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M*A*S*H - No Black Surgeons in Korea
In the movie (and the first few episodes of the series) there is a black surgeon named "Spearchucker" Jones. The problem is that there were no black surgeons serving in the US armed forces in Korea. It was for this very reason that they removed the character from the series after those first few episodes.
Special Requirements:
The movie, some knowledge of history
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Contributed By:
Ron Spiegelhalter on 09-19-2000
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JRay53 writes:
While it may be historically true that there were no black surgeons in Korea at the time, "Spearchucker" Jones was specifically requested by Hawkeye and Trapper John as a 'ringer' to beat the other football team. I'm not sure, but he may have been requested directly from the states. If he was transferred from another Korean unit, then the slip-up still stands. If not, I would say that it doesn't apply because he was identified as a special case, and may very well have been the first black surgeon in Korea (in this fictionalized world.)
9 of 12 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
phantmgal writes:
Just in case anyone cares, first of all it's fiction, there is a literal ton of historically inaccurate stuff, especially in the series. Second of all, both movie and series are based on the book by Richard Hooker. He has Spearchucker in the book (he's a neurosurgeon, so yes a doctor) and thus he was placed in the movie and then the TV series. It's not a slip up, they were just following the book.
5 of 7 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
mashchic4077 writes:
After a few episodes of the series, the higher-ups did, in fact, realise that there were no black surgeons in Korea. And so the character of Spearchucker Jones disappears from the show (much like Richie Cunningham's brother on Happy Days). However, as was already stated, Spearchucker was in the book, and so it was necessary to remain relatively true to Hornberger's original concept.
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Doug writes:
I agree with JRay53 on this one. He was brought in as a special case because of his football talents and not as a surgeon. But you are correct on historical accuracy. In present day movies accuracy is sacrificed for political correctness.
3 of 6 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes
pug writes:
But, in the very early MASH episodes you can see "Spearchucker" operating in the O.R. which would historically be incorrect so the fact remains that there were NO BLACK U.S. ARMY SURGEONS during the Korean War.
4 of 11 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes

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