The M*A*S*H franchise started with the book MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors by Richard Hooker. The book, which was published in 1968, inspired M*A*S*H the film and M*A*S*H the television series. In 1970, the movie was released. Two years later, the television series would air its first episode on CBS and run until 1983. During its run, the television series would spin off Trapper John, M.D. Once M*A*S*H went off the air, CBS and 20th Century Fox tried to duplicate M*A*S*H's unprecedented success with AfterMASH and W*A*L*T*E*R. The latter only lasted two seasons, while the former never made it past the pilot stage.
Even though M*A*S*H's spin-off and sequel novels did not see much success, the Library of Congress felt that M*A*S*H was so culturally significant that, in 1996, the Library of Congress decided the movie would be preserved in the United States National Film Registry, so that future generations can watch the movie in its original condition. As for the television series, it is still frequently rerun and available on DVD, so television viewers can see the evolution of Hawkeye and the staff turnover in the series anytime they want.
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In 1968, "MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors" was released. It has multiple sequels written by Richard Hooker and William E. Butterworth. The two sequels written by Richard Hooker alone were "M*A*S*H Goes to Maine" and "M*A*S*H Mania.
M*A*S*H is based on Richard Hornberger's experiences in the Korean War. It took Hornberger 12 years to write the novel.
Prior to directing films, Robert Altman directed documentaries, shorts and episodes of TV series. He directed 2 episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." The episodes were called "Together" and "The Young One."
"Suicide is Painless" was originally intended for a scene where "Painless Pole" Waldowski arrives at his "Last Supper" after indicating he was suicidal. Robert Altman liked the song so much that it became the movie's main theme.
"Trapper John, M.D." ran from September 23, 1979 to September 4, 1986. It featured Pernell Roberts as the title character.
Klinger would dress up as a woman in an attempt to convince his commanding officers he was unfit to serve. Klinger never gets his wish and appears in the entire series.
The fictional 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital was based on Mobile Army Surgical Hospital 8055. The 8055 was one of seven fully functional tent-based hospitals used during the Korean War.
Richard Hooker is the pen name of Richard Hornberger. Hooker/Hornberger only received $500 per episode of M*A*S*H.
CBS aired M*A*S*H from 1972 to 1983. The show's series finale was watched by more than 106 million people.
McLean Stevenson's last appearance was in the season 3 finale. His character's plane was shot down over the Sea of Japan.
Captain Benjamin Franklin "Haweye" Pierce was raised in Crabapple Cove, Maine. His nickname comes from a character in the novel "The Last of the Mohicans."
Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan was the head nurse. In the film, she was portrayed by Sally Kellerman.
M*A*S*H ranked 46th in the ratings in its first season and was at risk of being canceled. For its second season, "M*A*S*H" aired after "All in the Family" and received much better ratings. It finished its second season 4th in the ratings.
In the movie, René Auberjonois played Father Mulcahy. In the TV pilot, George Morgan played the character. William Christopher would portray the character for the rest of the franchise.
The Korean War began on June 25, 1950. It ended on July 27, 1953. The war ended with no winner and peace has been kept with an armistice.
In the movie, Trapper John was portrayed by Elliot Gould. In M*A*S*H, Wayne Rogers took on the role. Pernell Roberts played the character in "Trapper John, M.D."
AfterMash lasted two seasons and aired from September 25, 1983 to May 31, 1985. W*A*L*T*E*R was a failed pilot that aired once on July 17, 1984.
In 2014, Radar's teddy bear was put up for auction. It sold for over $14,000.
Charles Winchester didn't appear until "M*A*S*H's" sixth season. His first episode was "Fade In Fade Out."
Chris Claremont and John Byrne created Marvel supervillain Donald Pierce and based the character on Donald Sutherland. The character's last name comes from his character in "M*A*S*H."
The first three seasons of M*A*S*H aired at the end of the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War officially ended on April 30, 1975.
Robert Altman's son made more money off "Suicide is Painless" than his father did for directing the movie. Robert Altman was paid $70,000, while his son made over a million dollars from the song.
In 1973, Ron Howard appeared on "M*A*S*H" as a 15-year-old Marine, who stole his brother's ID to join the army. Howard was 19 at the time.
Johnny Mandel wrote the music for the movie "M*A*S*H." He also worked on "The Sandpiper" and "Caddyshack."
Harry Morgan appeared as Colonel Sherman T. Potter in "M*A*S*H" from 1975 to 1983. He also starred in "AfterMASH."
Father Francis John Patrick Mulcahy was a Roman Catholic priest. The character was from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Kellye Nakahara appeared in 167 episodes of M*A*S*H. Before she was given a name and a regular role, Nakahara appeared as Nurse Baker, Nurse Charlie, and in other roles.
Walter "Radar" O'Reilly is from Ottumwa, Iowa. The character first appeared in the M*A*S*H novels.
Charles Emerson Winchester first appeared in the season six. He debuted in "Fade Out, Fade In (Part I)."
"M*A*S*H" won the Academy Award for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium. It was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Director, and Best Film Editing.
"Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" is a two-hour episode that served as the series finale. It is episode 16 in the 11th season.
Uijeongbu is located north of Seoul. Its current population is over 435,000 people.
Captain Augustus Bedford "Duke" Forrest only appeared in the M*A*S*H novel and the movie. He was played by Tom Skerritt.
Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger is from Toledo, Ohio. He first appears in "Chief Surgeon Who?," which was the fourth episode of the first season.
Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds developed the TV show "M*A*S*H" for 20th Century Fox. The show is distributed by 20th Century Fox Television.