‘M*A*S*H’: Here’s What It Was Like Filming Scenes at Rosie’s Bar

by Joe Rutland
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If you have watched M*A*S*H, then you know members of the 4077th stopped by Rosie’s Bar for a drink. What was it like filming scenes there?

Outsiders, we get some help in answering that question. An article from MeTV offers some helpful insights.

So, Rosie’s Bar actually paid homage to Rose’s Bar, a soldier-friendly bar in Seoul, South Korea. It was there during the Korean War.

But filming inside Rosie’s Bar needed to have an authentic look and feel to it.

The Detroit Free Press newspaper spent some time on the M*A*S*H set in 1979. A reporter was there for an episode titled “A Night at Rosie’s.” The premise of this episode is that Hawkeye Pierce, played by Alan Alda, will not leave as a protest.

‘M*A*S*H’ Director Metcalfe Nervously Eats Pretzels Between Scenes

While all the actors got ready to film, episode director Burt Metcalfe kept eating pretzels.

While the bar setting and lighting were finishing up, Alda, Jamie Farr, Eileen Saki, and guest star Joshua Bryant went over their lines. Saki played Rosie on the CBS show.

Filming was a bit of a struggle for M*A*S*H cast members.

Stoppages in filming happened because of so much activity.

For instance, Alda calls for Rosie to bring another drink and Rosie cracks a joke, “Everybody’s drinking; anybody paying?” When Alda blew his next line, Metcalfe called cut and ate more pretzels. Saki started moving fast and broke a beer bottle.

Klinger, played by Farr, had some coins in his kneecaps. They kept falling out at the wrong time and ruining the take. Filming lasted more than 12 hours for Saki.

But they got it done and M*A*S*H had another solid show in its collection.

CBS Sitcom’s Finale Cost Advertisers Some Big-Time Dollars In 1983

One of television’s must-see moments happened in 1983 when M*A*S*H would leave the CBS lineup.

Oh, if you wanted to be an advertiser with an ad on that episode, then you were going to fork over some bucks.

How much?

An article from Yahoo! Entertainment, noted a New York Times article from 1983 put a $450,000 figure for a 30-second commercial spot.

That was during a 2 1/2-hour episode. In 2021 numbers, it comes out to around $1.3 million. People huddled on TV sets at home and even bars. It was a most-popular show finale and its ratings still put the finale among TV’s top-rated shows of all time.

What are those numbers for ads comparable to in these times?

Think Super Bowl. Yeah, it was that big. In 1985, a 30-second ad cost $500,000 for the Super Bowl.

But what’s so amazing about this show is how it remains a popular one for generation after generation.

Outsider.com