M*A*S*H is one of the best television series of all time and was one of the first shows to cross comedy with drama, mixing hilarious hi-jinx with the horrors of war. The series lasted eleven years, eight more than the actual Korean War in which it was set, and most of those years it was at the top of the ratings. In fact, the 2 1/2 hour finale held the record for over two decades as the highest rated televised event ever. Additionally, it was a critical darling, racking up countless awards for its innovative storytelling, and is still shown on TV in syndication. Take the following quiz and see how much you know about M*A*S*H:
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Richard Hooker (pen name for H. Richard Hornberger and W.C. Heinz) wrote the novel that both the movie and the TV series M*A*S*H was based on.
M*A*S*H‘s theme song is called “Suicide Is Painless.” The lyrics can be heard over the opening credits of the Robert Altman movie and was written by Altman’s son Mike with music by composer Johnny Mandel. The song is also sung in the movie by the character Private Seidman during the scene where the Painless Pole plans his suicide.
M*A*S*H won 14 Emmys:
- Actor of the Year – Series for Alan Alda (1974)
- Best Directing in Comedy for Jackie Cooper (1974)
- Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for Alan Alda (1974)
- Outstanding Comedy Series (1974)
- Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series for Gene Reynolds (1975)
- Outstanding Achievement in Film Editing for Entertainment Programming for a Series – For a Single Episode of a Comedy Series for Stanford Tischler and Fred W. Berger (1976)
- Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series for Gene Reynolds (1976)
- Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Gary Burghoff (1977)
- Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series for Alan Alda (1977)
- Outstanding Writing in a Comedy or Comedy-Variety or Music Series for Alan Alda (1979)
- Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy or Variety or Music Series for Harry Morgan (1980)
- Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Variety or Music Series for Loretta Swit (1980)
- Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for Alan Alda (1982)
- Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Variety or Music Series for Loretta Swit (1982)
Despite the fact that there were only three Christmases during the actual Korean War, M*A*S*H had five episodes that featured or referenced Christmas:
- “Dear Dad” (Season 1, 1972) – Hawkeye writes home to his dad to describe the antics happening at the 4077th during Christmas, including Hawkeye dropped into a foxhole by helicopter dressed as Santa Claus.
- “Dear Sis” (Season 7, 1978) – As Christmas nears, Father Mulcahy writes to his sister, a nun, about his frustrations of feeling ineffectual at the 4077th.
- “Death Takes a Holiday” (Season 9, 1980) – Charles plays the part of a greedy, uncaring person while secretly doing a traditional charitable act while the other surgeons try to keep a soldier alive until the day after Christmas.
- “Twas the Day After Christmas” (Season 10, 1981) – On Boxing Day (December 26), Potter has the officers and enlisted men change places.
- “A War for All Seasons” (Season 9, 1980) – Technically a New Year’s episode, this story covers the entire year of 1951 from New Year to New Year (Potter is dressed as Santa).
The first time that Henry Blake referred to his wife, she was called Mildred, but was later changed to Lorraine. Potter’s wife was named Mildred as well.
Four cast members directed episodes of M*A*S*H:
- Alan Alda (31 episodes)
- Harry Morgan (9 episodes)
- Mike Farrell (5 episodes)
- David Odgen Stiers (2 episodes)
Three regular cast members wrote episodes of M*A*S*H:
- Alan Alda (19 episodes)
- Mike Farrell (4 episodes)
- McLean Stevenson (2 episodes)
Also, Mary Kay Place wrote three episodes and guest starred in one.
Five actors appeared in both the movie version of M*A*S*H and the TV series:
- Gary Burghoff (Radar O’Reilly in both)
- G. Wood (General Hammond in both)
- Timothy Brown (Corporal Judson in the movie, Spearchucker Jones on TV)
- Corey Fischer (Capt. Bandini in the film, Cardozo the dentist on TV)
- John Fujioka (uncredited Japanese Golf Pro in the film, various roles on TV)
Harry Morgan played two characters on M*A*S*H — Major Gen. Bartford Hamilton Steele in a third season episode and Colonel Potter from seasons four to eleven.
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