Press Pass 10: Season 1 Promo Images

This is a bonus post this week to make up for the July 4th holiday.

As we approach the fiftieth anniversary of the M*A*S*H pilot episode, I started looking through my collection of press releases and press photos to see if I had anything from season one. Materials from the first season are very hard to find because the series was not as popular, so much of the early material was likely thrown away. The press packets and photo sets that I have for later seasons may not have existed in 1972! But in my search, I did find a set of images previewing M*A*S*H.

In the days before social media, local newspapers and television stations were the only way networks had to preview their fall lineup. A new series was a big deal in 1972 because there were only three major networks: ABC, CBS, and NBC. Cable television and streaming services were still decades away. The three networks competed for the same, nationwide audience nightly. In July 1972, CBS began the press push for their fall lineup, including our favorite show. M*A*S*H aired on Sunday nights at 8pm ET its first season, and they wanted to get as much hype for it as possible since the Robert Altman film had been successful. One way that CBS previewed M*A*S*H was with a series of black and white photos of the cast from the series.

I am not sure how many photos would have been circulated in 1972, but I have nine photos in my collection, and they are all dated July 21, 1972. This was roughly two months before M*A*S*H premiered in September. Each photograph has a document attached to the back with the basic information: the name of the actor, the name of the series, when the series would air, and some even have a brief description. The descriptions are short and sweet, and often provide no more information than the character name. These are a fascinating pieces of early M*A*S*H history as the photos show characters and actors that the public had yet to meet. I find it hard to imagine a world before M*A*S*H, but these photos are from that world and introduced M*A*S*H to the television audience.

One thought on “Press Pass 10: Season 1 Promo Images

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: