"MASH" ep "Abyssinia, Henry" and the final scene: Two takes?

There are a number of references to this scene having been filmed twice, because the first take had some “technical glitch.” It was then refilmed, and someone accidentally dropped something, which was then left in the final cut.

I saw the “MAS*H” 30th Anniversary Reunion special over the weekend, which included the cast and producers, and they talked a lot about the final scene, and referred to the clanging surgical equipment that was left in. No mention one way or the other of two takes.

So. . . Are there any contemporary references from cast, crew, producers, or directors about the need for a second take, and what the technical glitch was? It’s not that I don’t find it plausible, just that so far I haven’t seen anything other than unsourced references to a “technical glitch.”

(If it’s quickly available, my Google-fu is failing me.)

I don’t know and I don’t know if there’s a reliableway to find out. Two explanations I’ve heard:

  1. The crew didn’t know about the surprise ending and made an audible gasp during the first take.

  2. Something to do with the lighting.

They both sound a little apocryphal to me.

I recall reading that a crew member walked into frame.

Snopes covers it a bit:

No specifics, though. That’s a quote from Larry Gelbart, by the way.

I disagree with this bit from Snopes:

True for the most part, but the 1970 series Adam-12 had an episode in the can called Elegy for a Pig where one of the two leads was killed. The producer reportedly shot this one first as a hedge against contract renegotiation.

I just watched Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen last night. I was a little shocked about the huge volume of death there was. Nothing like 24, of course, but for a sitcom there was nothing else like it.

Charles’s musicians in that was one of the saddest moments in the series.

Oh, most definitely! And I must admit that I teared up at the chicken story. And I’ve seen that episode dozens of times.

The character who dies in that episode is Pete Malloy’s partner before Jim Reed. It’s a flashback to explain why Malloy was planning to quit the force in the first episode, until deciding to stay and train Reed. The cop killed in Elegy for a Pig was never a lead character in the series.

It’s been decades.