by Michael RichComment — Updated August 3, 2023

Buy M*A*S*H on DVD


September 17, 1972 – February 28, 1983
(256) one half hour episodes (11 seasons)
in color CBS
Created by: Larry Gelbart
Produced by: 20th Century Fox Television

Opening Theme Music :

Johnny Mandel (music) and Mike Altman (lyrics), (for the M*A*S*H 1970 movie)

“Suicide Is Painless”

(Only the instrumental version with no lyrics was used for the TV series but I though you might enjoy them anyway)

Through early morning fog I see
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see…

that suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
I try to find a way to make
all our little joys relate
without that ever-present hate
but now I know that it’s too late, and…

The game of life is hard to play
I’m gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I’ll someday lay
so this is all I have to say.

The only way to win is cheat
And lay it down before I’m beat
and to another give my seat
for that’s the only painless feat.

The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn’t hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows stronger…watch it grin, but…

A brave man once requested me
to answer questions that are key
is it to be or not to be
and I replied ‘oh why ask me?’

‘Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
…and you can do the same thing if you please.


  • Alan Alda
  • McLean Stevenson
  • Wayne Rogers
  • Gary Burghoff
  • Loretta Swit
  • Larry Linville
  • Mike Farrell
  • Harry Morgan
  • Jamie Farr
  • William Christopher
  • David Ogden Stiers
  • Captain Benjamin Franklin Pierce
  • Lt. Colonel Henry Blake
  • Captain John McIntyre
  • Corporal Walter Eugene O’Reilly
  • Major Margaret Houlihan
  • Major Franklin Marion Burns
  • Captain B.J. Hunnicut
  • Colonel Sherman T. Potter
  • Corporal Maxwell Q. Klinger
  • Father Francis Mulcahy
  • Major Charles Winchester


MASH originally was a book about an Army Hospital in Korea during the conflict there. It was made into a very popular movie which was then turned into this series. It was envisioned as an ensemble cast production but Alan Alda as Captain Benjamin Franklin Pierce quickly became the central character. Other characters were Captain John McIntyre (Wayne Rogers) who was sent home from Korea but replaced by Captain B.J. Hunnicut (Mike Farrell) as his roommate and partner in boozing and practical jokes. Commanding the MASH unit was Lt. Colonel Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson) who was also sent home (his plane was shot down on his way), who was replaced by Colonel T. Potter (Harry Morgan) a thirty year military man and father figure to the group.

The series was a comedy with a definite dark edge. It aired during the end of the Vietnam conflict and many episodes were written to show the futility and senselessness of war in general. The wisecracking hard drinking surgeons were simply trying to cope with the horrors that they witnessed everyday. Highly talented, the doctors of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital unit were civilian draftees who did not belong in a strict military setting, let alone a war zone.

After ten seasons it was getting harder for the writers and creative people to keep coming up with story lines. A vote was taken among the cast to end the series or not. It was close but the majority voted to let it end naturally. Those who voted in favor of continuing the series were the ones subsequently featured on a revival series, “After MASH” (1983).

Video Clip of M*A*S*H


McLean Stevenson passed away in 1996 of a heart attack, he was only 68
Larry Linville died of cancer in 2000, he was only 60
Harry Morgan died of pneumonia in 2011, he was 96
William Christopher died in 2016 of small-cell carcinoma he was 841970s tv

70s tv sitcom

1970s oldies tv comedy

70s retro tv    1970s old tv series

1970s comedy war and doctors     1970s sitcoms

1070s classic television

70s classic tv sitcoms    70s old tv war funny series

1970s sitcoms

1970s tv shows     1970s tv series

1970s tv MASH
Click for TV Guide page


I haven’t been able to verify this story but I thought that you might enjoy it anyway

As of December 2014, the series finale, “Goodbye Farewell, Amen,” is still the most watched regular television series broadcast in US History. It was watched by approximately 125 million viewers. The finale aired from 8pm – 11pm on February 28, 1983. At 11:03 pm, EST, New York City public works noted the highest water usage at one given time in the City’s history. This was due to the fact that in the three minutes after the finale ended, approximately 77% of New York City flushed their toilets.

1970s TV, MASH with Alan Alda

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