The final M*A*S*H episode filmed paid off a joke they set up 255 episodes early

The very first scene has a joke that only makes sense in the last thing they shot.

Read to Me

Everyone knows the M*A*S*H finale, "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen," because seemingly everyone in America was watching it when it aired on February 28, 1983. Okay, well, it wasn't everybody, but it was about three out of four TV sets in the United States, making it the most-watched episode in television history. Still.

But for the cast and crew of M*A*S*H, "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" was not adieu. They filmed one more episode after that, "As Time Goes By." It just so happened to air the week prior.

It was a fitting script for the actors to finish their long run. In the final scene, the 4077th puts together and buries a time capsule. It's an emotional moment, heightened by the fact that the actors hardly had to pretend — this would be the last time they all worked together on the show. 

Hawkeye and the gang go through the items in the time capsule.

There's something even more brilliant about the time capsule scene you might have missed. Pay attention to what Margaret says. We captioned a bit of it in the top image.

"When somebody opens this up in a hundred years…" she says. Does that ring a bell?

Think back to the beginning of the series. The very, very beginning. The opening shot of the pilot episode, simply titled "Pilot." Trapper and Hawkeye golf. As Trapper tees off, text appears on the screen:

Korea, 1950 — a hundred years ago

A hundred years! Exactly when the time capsule was set to be opened.

That means, in a way, that the entire M*A*S*H series was someone uncovering the trials, tears, tricks and tribulations of the 4077th a century later. The show is something that has been dug up in the year 2050!

Did you ever wonder why they made that joke about "a hundred years ago"? Did the writers know they were going to end it with a time capsule scene 11 years later? Talk about brilliant plotting!

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Hawkeye21 7 hours ago
The real joke is from the character of physiatrist Sidney Freedman and in his last scene when he repeats what he said from his very first show appearance “pull down your pants and slide on the ice....”
BennAllen 25 days ago
While we're trying to make a big deal out of coincidences, I'd like to point out the very first spoken word on "M*A*S*H" was "Fore!" The very last word, in "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" was "What?"
Tacomafuji 29 days ago
Final episode ? I was waiting for that final episode, but never happened, it started from season1, episode 1 all over again!? What happened to the final episode.
BennAllen 29 days ago
Trouble is, as a rule, "M*A*S*H" almost never referenced previous episodes. Winchester touching his nose, Trapper, Henry and Radar leaving Korea were among the rare times the show did bring up events from previous episodes. Generally, each ep was self-contained, happening in a sort of vacuum. That kind of continuity just wasn't part of the series' DNA.
F5Twitster 29 days ago
Well, in 1950 nobody knew that today, only seventy years later, the little village of Uijeongbu, where the series was set, would have grown into a major South Korean city, meaning that that time capsule likely would be buried deep under a parking lot or high-rise and unlikely to ever see the light of day again.
Maggie5127 30 days ago
How does an article like this get published here when the following is documented all over the internet?
“... “Korea, 1950. A hundred years ago.” You are taking literally something meant as satire. Larry Gelbart — who wrote the episode — said ‘I wrote the line to indicate how long ago the Korean War seemed in the minds of the American public.’ He is not stating the viewer is in 2050.”
F5Twitster Maggie5127 29 days ago
You're assuming that the people in charge of this website know how to write, and know what they're writing about -- which they prove every day they don't.
Pacificsun 1 month ago


For MASH fans, this is a good read:

"Due to the amount of time required for postproduction, the two-hour finale was shot the summer before the premiere of the shortened last season. The real last episode shot was "As Time Goes By." Hundreds of journalists and photographers from around the world waited outside stage 9 to capture the moment."

Source: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/features/mash-oral-history-untold-stories-one-tvs-important-shows-1086322
lucy 1 month ago
LovE Mash reruns I get tears along smiles 💋 just seeing what I missed by not watching this show when I was younger , LovE and miss these heroes i ♥️♥️♥️ Of Mash 4077
dontoverthinkit 1 month ago
"A hundred years! Exactly when the time capsule was set to be opened."

Ummm... no. You're trying to match up two events from two different ends of the MASH timeline: The pilot which states is set in 1950 and the end of the war, in 1953. When Margaret says "...100 years from now..." that means the time capsule would be opened in 2053, not 2050.

So for this supposed "set up" of the entire show being found in a time capsule, Margaret would either have had to say, "...97 years from now...", or the caption in the pilot would have had to say "Korea - 1950, 103 years ago." Neither of which makes any sense.
Wiseguy 1 month ago
"But for the cast and crew of M*A*S*H, "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" was not adieu. They filmed one more episode after that, "As Time Goes By." It just so happened to air the week prior."

This doesn't make sense. The production code for "Goodbye" is 9B04. "As Time Goes By" has a production code of 9B10*. That means five episodes were filmed between "Goodbye" and "Time." The only way what is written in the article could be true is if they continued to film "Goodbye" while filming those five episodes. And even if that's true only short scenes would have been filmed in case a scene had to be re-filmed. In any case, I've never heard that happened. You can't say "As Time Goes By" was filmed right after "Goodbye."

*Note: Only ten episodes including the finale were filmed that season. The rest were holdovers from the previous season.
Pacificsun Wiseguy 1 month ago
😉 This link might help answer your question.
https://www.mash4077tv.com/episodes/list-production/
Pacificsun 1 month ago
Now that it was pointed out to us ... yes ... the Pilot did indeed begin with Korea 100 hundred years ago. Truly weird. But then we've gone over all that down below. Wow those characters sure did look young in the Pilot!
Wilbur88 1 month ago
Loretta Swit wore he pants so tight you could see her "Hot Lips".
TimHarper Wilbur88 21 days ago
Naughty Naughty!
JHP 1 month ago
one of my fav funniest scenes was Henry - shaking the stove pipe and getting a face full of soot- but it came back to Hawkeye in the Edwina Ep
MaliGesmundo 1 month ago
Hi Metv - Please advise - What do I click on to view late evening schedule starting at 1:00am Weeknights: and Saturdays and Sundays after 10:00;m?
Pacificsun MaliGesmundo 1 month ago
Just printout the PDF schedule under the Schedule tab (instead of stories and quizzes).
DougG43240 1 month ago
MeTV usually has interesting nuggets of trivia like the series "Salvage 1" starring Andy Griffith in which he played a junk dealer retrieving junk from outer space to re-sell on Earth. Had it not been for this website, I probably would never have known about it.

But this post is a stretch. The Pilot episode of M*A*S*H was written by Larry Gelbart who co-created the series with Gene Reynolds but Gelbart left M*A*S*H after the 5th season. "As Time Goes By" was written by Thad Mumford and Dan Wilcox who joined the M*A*S*H writing staff at the beginning of Season 8.

Larry Gelbart was a brilliant writer and I seriously doubt that when he left, he left behind instructions for a joke about the Korean War being 100 years ago to be used in some episode in the future to written by writers who aren't on staff yet.
DougG43240 DougG43240 1 month ago
CORRECTION: Larry Gelbart left after the 4th season. It was Gene Reynolds who left after the 5th Season of M*A*S*H. Considering how much M*A*S*H trivia I know, you'd think I would have gotten that one right the first time around :-)
Wilbur88 DougG43240 1 month ago
Yeah! What the Hells wrong with you! That's why the 5th season was the last of the best seasons.
F5Twitster DougG43240 29 days ago
Gelbart may not have "left instructions," but a series like this has a strong insitutional memory, and someone who had worked with Gelbart, or had been on the show at the time likely remembered that the series began with this title-over and thought that the series might be able to reference it in its final episode. From there the writing staff and producers would then have discussed the matter and developed an episode structured around it.
Wilbur88 1 month ago
M*A*S*H is my favorite TV show of all time. I saw every first run episode no matter where I was.
Wilbur88 1 month ago
Makes Sense!
Wiseguy Wilbur88 1 month ago
Not really. Just a coincidence. The hundred-years reference in the pilot meant that even in 1972 it seemed like so long ago, like a hundred years. And a hundred years is a typical length of time to wait before digging up a time capsule.
Pacificsun 1 month ago
The MASH production team had no need to setup a (so-called) elaborate “joke” for the sake of its own contrivance. Although it's a very interesting topic for MeTV to throw out there. First of all it’s too complicated to be effective as any "joke." But it does set the mood of nostalgia (or intention) for the entire series. Meaning that the (Police Action) of Korean war was relevant to the generations who had gone through many wars, and would most deeply understand those complicated emotions. Particularly a war coming so close right after WWII. And for whatever the purpose of that “Police Action” was, the focus of MASH was on the insanity of death and suffering in trying to settle disputes … in the absence of diplomacy. (Look how much effort was spent on the episode which focused on an attempted (but failed) diplomatic attempt, as in the amount of deep frustration it caused Hawkeye). That … was really the point of MASH. Human suffering due to failure of human beings who are oblivious to the waste war creates from casualties and injuries. It was meant to examine (and I’m not judging here) what’s the real point. How much is war worth the sacrifices made.

Now (by Network standards) MASH would never be allowed if it straight-up (was perceived) to make any political statement. In those decades, Networks kept a tight rein on the broadcast of “political opinions.” (Look at what happened to the Smothers Brothers). By making the series an ultimate flashback, simply added more distance, for the purpose of suggesting an objective reflection. And to escape from making a concrete statement about more contemporary issues of the day. In other words, the MASH production was suggesting a “period piece” by using the statement “Korea, a hundred years ago.”

Perhaps not so effectively however, because of under-calculating how astute viewer/fans really are and were. But the only thing the MASH team really cared about was getting that show on the air!
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