A number of years ago I acquired a VHS tape which supposedly had on it the original CBS broadcast of “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” from February 1983. My hope was to find some commercials or promotional spots relating to the series. Unfortunately, I soon discovered that the tape contained not the original broadcast but a syndicated repeat. I put the tape aside and didn’t think much about it until recently.
After its original broadcast, “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” was repeated twice on CBS: on Monday, September 19th, 1983 and again on Tuesday, September 18th, 1984. After that, the only way for fans who didn’t record it to see the final episode again was to buy or rent it on videotape. It was not included in any syndication package and local stations weren’t able to air it. Not until 1993, that is.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the end of M*A*S*H, production company and distributor Twentieth Century-Fox Television finally released “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” into syndication, allowing local stations to air it for the very first time. Many showed it in prime time. Some network affiliates reportedly pre-empted network programming to air the finale.
That VHS tape I have? It contains a copy of “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” when it debuted in syndication in 1993. Specifically, the recording was made from KMSP-TV (Channel 9) out of Minneapolis (then an independent station). The tape is missing most of the commercials. I can’t be sure but it appears the episode was edited for syndication to allow for more commercials.
Also included are very short bumpers before and after every commercial break, featuring scenes from the episode and an announcer saying “M*A*S*H: Goodbye, Farewell and Amen, starring [cast member(s)], will continue” or “M*A*S*H, starring [cast member], will continue.”
Take a look at some of the bumpers:
Were these bumpers provided by 20th Century-Fox Television for all stations airing “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” in February and March 1993 to use? Or were they something that KMSP-TV made? The lack of station identification suggests they weren’t created by KMSP-TV. Does anyone know for sure?