M*A*S*H Reflects 1970’s Sentiments (Great Events from History II: Arts and Culture Series)
Article abstract: The first episode of M*A*S*H aired on September 17, 1972; eleven years and 255 episodes later, the show was one of the most famous in the history of television.
Summary of Event
One of the most popular television situation comedies in history premiered on the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) on September 17, 1972. This event occurred in the midst of the United States’ withdrawal of combat troops from the controversial war in Vietnam and approximately six weeks before the 1972 presidential election between Richard Nixon and George McGovern. The series was based upon the 1970 film and 1968 book by Richard Hooker of the same name, with the asterisks between the letters added for the film and television productions.
The book was the work of Dr. J. Richard Hornberger, who served as a surgeon in a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (MASH) unit during the Korean War. Published under the pseudonym Richard Hooker, the book’s film rights were sold to Ingo Preminger, brother of Otto Preminger, the famous director. Ring Lardner, Jr., wrote the prize-winning screenplay that Robert Altman quickly produced as a low-budget film that was released in the fall of 1970 to great box-office success and a nomination as best picture of the year. A subplot of the book became the basis of the first television episode. The progression from book to film to television series was one of the fastest in the history of...
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