‘M*A*S*H’: One Christmas Detail Was One of Show’s Major Inaccuracies

by Megan Molseed

From 1972 until 1983, M*A*S*H aired weekly on CBS. The popular sitcom follows members of the 4077 United States Army Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M*A*S*H). The show coincided with the Vietnam war much of the time it was on the air; however, M*A*S*H’s plot centered around the medical unit’s time in Korea during the conflict that lasted from 1950 until 1953.

Of course, with M*A*S*H’s eleven-year run, much of the timeline became blurred on the show over time. This, of course, was necessary. As the overall story being told in M*A*S*H’s eleven-year run, in reality, took place in just a three-year time period.

It was because of this that, for many years, each M*A*S*H episode served as a sort of stand-alone in relation to the entire Korean conflict.

The topic may have been relevant to the time, but the events had a much more general way about them.

‘M*A*S*H’ May Have Been Topical, But The Timeline Was Off

However, there are some very specific instances in the series that have come to light regarding the M*A*S*H 4077’s timeline while in Korea. Versus what actually would have occurred.

Most specifically, in the number of Christmases, the 4077 celebrated during the series’s run.

The Korean conflict took place from June 1950 through July 1953. This is when the armistice was signed officially ending the conflict.

This means that the doctors and nurses of the M*A*S*H 4077 were only stationed in Korea for a total of three Christmases.

However, during the series, the characters portraying the members of the M*A*S*H 4077 celebrated a total of four Christmases. Hardly accurate. A point that begins to unravel some big timeline questions over the series’s time on television.

M*A*S*H may not have been right on top of it when working through the Christmas timelines. However, there is little doubt that the show has gone on to become one of the greatest of all time.

Of course, at the time the show was developed, the cast of M*A*S*H had no way of knowing that it would become one of the most iconic television comedies/dramedies of all time.

The Cast Knew There Was Something Special

However, one M*A*S*H star notes, the actors did recognize a certain amount of greatness in the show from day one.

“I don’t think you ever realize that,” said M*A*S*H star Loretta Swit about whether or not she knew the show would go on to be one of the greatest.

“But I will say that while we were shooting, even from the very beginning, we were aware of how very special it was,” Swit continues.

Swit, who portrayed the M*A*S*H 4077 head nurse Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in the popular show went on to say that part of what makes the show so great is the wonderful cast, and crew behind the series.

For Swit, part of what made M*A*S*H great was the “symbiosis, the camaraderie, the love and respect we had for each other.”

Swit adds that the cast is “blessed with those gifted writers.”

“You had to know that this was going to be an incredible experience,” the actress notes of M*A*S*H.

“That it turned into a phenomenon – no,” Swit notes. “There’s no way we could have predicted that.”