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

69 Comments

  • Deborah says:

    Good morning, Brenda,

    Hope you’re doing well.

    We hiked there on Friday, February 27. It was a 2.5 mile hike to the site. It took us 1 hour, 9 minutes to get there from the main entrance. There’s no other way that I can see, except to walk. At the beginning of the hike, the trail is definitely wide enough for a vehicle. But, it gradually gets to a point where there’s almost no trail, barely wide enough for one’s foot.

    Your question, was exact my question about the cast, crew and equipment, as we were hiking. I can’t imagine forcing everyone to walk over an hour to get to the set and back, every time. And, think of all the cameras, lighting, sound equipment, food, etc. My husband wondered if they helicoptered everyone and everything in.

    • Steve K. says:

      You can also mtn bike to the site as well as hike. We do it all the time.

      As far as getting crew and equipment there when they did the show, if you go the back way, there is a gate and fire road from one of the neighborhood streets. My guess is, that was they way they got in and out everyday to work on the show.

    • pete kalkbrenner says:

      As seen in the movie where Hawkeye and Duke drive the stolen jeep to the mash unit mess hall the “trail” was actually a full size road. This was the original entrance to the set. All transport vehicles, water trucks, prop vehicles were stored on a side road past the “showers” of the original movie also used as the motor pool in the t.v. show. I do not think the road was reclaimed by nature, I believe it was bulldozed when it became a park to stop the vehicle access.

  • jeff says:

    The only way to reach the MASH site is by foot.
    The trail is very narrow the last half mile as it runs along Malibu Creek.

  • Kate says:

    Thank you for the wonderful post. Your work was appreciated. Planning to hike to the site this weekend!

  • Mike McGaw says:

    This is a great site. One day I hope to make the trip to the film site. I have been thinking that I might build a Diaorama of the set. Anyway I wish I could find a site map of the Hogan’s Heros film set. Well to all, Cheers

  • Dave minkler says:

    loved mash it was great I liked it with maclaen Stevenson it wasrea
    y crazy

  • Chris Collier says:

    Just an auusie who loves the show. Can anyone update on the purchasing of MASH memrablia for my Mancave here in Brisbane.Aus

    • Deanna Dickey says:

      We have a local store in town that is a army navy surplus and has been here for over 100years.
      Victories surplus in Vallejo California
      They have all kinds of army stuff from Vietnam and Korean era and all latest wars.

      • Laryssa says:

        Remember that a lot of props seen were also WWII surplus or holdovers. Such as the phones they used. So don’t limit yourself to just the Korean War era and beyond when looking for surplus and collectibles/equipment used on the show. I personally own a phone set and it’s quite fun and awesome.

    • Matt says:

      Hi I’m from brisbane to and 2016 my wife and I hiked in to the site got some good pics , l gess if you want any mamribilia , there are a lot of surpluses stores in California , we recommend the hike not in summer, if so take water and some thing to swim in , we stopped at a little dam by the trail , well worth it

  • K. Roger says:

    I have looked though several resources and still can’t figure out where are all the non-coms quaters are. Where did Igor, Rizzo, Zale sleep?

  • Pony R Horton says:

    I went for a hike out to the old Malibu Creek location, and something strange happened.

    Luckily, I got it on video…

    https://vimeo.com/123698247

    • BRETT says:

      Your video was fantastic!!

      • Shelia says:

        AWESOME!!!! I watch M*A*S*H just about every evening on MEtv (cable). I get a whole hour of one of my favorite shows!!!
        I remember watching the series finale my senior year of high school. I cried!!!!!

  • Andy ATichenor says:

    Perhaps a poll on our favorite episode(s) from earlier seasons, featuring Col. Blake, Frank, Trapper etc. Potter, Charles and B.J. had their moments I agree, but no where near as good as earlier seasons… Great show, and great site! Thank you for all the work you put into it!

  • Robert elee says:

    Hi how are you? My question is, is there a current exhibit of the original swamp tent today that I can visit, thanks rob

  • Steve Sayer says:

    We did this walk in January 2014. It was well worth the effort and great to actually stand under the sigh post with the mileage to all the major cities. Had a great time. The walk took just over an hour there and an hour back and was not hard, the track did get a little narrow in places but was fine. If you are a fan of the show, I would recommend doing this.

    • Philip Atock says:

      Hi. Is there anyway for a disabled person to get to the site? We’re planning a trip from England & would love to see it. Many thanks

  • june ahern says:

    Thankyou so very much for the interesting stories on visits to the film set, comments and pictures. Would like more.
    June, Qld Australia

  • tony john says:

    Rosie’s has been torn…

    As of November 2015

    Tony John
    CPT, MS

  • Jake says:

    When know that the nurses had their own tent as did the head nurse, the commanding officer and the doctors and the priest, but where did all the other males of the camp sleep, the cook, Rizzo etc.

  • Jake says:

    Sorry I meant to say “We” not “When”

  • John Bailey says:

    I’m watching the re-runs of Mash 4077 on FOX COMEDY here in our mountain retreat in Poland………it’s really rather addictive….a great show with so many one-liners for Alan Alda…….the humour never seems to date…

    • Deanna Dickey says:

      Entire Mash on Netflix.

      • Ed says:

        Unfortunately, Netflix pulled it off on April 1st (presumably a licensing issue). Hopefully it will return soon, otherwise I’m going to wear out my DVD’s!

      • Big Bad Bobby says:

        I’ve watched MASH over and over thinking I have seen every episode, but now and again one seems to pop up that I can’t really remember if I have seen it or not, but I still watch it

  • Lisa says:

    I am wondering if someone can let me know, is the signpost still up? Thinking of making a trip out there, but if it’s gone, it’s kind of pointless for me and would be a huge waste of money.

    • Ed says:

      Lisa, My daughter and I were there on Friday. The sign was there (it’s missing “Boston” at the very top), and as far as I can determine, it’s there all of the time. However, it is planted in a receptacle to make it easy to remove (such as at night or on the weekdays). You may wish to call the park service and find out for certain.

    • Ashley says:

      It was there when I hiked out on the 21st! 🙂

      There were actually a surprising number of people hiking in and through, possibly because it was a Saturday. If you’re looking to go with less of a crowd or get photos without other people in them, during the week may be your best bet.

  • jay says:

    Is there a list or place where you can buy original MASH memorabilia that is not a “knock Off”… Or does anyone who what items were made and how to tell if it is real or not? I recently seen a towel on ebay, never seen one before and many other items but don’t want to waste the money on a reproduction or unauthorized merchandise

  • Rick says:

    Not sure if it is possible but why doesn’t some entrepreneur rebuild the site, charge a fee, feed the crew (visitors) with the less than standard food to get a feel for the place?

  • Rob Goodell says:

    Everyone,

    I have been a M*A*S*H fanatic since childhood and have been able to visit the outdoor filming site twice. After reading through the many questions on this and other sites, I wanted to share with you some very interesting facts I learned.

    First for those of you who do not know where the site is use any mapping program to navigate to Latitude: 34° 5’47.64″N, Longitude: 118°44’40.76″W

    When looking around you will find that sure enough the site is nestled in the hills of what was the 20th Century Fox Ranch and is now known as the Malibu State Park. From the west access to the site is a hike but from the east the site is accessible by vehicle via crags road. Portions of this road are still paved but not only would you need a 4 wheel drive vehicle to overcome the rocky washed out areas, but also permission from the state park as the road is gated and padlocked.

    Once filming ended the site was pretty much abandoned and only through the efforts of a group known as the Malibu Creek Docents has the site been slowly uncovered. For more information please got to http://www.malibucreekstatepark.org/MASH.html

    Regarding the previous comment from “Rick” regarding rebuilding the site, some things I learned about the site are:

    It is now a California state park versus privately owned land which hinders any development.

    The site was once Agoura indian property which also hinders development.

    Being a state park, the hiking traffic is ENORMOUS (i’m serious) and people who pass through that park do not understand or even know about the site and as a result, things are consistently found damaged or stolen (such as the “Boston” off of the privately donated signpost. Even a simple selfy stick mounted to a steel pole got busted. I have been brainstorming for a couple years now with one of the key docents as to other ways to restore the site.

    It all comes down to volunteer time and money. Mr. Brian Rooney has really been spearheading the project and donates the proceeds of his book sales http://www.r7media.com/3MM.html toward site restoration.

    Brian is currently thinking of how to restore the stairs to the chopper pad but the $30,000 price tag is a challenge.

    My visit to the site was a bucket list item and I cannot thank Brian enough for making it possible. I have tried over the past couple of years to arrange for corporate sponsorship or donations but have been unsuccessful. Does anyone have a rich uncle who is a M*A*S*H fan or can someone start a go fund me site for him?

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  • Paul Smith (57) says:

    Yeah to me MASH would have to be one of the best tv shows of all time. I watch the re runs at present on channel 1 here in Perth (think I have all of the seasons on DVD) and still get emotional about many of the episodes. I grew up watching the series during my high school years in the 70’s and I can remember rushing home from school for 5.30 when it would start. I love all of the characters and I know some of them are no longer with us which is sad in itself. I’ve always thought of MASH as one big family and a family that come into my lounge room most afternoons. My wife and I are going to California in late 2018 and planning on hiking into the old MASH set off Malibu Canyon Road during this trip. I know it will be very emotional for me, but I can’t wait to get there. It will be a dream come true.

  • Brian says:

    Just a couple of notes on some the inaccuracies of some of the comments:
    First off, you don’t have to hike all of the way from the entrance to the park. The Cistern Trail, which has it’s trail-head on Mulholland Hwy (on the north side), will get you down to Crags Road in less than half the time it takes to hike from the entrance. Secondly, you can also walk in from the west on Crags Road (enter from Malibu proper). This is the road that the docents use to access the MASH site on a daily basis (there were two cars there on the day I went). For those of you with limited accessibility, you may want to ask the docent group if they would give you a ride down there. It is fully accessible to vehicle traffic if you have the key to the gate.

    • Paul Smith says:

      Hi Brian, Thank you for that. Yeah I’ve been looking at Google and have noticed the access road to the site from Crags Road, but I was concerned that the local residents there may get upset with people parking near their homes etc. Were you there recently and can you park near that gate I saw. The docents are the rangers that frequent the area? Thanks for the tip. I take it you live in LA or in that area. I am from Australia. Still watch MASH and still love it. Thanks again, Regards, Paul

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