Audiences in American grew to love Hawkeye Pierce, played by actor Alan Alda, during the 11 seasons of “M*A*S*H.”
The popular wartime comedy series had gotten the attention of audiences throughout its run. That also includes the two-and-a-half-hour final episode that was watched by 77% of the television viewing audience, which was more than 106 million people.
Directors on ‘M*A*S*H’
This number of broadcast viewers has only been matched by Super Bowl games to this day. The popularity of the show is in large part due to talented actors, interesting characters, complex storylines, and hilarious banter.
In addition to being the star of the series, Alda also served as the director for a number of different episodes of the series. According to IMDb, Alda directed a total of 32 episodes between 1974 and 1983. The only person who directed more was Charles S. Dubin. He directed a total of 44 episodes from 1976 to 1983.
Dubin was also known for directing episodes of shows like “Father Dowling Mysteries,” “Matlock,” “Hotel,” “The Four Seasons,” and “Ironside.”
Other directors for the series included Gene Reynolds, Burt Metcalfe, Hy Averback, Don Weis, Jackie Cooper, and William K. Jurgensen. That actually only scratches the surface of directors the worked on “M*A*S*H” over the years.
Alan Alda Talks Challenges of Directing
On many occasions, Alda would be directing, producing, and even starring in “M*A*S*H” episodes all at once.
Clearly, he was able to pull it off over the course of the 11 seasons. That is evident both in the number of viewers tuning in as well as the fact that the show won many Emmy Awards over the years.
It was all more challenging than it seemed, however.
“One of our daughters, when she was about eight, said, ‘You’re directing yourself? What do you say? You, go there.’ It’s a problem because when you’re directing you need objectivity, and it’s hard to be objective about your own performance. One of the things I would do is shoot many more takes if I was in a scene, so I’d have things to choose from in the editing room,” Alda said during a 2017 interview with the Harvard Business Review.
Charles S. Dubin’s Son Talks ‘M*A*S*H’ Work
Charles S. Dubin had a son named Zan Dubin-Scott who submitted an opinion article to USA Today in 2020 regarding his dad’s work and its connection to today’s society. He applauded his father’s humor as well as the important messages he sent to the world at the time.
“He also brought his humor to work when it was needed most, just like Hawkeye, knowing how to easy-does-it under pressure,” wrote Zan.
Meanwhile, Zan also shared that Alan Alda had sent an email to him following the death of his father. It stated in part, “As skilled as he was at his work, he was always good humored and kind, no matter how late it was or how badly things might be going on the set … He was the calm in the center of the storm. And his modest goodness was a model for all of us.”