Growing up, I really loved to watch M*A*S*H*, you know that comedy TV show about an Army hospital in the Korean War. M*A*S*H* stands for Mobile Army Surgical Hospital and was based on the 1968 Novel, by Richard Hooker (pen name of H. Richard Hornberger) titled “MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors“. It was based on his experiences as a surgeon at the 8055th MASH in South Korea. He actually wrote 15 M*A*S*H* novels, which was the inspiration for the M*A*S*H* movie in 1970. The M*A*S*H* movie was the inspiration for the M*A*S*H* TV series, which is what this post is about. The TV series ran from 1972 to 1983 and was a favorite in many 70s households.
During the Korean War, the U.S. Army had 10 fully-functional MASH units operating. They would often move to be closer to where the fighting action was, but not too close to where the doctors, nurses, and support personnel would be in direct combat.
The series was about the fictional 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital.
One of the main characters in the series was Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce (played by Alan Alda), based on H. Richard Hornberger himself.
The outside scenes of the series were originally filmed on a sound stage and later moved to Malibu Creek State Park (then Century Ranch). Today all that remains of the outdoor set is a burnt-out Dodge WC54 ambulance, a rusted-out Jeep, and a replica of the signpost (above). Much of the set was destroyed by a brush fire while filming the final episode “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”. In fact, the fire was written into that episode.
Mike Farrell and I today toasting the 50th anniversary of the show that changed our lives – and our brilliant pals who made it what it was. MASH was a great gift to us. pic.twitter.com/FGd8ZwBgIq— Alan Alda (@alanalda) September 17, 2022