Today marks the 40th anniversary of the end of M*A*S*H. CBS broadcast the two-and-a-half-hour series finale on Monday, February 28th, 1983 from 8:30-11PM ET. More than 105 million viewers watched. It remains the highest-rated television program of all time in the United States.
Alan Alda commemorated the anniversary on Twitter:
40 years ago today. ⌛️❤️
— Alan Alda (@alanalda) February 28, 2023
If the Twitter embed doesn’t work, here’s what he wrote:
40 years ago today.
CNN.com, CBS New York, and Yahoo! Entertainment are just some of the news outlets that also marked the occasion.
Did you watch “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” during its original broadcast 40 years ago?
3 Replies to “40th Anniversary of Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”
Sure did. Watched the whole thing at the foot of my parents bed. Was just stunned that the war – and the show – was ending. It truly transcended popular culture and nothing of that magnitude has brought the country together since. The rating it achieved – 60.2 rating – has never been topped, and because of all the different ways to watch “television” (which now needs to be put in quotes), it never will be.
Hard to believe it is already the 50th of the premiere and 40th of the finale. When I watch now, M*A*S*H transports me back to my youth, but that doesn’t stop me from understanding the show differently now than I did then.
No show since has come close to capturing the zeitgeist the way M*A*S*H did. It truly deserves its spot on the Mt. Rushmore of TV comedy.
The CBS New York clip really helped capture the feeling of the build-up and — essentially — national commemoration of that Monday night in 1983. City night spots and colleges all of the country had “Last M*A*S*H” bashes, and I suspect some of those gray-haired people in the CBS News clip might’ve been involved in some of those. I remember stores such as J.C. Penney’s had a whole slew of different M*A*S*H T-shirts stocked in the clothing department in the months prior to the finale — including some that even had the title of the final episode on them.
And, very little known fact: One day in 1982, Paul Harvey on one of his radio programs was lamenting that the creators of the “M*A*S*H” had decided to end the series after the 11th season under the feeling that they had run out of stories to tell, so Paul Harvey invited his listeners to write to CBS or 20th Century Fox with their own plot ideas to continue the series — AND he provided the mailing address for people to use! CBS or 20th Century Fox ended up writing form letters to all those who had written in to thank them for their contributions that they had provided at the suggestion of Paul Harvey, and added that they needed to send the letters back unread (for legal reasons)!
Good gravy, how is it that we’ve gotten to FORTY years since that national party/mourning of the “M*A*S*H” finale happened?
P.S. I still say we need a 40th anniversary DVD set of “AfterMASH” for this fall! Much better series than how it’s been characterized over the years! Plus, back in 1983, American viewers truly enjoyed — and needed — to see some of the 4077th crew finally come back home.
Can’t believe it has been 40 years. I feel really old!