Here's an inside peek at how they filmed the M*A*S*H finale
The finale that we know and love had quite a journey getting there.
The ending of M*A*S*H was a conclusion that was eleven years in the making, even more, if you include the film as part of the journey. Because of that, it was obvious that the show's final act would be a labor of love from everyone involved.
However, nobody seemed to realize just how much labor would be involved when they began production on the M*A*S*H finale.
According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, over half of the M*A*S*H finale had finished production when the trouble began. Brush fires destroyed the ranch area where many outdoor scenes were filmed, forcing the crew to pause production. After that, David Ogden Stiers became ill, causing him to miss four weeks of work in order to recover.
After all of those hardships, you might have thought that the M*A*S*H team was out of the woods. You would be wrong. Apparently, after that, filming Los Angeles outdoor scenes was impossible to shoot as rains and floods raged the area.
Apparently, a spokesperson for 20th Century Fox Television said, "We really think that maybe somebody upstairs is trying to tell us something." However, the team was determined. The spokesman continued, "As long as the rains don't start up again, our plan is to go back to the ranch this week and film the remaining portions of the two-hour special."
Some might argue that this 20th Century Fox spokesman may have a point and that these deterrents were really just interventions from a universe begging the series not to come to a close. However, Burt Metcalfe, executive producer of the series, cleared out any lasting wishes with some good old-fashioned logic.
He explained, "We've been on the air almost four times longer than the Korean War later. And when you consider that we've done 24 or 25 shows a year with two or three storylines in each script - that's a terrific strain on the writers. Now's the time to close it out, while we're still attaining quality every week."