot at, and don’t move without covering fire.

These things are so simple that it’s practically common sense. Going against these concepts is a really bad idea but, for some reason, filmmakers just don’t get it right.

3. Customs and courtesies

The military is known for the respect and discipline that’s instilled in every service member — you’d think it’d be pretty easy to capture in a movie.

But what seems to be misunderstood is that a lower enlisted does not call a general by their rank in a conversation. In fact, no one calls an officer by their rank — not even other officers. They’re referred to as, ‘sir.’ Only when being discussed in the third person are they referred to by rank.

The only case you would refer to an officer by their rank is if you need to get their attention. For example, you would say, “Lieutenant Parker, sir.” When they talk to you, end every sentence with, ‘sir.’

 

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Make sure you salute them correctly when the time comes, too. (Photo from 20th Century Fox’s The Marine)

4. Duty stations

If you’ve been deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq, you know about this. When someone on screen claims they were “stationed in Afghanistan” for four years or however long, it’s essentially the same as that one guy in the bar who claims they were a Marine scout-sniper Space Shuttle door gunner SEAL — it’s bullsh*t.

You may spend 9 months to a year in Afghanistan, but that’s not a duty station, it’s a deployment. This is something you can learn in a conversation with literally anyone who has been there.

5. Trigger discipline

This one should bother everyone. It’s pretty hard to believe someone on screen spent any amount of years in the service if they don’t know to keep their finger straight and off the trigger. Everyone learns this in boot camp — everyone.

This is even common sense in the hunting community or among anyone who has had even the most basic level of training on a firearm. That finger should NOT touch the trigger until you’re ready to unload some discontent toward a monster, alien, or person.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
A captain should know better… (Photo from United Artists’ Apocalypse Now)

Feature image: Warner Bros’ American Sniper

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Everything about ‘The Force Awakens’ First Order Stormtroopers in 700 words

The Imperial Stormtroopers featured in Star Wars are a big deal. Culturally, they are one of the most recognizable henchmen and foot soldiers in all of American pop culture history. So when we see so many iterations of the iconic armor, it makes sense that so many want to know more about them… and that they care about what lies beneath.


Star Wars: The Force Awakens features new kinds of specialty Imperial troops as well as updates on the original, iconic Imperial Stormtrooper, not to mention Gwendoline Christie’s chrome-plated trooper armor she wears as Captain Phasma.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
I mean, shiny armor in combat seems like a bad idea, but it doesn’t seem so bad here.

The First Order Flametrooper is a specialized Stormtrooper. They carry incendiary weapons that “turn any battlefield into an infernal blaze.” Flamethrowers are not exactly a battlefield innovation, though since this was “a long time ago,” it might have been for them. It does speak to the evil nature of the First Order since the weapon was banned by the Geneva Convention.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
… But it still uses liquid fuel, pumps, and hose technology.

See Also: EA releases combat stats for ‘Star Wars Battlefront’ and the results are amazing

And then there’s the updated First Order Snowtrooper. Let’s be honest, the Snowtroopers were the only troops from the original trilogy who had any effectiveness on the battlefield. The Snowtroopers captured the Rebel base on Hoth, where regular Stormtroopers couldn’t duck while entering doorways and Imperial Scouts couldn’t even beat Ewoks on a planet they occupied long enough to build the Death Star.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Also, the original Snowtroopers don’t seem all that warm.

But even though no one in the audience ever saw the faces underneath Stormtrooper armor in the previous films, the idea of a Stormtrooper being a black man caught a few people by surprise when audiences first saw actor John Boyega in the armor. It doesn’t make much sense for people to be surprised since the Armed Forces have historically led the way for racial and other forms of integration.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Draftees in Korea on their way to the front.

Finn (played by John Boyega) doesn’t think it’s important either.

“I really don’t care about the black stormtrooper stuff,” he said.  “This is a movie about human beings, about Wookiees, spaceships, and TIE fighters, and it has an undertone and a message of courage, and a message of friendship, and loyalty. And I think that’s something that is ultimately important.”

Which is pretty much the same takeaway anyone who served had when President Truman signed Executive Order 9981 in 1948, which abolished racial discrimination in the U.S. military. Three years later, the U.S. was fighting in Korea. In war, as one Korea-era Marine Corps officer once told me, “after you’ve fought alongside a man, it doesn’t matter what color he is, you gotta respect his fighting ability.”

See Also: Star Wars tech we could really use in Iraq Afghanistan

Joe Owen, then a Marine Corps lieutenant and author of Colder Than Hell, a retrospective about his time in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, remembered getting two young black men in his mortar company.

10 Questions with M*A*S*H star and famed actor Jamie Farr
Joe Owen, age 90.

“We had some black guys who came to us who were named squad leaders. Some of our people objected to this. Two Marines from the first platoon approached me and asked for a transfer to my outfit because a black guy was their squad leader. They refused to take orderes from him,” Owen recalled. “I told them they were going to take orders from a  Sergeant of Marines and that they were to go back to their outfit. After one night of fighting the Chinese, that squad leader was killed. I was on the detail of carrying the dead and wounded to battalion, and as I’m taking my column down, those same two Southerners came up to me and said they wanted to go with their squad leader and carry his body down because they said they wanted to pay proper respect to the best goddamn squad leader in the Marine Corps. That’s how that was settled.”

What the First Order Stormtrooper needs most is the ability to stop and aim. Kylo Ren was a Marine for crying out loud. Empire Fi.

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