Five decades to the day after M*A*S*H premiered on CBS, two of its stars had a toast to celebrate the hit TV show’s milestone 50th anniversary. On Sept. 17, 1972, the show aired its first episode, serving as a spinoff of the M*A*S*H movie that was released in 1970. Its title is an acronym for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital as the series follows a team of medical workers stationed at a M*A*S*H in South Korea during the Korean War of the 1950s.
M*A*S*H featured an ensemble cast that included Alan Alda as Benjamin “Hawkeye” Pierce and Mike Farrell as B.J. Hunnicutt. On the day of the 50th anniversary, Alda posted an image on Twitter of himself alongside Farrell, revealing that the two reunited for the special day. They can be seen enjoying some wine, as if there was ever a perfect time to have a toast, it would be on the 50th anniversary of M*A*S*H. You can see the post below.
“Mike Farrell and I today toasting the 50th anniversary of the show that changed our lives – and our brilliant pals who made it what it was. MASH was a great gift to us,” Alda said in the tweet.
M*A*S*H ran for eleven seasons with more than 250 episodes, and to this day, it still holds the record for the most-watched final episode of any TV series. Farrell had joined the show in season 4 to succeed Wayne Rogers, who originally starred as “Trapper” John McIntyre alongside Alda. Rogers passed away in 2015.
Alan Alda Is Amazed M*A*S*H Is Still Getting Attention 50 Years Later
Alda also spoke about the anniversary in a recent interview with the New York Times. The actor can recall where he was when the opportunity to appear in M*A*S*H first came his way, and fast-forwarding to the 50th anniversary, he finds it surprising that the show is still getting so much attention.
“I got the script submitted to me when I was making a movie in the Utah State Prison. And it was the best script I had seen since I’d been in prison,” Alda explained. “I called my wife and I said: ‘This is a terrific script, but I don’t see how I can do it. Because we live in New Jersey, and it has to be shot in L.A. And who knows? It could run a whole year.’ To go from that to 50 years later, it’s still getting, not only attention but it’s still getting an audience, is a surprise.”
On why viewers connected so well with the show, Alda added, “Aside from really good writing and good acting and good directing, the element that really sinks in with an audience is that, as frivolous as some of the stories are, underneath it is an awareness that real people lived through these experiences, and that we tried to respect what they went through. I think that seeps into the unconscious of the audience.”