‘M*A*S*H’: Story Behind the ‘Most Expensive Kiss in TV History’

by Michael Freeman
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There’s a number of kisses in television history that are notable to this day, such as Kirk and Uhura’s kiss in Star Trek. Nonetheless, a certain one on M*A*S*H remains the most expensive on TV.

As it turns out, the kiss between Hawkeye and Margaret Houlihan on M*A*S*H is the “most expensive” one on television. It isn’t their first kiss though, it’s the one that debuted on the series finale, “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen.” MeTV reports the kiss was worth more than half a million dollars. To be specific, its estimated value is $522,000.

Where does this number come from? The kiss reportedly lasts 34.8 seconds in the episode. Because the series finale was a huge event on par with the Super Bowl, the network charged a whopping $45,000 for a 30-second commercial. As such, the kiss is frequently dubbed “the most expensive in TV history.”

Not only was the kiss significant because it was the end of the show, but Hawkeye and Houlihan spent the entire series building a rapport with one another. Their first kiss was actually in the episode “Comrades in Arms,” which debuted in 1977. This choice between the characters wasn’t something the writers and producers did lightly.

Hawkeye and Houlihan frequently fought with one another and had an interesting dynamic, so producers wanted to slowly build to them kissing. Many outlets, such as the Chicago Tribune actually note their first kiss to be among the best “famous first kisses.”

Nonetheless, both kisses remain monumental today, regardless of how expensive they were.

‘M*A*S*H’ Actress Loretta Swit Said the Show’s Cast Knew How Special it Was

It’s easy for us to look back at shows like M*A*S*H and see how impactful they were, but another for the cast to all know it while filming it. According to Loretta Swit, that appeared to be the case when the show was still airing.

Speaking to Fox News about M*A*S*H, the Margaret Houlihan actress said the cast knew the show was special but weren’t aware it’d be a classic. Swit told the outlet “I don’t think you ever realize that,” concerning them knowing it would remain influential today.

However, she added “But I will say that while we were shooting, even from the very beginning, we were aware of how very special it was. The symbiosis, the camaraderie, the love and respect we had for each other. And the material, to be blessed with those gifted writers, starting of course with Larry Gelbart. So you had to know that this was going to be an incredible experience. That it turned into a phenomenon – no. There’s no way we could have predicted that.”

Telling the news outlet they were basically a giant family, it’s no wonder Swit knew how great the show was.

Outsider.com