At 8 PM on Sunday, September 17, 1972, few viewers tuned in to the premiere of a new television series – M*A*S*H. The series was based on a book and feature film, but the series was not well received. Many felt the series pilot was too heavy with slap-stick comedy. As the first series progressed, however, the series’ writers began to introduce more drama and the realities of war into the series. Few people who watched the pilot expected the series to last more than a season, but the series’ creators were able to adapt and introduce the proper blend of comedy and drama.
Tag Archives: CBS
On September 17, 1972, the television series M*A*S*H debuted on CBS. Although the first season of the series was less than successful, the series was renewed for a second season. The show’s creators were able to adapt and keep the show in the top 15 in ratings for ten years.
All this week, The Whole Earth Blog celebrates the 40th Anniversary of one of the greatest series in television history. With a series of posts, I will provide the history of the series, explore the most iconic episodes, remember members of the cast and crew that have passed away, and much more.
It is no secret that M*A*S*H is my favorite series, and I cannot think of a better way to celebrate this iconic series. I hope everyone enjoys the posts, and tunes into a few episodes, as the world celebrates 40 years of M*A*S*H.
On September 17, 1972, M*A*S*H debuted on CBS and had a dismal first season. The show escaped cancellation and went on to deliver eleven successful seasons, win countless awards, and close with a record breaking series finale. Throughout the month of September, TV Land will break away from its “original” programming and have a series of M*A*S*H marathons throughout the month. The first of these marathons was yesterday. Also set to air this month are the 20th and 30th Anniversary shows as well as the pilot episode and the finale, “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen.”
During the week of September 17, I will post a series of M*A*S*H articles and videos to celebrate the anniversary of my favorite television series.
Here is the press release from TV Land with the schedule for the month:
TV LAND CELEBRATES THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF “M*A*S*H” WITH MONTH-LONG SALUTE BEGINNING SEPTEMBER 2
August 31, 2012 – New York, NY – TV Land will honor the 40th anniversary of the iconic television series “M*A*S*H” with a month-long celebration this September, it was announced today by the network. The celebration will kick off on Sunday, September 2, with the airing of “M*A*S*H: 30th Anniversary Reunion” and a day-long marathon on Labor Day – Monday, September 3 – from 8am to 6pm ET/PT. Programming will also include the 20th reunion special, “Memories of M*A*S*H,” on Sunday, September 9, as well as the pilot and three-hour finale of the sitcom on Sunday, September 16. “M*A*S*H” will air on weekdays all during the month of September (check the schedule page on TVLand.com).
Based on the 1970 Robert Altman film of the same name, “M*A*S*H” revolves around life at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, where wounded and sick soldiers are treated. The show centers around Dr. Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce (Alan Alda) and Dr. “Trapper” John McIntyre (Wayne Rogers), two brilliant surgeons often preoccupied with attractive nurses, practical jokes and merry-making, all while disregarding military decorum. Their relaxed approach is a source of consternation for other medical staffers including Dr. Frank Burns (Larry Linville) and Lt. Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan (Loretta Swit), whose secret love affair is no secret. Lt. Colonel Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson) is the camp commander who gives “Hawkeye” and “Trapper” free reign, further irritating Burns and “Hot Lips.” Lt. Blake is aided by the nervous, yet efficient, Corporal Walter “Radar” O’Reilly (Gary Burghoff). Other show regulars include Corporal Max Klinger (Jamie Farr), a doctor’s aide in the operating room who wears women’s clothing in hopes of being discharged and Father Francis Mulcahy (William Christopher), who runs an orphanage and serves as the unit’s chaplain.
Check out the “M*A*S*H” Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/MASH/449786845061170
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The first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, has passed away at the age of 82. Armstrong was a part of a generation of astronauts that were attempting feats that had not been thought possible only a decade before. When President John F. Kennedy proclaimed that America would send a man to the moon by the end of the 1960s, NASA was still in its infancy and had just begun sending humans into space. Although Kennedy would not live to see the challenge met, America did beat the Russians to the moon on July 20, 1969. With Apollo 11, Armstrong became the first human being to step foot on a surface that was not Earth. It was a truly historic moment. Millions watched around the world as Armstrong famously said, “This is one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Those watching the broadcast on CBS, heard Walter Cronkite narrate the events as he too was in awe of the events he was witnessing. This broadcast has become one of the defining moments of the 20th century. It was on that night in 1969 when Armstrong’s immortality was assured.
Today, NASA no longer directs manned space missions, and it is not likely they will resume any time soon. A man has not walked on the surface of the Moon since 1972, but the images of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s Apollo 11 mission will remind us of what is possible when we try. When we work hard, we can accomplish anything, no matter how impossible it may seem. Neil Armstrong will always be a symbol for what the United States is capable of, and that is one hell of a legacy.
Tomorrow marks the release of Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. The book is constructed from a set of over 40 interviews conducted with Jobs and over 100 interviews of Jobs’ friends, family and rivals. Reviews have already been published and the book has received good marks. I will review the book sometime this week.
In the meantime, Isaacson appeared on CBS’s 60 Minutes tonight and included were several clips from the interviews conducted with Jobs. In the video there is mention of a extras online. You can watch Steve’s Family Album and the 60 Minutes Overtime on CBS’s site. I was able to embed the actual story (in two parts) from 60 Minutes. Here are those videos:
Thirty-nine years ago tonight, television viewers tuned into watch the series premiere of the series M*A*S*H. The series was based off Twentieth Century Fox’s film and Richard Hooker’s novel. The show failed miserably in the ratings during its first season and was sure to be canceled. The story goes that the wife of CBS’s president loved the show and it was renewed for a second season. The show remained in the top 15 in the ratings for the next ten years.
There are very few TV series that last beyond seven years, but shows that go through cast changes tend to have more difficulty. M*A*S*H successfully replaced three cast members, killing off one. As a series about war, the show’s writers felt it was important to have the right mix of comedy and drama. M*A*S*H was the first of these s0-called “dramadies” and has been called “television’s serious sitcom.” The series has always been my favorite for this reason. I have researched M*A*S*H units during both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and the series’ creators did their research, including conducting interviews with doctors and nurses and even visiting an operational M*A*S*H unit that remained in Korea. Many of the stories presented week-after-week on M*A*S*H were true stories told in one of the interviews. While M*A*S*H’s characters are fictional, the backdrop is very real. This contributed to the series’ success and explains why the series is still popular today.