Known as one of the highest rated shows to ever be made in US TV history, M*A*S*H is a comedy-drama series that aired from 1972-1983 on CBS. It was based on the book M*A*S*H: A Novel About Three Army Doctors written by Richard Hooker. It was also an adaptation of a 1970 feature film going by the same title. The series followed the story of a team of doctors and staff at the a mobile army hospital in South Korea during the Korean war.
The show ran for eleven seasons, and there are so many facts about it which even the biggest fans have no idea about.
The cast included real soldiers
This show was even more legendary for the fact that it was not just about the Korean war, but that it also included real soldiers on the set. What’s more, there were cast members who had actually served in the Korean war. Alan Alda and Jamie Farr who played Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce and Maxwell Q. Klinger respectively were on active duty in Korea. Wayne Rogers and Mike Farrell also served in the US military at some point.
The pilot was written in two days
Larry Gilbert was the screenwriter who brought the book to life both as the movie and TV series. He too was a veteran, having served in the World War II. Basing his script off Richard Hooker’s book, he had the pilot ready in just two days. He earned $25,000 for that.
The show had numerous guest stars
Patrick Swayze, Laurence Fishburne, Rita Wilson and John Ritter are just some of the famous actors and actresses who made brief appearances on M*A*S*H. Some of these had not really gotten all that famous, and the minor roles they played here got them started on the way to fame-dom. Most of these played roles as patients at the 4077th unit MASH.
Alan alda was a multi-tasker
Everybody knows Alda as the popular character Benjamin Franklin ‘Hawkeye’ Pierce. What many don’t know however is that Alda was not only a lead actor but also a director and writer for the show. In fact, he directed more than 30 episodes, including the phenomenal series finale. He also co-wrote 13 episodes. His versatility on M*A*S*H made him the first person to receive an Emmy for acting, writing and directing on the same series.
There was only one Korean on the set
For a show that was set in South Korea, you would expect that there were several Korean cast members. However, it happened that in the 70s, there weren’t all that many Korean actors in Hollywood. The show’s producers had to cast people from other Asian backgrounds to make up for this. Soon-Tek Oh was the only Korean in the cast. Other characters who were portrayed as Korean were actually Chinese-American or Japanese-American.
The series finale was watched by most of America, including the US army in Korea. M*A*S*H was a gem of its time, and still remains one of the greatest shows ever.