Another year has passed and another pair of M*A*S*H anniversaries were marked. 2011 was the 39th anniversary of the premiere of M*A*S*H (1972-2011) and the 28th anniversary of the end of the series (1983-2011). The biggest news story of the year was the passing of Harry Morgan on December 7th at the age of 96. Morgan’s death attracted a wide variety of media attention. Both TV Land and Me-TV scheduled tribute marathons of M*A*S*H in Morgan’s honor. Mike Farrell, Gary Burghoff and Loretta Swit released statements remembering Morgan. A poll conducted here at MASH4077TV.com asking fans to vote for the best episode of M*A*S*H featuring Morgan saw “Old Soldiers” win with a 45% of the vote, followed by “The General Flipped at Dawn” (26%), “Dear Mildred” (15%), “Potter’s Retirement” (5%), Other (5%) and “Pressure Points” (4%).
Charles S. Dubin, who directed 44 episodes of M*A*S*H (more than any other director) also passed away in 2011 (on September 5th at the age of 92). Other deaths in 2011 included director Jackie Cooper (May 3rd), scriptwriter Burt Styler (June 13th), actor Alan Fudge (October 10th), newscaster Robert Pierpoint (October 22nd) and actor Leonard Stone (November 2nd).
Aside from these sad passings, 2011 was another slow year for M*A*S*H. In March, the series was voted the third favorite television show of all time by adults in the United States, behind only two CBS shows currently on the air (NCIS and CSI). In June, the Associated Press reported that Tony Packo’s restaurant in Toledo, Ohio was in financial trouble (an update: in December two employees of Tony Packo’s Inc. were indicted on charges of aggravated theft and a judge approved the sale of the company). Finally, at some point over the summer ION Life, a specialty digital network related to ION Television, began airing M*A*S*H, although it appears to have since stopped doing so.
For those keeping track, 2012 will mark the 40th anniversary of M*A*S*H. Will there be another reunion special like the 30th Anniversary Reunion Special broadcast on FOX back in 2002? We shall have to wait and see.
Margaret: “Did either of you ever kiss Frank?”
Trapper: “Not me. How about you?”
Hawkeye: “I was hoping maybe this New Year’s Eve.
Margaret: “I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but Frank Burns is a lipless wonder.”