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

77 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    Great article. I always found rather strange that there were only a few tents for so much personnel.

  • Tim Foust says:

    There were two chopper pads. Upper and Lower. In many of the P.A. announcements he would say something like all medical teams to the upper and lower chopper pads. Klinger has had one tent mate, in the episode Major Topper. Its funny that in all the aireal views they never show the enlisted tents. As many people they had in this MASH there should have been a couple of GP Larges that housed the enlisted personels.

  • MASHGuy says:

    They really did a good job with the camp set. Great show!

  • Tim Foust says:

    In The episode Big Mac they did show some of a map of the camp. They showed a stream that runs behind the camp.

    • Dan says:

      They showed the lower pad one time i think its when the wounded soldier was saved by his companion the german sheperd corporal cupcake. I cant think of the name of the episode though.

  • Chuck says:

    My family and I were out west. Being a fan of the show, I couldn’t pass up a chance to see the actual place where the show was filmed. I got some great pictures of the area (Malibu Creek State Park). There’s not much there now except some rusted out vehicles, but the surrounding landscape will look really familiar to folks who love the show. It’s a hike to get there, but I would recommend it to just about anyone.

  • Mike says:

    The outdoor set for the show was actually a modified (and simplified) version of the original movie set. Look closely at the overhead shot up top (which was actually re-used footage from the movie) and you can see additional tents to the left, hidden under camouflage netting.

  • Chuck says:

    Where’s the laundry tent?

  • There’s a great photo of the Stage 9 set in The Complete Book of M*A*S*H, similar to the Making M*A*S*H photo, only with a wider range.

    You know what I’ve wondered though? What was the point of having a barber tent in camp? Any time we see one of the characters getting a haircut, one of the other characters does it in any other tent… for example, Trapper’s given Hawkeye a haircut, and Hawkeye’s given Trapper a haircut, both in the Swamp; Klinger’s given Potter a haircut in his tent; Margaret’s given Frank a shampoo and a scalp massage in her tent; etc.

  • Tuttle says:

    The maps made me realize something – where does everyone outside of the main cast and the nurses sleep? We never did see where Igor, Zale, Rizzo, etc. had their quarters.

  • Chuck says:

    Go to the link below. It takes you to a list of Fox Soundstages. If you hover over 9, it shows MASH as a recent project. If you click the 9, then it takes you to an actual map of soundstage 9. Another piece of MASH history.

    http://www.foxstudios.com/stages__exteriors/sound_stages.html

  • Rick Simeone says:

    In the opening scenes, with the helicopters coming in, there is a mountain in the background. On this mountain appears to be a building that looks like a Spanish Mission. The mountain is shaped like a double upside down small and large v, like this vV only upside down and the small v is the mission.

    This no longer appears in the area photos today, perhaps destroyed in the big fire they had in the area around the end of the series being filmed. I would like to know more of this mission, if it is information that is available. You can see it well if you stop motion the opening film.

    THis has bugged me for years…… Anyone know the answer?

    Thanks,
    Rick Simeone

  • Carol says:

    in (either Catch 22 or MASH), there was a bomb hanging above the door of a tent that said (Officer’s Club? NCO Club? Mess Tent?). Does anyone remember this?

  • Steve says:

    Has anyone notice that in the episode “Dear Dad” (S1, E12,) that Hawkeye, while describing the MASH, he mentions triage and then goes on to explain to his Dad what triage is. Later on it is revealed that Hawkeye’s Dad is too a physician. With this being said, being a physician, he Dad should know very well what triage is. Of course I am sure the writers put this description in for the audience who may not be familiar with triage.

    • Pat says:

      It may well have been a case of “depending on the writer” or “early-in-the-series continuity hiccup.” Remember that Hawkeye also had at least one sister and his mom was still alive in the earliest episodes, before the writers settled on making Hawk an only child and Ben Pierce, Sr. a widower.

      • Pat says:

        Oops forgot to finish my reply… :rollseyes:.. It may well have been at the beginning the writers hadn’t yet settled on what profession Pierce, Sr. was in, and so the assumption may have been that he was not a doctor, until a later writing staff put in an unintentional retcon.

  • Driftwood says:

    I want to thank you for this sit. I use Mash as a relaxation “medicine” when I can’t relax from the stress. It has helped me from many difficult moments in the 15 years of hell after many mistakes and abuse under cancer treatments and post cancer treatments. With out Mash I wonder if at times I could have survived so long. The injuries that have been caused because of incopentence and abuse have caused 2nd and 3rd degree radiation burn damage that will probably never heal before I die so I will be seeing many more hours of Mash to help me coupe with the pain and fighting to stay alive. So your site has given me one more means to help in my fight!!! Thanks

  • Christy says:

    I wish we had more clear photos of Rosie’s bar! I’m looking at maybe rebuilding the bar from that or the one for the officers club.. Great blog post. I might have to borrow that picture at the end at Rosies..

    @ Steve yeah I have noticed a couple things like that in MASH sadly. Like how it said Hawkeye had sibling like a sister I think and later he’s an old child. I didnt pick on the Dad being a physician ..My only thought is that maybe his dad didn’t know if it was set up differently at MASH units who knows.. but I did think his Dad had another job that was talked about or hinted at.

  • Jason Roberts says:

    It would be great if enough private funding was gathered to do a summer camp at the original spot where the camp was set up. Fans could sign up to either help build a temporary camp site in the late spring then in the summer fans could dress up as characters from the show and rent a tent for a week. Then they could take pictures…hike…play games…at night watch the movie and episodes in the mess tent like the actors did in the real 4077th mess tent. Then rotate in new fans the next week. Then at the end of summer break it down and store it for the next summer. I imagine there will be some land work needed. I’m sure its over grown since the show. Even get some period vehicles and paint them. Or close to similar looking anyway. With the huge fan base I’m sure it could raise enough money to sustain it and pay for the storage of the equipment when not in use. How about getting one of the actors from the series to be there at the first day to bless it ( Father Mulcahy). I would sign up every year!

  • Has anyone noticed this: there’s apparently a camp barber, considering there’s a barber tent in camp, yet whenever one of the characters gets a haircut, it’s another character doing it, and in their own tent? Hawkeye and Trapper have given each other haircuts in the Swamp, and likewise, Klinger once gave Potter a haircut in his tent.

  • Patrick says:

    My issue is, the company clerks office where radar sleeps and the co’s office is always the same, with the post op beside radar’s bed, regardless of the layout of the camp. The only way it makes sense is with the stage 9 set.
    I can’t seem to find a layout that matches that pattern in the Malibu Creek State Park Exterior Set from the series.

  • drew says:

    Hey what was actually in the hospital building and tents at the fox ranch?

  • Jaylee says:

    Please, people, use your imaginations. It’s a set – not an actual camp. You can assume, while watching the show, that everyone had a place to sleep. It just
    wasn’t important enough to have it in the script or the set. As for all the other inconsistencies, again, it’s a tv show, not real life. Just enjoy it and quit harping about what should have been.

  • Bill says:

    I’d like to thank all involved with the publication of this information. I always wondered what the sets looked like and this more than satisfied my curiosity.
    M*A*S*H has been my all time favourite sitcom and I just happened to have the entire DVD collection – gifted to me by my children a few Christmases ago.

  • Christina says:

    One question about the maps. The map has the kitchen located in the supply room. That can’t be right. Wouldn’t the kitchen be attached to the mess tent? That would make more sense. I love MASH.

  • Kim says:

    There is no way these “maps” represent the layout of the main building. I have watched MASH for over 30 years, many episodes dozens of times. They did not bring patients through Radar/Klinger’s office from surgery. Not sterile. I have never questioned the layout, until now

  • Brenda says:

    I’m visiting friends in Simi Valley, CA in June 2015 and would love to visit the site, but I have severe neuropathy in both feet and cannot walk well. Is there a local place that rents 4-wheelers? I’m told that it is quite a hike to get to the site.

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