M*A*S*H, one of the most beloved series of all times, ran for a legendary 11 seasons. One of the best series to ever air on CBS, the show was based on real-life events in the Korean War. The show still has an extremely dedicated fan base and goes down in history for its multiple awards, interesting plot lines, and launching the careers of stars like Alan Alda.
A Rocky Start
M*A*S*H was the smash hit that almost wasn’t. It was the first military drama of its kind, and although it was in line with what was happening on a global scale, at first, audiences didn’t really love the show.
Larry Gelbart, producer, who wrote the pilot show in two days, was living in the United Kingdom at the time and wasn’t as familiar with Hollywood. He decided to write M*A*S*H because he was a fan of Robert Altman’s film. The film wasn’t nearly as popular as the television show became, with many fans not realizing it was based on a movie at all.
Telling of the Times
Throughout the series, the network only rejected one episode, which was impressive for a show that covered such diverse subject matter. This episode, the one and only that was ever rejected, contained a line of soldiers competing for a bid to return to the states. The episode was deemed unpatriotic and disrespectful to those away at war. It must be said that the episode was indeed very realistic, as many soldiers did want to return home.
As everyone now knows, the war was a highly controversial one, and many Americans, those overseas in the military as well as those at home, did not agree with the war at all. The controversy was very telling of the times, the pressure to be marketable along with the desire to tell an authentic story.