Happy 45th Anniversary, M*A*S*H


M*A*S*H celebrates its 45th anniversary today. The series premiered in the United States on Sunday, September 17th, 1972 at 8PM ET. I don’t know about anyone else but I cannot believe 15 years have passed since the 30th anniversary of M*A*S*H. The show’s youngest fans weren’t alive when the “M*A*S*H 30th Anniversary Reunion Special” aired on FOX back in 2002. And yet here we are, 15 years later.

Were You Watching 45 Years Ago?

I can’t recall when I first watched “M*A*S*H — The Pilot.” It certainly wasn’t 45 years ago on CBS. I wasn’t born until after M*A*S*H ended. I probably saw the series premiere for the first time in late 1998 or early 1999 on cable channel FX. Since then, I’ve probably watched it at least another seven or eight times, maybe more.

Still from the pilot episode of M*A*S*H showing Hawkeye, Trapper, and Ho-Jon.
Happy 45th Anniversary (1972-2017), M*A*S*H!

When did you see “M*A*S*H — The Pilot” for the first time? Have you been a fan since the very beginning? If so, what are your memories of the series premiere? Did people talk about it the next day around the water cooler? Are there any M*A*S*H fans out there who have never seen the first episode?

All About Premiere Episode

If you have some time today, and you’d like to commemorate the 45th anniversary of M*A*S*H, read some of what I’ve written over the years about the very first episode:

This Week on M*A*S*H Returns

In honor of M*A*S*H‘s 45th anniversary, I’m reviving my This Week on M*A*S*H blog feature. Starting today, every Sunday for the next six months I’ll be posting a list of the M*A*S*H (and AfterMASH) episodes celebrating their anniversaries during the coming week. The first edition of This Week on M*A*S*H ran during 2013 and 2014 to celebrate the show’s 41st anniversary.

Check back later today for the first installment of This Week on M*A*S*H – 2017 Edition and be sure to return every Sunday.

Hit the comments with your about the 45th anniversary of M*A*S*H.

12 Replies to “Happy 45th Anniversary, M*A*S*H”

  1. 45 years, crazy. I too was born not long after the series ended. Wish I could remember when I first started watching MASH. Was one of our “family time” shows growing up, probably around early/mid 90’s. No idea what episode was the first. Could have been any of them since the show was already on syndicated re-runs at that point.

    Definitely remember watching the 30th anniversary special when it aired on TV for the first time. It was great but I was always super disappointed that Stevenson and Linville couldn’t participate. It made me want to watch “Memories of MASH” (20th anniversary) all the more, but at the time that was impossible because nothing was out on video/DVD yet, and it never aired on TV.

    When I finally did get to see it, it was a little bit disappointing since the cast wasn’t all together like in the 30th. It was just a bunch of separate interviews. The 30th is a much better reunion show, or really the only reunion show, it’s just really too bad we couldn’t see Stevenson and Linville.

  2. I was too young to remember the debut. I was two. My dad was a fan and watched it whenever it aired. The humor was over my head. Shows like Happy Days were geared towards my age group. As I became older I became cognizant of the characters and the show itself. In 6th grade I played trumpet in band and learned to play “Suicide is painless”.
    By the late seventies I was a fan and as a family we would gather around the huge piece of furniture known as the tv and watch first run shows after dinner. I was going on thirteen when the series ended and got to stay up late to watch the finale. The first time I saw the first episode was years later when TVland began showing reruns. Later, I purchased all of the dvd’s as they were released and watched them over and over. I watch this and the Andy Griffith Show and fall asleep while they play. It’s comfort food for the soul.

  3. I’m a M*A*S*H* newbie. I was born five years after the show ended. Although I always knew of it, I only really discovered its greatest this year. I first saw the pilot episode on 26 July 2017. The first episode I saw was ep 10×13 ‘A Holy Mess’ (on 11 June 2017) – I really liked Father Mulcahy’s character and William Christopher as an actor.

    I have since seen every episode and own the DVD boxset. I just love the show. Like all the great shows, it has great comedy, stories and characters you’d love to know and be friends with (except Frank and Chuck). I am so much like Radar (expect a little taller, no glasses and I still have my teddy bear) with Hawkeye’s constant wit haha. Henry is like the ideal dad, Potter is like the ideal grandad, Father Mulcahy is the moral compass but has your back with his fists of fury, Klinger is the guy you just want to hang out with, and Margaret is the nurse you wanna be with haha.

    There is also so many great and innovative episodes – the Dear… series, Radar’s Report, Point of View, Lifetime, etc.

    The show has a special place in my heart, and I’m grateful for this forum to share it with other fans.

  4. I first saw the show when it was syndicated to run in my country in 1993. First episode I saw was ‘Edwina.’ It made a strong enough impression on me that I decided to tune in to see the next episode…..and the rest is history. The BEST show ever made!!

    Seeing that screenshot, I can almost hear the Japanese version of ‘My Blue Heaven’ in my head.

    Yūgure ni aogi miru kagayaku aozora
    Hi ga kurete tadoru wa wagaya no hosomichi
    Semainagara mo tanoshii wagaya
    Ai no hikage mo sasu tokoro
    Koishii ie koso watashi no aozora

  5. I was born a long time (relatively) after the M*A*S*H finale and didn’t really start watching M*A*S*H until about 6 years ago, so I am really a newbie. I wonder back in 1982 if anybody had any idea that it would still be so popular today? I think a lot of it has to do with the characters being so relate able and the fact that so many people grew up watching it with their parents. I think Lounge Lizard at War hit the nail on the head. It (along with TAGS) is comfort food and I always watch an episode or two when I feel bad. With how much exposure it gets on TV today, I (personally) think the future of the show is bright. Here’s the 45 more years!

  6. I can’t really remember exactly when I started watching the series. It was most likely during my high school years (2000-2004), but there’s also a small possibility of it being during my middle school years (1997-2000). Likewise, I can’t remember the exact episode I started with, but I’m pretty sure it was an early Trapper/Henry episode, because I remember going through the natural transitions between characters.

    Anyway, whatever the first episode was, I was drawn to it pretty much right away, and my attachment to the series and characters grew deeper over time. I had already loved TV for quite a while at that point, but even so, it really seemed like a revelation to me. Sure, there were comedies that had “special episodes,” and more serious shows that had comedic episodes, but I hadn’t seen a series that explored the entire spectrum of dramedy so thoroughly and brilliantly as MASH did, and don’t think I’ve seen one since. Having the characters take you through such a roller coaster of emotions really makes the attachments seem that much stronger to me, with the comedy endearing you to them, and the drama making them seem that much real and well-rounded. And that’s not even mentioning the often-brilliant experimental episodes that helped make the series stand out even more.

    Since then, I’ve been on and off with watching the series. I watched a lot of episodes in reruns, and have had the first 6 seasons on DVD for many years. I’ve only gotten the rest of the series on DVD a few years back, and have just completed my second full-series rewatch today (I was posting about each episodes in these forums, but got so far behind after a while). I didn’t even realize yesterday was the 45th anniversary, but knowing that makes it all the more poignant. I love how long its legacy has lasted, and hope many more people discover it in the future.

  7. I was in Nashville in 1972, and I wasn’t born yet.

    In seriousness, I first stumbled onto M*A*S*H by accident in the summer of 2004: I was channel surfing one night looking for something to watch, and I caught who I, for whatever reason, mistook for Dick Sargent – Alan Alda. I watched because I wanted to see him as someone other than “The Other Darrin,” and it was the second half of “Good-bye, Radar, Part 2.”

    Since then, I would occasional catch glimpses of it while channel surfing, and it honestly was intriguing me: I mean, here was a military show taking place in a field hospital during the middle of a war . . . and yet, there was a laugh track, which everything seemed to have back in those days. I remember some of the glimpses I saw during this period was Charles sharing his phesant with Margaret in “The Grim Reaper,” B.J. waking up Radar to call Peg in “Mail Call Three,” Margaret lashing out at Lorraine for flirting with Charles in “Temporary Duty,” Radar frantically searching for his guinea pig in “They Call the Wind Korea,” Hawkeye and B.J. huddled around the stove in “Baby, it’s Cold Outside,” B.J. bitching about the rain gutters in “No Sweat,” and something about a stolen side of beef from an episode I can’t remember.

    This all was intriguing to me for some reason, so I decided the next time I saw the pilot episode was on, I would check out the series and go from there to see how I like it. By the summer of 2005, Hallmark Channel got around to it in its rotation, so as I planned, I started with the pilot, and went on from their. It was such a great show, and unusual too: again, it’s a war, they’re in a crummy medical unit, nobody wants to be there, yet they’re cracking jokes, boozing, chasing nurses, and it’s all funny – by this time, I wasn’t just intrigued, I was engrossed, so naturally, I stayed with it, and the more I watched, the more I loved it.

    That’s my capsul story, anyway.

    1. The episode with the beef is “Father’s Day.” It’s the side-story, but connects to Margaret’s story in a scene where Hawkeye and BJ try moving the beef in a wheelchair, pretending it’s a patient, but Margaret finds out the truth and scolds them for it.

  8. I was relieved while watching the “In Memoriam” segment on Sunday night’s Emmy Awards to find out that William Christopher had not actually died…..

    (At least they included Carrie Fisher, who was known for her prolific and memorable television work in … what …. “The Star Wars Holiday Special”?

  9. I wasn’t even born back then so I grew up watching the reruns with my late nana and her late mom on channel 5 in the late 80s. I was an infant when mash ended and saw the finale on me tv a few years ago. What a great finale. If it weren’t for the success of the r rated movie, then the show would’ve been not made.

  10. I must be one of the older people here as I definitely remember watching the M*A*S*H premiere on CBS in 1972. For sure, I wasn’t eager to watch it – it actually was scheduled in the “hammock” position between two shows I *was* interested in, ANNA & THE KING and THE SANDY DUNCAN SHOW. I had not seen nor heard of the movie M*A*S*H, and wasn’t particularly interested in military shows.

    But I watched the show, and thought it was pretty funny in spots, definitely a show to return to each week. I’m sure I liked it better than ANNA & THE KING and SANDY DUNCAN. And I remember watching the second week and being delighted with its sort-of “hi-jinx at the front” format. Today, that episode (“To Market, To Market”) seems corny to me.

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