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AfterMASH aired from September 1983 until December 1984 on CBS.

For more on AfterMASH go to the mini-page right here at Sitcoms Online.

9 things that will surprise you about 'AfterMASH'

Is the 'M*A*S*H' spin-off the monster it's made out to be?

Few television shows in history are so derided. At the turn of the millennium, Time magazine called AfterMASH one of the 100 worst ideas — just in general — of the century. TV Guide branded it the seventh worst series of all time.

Look, AfterMASH had massive shoes to fill. What often goes overlooked is that, for a brief time, the spin-off actually did fill the footwear of the beloved Korean War dramedy. At least when it comes to drawing in viewers.

The premise was simple: After the war, Colonel Potter, Klinger and Father Mulcahy reunite to work at a veterans hospital in Missouri. Some familiar faces pop in from time to time. More than anything, the Mayberry-like sentimentality was out of step with the time. Here were old happily married couples going head-to-head with 1980s action heroes.

Let's take a look at some eye-opening facts about this much maligned sequel.

1. 100 million people watched the premiere.

Yes, that is a ton of people. About 43% of the American populace in 1983, actually. The AfterMASH premiere was the most successful season opener of a new series since another notable spin-off — Laverne & Shirley in 1976.

2. It was a ratings hit in its first season.

The momentum of both the M*A*S*H finale and the premiere led to fantastic ratings in its first year. AfterMASH was the eleventh highest rated scripted network show of the 1983–84 season, pulling in a 20.1 Nielsen rating. That's a huge number. Out of all the new series to premiere that season, AfterMASH was second only to Hotel.

3. It taunted 'The A-Team' — and got crushed by 'The A-Team.'

So that begs the question: How did it fail? After the first season, the network moved the series from its traditional Monday M*A*S*H slot to Tuesday evenings, putting AfterMASH head-to-head with The A-Team. In promotional ads, CBS teased NBC, showing Klinger shaving off Mr. T's iconic mohawk. Pity the fools who challenge B.A. Baracas. The A-Team crushed AfterMASH in the ratings, leading to a unexpected, swift death.

4. Alan Alda sent flowers to the first day of filming.

Even if the M*A*S*H star (and director) had no interest in reprising his role as Hawkeye, Alda was cheering on his friends. He wrote a note to go along with his goodwill bouquet that read: “Don’t forget, I want to see at least one of those moist eyes in every episode.”

5. Jamie Farr and Harry Morgan were two of the top 10 most popular TV actors at the time.

"Q Scores" have long been the measure of celebrity likeability. In 1983 TVQ ratings of small screen personalities’ appeal, Alda came out on top. That being said, Harry Morgan ranked at No. 2, while Farr landed at No. 10.

6. The show was somewhat Jamie Farr's idea.

Farr explained to People that the genesis of AfterMASH occured during the filming of M*A*S*H. On set, Alda turned to Farr and asked, "Jeez, I wonder what happened to all those patients in post-op." A light bulb went off in Farr's head. "Of course, a veterans hospital! It’s never been done," he replied.

7. One idea was to have Potter and Klinger living together like 'The Odd Couple.'

Farr pushed the VA hospital idea hard, but the producers and network were not biting. Three M*A*S*H producers turned down the concept. “They felt it would be maudlin,” Farr explained. The suits were more interested in a premise that would see Potter and Klinger sharing a home. See, it could have been worse.

8. Barbara Townsend had already given up acting twice.

Townsend was cast to play Mildred Potter, wife of Sherman. The actress had a fascinating history. She gave up acting in 1938 to marry. Her husband died on the destroyer Champlin in the Atlantic during WWII. She returned to work in New York City with bit roles on radio and television, but quit the profession again in 1958 to marry a doctor. The couple moved to Kenya. Sadly, her second husband died 10 weeks after relocating. She remained in Africa for years. She was replaced in the second season of AfterMASH.

9. Martin Short won a role on the show — but the producers told him he was too good for it.

How's this for another fascinating "What if?" Series co-creator and writer Ken Levine shared this casting anecdote on his blog. Martin Short came in to read for AfterMASH. The comedian, naturally, blew everyone away. "We took him aside and said, 'Look, if you want the part, it’s yours. But honestly, this role might be too restrictive for you. You’re too talented and funny for this part,'" Levine admitted. Short passed and his character was eliminated. Funny enough, in 1999 the actor would poke fun at the show on The Martin Short Show. Ed Grimley says he never “got” M*A*S*H, but “AfterMASH is where it really started clicking for me.”

An Article from The New York Times



Larry Gelbart, the writer who shaped ''M*A*S*H'' into a prime-time television institution 11 years ago, is creating its successor, a new series for CBS next fall called ''Aftermash'' (''One word, no asterisks,'' he says).

Three familiar actors from ''M*A*S*H,'' Harry Morgan, who plays Col. Sherman Potter, Jamie Farr, who plays Corp. Maxwell Klinger, and William Christopher, who plays the Rev. John Mulcahy, will star in the new series, a comedy to be set in a stateside veterans' hospital after the Korean War.

Mr. Gelbart will develop the series, but he plans to write only the first three episodes. ''That's it,'' he whispers with finality. ''I haven't got the legs or the heart to do it entirely. My idea is to use the first three as a transition from what was to what will be.''

For the moment, though, Mr. Gelbart is trying very hard to avoid thinking about his new project, at least until its predecessor has its highly publicized send-off. ''M*A*S*H'' will end its popular run on CBS on Feb. 28 with a two-and-a-half-hour final show that industry experts are certain will rank among the most-watched shows in television history. Prosperity, California Style

''I have very mixed feelings. I am so filled with ambivalence, I don't want to take away from the passing of the show by talking about its next of kin,'' Mr. Gelbart said the other day in his spacious hotel suite during a visit to New York. Sitting sideways on a couch, his head propped on one hand, Mr. Gelbart offered a picture of casual prosperity, California style: muted plaid sport shirt, an even tan, gray-tinted glasses and a thin band of gold on his left wrist.

The 54-year-old Mr. Gelbart's decision to apply his comedy gift once again to television coincides with a triumph as a screenwriter. Together with Murray Schisgal, he has been nominated for an Academy Award for screenwriting for the acclaimed Dustin Hoffman comedy, ''Tootsie.'' Mr. Gelbart received an Oscar nomination once before, for his screenplay of ''Oh, God!'' He has also won television's Emmy award for ''M*A*S*H'' and Broadway's Tony Award for writing, with Burt Shevelove, the hit musical comedy ''A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.''

Although he has also been bruised in the competitive fray of primetime television - his ambitious adult comedy ''United States,'' failed almost instantly on NBC three years ago - Mr. Gelbart will not denigrate the medium for which he has worked on and off since 1948 - writing jokes for Bob Hope and manic days as a staff writer for Sid Caesar, before scoring on his own. Irreverence for TV

When he speaks of television, it is with the gentle irreverence that has become his trademark.

The idea for ''Aftermash,'' he explained, came from 20th Century-Fox, the producers of ''M*A*S*H.'' ''Fox had no creative ideas,'' he said, ''Just the usual greedy ones.'' Wary at first, Mr. Gelbart said he finally decided that a sequel series made sense.

''The challenge is all that interests me,'' he said. ''If I hadn't felt it was a good idea, I wouldn't have agreed to do it.'' What the series will not be, according to Mr. Gelbart, is a simple reprise of ''M*A*S*H,'' although beyond that assertion, he cannot say much. ''I have avoided thinking about it,'' he said. ''With me, a certain process, a marinating, takes place. On the surface I am avoiding thinking while I am doing another bunch of things.'' Movie Called 'Rio'

One of that bunch is a movie called ''Rio,'' starring Michael Caine and Joseph Bologna, which begins filming in Brazil next month. Mr. Gelbart wrote the script, and he is also serving as executive producer.

In approaching ''Aftermash,'' Mr. Gelbart is also hoping his distance from its predecessor will give him a fresh start. Mr. Gelbart left ''M*A*S*H'' after its 97th episode to try other projects, including ''Sly Fox,'' a successful Broadway adaptation of Ben Jonson's ''Volpone.'' He has had no involvement in the 153 episodes of ''M*A*S*H'' that followed his departure. '' 'M*A*SH*' ended for me in 1976. I have been in an airlock for seven years,'' he explained.

Nevertheless, Mr. Gelbart has faithfully kept track of the show. 'M*A*S*H' Became Sad

To Mr. Gelbart's eye, the ''M*A*S*H'' of recent years has differed slightly from the series he supervised like a possessive parent. ''The early episodes seemed to be the Marx Brothers superimposed on 'All Quiet on the Western Front,' '' he said. ''I wanted it to be more crazy than sad. Perhaps in later episodes it went in for sad. They suffered an inevitable fatigue.''

Mr. Gelbart is also trying not to let his experience with ''United States'' cloud his expectations or his ideas. ''Each time out, you have to regain your innocence, recapture your blind side and not expect anyone to knock you off your feet,'' he said

''United States'' was designed to be different. A slice-of-life view of marriage today, the show had neither laugh track nor theme music, and NBC's president at the time, Fred Silverman, gave Mr. Gelbart an unusually long time for television, more than a year, to write the first 22 scripts. Killing of 'United States'

But once the show was produced, Mr. Silverman effectively killed it by first offering it late in the evening and then moving it around the schedule several times before dropping it after the eighth episode. '' 'United States' wasn't scheduled at 10:30 accidentally,'' Mr. Silverman said in an interview afterward. ''We saw the first couple and said: 'Hey, wait a minute. It may advance the state of the medium but don't hold your breath about its commercial potential.' ''

Mr. Gelbart said he was disapppointed by NBC's treatment of ''United States.'' ''It was a form of rejection by scheduling,'' he said. ''They hated the show. They expected another 'M*A*S*H' but I never promised another 'M*A*S*H.' We never will know how it would have done if people had known it existed.''

Among other things, Mr. Gelbart has not decided whether he will try such departures as omitting the laugh track on ''Aftermash'' as he did in ''United States.''

''It might be its own kind of experiment,'' he said. ''You try to alter the form. I don't know what shape it will take. In a couple of weeks, I'll sit down and think what I think. I want to be the first to know myself.''

To watch some clips from AfterMASH go to

For the AfterMASH Page go to

For another page dedicated to AfterMASH go to

For another page dedicated to AfterMASH go to

For an article on the proposed Aftermash spin-off called Walter go to

For a 1983 People article on the creation of the series go to

For an article on AfterMASH go to

For some AfterMASH-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to

for 2 reviews of AfterMASH go to and

To watch the opening credits go to
Date: Fri March 17, 2017 � Filesize: 42.3kb, 74.4kbDimensions: 743 x 949 �
Keywords: The Cast of AfterMASH (Links Updated 7/13/18)


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