Saint John — Many residents in Uptown Saint John this morning reviled that the latest addition to their “A Few Famous Folk from Saint John” display on the side of Thandi restaurant will be the New York-born actor Alan Alda, best known for his role as “Hawkeye” Pierce on the long-running CBS sitcom M*A*S*H.
“We’re very excited to have Mr. Alda as a part of our mural,” said display owner Ryan Haddad. “He’s a wonderful actor, generous humanitarian and the city should be very proud of him.”
When asked why Alan Alda, an American-born actor, was selected for the honour, Haddad had this to say: “To me, those on the wall are there because they were made by this city. They were shaped and formed by it, and have since blossomed into something greater. I think it’s safe to say that, in Mr. Alda’s case, he wouldn’t be who he is without the movie version of M*A*S*H.”
Although portrayed by Alda for 11 seasons, the role of “Hawkeye” Pierce was originally popularized by Saint John-born Donald Sutherland in the original 1970 film of the same name, on which the series was based.
“If you ask 10 people in Saint John who played the role of ‘Hawkeye’ in M*A*S*H, you will get 2 different answers,” explained Haddad. “One being Donald Sutherland, and the other Alan Alda. This means that, in the public consciousness at least, the 2 are one and the same.”
“I think it’s an outrage,” said local struggling artist and poet Paul McIntyre. “The sign clearly reads ‘A Few Famous Folk from Saint John’ — from Saint John! If they start just handing this honour to anybody, no matter where they’re from, then it’s basically meaningless!”
“Basically, it’s meaningless,” confirmed Haddad. “It’s just something to show some local spirit, which is hard to do with only 8 people. Right now, it just kind of looks pathetic.”
Unsurprisingly, neither Alan Alda nor Donald Sutherland could be reached for comment.