Tony Dungy Insists He Was Regular on Last Season of M*A*S*H
Colts Coach Apparently Played Role of Del “Birdy” Burton
"Tony Dungy" surrounded by cast of M*A*S*H -- though Photoshop experts doubt the photo's authenticity. Even after the Colts beat the Bears in Super Bowl XLI, Dungy continues to insist that he appeared in recurring role during the sitcom's celebrated final season. "He's the head coach of a winning Super Bowl team for Christ sake, he doesn't need to do this. We just wish he'd cut it out already," said Peyton Manning, camped out in a corner of the Colt's locker room. "And as far as these impressions he said he did? Hell, it took him two years to be able to impersonate a head coach.
LOS ANGELES, CA (The Sportsman's Daily Wire Service) In a story that seems to be growing more bizarre everyday, Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy says that a couple years after his playing career ended while he was defensive backs coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, he had a regular recurring role on the hit TV show M*A*S*H. However, cast members have little or no recollection of Dungy in any scenes.
Former series producer Bert Metcalfe remembers Dungy hanging out on the set because he was friends with some of the crew members, but that’s it. “I think I would have remembered introducing a whole new regular cast member,” said Metcalfe. “There was quite a whirlwind around the set that last season, I admit, but don’t you think some of us would recall this “Birdy” character?"
Still, Dungy insists it was Metcalfe himself who added the Del “Birdy” Burton character into the episode “The Joker Is Wild” in the series final season. “The Birdy character was a hospital orderly with a penchant for doing impressions,” Dungy said. “Alan Alda loved the character, and I was on set the rest of the season in bunch of scenes. I was Klinger’s best buddy, kind of like a Radar replacement. I was in the final movie and everything.”
Yet no evidence can be found of Dungy’s Birdy character in one single scene in any of the episodes. Producers were even asked could the Del “Birdy” Burton character have wound up on the cutting room floor? Metcalfe insists it never happened. But the Screen Actors Guild has decided to investigate and see if Dungy is owed residuals into what has become one of the most mysterious character disappearances in television history.
Jamie Farr says he doesn’t remember doing any scenes with Dungy at all. “I think Alan Alda wanted to do a story about a football player friend of his coming to visit the camp, and may have asked for advice on how to write for the character, but the show never got made. That’s the only thing I can come up with. Dungy’s a hell of a coach and nice guy, but he was on M*A*S*H like I was the lead on Green Acres.”
Some fans of the show however, insist Dungy was on the last season of M*A*S*H. Clark Bitters of Glen Lyon, Pennsylvania remembers “Birdy” well. “Birdy cracked my ass up,” Bitters recalls. “He’d bust out an impression of Bogart or Danny Kaye that was magic. Winchester or BJ or Hawkeye would be operating and Birdy’d come waltzing into the OR without a mask on infecting everyone doing Daffy Duck spitting in the patient’s wounds or some shit. I loved that character. It sure brought some laughs back to the show Alan Alda hijacked with his self-righteous, Bergmanesque morality plays.”
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