Discuss: Do You Collect M*A*S*H Memorabilia?

Monday M*A*S*H Discussions offers fans the opportunity to offer their opinions on a wide variety of topics relating to M*A*S*H. Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. My hope is these discussion posts will continue to elicit comments in the weeks and months after they’re initially published. Have a suggestion about something you think might be worth discussing? Let me know and maybe it will become my next Monday M*A*S*H Discussion topic.

Today’s topic: Do you collect M*A*S*H memorabilia?

Toys and Books and Plates, Oh My!

20th Century Fox issued more than 500 licenses to companies to produce M*A*S*H items. There’s a M*A*S*H vodka dispensing system, M*A*S*H bed sheets, M*A*S*H puzzles, M*A*S*H post cards, M*A*S*H pins, M*A*S*H beer, and M*A*S*H pajamas. There’s even a M*A*S*H model train.

During the 1970s, however, there were only a handful of items available for fans to purchase. In 1975, Durham Industries released two action figures (Hawkeye and Hot Lips) as well as a toy helicopter and motorcycle. For some unknown reason, 20th Century Fox waited until the early 1980s–when M*A*S*H was winding down–to start churning out memorabilia.

Let’s Discuss

I’m a collector of various things, including comic books, TV tie-in novels, and the occasional pressed penny. I have a modest number of items relating to M*A*S*H but I don’t consider myself a true collector of M*A*S*H memorabilia. I have a number of books about the series, a complete set of trading cards, a t-shirt, and some CBS promotional material. Plus, the Martinis & Medicine complete series DVD set. Perhaps I’ll share my collection in another post.

Are you a M*A*S*H memorabilia collector? Do you have a room in your house dedicated to M*A*S*H items? Do you scour eBay daily looking for deals? Or are you happy just watching the show without owning anything M*A*S*H-related?

Hit the comments with your thoughts.

8 Comments

  • HannibalMO says:

    I don’t have anything M*A*S*H related (besides the DVDs of course), but I sometimes browse Ebay looking or items and I’d like to start picking up some of the books related to M*A*S*H.

  • penguinphysics says:

    I’m not sure if this counts, but as a child, I had a copy of the first book (which, I must admit, I never really enjoyed) and several friends had the cheesy T-shirts with badly printed camouflage.

  • BDOR says:

    I have very few actual M*A*S*H-related items: I have Seasons 1-7 on DVD (1-5 in a limited edition gift set, 6 and 7 individually) as well as the GFA DVD, a novelty T-shirt, THE COMPLETE BOOK OF M*A*S*H, and a mounted plaque from a memorabilia store that includes an 8×10 of the cast circa Season 8, a smaller 4×6 photo of Alan, Wayne, and Loretta posing on the hood of a jeep, and a card detailing the broadcast history and the castmembers.

    Aside from that, I don’t really have any other products, however, there are some items that I bought because I’m a fan of the show. Clothing-wise, I’ve got a few jeep caps (like Radar wears) that are reproductions of the original WW2 style (modern surplus jeep caps are an abomination that hardly look like what Radar wore), and a 5-button highneck sweater as worn in several cold snap episodes. Also, because cards were a popular pastime in camp, I also have a number of decks, including such that were commonly seen on the show like Bicycle and Bee.

    Not sure if this really counts, but I also a paperback copy of one of Alan’s books.

    I used to be the crazy collector type when I was a kid, but I eventually just stopped: not because I was growing up, or thought it was silly or childish or anything like that, but my family and I moved a lot when I was growing up, and after a while, I just got tired of having to pack up my collectibles, unpack them, rearrange their displays, pack them up again, unpack them again, rearrange their displays again, and so on and so forth. Honestly, the only actual collectibles I have now as an adult are some Muppet items (being a puppeteer, y’know), some SEINFELD items like the Vinyl Idolz like, and some Alvin and The Chipmunks items (figures, plushes, albums).

  • 007 says:

    No collecting here. I did have the complete set on DVD including the finale and two reunions, however I ripped those to MKV’s long ago and gave the set to a buddy.

    I do have 2 or 3 8×10 photos of the cast in a nice plastic slip cover. Got them for Christmas one year as a kid. I’ll dig them out when I get home and post pictures of them. They’re common photos that you see on google when searching MASH cast.

    That being said, I would love to have Radar’s Teddy bear from eBay, but doubt I’ll ever be to the point of affording something like that.

    • 007 says:

      Forgot to mention, although doesn’t really count. I do have (and have read) the Richard Hooker novel. Just the paperback edition from Amazon. Plan on reading MASH goes to Maine and MASH Mania this year as well.

  • Larry P. says:

    I absolutely collect M*A*S*H memorabilia; it’s one of my favorite hobbies!

    I have:

    Various VHS and DVD (and Betamax) editions of the show and/or movie.

    The original vinyl soundtrack LP, as well as two different CD pressings of said soundtrack.

    Around 10 years ago, Walmart sold M*A*S*H 4077 T-Shirts. I still have mine, though it’s pretty worn and has some holes in it. Had it been vintage, I’d have babied it and kept it nice, but it wasn’t so I didn’t. I’m not even sure where it is right now. Maybe I should have bought two?

    The M*A*S*H Atari 2600 game. For a TV tie-in, it’s not bad! (There’s a graphically more-advanced version for the Texas Instruments TI/99 computer, though I have yet to pick that version up.)

    I have the three ‘real’ Richard Hooker novels, and several of the fake Butterworth entries. Regarding the Butterworth books, I knew the story behind them going in, but initially figured that, if nothing else, they’d be fun, lightweight reading. Nope. They started out bad and got progressively worse. I’ll pick up the ones I don’t have if I come across them cheap locally, but I’m not going to go out of my way and spend REAL money on them!

    In the same vein: an old M*A*S*H trivia book, a vintage episode guide (ah, the days before the internet, when such things were a necessity!), Alan Alda’s first two books (still need to pick up the third one), Larry Gelbart’s book, and Jamie Farr’s autobiography.

    I haven’t yet picked up any of the vehicles, the 4077 playset or “blond Hawkeye” (aka, generic G.I.), but otherwise I have the entire M*A*S*H action figure line from 1982, some of the figs a few times over. I’m a sucker for vintage action figures, so these have always been some of my favorites for obvious reasons, even if their being made IS a little head-scratching. I like to think of them as G.I. Joe supplements!

    Speaking of toys, a few years ago I found a little M*A*S*H helicopter toy, like a Hot Wheels but not. It was pretty beat up, but appropriately cheap at the thrift store where I found it, so hey, why not?

    My grandmother on my dad’s side passed away nearly three years ago, and it (mostly) fell to us to clean out her house, get it all sold, etc. etc. She was a big collector of various knick knacks (and for some reason, Betty Boop), and she had a bunch of those commemorative plates. My eyes usually glaze over when it comes to such things, BUT she had a boxed M*A*S*H plate, and THAT became mine!

    Several years ago I was at a nearby Goodwill when I spotted a boxed M*A*S*H vodka I.V. dispenser on the assorted knick knack shelves. MAN did I bolt over there to grab it! It was missing the bottle (rats!) but was complete otherwise. At $3, it was going home with me no matter what.

    I love, love LOVE vintage TV Guides; if I’m at a thrift store, antique shop or what have you, and there’s an issue from the early-1990s or before, there’s a good chance I’m buying it. But actually, I don’t have a ton of the M*A*S*H issues! I can pick them up cheaply enough on eBay, but my TV Guide collecting has become limited over the years to focus almost entirely on local-to-me (Northeast Ohio) editions, and that naturally limits online purchases somewhat. I do have the first cast-cover issue from 1973, and the series finale issue, both from I-don’t-remember-where, bought years ago before I became more particular. Thanks to my brother, this past Christmas I received another copy of the series finale issue, this one from my neck of the woods – finally!

    In regards to the series finale, years ago I was at an antique/thrift store, and a bunch of local magazines had come in. That was a banner visit for me; in addition to other magazines of particular interest, there were not one but TWO copies of the M*A*S*H series finale issue. I left with a big stack of old paper that day, both M*A*S*H editions included!

    Also, a M*A*S*H-cover TV Guide crossword puzzle magazine I picked up in the summer of 2001. Found the day before heading to Chicago for vacation.

    A 1970s television promo slide for the series; one of those still-pictures that would be flashed on-screen while an announcer did their thing. This one has a small piece of material covering the CBS logo, where I assume the local station I.D. was superimposed when broadcast. Hawkeye, pre-mustache BJ and Potter are pictured on it. I’m not sure if it was meant for first-run broadcasts or local syndicated airings, but it’s intensely cool either way.

    An old trivia card game a buddy picked up for me. It’s good to have connections!

    This is only somewhat M*A*S*H-related, but a (different) buddy of mine came across an old ashtray with a caricature of a doctor in army clothing, and the slogan “Get well soon – your doctor just got drafted!” on it I think it’s probably Vietnam-era, but nevertheless, when my friend texted me to see if I wanted it, I was pretty excited.

    Same buddy also found me a 1950s “Pocket Guide to Korea,” again, only somewhat-related to M*A*S*H, but that was enough to make me want it. (It currently sits under the aforementioned ashtray.)

    I think quite possibly my favorite pieces of M*A*S*H memorabilia are dog tag-styled tickets (one ticket actually, but each one consisted of two tags) for the Cleveland “Last M*A*S*H Bash,” which was held a few days before the 1983 series finale and put on in part by our (then) CBS affiliate. Larry Linville was even in attendance, and the proceeds benefited charity. I was already aware of the event, and when I stumbled upon these tickets on eBay for just a few bucks + shipping, I flipped. These not only hit the M*A*S*H (and M*A*S*H finale hype) memorabilia bullet point that I’m always interested in, but also my love for local broadcasting. The baseball card boom of the 1990s wound up being of some good to me, as I grabbed a couple of those now-worthless cards I had stored away, removed them from their hard plastic holders, and gave the dog tags new protective homes!

    Those are the pieces of memorabilia that come to mind right now; there are other small bits and pieces, but these are, to me, the main ones. I’m sure there will be more to come in the future!

  • Doc Funnypants says:

    Just out of curiosity, RJ, do you have MASH memorabilia? As for me, I have all eleven seasons on DVD, two books, and a 4077th T-shirt which may not really be that significant.

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