When the two-part MAS*H episode “Comrades in Arms” originally aired in 1977, newspapers teased the episode with a photo of Hawkeye and Margaret Houlihan in each other’s arms, seemingly about to kiss.
In interviews, Margaret actor Loretta Swit has said that the decision to have her character end up romantically linked with Hawkeye was not one that producers rushed or took lightly.
Instead, they knew there would need to be a proper build before fans would accept the two characters who frequently butted heads would naturally lock lips.
On this MAS*H fan site, this first kiss in “Comrades in Arms” is counted by one fan as a most memorable moment from the show, but cited more frequently in the same post, many fans recall a different kiss between these characters that happened much later in the series — in the finale.
In “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen,” Hawkeye and Margaret share a goodbye kiss that isn’t fleeting, but seems to last forever.
If you were to time the kiss, you would see it lasts exactly 34.8 seconds.
Because the MAS*H finale was basically as big an event as the Super Bowl that year, the network charged advertisers $45,000 for a 30-second commercial to air and thus have dubbed the kiss at the episode’s end “the most expensive kiss in TV history.”
In the book The Last Days of MAS*H, it’s estimated the finale kiss was worth $522,000.
That’s half a million dollars the studio earned because Swit and Alan Alda made viewers’ hearts throb one last time before the show ended!
Arguably that long kiss goodbye was made possible because of the chemistry established in “Comrades in Arms.” In 2000, the Chicago Tribune listed Hawkeye and Margaret’s first kiss among “famous first kisses.”
Which kiss do you think was more significant for Hawkeye and Margaret on the show, their first or their last?