October 1, 2012

mish MASH

When I was a kid we didn't watch a lot of TV. My brothers and I were outside kids, playing sports and hanging out with our friends. But after dinner and homework we did fit a show or two in before bed time. And back in the day (I'm dating myself here) there were some shows that in my opinion were real  family shows worth watching.

Oh how I miss the traditional variety show, do you remember them? Many a night we sat in the living room with my Nana and parents and watched Rowan and Martins Laugh In, Sonny and Cher Show, The Flip Wilson Show, The Smothers Brothers and of course the Ed Sullivan Show.

Who can forget Artie Johnson saying "veeery interesting but shtupid " as he poked his head out of the bushes, and Sonny and Cher singing and doing those corny skits. I think Geraldine might have been the first time I ever saw a man look good in a dress but somehow Flip Wilson pulled it off.  And how cute were those Smothers brothers? Do you remember how much they hated Nixon? I do believe it was during that time I had my first crush; it was a rodent and his name was Topogigio. I remember my Nana would be extra happy when and episode of Ed Sullivan had that cute mouse.

So why am I taking this walk down memory lane? Well I'll tell ya,  Bill, Matthew and I went down to the Ashville NC area to meet up with some cousins to attend a concert at a the Pisgah Beer Brewery. The bands were amazing but I'll write about that in another post. We stayed at a really nice place called the Monte Vista Hotel. It was a really laid back restored older building that really had more of a B&B or and Inn vibe, very nice place.

Mike Altman
song writer (lyrics)

When we were checking out Sunday there was a man playing the piano in the lobby which was a warm and cozy area filled with sofa's and art pieces placed in front of huge windows and a huge stone porch. I couldn't help but say aloud "I know that song!" Clearly it was the theme song from one of my all time favorite TV shows when I was growing up, MASH . The piano player looked up and said casually do you know the lyrics? Quickly my cousins and I tried to string together the chores for that familiar tune.

I'm not sure if you're a MASH fan but Robert Altman was the director and he was a very famous director who was nominated seven time for Academy Awards. As it turns out his son Mike Altman was only 14 at the time wrote the lyrics for MASH theme song back in 1970 (Suicide Is Painless). And here he was playing around on the piano in the lobby of our hotel. (he was also a guest ) So I snapped this picture with his permission. Have you ever really listened to the lyrics? Pretty heavy stuff that MASH theme was.

I thought about Mr Altman and MASH during my five hour drive home I came to the conclusion that so much of the stuff on TV today is crap; pardon my French. I can't think of many shows that I really like truth be told. I envy what his experience must have been being connected to such a television icon. I have never met a person who didn't like this show...

Today's shows don't seem to contain the quality of the older shows which seemed to always contain thoughtful life lessons  big and small . And in doing so they were always able to entertain us at the same time. And who can forget those snappy tunes that started our favorite regular shows.  Really folks, there's nothing like those old theme songs, like Hogans Hero's and Andy Griffith Show to name a few other popular tunes like the MASH tune.

As I become older I've become more nostalgic for the memories of my childhood and I can connect happily to some of these shows and music. Do you have favorite TV show when you were a kid growing up?

What show was it and did it have a theme song?


  1. Jen, what a great post! I LOVED MASH!! I think I watched every episode. It was so far ahead (in a good way) of itself. It and others made us 'think', as you said.
    Today the shows are are almost made to to 'dumb us down' and stay down. So commercial and airy-fairy with no meat on the bones! I think you get what I am saying.
    We both sang along to this song.
    I sure remember Laugh-In....never missed it on Mondays nights and talked all about it the next day at school!

  2. Loved Mash, Andy and Lassie and so many more. Seems like anything I like nowadays gets cancelled. People just don't seem to want good family shows that portray good moral character. (like Little House and The Waltons) My ringtone for my sister is the whistling from Andy. (a little inside joke there)

  3. I'm sorry, I hated Mash. But I grew up watching TGIFridays with Full House, etc. But I agree, the shows now need more.

    1. No need to apologize, to each his own right? My kids liked to watch Full House too, very cute show I agree.

  4. This did bring back so many memories. I remember the excitement we would have as kids wondering what would be on the Magic World of Disney on Sunday nights when I was growing up. I have to admit, I did like the Monkees, LOL, and the Brady Bunch among so many other shows. I do agree with your thought about TV shows these days. That's why I guess I spend so much time on the computer blogging (although I have to say when I'm at the gym and Keeping Up with the Kardashians is on, I've been known to take a peek or two or three at them.....)


  5. Great post - just the trip back to the past - I LOVED MASH - it was always so important to see, such tenderness at times and yet such humor as well. I remember the last episode Feb 28, 1985 - notable b/c it was my husband's birthday and I was 8 months pregnant - I remember how important it was to be home that evening at 9:00 to watch it - no dvr's at that time.
    I seldom watch tv now - it is, as you say, mostly garbage. There are a few shows that have caught my attention (generally on the recommendation of one of my adult children) and I will Netflix them and watch the whole season - Boston Legal, Six Feet Under, Parenthood for example - but most of the weekly stuff is really fluff and , yes, stupid.
    Laugh IN was phenomenal - such a break through for TV -- and the Smothers Brothers? awesome and courageous comedians - taking on the CBS network as they did.
    Saturday nights were sacred at my house - ALl in the Family , followed by Mary Tyler Moore SHow - but ALl in the Family was both insightful and funny - stirred up a lot of conversation in my working class home --
    I don't know of anything like A in the F or MASH from when my own children were growing up --
    and I loved hearing the words again to the theme song - yes, heavy words for a show that dealt with real stuff.
    Thank you so much for posting!

  6. That is so cool that you got to meet him! I watched MASH with my brothers and loved it. There really is crap on TV now. Although, I do like Hawaii Five-O and NCIS L. A.

    Still reeling over the fact he wrote that at 14. Amazing.

  7. Well I have to tell you I hated the show Mash. My parents evening line up was Mash, Hogan's Heroes and Star Trek. At some point the evening news was a part of that and it all seemed so dreadfully boring. But I do love music and would also have recognized the Mash theme song and appreciated it. I loved Taxi back in the day and the theme song by Bob James was one of the first CDs I bought for my jazz collection when CDs came out.

  8. That is awesome! What are the chances. I do agree that tv nowadays is nothing like it used to be.
    I was hooked on the Cosby show :)

    1. Good show I agree. Although I didn't get to see every episode when the show came out, I did see them in re-runs.

  9. Awesome post!!

    I never ever knew the words to the theme song for MASH--you're right, pretty heavy. Actually it would probably be banned on today's standards.

    But you got me thinking and I remember really loving the Mary Tyler Moore show.

    thanks for the great little trip down "Memory Lane"

  10. I knew the chorus but not to much more...
    We watched Mary too, her and Rhoda working single woman back in the day; very progressive stuff come to think of it.

  11. I don't remember if I had a favorite show, but I remember tons of lyrics and melodies from shows in the 60s and 70s, not to mention commercial jingles.
    I miss that catchy music that used to introduce TV shows, like the theme from Mission Impossible or Hawaii 5 O


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