China Beach is an American dramatic television series set at an evacuation hospital during the Vietnam War.
The title refers to My Khe beach in the city of Đà Nẵng, Vietnam, nicknamed “China Beach” in English by American and Australian soldiers during the Vietnam War. The ABC TV drama aired for four seasons, from 1988 to 1991.
In late 1969, McMurphy auditions for Lila’s production of My Fair Lady, which stars Dr. Richard as the male lead. However, she is beaten out for the role by Gloria Dawn. Sarge Pepper approaches McMurphy with opinions on how to ask Lila to marry him. McMurphy visits Richard in his tent, where they share a drink to each having less than 100 days left in Vietnam. McMurphy tells him she doesn’t want to miss him when their tour is over, but they are interrupted by Gloria Dawn. Walking back to the base, she comes across the newly engaged Lila and Sarge Pepper, who plan a quick wedding to avoid military scrutiny. After the My Fair Lady performance, McMurphy tells off Richard, who believes she is still upset at not getting the part, and informs him she is tired of no one knowing her true self. He wins her back with a performance of “On the Street Where You Live” and admits to her that he feared losing her as a friend if he pursued her romantically. The pair finally admit their love for one another and kiss, then decide to get married the next day after Lila and Sarge Pepper. The next morning, Richard receives a shocking message: His ex-wife has been critically injured and he must return home, prematurely ending his tour in Vietnam and shelving his plan to marry McMurphy. The two attend Lila and Sarge Pepper’s wedding in the church ruins. Prior to boarding the helicopter out, Richard invites McMurphy to join him in Boston once her tour is over, but she declines. As his helicopter departs, Richard begins to sing “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” as does McMurphy in the hospital ward.
In 1983, McMurphy is the maid of honour at a backyard wedding in Portland, Oregon. She grouses to the drummer in the wedding band about the ostentatious changes ordered to the low-key wedding by the groom’s mother, only to discover the drummer is also the groom’s brother and best man, Joe Arneburg (guest star Adam Arkin). She flirts with Joe, who she immediately registers as a divorcee, and reveals herself to be sober when she orders a tonic water from the bar. McMurphy catches the bouquet, cutting her face in the process and causing her to vent her frustrations at Joe. When the band begins playing an instrumental version of “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face,” she asks Joe to dance and the two formally introduce themselves.
China Beach Series
You can find a full index and overview of China Beach here.
Production & Filming Details
- Release Date: 04 June 1991.
- Running Time: 46-47 minutes.
- Rating: Unknown.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.