Zane Grey—Tolstoy With Spurs

[Scene: Colonel Potter and Major Winchester are in quarantine after coming down with the mumps.

Winchester: Gin.

Potter: Again?!

Winchester: Colonel, it hardly requires an advanced degree in differential calculus to master the numerical sequence of ace, deuce, trey. 54 points– record.

Potter: Shut up and deal. I can’t remember the last hand I won.

Winchester: Oh, really? Having won so few, I should think they’d stand out in your memory.

Potter: On second thought, I think I’ll read a little and then turn in. Some Zane Grey, maybe.

Winchester: Ah, Zane Grey– Tolstoy with spurs.

Potter: He happens to be a great writer!

Winchester: Colonel, what gin rummy is to games of skill, Zane Grey is to literature. Therefore, I shall counter with something civilized– Caruso.

Potter: Enrico Caruso, the singer?

Winchester: Yes. I do believe he sings.

Potter: Nix on that. I hate opera!

Winchester: Colonel, a closed mind is an empty mind. All I ask is that you listen and I assure you you will be carried away on majestic clouds of musical rapture.

[operatic singing]

Potter: The guy sounds like a banshee in a bear trap.

[Potter stops music]

Winchester: Sir, this man is one of the giants of serious music.

Potter: If I want music, I’ll send for my Tex Ritter 78s. If I want a giant, I’ll send for Mel Ott!

Winchester: I don’t know Mr. Ott’s work, but cowboy crooners, even one so noteworthy as old Tex, can hardly be mentioned in the same breath with the immortal Enrico Caruso.

Potter: Oh, yeah? If you want to match windpipes, can that Caruso guy yodel?

Winchester: Not even at gunpoint!

—M*A*S*H, “Heal Thyself”

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4 comments on “Zane Grey—Tolstoy With Spurs

  1. Stefanie says:

    Heh. MASH, loved that show. That was when TV used to be smart.

  2. Sylvia says:

    Definitely one of the most brilliant shows of all time! I've probably seen every episode ten times and they're still hilarious.

  3. Tony says:

    i'd forgotten that dialogue – thanks!

  4. Sylvia says:

    You're welcome, Tony. Alas the Caruso record did not survive the episode!

Comments are closed.