This month, several posts will relate to final days of filming the series in January 1983. We continue this week by looking at the press release following the press conference after the final scenes were filmed.
UPDATE (April 10, 2022): See the comments below from Alan Sivell. He attended the press conference in 1983, and offers some quotes from David Ogden Stiers. I am not sure if my press packet is incomplete or whether 20th Century Fox Television never released Stiers’ comments.
As we saw last week, the final episode filmed was “As Time Goes By.” There were 400 members of the press on Stage 9 as our favorite characters buried a time capsule. All of the primary actors were on set as the final scenes came together. After the final take wrapped, the press gathered with the cast and crew for a press conference where the actors gave their thoughts on the series coming to an end after eleven years. Those taking part in the press conference were Alan Alda, Mike Farrell, Harry Morgan, Loretta Swit, David Ogden Stiers, Jamie Farr, and William Christopher. Executive producer Burt Metcalfe was also present at the press conference.
Twentieth Century Fox sent out a 15-page summary of the quotes following the press conference. Even as words on a page, the emotion is real. The actors were coming to terms with M*A*S*H ending. Coming to terms with not seeing their fellow cast members and crew…their friends, day after day. Rather than writing a long post about about what was said, I have embedded a PDF copy of all 15 pages below. I encourage everyone to read the words as they are heartfelt and demonstrate how the cast and crew felt about each other and us, the audience. I’ll wrap the post with a quote from William Christopher, who I think summarized working on the M*A*S*H set the best:
“There’s something very different about working on M*A*S*H. Something very special that has happened because of all this long, long life we’ve had together—welding together as a family. We feel something special for every member of the crew, even the new ones, because they have joined our crew. It’s for the most part a feeling of continuity, although from the beginning, I think it was a happy set. Of course to have done it year after year, there’s a lot of love.”
Read the full 15-page press release below.