An interesting fact about the M*A*S*H finale

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by DaleClark, Jul 2, 2017.

  1. DaleClark

    DaleClark Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Bexley, Ohio
    I was a big MASH fan and watched the 2 1/2 hr finale like 75% of the country did back in 83. I have never been able to watch it again since ( very sad). That happens with movies that leave an effect on me.

    I was reading about the series and did not realize the Finale was not the last episode shot. I've read two accounts where one says the prior aired episode was shot afterwards and another that said 5 prior aired episodes were shot afterwards.

    I just found that interesting since the finale was so Final. Plus the writers were big on real emotions and everything being final would bring things up a notch
  2. Claus LH

    Claus LH Forum Resident

    That's professionalism, if that is the case (shot out of sequence). The ending episode had to bring a lot of emotions to the cast, and to have to do that and then go back and do more episodes must have felt strange.
  3. pdenny

    pdenny Blow up your TV

    The "time capsule" episode was the last one shot.
  4. DaleClark

    DaleClark Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Bexley, Ohio
    I agree. That is professionalism. The Time Cspsule was aired before the finale correct?

    As far as Alda's leanings, he never brought that to his work from what I've seen. So as far as I'm concerned, what he believes is his business.

    I don't watch award shows, so I don't get to hear the political ramblings of performers generally.
  5. jjh1959

    jjh1959 Forum Resident

    St. Charles, MO
    The "Time Capsule" episode, filmed after the Finale, was the last regular episode aired BEFORE the Finale. Just to make that clear. (And a fact well-known and publicized 34 years ago). The Finale was filmed before ( and perhaps a bit during) the last 9 episodes of the season.

    The Alan Alda thing is overblown. He didn't write or direct every episode of the later years. The main issue was the departure of Larry Gelbart and Gene Reynolds after Season 5. The writing and production changed as a result. Also, after 11 years of a show about a 3 year war, ideas had been exhausted, characters had both come and go and evolved, and the Viet Nam war had ended ( removing a lot of the anti-war tilt of the "it's really about Viet Nam" narrative). The later seasons had silliness, bad writing, questionable acting, but also had some enjoyable episodes.
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  6. AKA

    AKA Cromulent Member

    Same thing with Cheers. To accommodate Shelley Long's schedule, the series finale was shot the week before the show's penultimate episode, "The Guy Can't Help It."

    After filming "The Guy Can't Help It," though, the cast and crew shot without a studio audience the final scene of the finale (with the gang smoking Cubans in the bar and Sam realizing the bar is his one true love).

    Last edited: Jul 2, 2017
  7. Benno123

    Benno123 Forum Resident

    If it's Alan Alda's fault that M*A*S*H stunk in its final years than who can be blamed for After M*A*S*H?
    Matthew Tate likes this.
  8. AKA

    AKA Cromulent Member

    Alda adressed this last year with Marc Maron on the WTF podcast:

    MARON: I know that some people have said that when you had more writing power in M*A*S*H, that it was able to get a little deeper.

    ALDA: I don't know; some people don't... there's like a myth on the internet that I made it more political and I made it serious — more serious. Larry [Gelbart] was the first one to write a show in which a guy died on the operating table. He went for serious, too. In fact, the guy who ran the network, when he saw the show with the guy dying on the operating table, said "What is this? A situation tragedy?"

    So they already didn't like some of the seriousness, because we realized we were doing... if we didn't show the bad effects of the war and just did a standard service comedy, we were, in a way, denying the real experience of the people who had lived through that time.

    MARON: Trivializing it.

    ALDA: Trivializing it, yeah. And there was more... more of interest if you took it more seriously, so we had silly, stupid, farcical boofo stuff that we did, but it always had — or we tried to find an underpinning of — the hard stuff. But actually, I don't like to write political messages, and I don't like plays that have political messages, so I don't think I'm responsible for that; I think it's what people assume, because at the time I was trying to help get the Equal Rights Amendment passed. So everybody assumed that I put that stuff in my writing.
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  9. MikaelaArsenault

    MikaelaArsenault Forum Resident

    New Hampshire
    Love Marc Maron.
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  10. DaleClark

    DaleClark Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Bexley, Ohio
    I actually like the "seriousness" of the later years of MASH. In fact, some of the early episodes had a bit too much silliness. I think Jamie Farr did a nice job with the lite hearted portion.

    If MASH turned into Private Benjiman, which I think it would if Potter and Burns stayed, it would have died 3 or 4 years in.
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  11. Standoffish

    Standoffish Don't you dare call me an ostrich!

    Everyone involved in its production?
  12. Bingo Bongo

    Bingo Bongo No music, no Life

    I still watch 2 episodes every night after work 5-6pm on the History Channel. I was watching Happy Days, but that got tiring!
  13. JohnO

    JohnO Forum Resident

    Washington, DC
    It's still Alan Alda's fault.
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  14. dirwuf

    dirwuf Raccoon of the Year

    Fairfield, CT
    You are compressing about 3-4 years of events....Gelbart didn't leave until after season 4, and it wasn't until Gene Reynolds left after season 5 that Alda became a force. I think the show was great thru season 6....became spotty during season 7, and sharply declined after that.
    Matthew Tate likes this.
  15. dirwuf

    dirwuf Raccoon of the Year

    Fairfield, CT
    I think it's one of the great myths of television that "AfterMASH" was so bad...IMO it was more worthwhile than the last year or two of the original show, especially the eps written by the great Larry Gelbart.

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  16. Jamey K

    Jamey K Internet Sensation

    My favorite season, was the only one with Potter and Burns. The tank...OMG, the tank.
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  17. dirwuf

    dirwuf Raccoon of the Year

    Fairfield, CT
    There were two, seasons 4 and 5
  18. Jamey K

    Jamey K Internet Sensation

    You're right. They spent a good deal of time with Frank freaking out over Donald Penobscot. I enjoyed the interactions between Potter and Burns. Henry tolerated Burns. and Potter just loathed him.
  19. DaleClark

    DaleClark Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Bexley, Ohio
    That episode played last night on Sundance channel marathon
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  20. RayS

    RayS Forum Resident

    A few weeks ago I saw an Israeli film called "Past Life".


    One major part of the plot was that the father of the two Israeli women pictured above had a "terrible secret" from World War II. He was among a group of Jews hiding in a basement in Poland near the end of the war. When the Nazis arrived upstairs, he adamantly insisted that a father who was also hiding hold his hand over the mouth of his son who was quietly whimpering. Once the Nazis had left, it became apparent that the father had suffocated his child - he was dead. The blame was placed on the individual who insisted that the child's noise be muffled. And as a viewer I thought of ... the Hawkeye subplot in the MASH finale.
    head_unit, tmtomh and Mr.Sean like this.
  21. Road Ratt

    Road Ratt Forum Resident

    I watched the final episode of M*A*S*H all those years ago. I got into the series in it's 2nd season as a kid. It was one of my favorite tv shows back then and is today my all time favorite show ever. I have the full collection on dvd and still watch it quite often as it's on several different channels here during the day.
  22. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    Gene Reynolds and Larry Gelbart (the original showrunners of M*A*S*H) and longtime writers Ken Levine & David Isaacs co-created AfterM*A*S*H. I think it's fair to say they really believed they could keep the show going in some form, but my opinion is a lot of it was because they wanted de big money. I also think it was a terrible show, but not quite as terrible as the ratings indicated.

    Ken Levine has several interesting anecdotes about his experiences on AfterM*A*S*H on his blog:

    By Ken Levine: Search results for aftermash
  23. DaleClark

    DaleClark Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Bexley, Ohio
    Similar circumstance, but with s wounded soldier, in this classic NCIS episode

    Call of Silence (episode)
  24. John54

    John54 Forum Resident

    I watched the finale at the time too, but I haven't seen it since. I don't think I've seen an episode in a quarter-century, even though it's in re-runs pretty much every day.

    I thought seasons 2 and 3 were the best. I've read a couple of times that the final scene of season 3, when Blake's plane supposedly crashed, was unscripted or something so that the actors didn't know about it beforehand. That's not true, because I read about it in TV Guide in September 1974.
  25. DaleClark

    DaleClark Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Bexley, Ohio
    I thought Alda was the only actor that new. I read they did the first take and one of the actors dropped a utensil. They tried a second take, but the performance was not as good. They stuck with the first take.
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