Let’s mash the MASH

34 years ago now…

February 28 was a sad day for many fans of one of the best and longest TV shows in the history of American television. On that day final episode of “MASH” was broadcast. A TV show that lasted eleven years and as many seasons and in that time it was nominated for over one hundred Emmy awards (it would win fourteen).

This dark comedy revolves around the staff of an army hospital in the Korean war (MASH stands for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) and it’s not an entirely original conception. In 1968 Richard Hooker published a novel “MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors” which was adapted into a film in 1970, directed by Robert Altman. The film was a great success, with critics and audiences alike, and it had absolutely awesome cast – Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Tom Skerritt, Robert Duvall, Fred Williamson…

Following the success of this film, the TV show arrived in American homes in 1972. Vietnam war still lasted and the film’s and TV show’s subtext was obvious. The secret of the TV show’s great rating was in the writing and great acting by Alan Alda, Loretta Swit, Jamie Farr, Mike Farrell, Gary Burghoff, Harry Morgan and many, many others.

As expected, “MASH” had not one, but two spin-offs: the short-lived “After MASH” (31 episodes) and somewhat more successful “Trapper John, M.D.” (151 episodes). There has also been a pilot episode of “WALTER”, but that show never picked up.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has released all 11 seasons of MASH on DVD, so there is no reason not to watch this show that is rightly considered for a cult classic.

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