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Movies - TV
M*A*S*H Sadly Predicted The Future With A Fan-Favorite Character’s Story
In the DVD commentary for "M*A*S*H," series creator Larry Gelbart shared a story about a time the show took inspiration from real life only to predict the future accidentally.
A lively character in the episode "Smilin' Jack" was based on a real-life Army pilot, Dan Sullivan, whom Gelbart and director Gene Reynolds had met while visiting the 8055th.
In the episode, Smilin' Jack is a helicopter pilot who transports wounded soldiers to the MASH units. He has diabetes, which makes him a risk, but he refuses to be grounded.
Gelbart said it was a "purely creative invention" to afflict the fictional pilot. However, sometime after the episode, the real Dan Sullivan was diagnosed with diabetes.