Pilot Script: The Place

Larry Gelbart’s script for “M*A*S*H — The Pilot” (titled simply “Pilot”) included the following brief description of the 4077th:

THE PLACE

The river valley in which the 4077th MASH is situated is almost surrounded by mountains. The components of the post are spread out in a rough horseshoe with a large compound of level ground in the middle.

At the nearest end of the horseshoe is the main Hospital Building made of wood with a tin roof marked by a large Red cross; everything else is made of canvas.

To the left of the main building are strung out: the Admitting War, Laboratory, Dental Clinic, Mess Hall, PX, Shower Tent, Barber’s Tent and the Enlisted Men’s Tents. On the right side are the Post-Op Ward, Officers’ Tents, Nurses’ Tents, Korean Domestics’ Tents and, finally, the Officer’s Club.

There are two wooden, painted signs driven into the ground that we see from time to time. The first reads:

“THIS IS WHERE IT IS –
PARALLEL 38″

The second larger sign has multiple, hand-carved plaques that point in various directions and give the mileage to such diverse places as TOKYO, SEOUL, INDIANAPOLIS, SAN FRANCISCO, DEATH VALLEY, CONEY ISLAND, etc.

As far as I can recall, this first sign referencing the 38th Parallel is not seen in the pilot episode (or any episode, for that matter). Was it seen in MASH the film?

Source:
Gelbart, Larry. “Pilot.” Revised Final Draft. M*A*S*H. 8 Dec. 1971.

Leave a Comment