Back when TV shows like M*A*S*H, Cheers, Hill Street Blues, and other beloved hits of the 1970s and '80s first aired, fans didn't have the Internet to connect them to the latest news and tidbits about actors, their lives, and behind-the-scenes insider information. Some gossip still made its way around, but there was no way of knowing all of the fun secrets, inside jokes and hidden details behind favorite TV shows.
It's fun to revisit some of the shows of yesteryear and discover just what was going on during filming, what the series was actually based on and other fun hidden facts about the programs.
10 There's A Book
Hornberger, who was described as a good surgeon with a sense of humor, worked in a VA hospital following the war before opening his own practice. He wrote his novel in 1956.
9 The Writers Had Secrets
Speaking of writing, M*A*S*H also had an incredible pilot episode turnaround. The entire script was completed in just three days by writer Larry Gelbart. Another weird detail: when cast members complained about the script too much, writers changed the script to make actors wear parkas, pretending it was cold weather, when it was 90 to 100 degrees on set.
8 Laugh Tracks Were Quiet On Purpose
As a compromise, CBS not only muted the laughs during the operating scenes, but also lowered the volume of the laughter throughout the series, making it less raucous than the normal canned laughs of a comedic series. It was a decent agreement to help relieve the tension of the show during its more dramatic moments.
7 Lots Of Future Stars Made Appearances
One of the most beloved actors of the '80s, Patrick Swayze, was even on the show. He played a soldier who not only suffered an injury but also had leukemia.
6 The Time Capsule's Fate Wasn't Very Exciting
Once the land was sold, the time capsule was discovered only months after the series ended, which likely affected its relevance to the construction worker who found it and asked what to do with it. At least it wasn't destroyed, as many time capsules unfortunately are.
5 Alan Alda Made History With The Show
From his memoirs to his involvement in kids' science events, hosting Scientific American Frontiers to winning multiple Emmys, Golden Globe Awards, and other forms of recognition, Alda has remained a popular actor throughout his lifetime. He has most recently appeared on Ray Donovan, The Longest Ride, The Blacklist, and Horace and Pete. He's also been on 30 Rock, The West Wing, ER, The Big C and made guest appearances on many other shows.
4 Patriotism Was Enforced
There were plenty of other details that were either omitted, changed or exaggerated as well, including the length of the war. The Korean War lasted under four years, yet the show itself ran for 11 years.
3 It Had The Most-Watched Episode In The History Of American TV
The episode, “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen," was two and a half hours long and viewed by a whopping 77% of the people watching TV that night, or 121.6 million people. No matter who pitches a TV show today, most writers and producers couldn't dream of hitting those numbers.
2 Some Actors Were Soldiers
Other actors from the TV show served in additional branches of the military. Wayne Rogers, who portrayed Trapper John McIntyre, was in the U.S. Navy, and Mike Farrell, who played B.J. Hunnicut, served in the Marine Corps.
1 Klinger Was Cast For A Single Episode
Imagine what M*A*S*H would have been like without Jamie Farr's character! It's unfortunate that the role was swapped for a heterosexual man who only cross-dressed to attempt to get out of the war, as the character was supposed to have been gay, which would have been some much-needed representation on television in the 1970s and '80s. Audiences still looked forward to seeing which outfit Klinger would wear next and what stunts he'd pull to attempt getting discharged.