With all that’s going on today with COVID-19 and the stay at home orders, many of us are binge watching TV shows. I am sure this is one of those shows that many are watching again and getting some much needed humor from.
It was one of the most popular shows in the history of television. Barely lasting its first season it went on for 11 seasons giving us a humorous, a sometime provoking look at a medical unit during the Korean War. It had a great cast throughout its run and the final episode is still the most watched episode of any TV show in history. Here are some things about the show and cast you may not have known.
Alan Alda and Jamie Farr both served in the U.S. Army, Alda in Korea, Farr in Japan. The dog tags that Farr wore on the show was his actual dog tags from when he served.
McLean Stevenson originally auditioned for the role of Hawkeye, but was convinced he would be better as Colonel Henry Blake. The role of Trapper John was offered to comedian Robert Klein who turned it down allowing Wayne Rogers to get the role.
The set used for M*A*S*H was actually in the mountains on a ranch in Malibu and was less than an hour from the beach. All the indoor scenes were filmed on the Fox TV lot in Hollywood.
Except on rare instances when absolutely necessary, the actors never wore the big Army boots as they were too noisy on the sound stage and uncomfortable to wear during a 12 hour day. So they were shot mainly from the waist up because they were wearing sneakers.
Gary Burghoff, who played Radar, had a deformed left hand. Between camera angles and covering it up in a variety of ways in different scenes, viewers were never aware of the deformity.
In McLean Stevenson’s final episode written and directed by Alda, when he was heading home the cast was not given the final page of the script. So the reactions and expressions you see when Radar announces Col. Blake’s plane was shot down over the Sea of Japan and he didn’t make it were real not acting.
At times the writers ran out of names so during season six, there’s an episode that features four Marine patients named after the 1977 California Angels infield. Throughout season seven, the various patients were named after the players on the 1978 Los Angeles Dodgers.
MacLean Stevenson played Colonel Blake in the TV show and Roger Bowen played the role in the movie. In a weird twist of fate Stevenson died on February 15, 1996, and Bowen died on February 16, 1996 and both died due to heart attacks.
When Harry Morgan, who played Colonel Potter referred to his wife Mildred on the show in real life his wife’s name was Ellen. However the photo of “Mildred” on his desk is that of his then actual real life wife Ellen.
When M*A*S*H began commercials sold for $30,000 for a one minute spot. On the final episode of the show commercials sold for $450,000 for a one minute spot. That’s what popularity and ratings can do.
Alan Alda, aside from starring in the show also wrote 13 episodes and directed 31 episodes. He is also the only performer to ever win Emmys for writing, directing and acting on the same show, quite an accomplishment.
Hope you enjoyed these fun facts about one of TV’s greatest shows. If you want even more trivia about the show check out the sites listed below.
Info from mentalfloss.com, Roger Cormier, worldation.com, hooch.net/mash