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How I got over missing Alan Alda
Time to confess
Alan Alda doesn't see himself as a superstar. But if every co-star, stagehand, producer, director and screenwriter were asked if Alda fit the mold for a superstar, they would all agree. No argument.
Alan Alda was destined for his place in show business. That is easy to ascertain. Alda's sharp perception to character development cannot be matched by most actors in the industry today. It all seems natural to Alda who looks as if he is just living out his character on film, strage and some television.
I admit it. I have loved Alan Alda since the glorius or inglorious, as his famed character, "Hawkeye Pierce," of his M * A * S * H days would say. And still do, but not as I used to. I do not mean that in any shade of disrespect, but out of truth. I was once an Alan Alda addict if it be possible to be addicted to a celebrity and their various contributions to show business.
I can readily go back instantly and enjoy my memories of Alda as "Hawkeye," the chief malcontent on CBS' mega-monster show, M * A * S * H. Along with his first costar, Wayne Rogers who played "Trapper John McIntyre," this duo blazed more new trails in how a controversial television show should be presented and then again, now it was not to be presented.
M * A * S * H was not simply a comedy about the United States Army and the Korean War. It was more. It was deeper. And more in-depth than any show of its kind. To be a bit corny, it was a show way ahead of the wave of popularity.
One can see why I was so addicted to a man named Alan Alda, for I did my research on his role as "Hawkeye," and Alda was very meticulous and yet so predictably methodical in his preparation for such a role that would set him up to always be known as the "rebel doctor" who hated war, but loved saving lives, American or North Koreans.
With that said, I just grew lax as M *A * S * H came on week after week bringing me to new ways to think about life, war, peace and death as it was shown each week on Alda's show.
How Alan Alda affected me
I was extra-careful on which of my friends I told that I loved M *A * S * H and Alan Alda because in my hometown a male who loves (to watch) a male actor to such an addictive level was considered gay. And I am as far from being gay as the Pope is from being a rapper.
With each episode of M *A * S * H, I would sit in front of my television--literally glued to every word of script that Alan Alda was quoting. And learning how he would laugh "that" high-pitched laugh that made even the grumpiest grump happy evfen if for a moment.
Did you know that Alda's "Hawkeye" laugh and Burt Reynolds "Bandit" laugh are the two most-impersonated laughs in show business history? True fact. I shold know. When "Smoky and The Bandit," was released. And re-released, most of my buddies would make public jackasses of themselves straining every gut and nerve to laugh like "Bandit."
And in secret, I was trying to laugh like "Hawkeye," at every turn and opportunity. I managed to almost nail it. But was too shy to ever exhibit my "Hawkeye" laugh with my circle of friends in fear that they might catch on that I was merely mocking Alan Alda. And this was detrimental to me. I was always striving to be different.
But when M *A * S * H finally went of the air with a farewell episode, "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen," that was the highest rated television show in television history. Only the coverage of the funeral of John F. Kennedy was watched by more people.
At first, the next Monday night I was so into watching M *A * S * H at eight o' clock, I didn't once notice that when eight came and went, no M *A * S * H. Was I stupid or what?
Now I didn't ask people what happened to my favorite actor, Alan Alda or his hit show, I knew from the Monday night before that there would be no more M *A * S * H. Somewhere in my bedroom, I shut my door securely and wept silently. Such as the weeping of the passing of a friend or family member. Or family pet. My heart and spirit was broken. I hurt inside for weeks. This pain was almost, in a frightful way, comparable to breaking up with a "Betty Lou Scruggs," head cheerleader and easiest girl in town. Yep. that was hard to handle, the Monday nights without M *A * S * H.
For the record, I never knew any girl named "Betty Lou Scruggs." I dreamed of a few, but never met one.
My masterplan to get free from the "Alan Alda addiction."
Now it was time for me to grow up. And be a man about this M *A * S * H departure. I just had to get Alan Alda out of my head and life if possible. That is if I were to live a normal life with a healthy mental state.
Was it easy? Are you serious? How long did it take you to get over the break-up of the Beatles? It took me about two days. But not with Alan Alda not visiting me on each Monday night. It was pure pain at its finest. I once pondered writing CBS programming department to lodge an eight-page letter of severe complaint for allowing Alan Alda and M *A * S * H to decide to leave the airways. What was CBS thinking? We may never know.
How I decided to deal with my M *A * S * H and Alda withdrawals was not that hard. It was a matter of self-discipline and hard work. But day after day, I would try another part of my master plan to gain control of my thoughts about Alan Alda being gone along with his co-stars who brought America and the world so many laughs each week.
I took out the black hair color that I had applied to my hair. Not all that much. Just enough to let me know I was an Alan Alda fan all the way.
I looked to strange with my sandy blond hair as opposed to my black locks that looked almost like Alda's. I even kept my hair cut the same length as his. I wasn't loony was I?
Then I tackled the famous "Hawkeye" laugh and toned I tdown so much that even when I laughed at a friend's pun, they didn't suspect that I once laughed like "Hawkeye."
The United States Army shirt that I had bought at a local Army surplus store, well that was tough to part with. But I did. I sneaked out of my house where I was not going to be seen and set fire to it and as I watched it burn in the fifty-five gallon drum, I wept silently again. Possibly for the last time. I was ridding myself of M *A * S * H and Alan Alda, my all-time favorite actor.
But in the days and weeks that followed, each time I would hear the famous M *A * S * H theme, or hear that Alan Alda was going to appear on someone's talk show to discuss M *A * S * H leaving the air, I cringed. Sweated and even wept one final time. It had to be done. For my well-being.
Gone were the dreams I had once had to have plastic surgery on my nose to look like Alan Alda. And even dieting to such a degree that I was (at that time), skin and bones. "Hawkeye" didn't eat that much, so why should I?
I guess the hardest part to give up was my drinking whiskey and beer just like "Hawkeye" did in his and "Trapper John's" tent lovingly called, "The Swamp."
After a few weeks of being sober, things began to be clear once again. I laughed in my normal laugh. I washed and combed my real hair with its real color. My wardrobe was not that of an ill-tempered doctor on a show named M *A * S * H, but the clothes of a normal guy.
Young people who love music video's, films and television . . .let this story be a lesson for you. WARNING: admiring too many celebrities can be hazardous to your mental health.