What is it?
Campbell, Kathy, ed. Hollywood Spotlight: The Ultimate Guide to M*A*S*H. Miami, FL: Centennial Media LLC, 2022.
Why should M*A*S*H fans care?
Since 2022 is the 50th anniversary of M*A*S*H, this is the second special edition magazine to be released honoring the series. It offers a thorough overview of the series and it is a great way introduce someone to the show.
As a M*A*S*H fan, what part(s) should I read?
All of it! All 98 pages of it!
Of the two magazines released for the 50th anniversary of M*A*S*H (so far), this is the better one. It offers more of an overview of the series by providing season summaries and highlighting favorite episodes. While the Life magazine has great articles with interesting insights, this issue feels more like M*A*S*H and is a great way to introduce someone to the series or just remind yourself why you love the show so much!
A few months ago, I reviewed the Life magazine that was released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of M*A*S*H. Earlier this month, I went to my local bookstore and was pleasantly surprised to see this magazine on the rack! I picked up several copies, and decided to make it one of my August posts since this issue is on newsstands now. The most obvious question is, how different is this magazine from the one released by Life? After reading it, I can say that it is completely different, and in fact, I prefer this magazine over the other. But before I discuss how I came to that conclusion, let’s see what makes this magazine special.
The Life magazine consisted of long form articles about M*A*S*H, the actors, and its legacy. It felt like a typical Life magazine with well written articles. It is not that The Ultimate Guide to M*A*S*H doesn’t have good articles, it does, but it feels like it was written for fans. The articles are far more approachable, scattered throughout the issue, and they cover some great topics. The first article in the magazine celebrates the 50th anniversary and serves as an introduction. Then, an article reviews how M*A*S*H began by discussing the novel, Robert Altman film, and the adaptation to television. There are two articles that discuss how the show’s creators used actual Korean War veterans’ stories to craft scripts and ensure that the series honored those who served in the war. Finally, an article towards the end discusses the legacy of the series and why it is still relevant 50 years later. Each article is well written and are well worth the time.
Characters and Actors
One area where this magazine and the Life magazine are equally matched is with the information they provide about the characters and actors in the series. Both spend a fair amount of time discussing the key members of the cast. But The Ultimate Guide to M*A*S*H takes things a step further. There are some features in this magazine that I really enjoyed such as the best and worst romances, the actors who served in the military, guest stars, the best lines from the series, and a where are they now article that also includes an in memoriam for those actors who have passed away. This magazine really does a great job of honoring the characters of the series and the actors who played them.
Information about the series itself is where The Ultimate Guide to M*A*S*H shines above Life. This magazine includes season summaries for all eleven seasons. There are great photos/screenshots throughout as well. In addition, for each season, a selection of favorite episodes are picked out and briefly summarized. I really like this because if you are introducing someone to M*A*S*H, this list of best episodes is great to provide as recommended episodes to watch before they dive in and start from episode one! There is also a great article about life on the set and some behind the scenes information and stories. Finally, the issue concludes with some M*A*S*H trivia that includes fun information. For example, the trivia page points out that Jamie Farr wasn’t the only cast member to wear a dress in the series. Gary Burghoff wears a dress when he played Radar’s mother!
I really liked the Life magazine that was (re)released earlier this year, but I think The Ultimate Guide to M*A*S*H is a better product over all. It provides more information about the series and what makes M*A*S*H special. The photos are great, the articles are fun and concise, and it was just a joy to read. The Life magazine is a great, in-depth look at M*A*S*H that has a more serious tone. But The Ultimate Guide to M*A*S*H is just fun, and I highly recommend picking it up before it leaves newsstands in October 2022!