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  • 1972
  • Sitcom
  • Drama
  • PG


The long-running sitcom first entered the subconscious of millions of Americans in September 1972 and ran for 11 seasons until 1983. Larry Gelbart originally developed the show, adapted from Robert Altman's 1970 film of the same name, which was itself based on the celebrated book by Richard Hooker. It was an ensemble piece, following a team of doctors and support staff stationed at a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) during the Korean War. Many of the stories in the early seasons were based on stories told by real MASH surgeons and although the show was categorised as a sitcom, it was sometimes described as a dark comedy or a dramedy. Two connections with the film were an instrumental version of the song Suicide Is Painless, composed by Johnny Mandel, in the title sequence and Gary Burghoff reprising his role as Radar in seasons one to eight. Four of the characters, Hawkeye (Alan Alda), Father Mulcahy (William Christopher), `Hot Lips' (Loretta Swit) and Klinger (Jamie Farr), appeared in all 11 seasons. Alda became synonymous with the sitcom: he was nominated for 21 Emmy Awards, winning five, and also played a part in writing 19 episodes, including the finale, and directed 32. Notable actors who made guest appearances include Ron Howard, Leslie Nielsen, Patrick Swayze and John Ritter. The feature-length final episode was broadcast in the US on February 28, 1983, and was watched by more than 106 million viewers, a record that stood for nearly 27 years. The series covered a three-year military conflict, ran for 251 episodes and won 14 Emmy Awards during its 11-year run. Repeats are still broadcast on various TV stations around the world, including Comedy Central in the UK.

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Hawkeye PierceAlan Alda
Major Margaret HoulihanLoretta Swit
Corporal Maxwell Q KlingerJamie Farr
Father Francis MulcahyWilliam Christopher


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