Colonel Potter: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen

I was saddened today to hear of the death of actor Harry Morgan, who played Colonel Sherman T. Potter in one of my favourite TV series, 'M*A*S*H*'. He was 96. The internet tells me Harry also appeared as Officer Gannon in the 1960s revival of Dragnet, and on the short-lived and long-forgotten early '70s cop show Hec Ramsey - although I've never seen the former and can't remember the latter. He can be seen, if anyone still likes Westerns enough to look for them, in two of the greatest examples of the genre ever made, The Ox-Bow Incident, with Henry Fonda, and John Wayne's fabulous, moving last film The Shootist.

But it is for 'M*A*S*H' that some of us, at least, will remember him. Sherman T. (formerly 'Hoops') Potter, that eccentric veteran of multiple wars, with a love, as I recall, for Zane Grey (or am I imagining that?) and a horse called Sophie. I watched every episode of that show again and again and I never tired of the counterpoint Potter's mature tolerance and country humour provided to the (Groucho) Marxist young urban wit -and occasional self-righteousness - of my favourite characters Hawkeye and B.J. I still, in fact, quote some of Potter's best lines today, and people who don't know where they come from still laugh, thinking how funny I am.

Thanks for all the fun, Harry, and the marvellous memories. Wherever you've gone now, bon voyage.

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