Sunday, September 16, 2012

TV in 1972: “M*A*S*H”

Tomorrow, September 17, will mark 40 years since the debut of M*A*S*H, the popular CBS-TV “medical dramedy” that focused on frequently anarchical doings around the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital stationed in Uijeongbu, South Korea, during the Korean War. That half-hour series--which starred Alan Alda, Loretta Swit, Harry Morgan, Jamie Farr, and a variety of others--was adapted from the 1970 Robert Altman film M*A*S*H. It ran from September 1972 through February 1983, and spawned one short-lived TV spin-off (AfterMASH) as well as the pilot for another sequel (W*A*L*T*E*R) that was not picked up by any of the U.S. networks. Pernell Roberts’ Trapper John, M.D. (1979-1986), in which he played a character portrayed by Wayne Rogers in the series, can also be considered a spin-off from M*A*S*H.

To celebrate this anniversary, the Me-TV Network--which reportedly now blankets 83 percent of the United States with vintage boob-tube content--is planning to air the opening two installments of M*A*S*H on Monday night, “Pilot” and “To Market, to Market,” beginning at 7 p.m. ET/PT. “During the rest of the week,” explains Television Obscurities, ”Me-TV will acknowledge the milestone with M*A*S*H facts and trivia.”

All of this started me thinking about other TV programs introduced during the 1972 fall premiere season on what were then just four American broadcast networks. M*A*S*H was certainly not the only one that’s still remembered fondly. So over the next six days, I’ll post some of the pages from the September 9-15, 1972, edition of TV Guide that previewed that season’s brand-new shows.

But let me start here with the issue’s write-up about M*A*S*H (simply right-click to enlarge the image):

And to acquaint you with what television watching was like in 1972, here’s the new prime-time schedule from that same issue of TV Guide. Yellow highlighting identifies the new series:

READ MORE:10 Classic Episodes of M*A*S*H,” by Noel Murray (A.V. Club).

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