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China Beach (TV Series 1988–1991) Poster

(1988–1991)

Trivia

Several of the storylines, and even some of the dialogue were taken directly from the experiences and recollections of actual Vietnam era military nurses.
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Troy Evans (Sergeant Pepper) was a Vietnan veteran. During a reunion on Good Morning America, he stated the show gave him a sense of closure.
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Considered to be a female version of M*A*S*H (1972).
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The run of this show overlapped with the run of the NBC series Quantum Leap (1989). Both programs featured a main character named "Samuel Beckett"--a name that is most associated with the Irish playwright ("Waiting for Godot", "Endgame", "Happy Days") and novelist who is widely considered to be one of the most important writers of the twentieth century.
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Taxi Driver has a disturbed Vietnam veteran Travis Bickle who tries to assassinate the president and goes on a killing spree at the ending. 1980's Don't Answer the Phone has crazed Vietnam Vet Kirk Smith stalking and murdering the women of Los Angeles. Also Christopher Walken's disturbed and suicidal Nick in the Deer Hunter winds up killing himself and endangering the people around him. And Sylvester Stallone's John Rambo in First Blood gets into a conflict with several locals and law enforcement officials; ends up going into crazy Vietnam flashbacks and winds up killing most of the town. All of this can be seen as part of the dangerous Vietnam Veteran Trend. In the 1970s, (and the early 80s); as the Vietnam War ended and the veterans came home and re-entered society, there was a fear that the veterans were disturbed, dangerous; might be a threat to society. This was a reflection of our overall ambivalence about the war in general. One of the outgrowths of these negative attitudes was that Vietnam Veterans were often portrayed in movies as dangerous, and self-destructive psychopaths. Taxi Driver, Don't Answer the Phone; First Blood and Deer Hunter were all part of this trend. This trend flip flopped in the mid to late 1980s where Vietnam Veterans were now being deified in the movies. Where John Rambo was a psychopath in First Blood Part 1; in Rambo: First Blood Part 2 he is enlisted by his sergeant Richard Crenna to go on a mission back to Vietnam to save POWs that are still trapped there. He goes from misunderstood Frankenstein-Psychopath in part 1, to hero in part 2. Arnold Schwartzenegger's Commando was another Vietnam Hero in the eighties; trying to save his daughter Alyssa Millano, who has been kidnapped by terrorists. Good Morning Vietnam has DJ Robin Williams entertaining the heroic soldiers of the Vietnam war; Born On the Fourth of July has Tom Cruise portraying an almost Christ-like paraplegic War Veteran Ron Kovic and his transition from from soldier to protester. And on television in the 1980s we had China Beach; which had Dana Delaney and the other heroic nurses of the Vietnam war dealing with the war and it's traumas. The transition in movies from Psychotic Kirk Smith in 1980s Don's Answer the Phone; to the saintly Ron Kovic in Born on the Fourth of July nine years later is staggering; and suggests the dramatic transitions in society's attitudes towards the war during that period.
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Has been compared to MASH by several critics.
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