I had found a book detailing 60 hikes in the LA area and one drew my interest – hike out to the MASH site where they filmed the movie and TV show.
The series was filmed at Malibu State Park, on the other side of Calibas, CA. The sky was overcast and it misted on the day we went. We ate a picnic lunch there and wore our sweatshirts, though once we started we warmed up nice.
It’s a 2.3 mile hike out to the site, most of it is flat, but there is one incline. Joe, my 9-yr-old, was a bit pokey, but we made it.
When we arrived at the site, I was surprised at how small and compact it was! The green Red Cross jeep was new – there since 2010 and Joe loved playing in it. The wooden city sign was there from the show and an aluminum shed with pictures from the show was also on site. They had picnic tables to rest and they roped off the area where the tents on the show were. Now, it was just overgrown. The helicopter landing site was small and I couldn’t believe they fit them up there. Movie magic, maybe?
We took our pictures then hiked back, Joe using his dad’s hiking sticks. Joe got bored so I looked up some old Army cadences that we used to sing in the Army and Joe sung along with me. His favorite? “They say that in the Army the chicken’s mighty fine…” When I got home, I watched a couple of episodes from 1972 of MASH. Nostalgic, I suppose, but I wanted to give what I saw a visual reference.
MY THOUGHTS NOW
Now that I’m 47, I totally understand how the show was a “comment” on the Vietnam war. The acting was excellent and the writing top-notch. I appreciated that men and women worked together and not surprised there was some hanky-panky going on when the tent doors were closed. Houilhan was still lame, but now I understood that someone had to be lame. I see how the stories still resonate with people even after 30 years since the show stopped filming – it’s because of the unique characters which framed a moment in time.
Question for you: What do you remember about MASH?