Thursday, January 28, 2016

Lifestyle: Leaving a Legacy - MASH post #tvshow

Martin Luther King Jr.’s holiday was one of the rare days the entire family had it off and we were together. With a last minute change of plans, I decided it was a time for hike!

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. 


I remember the MASH TV show. It ran from 1972-1983. I was 4 when it started and 15 when it ended. The show was funny, yet serious at the same time. The opening was somber, but I think now, rather iconic. The helicopters traveling alongside the mountain, the stirring melodic chords, and the concern on the actor’s faces as they approached the injured, left me a bit uneasy at the time and I didn’t know why. My favorite character was Klinger. I respected what he was trying to do, but I didn’t understand why he had to wear dresses. Hawkeye was funny, and I appreciated what he did to make a point. If anything MASH taught me life is complicated. I thought Houlihan was lame.  Why would a grown woman act like that? 


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. 


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? 


Blurb: Set in Sonoma, CA in 1946, can James help Rachel save her winery or will he drift out of her life the same way he drifted in?

Twelve 5 Star Reviews on Amazon
The story was compelling and not boring, which is often a stereotype of sweet romances. I would recommend this short sweetie of a story. Good job, author. - Angel E

"Your case threatened to run away, so I bribed it." Her sweet expression was an arrow through his heart. 

"Really? What did you bribe it with?" He wiped the sweat off his brow with a handkerchief, caused from a combination of the summer heat and lifting the heavy cases. 

"A job."

He hooked his thumb toward his chest. "Are you offering me a job, Miss Santori?"



  1. Hos cool you could hike to the site! I loved the show and watched it forever, even through multiple reruns. I was always so impressed with the helicopter swooping in and landing as my dad worked for Bell Helicopter. Good stuff!

  2. How Fun! I would love to visit it! I loved MASH. I've seen each episode at least twice.

  3. What a fun trip for a holiday!

    I loved MASH, though I never thought of Margaret Houlihan as lame. Frank Burns, yes, but someone had to be a foil for Hawkeye. It was only later that I realized what a fine actor Larry Linville was, in a thankless role. But what would MASH have been without Frank Burns, and later Charles?

    Margaret was more complicated, a professional woman in a man's world trying to demand the respect she thought she deserved even when she didn't deserve it. Strong but often short-sighted. Still, as a feminist, I have some sympathy for the character. It's not easy being a girl. And that's way too many thoughts about an old TV show! But it was often thought-provoking.

  4. I agree with Lyndi, I thought Margaret silly for some of her choices, like Frank, but brave to be a strong woman in a leading position. I was a little older when the TV show was going, so thoughts of what type of woman I was going to be in this world were running through my head. I wanted to be Margaret, but with Hawkeye for my boyfriend. LOL

  5. My lasting memory of MASH is of Radar who seemed to be a step ahead of everyone else, always earnest, always busting his butt to get his job done. I'd never heard of triage before MASH, but it gave me a great respect for having to do lot with a little in a tough/dangerous situation.

    Good for you on that long hike with your family, Steph.


  6. It's Hawkeye that drives me nuts, since he knows absolutely everything, is always right, and is always so full of being always right, or so he thinks. Actually, he's pretentious. I do like a lot of the non-political banter, though, and I like BJ who is quiet and moral and yet has this funny streak that's irresistible.

    It would be fun to walk up and see the location.