35th Anniversary of Goodbye, Farewell and Amen


Thirty-five years ago tonight, M*A*S*H ended its 11-year run with a movie-length finale.

Were you one of the 105.9 million viewers who watched “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” on Monday, February 28th, 1983? If so, did you watch with your family? With friends? Alone on the couch in front of the TV? Or did you attend a series finale party and celebrate late into the night?

Still from the MASH episode Goodbye, Farewell and Amen showing GOODBYE written in stones.
The iconic GOODBYE from the end of “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen.”

Those of us who didn’t watch “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” when it originally aired will never be able to understand how obsessed the country was with the end of M*A*S*H.

If you missed it last year, be sure to read my Episode Spotlight review of “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen.”

8 Replies to “35th Anniversary of Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”

  1. I wonder how many of the 105.9 million were regulars who watched week to week, and how many were people who had dropped off over the various years. There were probably people watching who had no idea that Radar had left, or who Winchester was. Heck I guess it’s possible there were some watching who had no idea who Potter and BJ were.

    There were probably enough commercials and advertisements over the years though that MOST already knew all of this, but with the lack of cell phones and internet, I bet a fair amount didn’t.

    That’s another interesting point to bring up. The finale brought in this many viewers WITHOUT internet and social media. That means it was entirely from advertisements, commercials, and word of mouth. Makes the number just a bit more incredible.

  2. I was one of the 105.9 million who watched it when it originally aired in 1983. I remember watching it with my family but that’s about all I remember about that night because I was only 4 at the time. In 1993 our NBC station aired it in celebration of the 10th anniversary. This time I understood what was happening and I bawled as I watched it. I’ve watched it dozens of times since then and every single time I cry.

  3. I remember that night very clearly. I was sitting at the edge of my parents’ bed and the 3 of us watched GFA. I definitely shed some tears at the end of the episode and I couldn’t believe the series was over. I remember a promo for AfterMASH after GFA finished and I looked forward to seeing how M*A*S*H would be continued. This was of course long before the internet, so the ability to know all the episodes, know who the writers were, know what else the actors had done was very limited. I believe Larry Gelbart did a PSA on wanting to know more about M*A*S*H and recommending 3 books, which I found at my local library. It was the pinnacle of water-cooler television.

    1. Larry Gelbart did do one of the then-common CBS “Read More About It” segments that aired at the very end of the finale during all 3 of its CBS airings (Feb. 1983, Aug. or Sept. 1983, and then again — for some reason — around Sept. 1984). The segment was never included on any of the retail VHS versions of the finale, nor on any of the DVDs.

      There was a promo for the next-week debut of “AfterMASH” during the first rerun of “GFA”, and a promo for the premiere of the 2nd season during the 1984 rerun. There was no promo for “AfterMASH” on the Feb. 28, 1983, initial airing, as there had been no filming done on the sequel series yet at that time. Production on the stateside show didn’t start until the summer of 1983.

  4. I watched in Pacifica, California when I was 14. Cable TV went out that night so most people in Pacifica missed it. There were demands for KPIX to replay it immediately.

    I had the good sense to just get out an antenna!

    No way I was going to miss the final MASH. It was so much a part of my childhood.

  5. I unfortunately didn’t tune in when it originally aired..I only saw it for the 1st time about a year ago when I bought the GFA 3-DVD set..

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