34th Anniversary of Goodbye, Farewell and Amen

Were you among the estimated 105.9 million viewers who watched the series finale of M*A*S*H from start to finish 34 years ago today? That’s the average audience figure as opposed to the total audience figure (those who watched all or part of the finale) which was either 121 or 125 million viewers, depending on the source.

(Earlier this month, Super Bowl LI pushed “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” to ninth on the list of most-watched TV broadcasts in United States history.)

If you didn’t watch “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” in February 1983, when was the first time you watched it? CBS/Fox Video started selling the series finale on VHS, LaserDisc, and CED just weeks after it aired on TV. It aired in syndication for the first time in 1993. Columbia House released it on VHS at some point during the mid-to-late 1990s. Cable channel FX aired it for the first time in the late 1990s, I believe. And it came out on DVD in November 2006.

The first time I watched “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” was either 1999 or 2000 (maybe 2001). I taped it on FX and watched it later. It wasn’t until 2006 or 2007 that I saw it uncut for the first time. That’s when I got the “Martinis & Medicine Complete Collection” on DVD. It’s been more than 10 years since I last watched the finale. I know I’ll be sitting down to watch it again sometime this year for my Episode Spotlight blog feature.

Hit the comments with your memories of watching “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” for the first time.

6 Comments

  • futurenurse says:

    The first time I watched it was a couple of years ago, after watching through the rest of the series. The episode made me feel so many emotions!!! I’ve always thought the episode was very well done. I love thehe fact that each character has some sort of subplot and how the episode ties up loose ends from the series. I think the moment that makes me the saddest is when B.J. and Hawkeye are saying goodbye to each other at the very end of the episode. I’ve watched GFA twice since, and both times it still pulled at my heartstrings. The most recent time I watched it was with some friends who I had introduced the series to several months earlier. One of them sobbed so much during that episode, to the point where we had to pause it once or twice until she stopped crying. I think the only time she had cried more was during “Goodbye Radar.” 🙁 All in all an amazing end to an amazing series…maybe I’ll watch it again over spring break!

  • Lounge Lizard At War says:

    I watched it when it first aired in FEB 1983. I was twelve and my dad let me stay up past my bedtime to watch it. We were both fans. We made everyone hush while the show was on. The scene with the chicken gave me goosebumps. I have a hard time watching it today. Actually, any scene where Hawkeye loses it and sobs uncontrollably makes me cringe a little. I cried when they said their goodbyes, especially B.J. and Hawkeye. I remember a lot of hoopla around the show ending. I bought an Enquirer that had spoilers and watched the ET episode on the final taping.

  • buckeyebabe says:

    I watched it the night it aired in 1983 but I didn’t remember much about it because I was only 4 at the time. In 1993 our NBC station aired it on a Friday night in prime time for the 10th anniversary so that’s the first time I clearly remember watching it and understanding what happened. I have no idea how many times I’ve seen it since then but it’s one of three episodes guaranteed to make me bawl ( the other two being “Abyssinia, Henry” and “Good-bye, Radar.”) I know Hawkeye’s breakdown is coming when he tells Sidney what really happened on the bus, but it kills me every time.

  • Doc Funnypants says:

    I first saw “GFA” when it came out in syndication in 1993. A portion of it was edited to make way for extra commercials. What really stood out was Hawkeye’s reaction to his repressed memory of the bus ride back to camp. It had a perfect mix of comedy, drama, and pathos.

    Hawkeye: That was a hell of a short intermission. I didn’t even have time to buy an orange drink.
    A perfect ending to a timeless series,IMO.

  • Kathy Mashburn says:

    It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 30years since Mash when off the air. The day that the final show was on ,I had to work. I finally saw it years later. It made me remember the reason I got into medical field.Now It’s made me better person and I care more about people and understand the emotions of I’ll patients. Thank you MASH.

  • mspence says:

    Hawkeye’s breakdown was the highlight of the episode. The final goodbyes seemed cut short. The final season overall showed that the series had pretty much otherwise run its course. The cast were clearly much older than they were supposed to be and time had taken its toll on some of them. By the early 80s it was a different era-Reagan was president, and the antiwar mood that had inspired the series had long since faded. Even so, MASH was able to go out on top.

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