‘M*A*S*H’: One Star Explained How Show Wasn’t Supposed to Succeed, Put Up Against ‘Big Success’

by Keeli Parkey
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When working on a new television show actors must have to feel hopeful that the show will succeed. They can also feel worried that it will be a flop. For Alan Alda, one of the stars of “M*A*S*H”, he was leaning more toward the show being a flop.

The famous Capt. Benjamin Franklin ‘Hawkeye’ Pierce actor talked about his expectations for the popular sitcom during a 2007 interview with PopEntertainment.com.

“Well, I didn’t expect ‘M*A*S*H’ to be the success it was,” Alda said. “I don’t think anyone did. I know the studio didn’t.”

According to Alda’s comments, one reason he expected “M*A*S*H” to fail was that the studio behind the show really didn’t put a lot of effort into making it succeed. In fact, the studio had more interest in another show that featured a very famous movie star.

That star was Yul Brynner and his show was “Anna and the King,” according to Alda. It was Brynner’s show that took priority and got to shoot on the biggest set. “M*A*S*H”, however, was forced to film on a much smaller set.

Alan Alda Recalled How Studio Dealt with Filming ‘M*A*S*H’ Early On

In the decades after “M*A*S*H” ended, Alan Alda never forgot what it was like in the early days of filming the show.

“In the same season, they started us, and Yul Brynner in (‘Anna and the King’), which they knew would be a big success,” Alda reportedly told PopEntertainment.com. “(They) put it in their biggest soundstage and put us on their smallest sound stage. We needed a lot of room. We had an indoor, outdoor set. (M*A*S*H) should have been on a stage three times the size of the one we were on.”

Interestingly, Brynner’s show didn’t last long at all. According to Alda, that show didn’t even last one season.

“(M*A*S*H) ran longer than ‘Anna and the King’ – poor Yul Brynner’s show is off by the end of the first season,” Alda said during that 2007 interview.

“M*A*S*H” first aired in 1972 and followed the men and women who served in the Korean War at a United States Army hospital. Its long television run continued for 11 years. Its final episode aired in 1983. In fact, that final episode was a huge success as approximately 125 million people tuned in to watch it. The episode also became the top-rated show in the history of American television, according to IMDb.com.

Appearing on “M*A*S*H” helped propel Alan Alda to a very successful career in Hollywood. After the show ended its 11-year run, he went on to act in several movies and television shows and even write a few books.

In addition to “M*A*S*H”, Alda’s acting credits include “Flirting with Disaster,” “Manhattan Murder Mystery,” “The Aviator,” “What Women Want,” and “The West Wing.”

His book titles include “Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself” and “Never Have Your Dog Stuffed: And Other Things I’ve Learned.”

Outsider.com