This kiss between Hawkeye and Margaret Houlihan was worth half a million dollars

It wasn't the first time the characters who frequently butted heads locked lips, but it was the most lucrative!

When the two-part M*A*S*H episode "Comrades in Arms" originally aired in 1977, newspapers teased the episode with a photo of Hawkeye and Margaret Houlihan in each other’s arms, seemingly about to kiss.

In interviews, Margaret actor Loretta Swit has said that the decision to have her character end up romantically linked with Hawkeye was not one that producers rushed or took lightly.

Instead, they knew there would need to be a proper build before fans would accept the two characters who frequently butted heads would naturally lock lips.

On this M*A*S*H fan site, this first kiss in "Comrades in Arms" is counted by one fan as a most memorable moment from the show, but cited more frequently in the same post, many fans recall a different kiss between these characters that happened much later in the series — in the finale.

In "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen," Hawkeye and Margaret share a goodbye kiss that isn’t fleeting, but seems to last forever.

If you were to time the kiss, you would see it lasts exactly 34.8 seconds.

Because the M*A*S*H finale was basically as big an event as the Super Bowl that year, the network charged advertisers $45,000 for a 30-second commercial to air and thus have dubbed the kiss at the episode’s end "the most expensive kiss in TV history."

In the book The Last Days of M*A*S*H, it’s estimated the finale kiss was worth $522,000.

That’s half a million dollars the studio earned because Swit and Alan Alda made viewers’ hearts throb one last time before the show ended!

Arguably that long kiss goodbye was made possible because of the chemistry established in "Comrades in Arms." In 2000, the Chicago Tribune listed Hawkeye and Margaret’s first kiss among “famous first kisses.”

Which kiss do you think was more significant for Hawkeye and Margaret on the show, their first or their last?

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thurmond51 23 days ago
I'love Mash, I saw the movie I
in 1970.I wached the show on TV until it went off the air and enjoy the reruns now.
Ft
WGH 27 days ago
Sally Kellerman was so much funnier. They destroyed the Loretta Swit version of Hot Lips by making her more and more of a feminist. They barely even called her Hot Lips in the last half of the series.
F5Twitster 1 month ago
"Because the 'M*A*S*H' finale was basically as big an event as the Super Bowl that year, the network charged advertisers $45,000 for a 30-second commercial to air and thus have dubbed the kiss at the episode’s end 'the most expensive kiss in TV history.'

"In the book The Last Days of M*A*S*H, it’s estimated the finale kiss was worth $522,000.

"That’s half a million dollars the studio earned because Swit and Alan Alda made viewers’ hearts throb one last time before the show ended!"

None of this makes any sense. The hour-and-fifty-nine-minute movie was shown in a two-and-a-half-hour time slot, meaning that thirty-one minutes of advertising were sold. At $45,000 per half-minute, that adds up to $2,790,000, total. That means that the 34.8-second kiss was actually worth $52,200 in revenues.

And it wasn't the studio that earned that income, but CBS, which paid 20th Century-Fox a flat fee to air the movie, probably a total of three times. Fox retains the rights to the film, as they do to the whole series, and makes money over and above what CBS paid them by licensing it to various cable outlets.
AnnieM 1 month ago
'Comrades In Arms' is one of those TV events that has really stayed with me all these years, since it inspired the most 'watercooler talk' I can remember from all my years in grade school - several days worth. Odd that it would be something like that, but, it was what it was. 🤷‍♂️
CoreyC 1 month ago
Hawkeye and Hot Lips kissed a lot of times. The final kiss was more personal between Alan and Loretta since they were in every season.
stephaniestavr5 1 month ago
What's a "Margaret actor?!?!":
Lol maybe just Margaret or Loretta Swit, technically just Loretta Swit would be proper.
country46 1 month ago
the first kiss was the best by the way I would kiss her for ten dollars
Pacificsun 1 month ago
Knowing this bit of background, selling TV "space" to buyers, per incident changes a lot of things. And (IMO) compromises the natural direction of storylines. No lie, the producers were thinking about revenue in trying to justify the emotion. And didn't it happen while both characters were under direct fire, in pure danger of their life? The question becomes, was that genuine emotion or comfort built out of desperation. We might as well start looking at other examples. Like did "Diane" jilt Sam because doing so increased the interest of the story arc? And why Rebecca never really filled the bill afterwards. I mean we could go over countless series, considering the example brought up through this story. Which I've never actually heard before.
Jimo 1 month ago
Great Kiss 'nuff said lip locked.
stephaniestavr5 Jimo 1 month ago
Don't you mean "Hot Lips locked?"
A Houlihan kissing a Mohican! What a scandal that caused! Why some folk may consider this more scandalous than anything that happened on Peyton Place!
profbalipp 1 month ago
Wasn't there a Hawkeye/Margaret kiss in "Dear Dad" before Hawkeye goes to the front dressed as Santa? Short, sweet, & enough to upset Frank Burns.
CoreyC profbalipp 1 month ago
Yes and when the nurses was sent to another location for their safety.
Andybandit 1 month ago
I wish Margaret and Hawkeye would have been a couple. It would have been cool.
nd1irish Andybandit 1 month ago
Hot Lips screamed too much. No wonder Donald Penobscott divorced her. Yikes. His poor ears 😂
Runeshaper 1 month ago
WOW! That really was what some would refer to as a "priceless" kiss! LOL
WordsmithWorks 1 month ago
The kiss in "Comrades in Arms" was largely driven by their circumstances, whereas the one in the finale was the release of pent up emotions and realizing they'll never see each other again. I think the latter was more significant and meaningful.

I'm glad the writers never got Hawkeye and Margaret together for a long period of time. That would have been a colossal mistake.
LoveMETV22 1 month ago
What about the kiss between Henry Blake and Margaret on Henry's departure from M*A*S*H.
Season 3- Abyssinia Henry. Granted it's not the last episode, but wonder how much it was worth LoL
I liked that one too.
Zip LoveMETV22 1 month ago
That's the one I thought of too while reading this article. And I think Hawkeye had a hand in that as well, since he whispered the suggestion to kiss Margaret to Henry, and Henry replies, "Yeah, why not?!"
Or was that Trapper who suggested it?
Unfortunately, for Henry, Margaret's kiss would fall under the category: "Kiss Of Death." Who knows....Maybe if Margaret hadn't kissed Henry, he might not have died. I know the plane crashed...but the kiss was obviously, {IMHO} bad luck for Henry. At least he died having kissed a woman. Too bad it wasn't Lorraine.
CoreyC LoveMETV22 1 month ago
Loretta and McClean was close friends.
I would have to agree. Liked both McLean Stevenson as well as Harry Morgan. Good episodes with both CO's.
WGH LoveMETV22 27 days ago
Don't get me started. I loved Harry Morgan in Dragnet and other appearances, but he was the exact wrong actor for MASH. AND I never did like how they wrote The Colonel Potter character.
LoveMETV22 WGH 27 days ago
Everyone has their likes. I guess there's no reason to start. I thought he did well on M*A*S*H. He was very understated on Dragnet opposite Jack Webb.
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