Monday, February 28, 2011

Ode to M*A*S*H : 28 February 28 Years Ago

Twenty eight years ago today on 28 February, 1983 the finale of M*A*S*H was viewed by an estimated 106 million Americans. It was the 251st, 2.5 hour episode of its 11th season, entitled Goodbye, Farewell and Amen, which chronicles a 3 year military conflict that was as much about Vietnam (1955-1975) as Korea (1950-1953). M*A*S*H follows a team of doctors and support staff at the 4077th MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) unit, Uijeongbu, South Korea. The intent was to highlight the effects of war on individuals with the disruption and havoc it wreaks in their lives all the while nodding to those qualities of human resilience, optimism, and love. It is considered a medical drama/ black comedy or 'dramedy', produced by Larry Gelbart and adapted from the 1970 film MASH, which was based on Richard Hooker's 1968 book, MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors. The soundtrack, Suicide is Painless, written by John Mandel and Mike Altman to this day conjures up images of that 407th unit of M*A*S*H. That final episode remains the most watched television broadcast in American history which is a tribute to its quality of content, truth in matter, and sterling entertainment. Goodbye, Farewell and Amen... to 'Hawkeye', 'Hot Lips Houlihan', 'Klinger', 'Trapper', 'Radar', 'The Colonel', 'Reverend' Frank, and Charles...1972 - 1983.

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