There was a bounty on the M*A*S*H finale script
Place your bets on how high the bidding went.
In 1982, the biggest story of the television season was the final episode of M*A*S*H. It was arguably the most successful show in television history, and much has been written about the historical finale. Facts and figures abound in much of the hindsight reflection, but little that's discussed can capture the monumental magnitude of "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen." It broke records, sure, but it also very delicately landed M*A*S*H, providing a satisfying ending to one of the most consistent shows of all time.
Fan anticipation (fanticipation, anyone?) was reaching a fever pitch. The M*A*S*H finale was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime TV movie, and the entire culture seemingly held its breath to see how it all would play out. M*A*S*H didn't pull any punches. Characters had died in the past. Relationships came and went. So, what was going to happen?
Apparently, some people were willing to put their money where their... curiosity was.
"The going rate for a script of the movie is $35,000," M*A*S*H star Loretta Swit told Field News Service in 1982. She would know. Swit was personally approached about leaking the much sought-after finale script to the press.
Of all the likely culprits, the offender might seem a little bit too obvious. Apparently, The National Enquirer was the publication most directly tied to soliciting script leaks in the run-up to M*A*S*H's finale. You can picture it sitting in the check-out lane, right next to the chewing gum: "M*A*S*H finale: Revealed!"
Luckily for television fans everywhere, Swit didn't sell. She wouldn't even discuss the episode's details in interviews. The story stayed under wraps and aired as intended.
Swit and everyone else involved revealed just one key piece of information: The M*A*S*H finale was worthy of the show's legacy.