Behold: the source for MASH's "Hot Lips"

This last Sunday I was listening to “The Big Broadcast” on WAMU (three hours of old radio shows every Sunday), and I heard an episode of “The Jimmy Durante Show” [Baseball Season, 04/21/50 (NBC)]. I’d never Durante’s show before, so imagine my surprise when I heard a reoccurring character named “Hot-Breath Houlihan.” She was a sexy-voiced vixen, but that wasn’t what concerned me. I, child of the 60s, immediately thought of Maj. Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan, from the film and television versions of MASH.

Recall the scene: Hawkeye, Trapper, and a bunch of others have planted a microphone in her tent to listen while she and Major Frank Burns have a rendezvous. As they kiss, Margaret says that her “lips are hot.” The boys give her the nick-name of “Hot-Lips” Houlihan. Since the Durante Show was on in the early 1950s (simultaneous to or just prior to when MASH is set), the only conclusion is that the boys are listeners to the Durante Show and this is a reference to that.

This is further backed up by the following in-joke: Just prior to Margaret getting the nickname, Father Mulcahy overhears Margaret and Frank in flagrante. He thinks it’s a radio program, “The Bickersons,” which starred Don Ameche – the co-star of “The Jimmy Durante Show.”

Is that ‘The Big Broadcast’, a show for the old and the old at heart, as hosted by the youthful handsome Rich Conaty? 8 to 11 PM Sunday nights?

Is that ‘The Big Broadcast’, a show for the old and the old at heart, as hosted by the youthful handsome Rich Conaty? 8 to 11 PM Sunday nights?

Yes and no. I live in the DC area, and I listen on Sunday nights to “The Big Broadcast,” but it’s from 7-11 and hosted by Ed Walker on WAMU.

Wait a minute! Is TBB some sort of radio franchise where evereyone gets the same radio shows to play on a given week, but there are different announcers? Here’s what played last Sunday in DC. Is it what you heard in New York?

Show Rundown for October 6th
7:00–The Stan Freberg Show
Cocktails for Two, Circus Question, 10/06/57 (CBS). With Daws Butler, June Foray, Peter Leeds, Peggy Taylor and Billy May’s Orchestra. The sketch is “I Was a Teenage Werewolf in a Gray Flannel Suit.”

7:30–Lum & Abner
Abner hires Cedric, 07/11/35 (Blue). Abner, who now has sole ownership of the store, hires Cedric as a clerk.

Yellow Mask Threatens Daily Planet, 03/02/40 (WOR). As the Yellow Mask’s deadline approaches, Lois Lane is held hostage. Can Superman save the Daily Planet building?

Overland Express, 10/31/52 (CBS). After losing their horses, Marshal Dillon, Chester and their prisoner have to hitchhike home.

8:30–Jimmy Durante Show
Baseball Season, 04/21/50 (NBC). When Jimmy and Don Ameche spend too much time playing baseball, Don’s wife gets jealous.

9:00–Gang Busters
Alcatraz Prison Riot, 05/17/46 (ABC). Gang Busters presents a docudrama about a deadly riot at Alcatraz during the first week in May, 1946.

Devilstone, 09/30/62 (CBS). The owner of a haunted Irish castle tries to exorcize its ghost. This is the very last episode of the long-running CBS series.

10:00–Golden Age of Radio
Jackie Kelk, 09/07/47 (WTIC). Dick Bertel presents this 1970 interview with the late Jackie Kelk.

10:45–Vic & Sade
Hot Soup, 10/23/40 (NBC). Sade’s careless remark starts a torrent of hot soup for Vic.

AM or FM?

And, how can I find out if this is broadcast in my area?


FM. Check the web sites of your local public radio stations – that seems to be who runs it.


And I thought the inspiration for “Hot Lips” was Miss Piggy… :smiley: :stuck_out_tongue:

Zev Steinhardt

According to, the show is local only.

WRVO broadcasts hours of old-time radio every evening, and they have a RealAudio feed.

And thanks, KXLm for that interesting bit of information. I’m listening to the archived broadcast now.

For anyone else listening to that broadcast, also listen to the Stan Freberg show.

I listen to bluegrass on WAMU all the time. Live. Only I live in Akron, OHIO.

I just go to and tune in.

As to listening to Stan Freberg, I did. Live most of the time. Yeah. Back then.