Watch The MASH 30th Anniversary Reunion Special, which aired back in 2002. MASH famously lasted nearly four times as long as the conflict it depicted; whereas the Korean War lasted three years (1950-1953), the dramedy itself ran from 1972 until 1983, for a total of eleven years. A natural stop point for the show was the end of the war, with the finale “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” seeing the main characters being sent home. Incredibly, this MASH is the most-watched scripted TV episode in history. While it spawned spin-offs like AfterMASH, it was never revived.
The closest it ever came was The MASH 30th Anniversary Reunion Special, which reunited most of the cast and crew to celebrate the show’s legacy. Interviews with Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swit, co-creator Larry Gelbert and more shed light on the show’s production, including how poorly it did ratings-wise during season one and its many groundbreaking scenes, such as Colonel Blake’s death. Copies of varying quality of the Reunion Special have been uploaded to YouTube, with Track&Field Fan’s version being one of the best. It still contains some 2002-era ad breaks and tracking effects – which only adds to the retro experience.
The Reunion Is The Only MASH Episode With Wayne Rogers & Mike Ferrell
The MASH 30th Anniversary Reunion Special is especially lighthearted, with the cast reminiscing with one another about their memories of working on the show. Deceased cast members such as Colonol Blake actor McLean Stevenson are still represented via archive interviews too. The special does offer one unique element, as it’s the only time stars Wayne Rogers and Mike Farrell appeared onscreen together in a MASH episode. Farrell’s B.J. Hunnicutt arrived as a replacement for Rogers’ Trapper, who served as “Hawkeye’s” best friend for the first three seasons. Farrell filled that position for the remaining seven seasons.
Why A MASH Revival Never Would Have Worked
As mentioned above, The MASH 30th Anniversary Reunion Special is about as close to a reunion as viewers ever received. “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” was a feature-length episode that depicted the end of the Korean War, so there was little chance of a revival series bringing the cast back to the same conflict. It would also have been pushing the show’s credibility to bring them back to another battlefield like the Vietnam War, and there was a sense MASH – which ditched its laugh track – had already said all it needed to about the futility of war.
In a sense, 2000’s medical sitcom Scrubs became MASH’s spiritual sequel, with the two sharing the same mix of comedy and drama. There were attempts to keep MASH alive with AfterMASH or failed pilot WALTER – depicting the adventures of Gary Burghoff’s Walter “Radar” O’Reilly – but neither connected with audiences. Since The MASH 30th Anniversary Reunion Special aired, other cast members such as Wayne Rogers and Henry Morgan (Colonel Potter) have passed on, making the reunion even more of a special event.