The Museum of Broadcast Communications, located in Chicago, Illinois (it is currently closed while a new building is constructed) houses a collection that “includes more than 25,000 television programs, 5,000 radio programs, and 12,000 commercials totaling almost 100,000 hours.” Some 7,000 programs (television and radio) have been digitized and as of January 2009 are available for viewing/listening online (the museum was forced to remove the digital files due to technical problems in early 2008).
One of the programs registered users can watch (registration is free) is “Making M*A*S*H,” the 1981 documentary produced by Chicago PBS station WTTW. I’ve written an article about the documentary, utilizing a poor quality copy of the documentary from its syndicated run. The version online at the Museum of Broadcasting is the original WTTW broadcast with Mary Tyler Moore as narrator (the syndicated version was narrated by producer Michael Hirsh). The museum’s website states it was broadcast in 1986. I’m not sure why.
The documentary is in two parts, each 45 minutes long, and the quality is quite good. Not DVD quality, certainly, but quite good. After registering, follow these instructions to find “Making M*A*S*H” at the museum’s website:
- Log in here
- Click on TV
- Type “making m*a*s*h” in the search box as either the keyword or series title
- Click on Play under the photographs on the left
I don’t know if the video will work on Apple computers or outside the United States. I strongly suggest that everyone try to find the time to sit down and watch the entire documentary. “Making M*A*S*H” is a wonderful look at how M*A*S*H was put together.