The Camp


Introduction

Episodes of M*A*S*H were filmed at two locations. There was the enormous outdoor set, originally built for the MASH film, located at the former Fox Ranch at the Malibu Creek State Park in California, and an indoor sound stage at the 20th Century Fox studios (specifically, Stage 9). Believe it or not, some outdoor scenes that were actually filmed at the Stage 9 sound stage, with large painted backdrops simulating the mountainous skyline of the outdoor set. Fans have long loved to argue about the layout of the 4077th, particular the details of how so many rooms could fit into the hospital building and how the interior sets matched the exterior of the building on the outdoor set.

Stage 9 Sound Stage - From Making M*A*S*H
Stage 9 Sound Stage – From “Making M*A*S*H”

Some sets and locations only appeared a handful of times, like the kitchen or the minefield. I believe the camp library only showed in “M*A*S*H – The Pilot” during Hawkeye’s pursuit of Lieutenant Dish. Most scenes took place in only a handful sets: the Swamp, the O.R., post-op, the company clerk’s office, the commanding officer’s office and the mess tent.

Here are some of the best shots of the outdoor set:

Henry, Please Come Home
“Henry, Please Come Home”
Private Charles Lamb
“Private Charles Lamb”
Commander Pierce
“Commander Pierce”
Point of View
“Point of View”
Point of View
“Point of View”
Point of View
“Point of View”
Point of View
“Point of View”

Maps

A number of maps of the 4077th have been drawn over the years, including one published in the February 28th, 1983 issue of Newsweek, which celebrated the series finale of M*A*S*H:

Map of the 4077th
Map of the 4077th; click for a larger version
Copyright © Newsweek, 1983 [1]

There was also a hand-drawn map reproduced in the official souvenir booklet for the 1984 “Binding Up the Wounds” exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History:

Map of the 4077th; click for a larger version
Copyright © Smithsonian Institution, 1984 [2]

In 2007, talented M*A*S*H fan Jim Stevenson created a set of four maps/layouts. Two were of the outdoor set, one as it appeared in the M-A-S-H and another as it looked in the series. The third was a map of the Stage 9 layout and the fourth a map of the interior of the hospital building as seen on Stage 9. Jim graciously has allowed me to post these here:

Malibu Creek State Park Exterior Set (Movie Configuration)
Malibu Creek State Park Exterior Set (Movie Configuration); click for a larger version
Copyright © Jim Stevenson
Malibu Creek State Park Exterior Set (Series Configuration)
Malibu Creek State Park Exterior Set (Series Configuration); click for a larger version
Copyright © Jim Stevenson
Camp Layout - Stage 9
Camp Layout – Stage 9; click for a larger version
Copyright © Jim Stevenson
Hospital Internal Layout - Stage 9
Hospital Internal Layout – Stage 9; click for a larger version
Copyright © Jim Stevenson

Tents/Buildings

Here’s a look at the bulk of the buildings and tents seen in M*A*S*H:

The Swamp

Ah, the Swamp. Home to the surgeons of the 4077th, this tent was one of the cornerstones of the camp. When the series began, the Swamp bunked four surgeons: Hawkeye, Trapper, Frank and Spearchucker. After Spearchucker was written out of the series, only three surgeons were typically bunking in the Swamp. B.J. moved in when Trapper left and Charles when Frank left. Several times the screen walls were torn down or run through and the tent entirely collapsed on occasion.

The Swamp The Swamp
Left: Outside the Swamp, from “Temporary Duty”; Right: Inside the Swamp, from “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”
The Operating Room (O.R.)

The O.R. was where the action happened, where the doctors and nurses of the 4077th performed meatball surgery in a desperate attempt to save lives. Wounded soldiers (and at times civilians) were brought in on stretchers and placed on one of several operating tables along the center of the room. Powerful lamps overhead — when working — illuminated the broken and battered bodies of the wounded and allowed the doctors to see what they were stitching together.

The O.R. The O.R.
Left: “Movie Tonight;” Right: “O.R.”
The Post-Op Ward

After surgery, patients were brought to the post-op ward to recover. A long room with beds on each side, it was staffed by nurses and a doctor on duty round the clock.

Post-Op Ward Post-Op Ward
Left: “They Call The Wind Korea;” Right: “Sometimes You Hear The bullet”
The Pre-Op Ward

While waiting for an operating table to open up in the O.R., the wounded were kept in the pre-op ward. Occasionally they never made it into surgery.

240 240
Right: Outside the pre-op ward, from “Images;” Left: Inside the pre-op ward, from “In Love and War”
Commanding Officer’s Office

Originally Henry’s office, and later Potter’s, the commanding officer’s office (what a name) is where all manner of important paperwork is signed and important calls are made. Generals and colonels are brought to the C.O.’s office to meet the man in charge of the 4077th. There is also a cabinet full of booze, under lock and key, plenty of file cabinets, a big ole desk and when Potter was there, plenty of paintings on the walls.

Commanding Officer's Office
“Dear Dad, Again”
Camp Office

The managerial center of the 4077th, the camp office was the only connection to the outside world via the telephone. Run by the company clerk (first Radar and then Klinger) the office received the mail, housed the P.A. system and kept an assortment of military and medical records. It was also where the company clerk bunked. It is connected to the commanding officer’s office and the post-op ward.

Camp Office Camp Office
Left: “Life with Father;” Right: “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”
Officers’ (And Enlisted) Club

The Officers’ Club was donated to the 4077th after Hawkeye and Trapper operated on and saved the life of a general’s son (in “Officers Only“). Initially, it was reserved just for officers but Hawkeye and Trapper managed to throw open the doors to the club for the whole camp. In addition to a bar, the club holds a piano, several tables, a pinball machine and a jukebox.

Officers' Club Officers' Club
Left: “Bottle Fatigue;” Right: “Officers Only”
Mess Tent

The mess tent was the main congregating area of the 4077th, large enough to comfortably hold the entire population of the camp (supposedly). Although primarily a dining hall, the mess tent was also used as a chapel (where Margaret was married), a movie theater, a bowling alley and an all-purpose party area.

Mess Tent Mess Tent
Left: “The Smell of Music;” Right: “Movie Tonight”
Kitchen

Rarely seen, the kitchen is most likely connected to the mess tent in some fashion. Food — or what passed for food at the 4077th — was prepared at the kitchen and served to the camp at the mess tent. Lots of large pots and pans and bowls and ladles.

Kitchen Kitchen
Left: “The Party;” Right: “The Life You Save”
Scrub Room

Prior to entering the O.R. every doctor would methodically scrub their hands and arms before donning gloves, masks and the rest of their surgical garb. Located adjacent to the O.R., the scrub room had two large sinks, hooks on the walls for uniforms and various medical supplies.

Scrub Room Scrub Room
Left: “O.R.;” Right: “Officers Only”
Commanding Officer’s Quarters

The commanding officer of the 4077th (first Colonel Blake and then Colonel Potter) needed his own private quarters where he could get away from the troubles of command and, in Henry’s case, occasionally entertain a pretty nurse for an evening.

Commanding Officer's Quarters
“Divided We Stand”
Margaret’s Quarters

As head nurse, Margaret was afforded her own tent, which was good, because it gave her and Frank a chance to be alone. On the door was a sign with her name and the phrase “KNOCK BEFORE ENTERING.”

Margaret's Quarters Margaret's Quarters
Left: “Movie Tonight;” Right: “Bottoms Up”
Father Mulcahy’s Quarters

Father Mulcahy, in his role as the camp’s priest, needed a place where he could talk one-on-one with troubled souls. His door was always open and anyone in need of counseling was free to drop by, anytime. The sign on the door was shown both above and below the screen window, depending on the episode.

Father Mulcahy's Quarters Father Mulcahy's Quarters
Left: “Life with Father;” Right: “The Army-Navy Game”
Klinger’s Quarters

Why Klinger would be fortunate enough to have his own tent is a mystery — but plenty of episodes showed him in his own quarters. Maybe nobody else would bunk with him. In any case, Klinger’s quarters were full of his dresses, a sewing machine and other assorted Klinger oddities.

Klinger's Quarters
“Deluge”
The Camp Library

Only seen in “M*A*S*H – The Pilot,” the camp library was, as the name suggests, a tent housing a variety of books for use by the members of the 4077th.

The Camp Library
“M*A*S*H — The Pilot”
X-Ray Room

Whenever a broken bone or misplaced shrapnel was suspected, wounded were rushed to the x-ray room for a dose of radiation. Often Klinger could be seen rushing into the O.R. with a freshly developed x-ray of a patient currently being operated on.

X-Ray Room X-Ray Room
Left: “Love Story;” Right: “Officers Only”
Nurses Quarters

Only four occupied this tent at any given time — and there were more than four nurses on staff at the 4077th. So where do they bunk?

Nurses Quarters Nurses Quarters
Left: “Hot Lips is Back in Town;” Right: “Who Knew?”
Supply Tent

Sometimes a tent, sometimes a hut, this was supposed to be nothing more than storage but it was often used as a private place for a date. Trapper and Margaret were once trapped inside while the camp was being shelled.

Supply Tent Supply Tent
Left: “Wheelers and Dealers;” Right: “Bombed”
Ladies Showers

It seems unlikely that the 4077th would have two shower tents, so odds are when the ladies wanted their turn in the showers they simply put up a sign to keep all the men out — except the ones they wanted inside.

Ladies Showers Ladies Showers
Left: “Requiem for a Lightweight”; Right: “Divided We Stand”
Camp Showers

Despite the fact that early episodes showed the nurses having their own “Ladies Showers” (see above), later episodes saw a single set of showers with marked times for “Males” and “Nurses.”

Camp Showers
“Deluge”
Latrines

The camp latrines were a dangerous place to visit — over the years they were blown up, dragged away and run over by a tank. All in all, not the safest building in the compound.

Latrines Latrines
Left: “The Sniper;” Right: “The Light That Failed”
V.I.P.’s Quarters

Very Important Persons visiting the 4077th were often bunked in the V.I.P.’s quarters so they could have a little privacy.

V.I.P. Quarters
“Operation Noselift”
Motor Pool

The motor pool: where the jeeps and ambulances are kept — and taken apart and put back together — when not in use. During the last four seasons or so, Rizzo was in charge of the motor pool.

The Motor Pool The Motor Pool
Left: “Wheelers and Dealers;” Right: “The Life You Save”
Animal Hutch

Radar kept a menagerie of little critters on camp, including rabbits and guinea pigs, all housed at the camp’s animal hutch.

Animal Hutch
“They Call The Wind Korea”
Bulletin Board

Located outside the camp office, the bulletin board was used to announce movie screenings, post important happenings, and even by Hawkeye to get a date. And, for some reason, ladies underthings were often pinned to it.

Bulletin Board Bulletin Board
Left: “Taking the Fifth;” Right: “The Sniper”
Garbage Dump/Trash Depot

A camp the size of the 4077th generates an awful lot of trash and not all of it can be dropped on annoying colonels. The rest of it has to go somewhere and that somewhere is either the trash dump or the garbage depot, depending on the episode.

Trash Dump Garbage Depot
Left: The trash dump, from “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen;” Right: The garbage depot from “The Life You Save”
The Minefield

Supposedly in place to protect the 4077th from attack (one would think), the minefield caused more than its fair share of problems. In “Kim,” a young Korean boy wandered into the minefield and when Trapper ran after him, they both had to be saved by a chopper. Still, Hawkeye was known to bring a pretty nurse to the minefield for a date — it was, after all, a very isolated place.

The Minefield The Minefield
Left: “Kim;” Right: “M*A*S*H — The Pilot”
Chopper Pad

There are actually two chopper pads, one upper and one lower, both located on a hill near the rest of the compound. Doctors, nurses, orderlies and corpsman would quickly bring the wounded to surgery, via jeeps and ambulances. The chopper pad was also the scene of several farewells: its where Henry was last seen alive, where Margaret left for her honeymoon, and where Hawkeye said his final farewell to B.J. and the 4077th at the end of the war.

Chopper Pad Chopper Pad
Left: “Out of Sight, Out of Mind;” Right: “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”
Rosie’s Bar

Although technically not part of the camp proper, Rosie’s Bar was heavily frequented by members of the 4077th, visiting soldiers, and recovering wounded.

Rosie's Bar
“A Night at Rosie’s”
Image Credits:
1 Scanned from the February 28th, 1983 issue of Newsweek (Page 47).
2 Scanned from the “M*A*S*H — Binding Up the Wounds” booklet.


Published May 28th, 2002
Last updated February 22nd, 2017

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