Monday, February 27, 2023

M*A*S*H + 40


Tomorrow is the 40th anniversary of the night "M*A*S*H" went off the air.  I remember the evening vividly.  It was during the second half of my senior year at Marywood, and I had the evening off from my job at WARM.  I set up a television in a quiet section of the house, so I wouldn't be disturbed during the two and a half hour epic.  Also, no one would see my cry.

The finale was more serious than funny.  It was touching, disturbing, and memorable.  It drew huge numbers, so I won't bore you with my tedious synopsis.  The series drew to a fitting close.

The truth be known, I stopped watching "M*A*S*H" several years before it ended for good.  I thought the show had become too preachy, and a little silly.  It bore all the signs of a sitcom that had been on for too long.  A little Klinger goes a long way.

Having said that, I thought the first five years were as good as anything ever on television.  It had that rare quality of inducing laughter and tears in the same half hour.  CBS programming head Fred Silverman  called the "M*A*S*H" pilot one of the best he'd ever seen.  The show struggled on Sunday nights in its first year.  Silverman was smart enough to move it to the safe haven of after "All In the Family" on Saturday nights in year two.  The show gained a following-- allowing CBS to move it around to Mondays and Tuesdays to bolster the programming there.

For the record, I thought the finale was good, not great.  I'm glad the gang had a chance to wrap it up and go home.  I didn't cry, but I will admit to shedding tears every time the episode where Radar goes home airs-- to this day.

Chances are, there is an episode of "M*A*S*H" airing on some channel, around the clock, and that's a good thing.