In 1980, author David S. Reiss released the book M*A*S*H: The Exclusive, Inside Story of T.V.’s Most Popular Show. It appears to have been successful (I have two copies of the 1980 edition, a first edition and a fourth printing), but in early 1983, it was incomplete. When M*A*S*H ended, the original book was several seasons behind. So, it was time for an update, and in April 1983, The Bobbs-Merrill Company did just that. They released an expanded edition of the 1980 book to include material from the last several seasons and the record breaking series finale. This book was announced with this press release. Let’s take a look!
There isn’t a date on this press release, but it does provide the release date of the book itself, April 15, 1983. For $9.95, M*A*S*H fans could pick up a book that contained behind the scenes stories, cast and crew interviews, 150 photos, episode summaries, and much more. It was a good deal! The book even included a forward by Alan Alda. What I find interesting, however, is that it was being advertised in this release as a new book despite it actually being an expanded version of the 1980 edition. I do appreciate that they updated the book with information from the final seasons. And the timing of the release could not have been better! The book came out less than three months after the series ended and just a few months before the Smithsonian Institute M*A*S*H exhibit began that summer.
This press release is an ad for the book, for sure, but it is a great piece of M*A*S*H history as this one of the few authorized M*A*S*H books from that era. This was undoubtedly an effort to cash in on the successful finale, but I really appreciate that the publisher allowed the author to expand the book so it was complete for fans. M*A*S*H: The Exclusive, Inside Story of T.V.’s Most Popular Show has become a cornerstone of M*A*S*H collections, and it is great to see how its important revision in 1983 was announced. Next week, we will take a look at the book itself, but in the meantime, read the full press release below.