On This Day: ‘M*A*S*H’ Airs Historic Finale in 1983

One of television’s iconic shows in MAS*H would call it quits on this day in 1983. The finale’s title? Goodbye, Farewell and Amen.

This final scene, which we get thanks to Silver Age Television, shows Alan Alda and Mike Farrell sharing a moment. Their characters, Hawkeye Pierce and B.J. Hunnicutt, respectively, would say goodbye for the moment.

Let’s take a minute or so and take in this historic moment from the world of TV history. MAS*H would set records with this TV finale on CBS.


It turned into one of those moments where you can ask people “Where were you when you saw this?” They could probably come up with a lot of answers ranging from work to even bars.

‘M*A*S*H’ Goes From Straight Comedy To Serious Drama At Times

The show started out as a straight comedy, watching Alda, Wayne Rogers, and others crack jokes. This was the initial thrust over the show’s early seasons. Larry Gelbart was one of the creative minds behind the TV series. His career in the world of television remains one of the industry’s most respected over the years.

Alda also happened to be one of the show’s writers and directors, too. Upon getting more involved in this creative area, he helped lead the show in a more serious tone.

You would see episodes focusing on the horrors of war. Families in Korea being displaced due to bombing. Soldiers dealing with “shell-shock” or post-traumatic stress disorder. Doctors having to make serious life-or-death decisions and showing the aftermath.

Psychiatrist Character Helped Show Other Sides of Soldiers

Probably one of the most interesting non-regular cast members was Allan Arbus, who played psychiatrist Dr. Sidney Freedman. It is through this character that M*A*S*H viewers were led into the minds of soldiers. We also gained great insights into what was going on in the minds of the doctors at the 4077th.

These days, the show is seen in reruns all around the world. Those early seasons provide many laughs and include McLean Stevenson and Larry Linville. One character whose change in tone is noticeable as time goes on is Loretta Swit’s Margaret Houlihan. The character was originated in the Robert Altman film by the late Sally Kellerman. Her last name was, according to IMDb, O’Houlihan. But the spelling changed for TV.

Sure, early on, Swit’s portrayal featured romantic energy, especially around Frank Burns, played by Linville. But her tone and look toward the war changed, too. Viewers saw a more compassionate, focused character come out in the later seasons. This depth is something that remains a powerful force to remember from the character and actress.

The cast is remembered fondly by fans. People still love to find it on TV and watch their favorite episodes. M*A*S*H remains a classic TV staple.

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