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Alda's favorite 'M*A*S*H' episodes

(CNN) -- Ask most people of a certain age, and they can probably describe a "M*A*S*H" episode -- or 10.

There was the one with the made-up Capt. Tuttle. The one with Edward Herrmann as a surgeon who cracks. The ones with the malevolent Col. Flagg. And on and on.

The show is a big part of TV history: "M*A*S*H" ran for 11 seasons, and its final episode, which aired in February 1983, remains the highest-rated program of all time.

For Alan Alda, the show remains a special experience, and he's hard-pressed to name a favorite episode about the members of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.

"There are classes of episodes," he points out. "There are a few all of us wish we didn't have to do because the idea didn't work. The one about a gold jeep ['Fred C. Dobbs,' season one] was a low point. There are a lot in the middle, and some that were really good."

And which ones were "really good"? Alda names a few:

  • "Point of View," an episode from 1978 in which the story is told from the perspective of a soldier, the camera as his eyes.
  • "Dreams," a 1980 show in which the members of the 4077th, exhausted after two straight days of work, have vivid dreams during stray moments of sleep.
  • "Life Time," a 1979 episode done in real time, in which a soldier will suffer permanent injury -- or death -- if he isn't treated within 20 minutes.
  • "The Interview," the award-winning 1976 episode in which a TV reporter interviewed the members of the 4077th.
  • In his new book, "Never Have Your Dog Stuffed (And Other Things I've Learned)" (Random House), Alda adds that the show's bittersweet ending had an even more bittersweet postscript.

    The cast had buried a time capsule on the set in the belief it would be found many years hence. Instead, studio 20th Century Fox arranged to sell the land on which the set was located a couple months after the show ended. A construction worker found the time capsule so soon after the show's finale he thought the cast would want it.

    "Keep it," Alda told him.

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