Mash Q: Cement floor

When the MASH team mixes up a cement floor, the Father sings “mahi, mahi usey usey”, or such. Does anyone know what he sings or what it’s from?

I believe the song he’s singing is “cement mixer putti putti”, a song by Slim & Slam. IIRC, after Mulcahy sings the lines, BJ refers to him as ‘Der Bingle’ (a reference to Bing Crosby).

I first heard that song on the “Gong Show.” I have the clearest image of the chap, a balding Black guy with a guitar. I just figured he had made it up. Some time later, I saw the MASH ep with Father Mulcahy, and I figured that it was just some old song I had never heard. Too bad. The “Gong Show” clip was pretty good.

Wouldn’t laying down wide sheets of plastic have done the job, especially if somebody mops them frequently with antiseptic?

Or was that beyond 1950s technology?

Plastic wasn’t as prevalent in the 1950s as today. Roll plastic could very well have been a rather expensive product.

I’m thinking of the entangling potential with roll plastic on the floors! If you try to use sheets of plastic on the floor when painting, it can be VERY slippery. And the operating room in a MASH has got a lot of traffic. Feet would get entangled, people would be tripping.

Not to mention the gallons of blood spurting all over the place. (Wasn’t there an SNL skit about MAS*H just being nothing but a long running snuff film?)

Tile would have been better still, but cement was what they could get from Quartermaster stores easily. Just had to fill out a 47/J form and write “cement, dry, bagged, One each” wherever it says “machine gun.”

How about some kinds of plastified (or heavily painted) floor made of interlocking pieces of wood, like modern laminate? I’m just curious about alternatives other than what looks like planks thrown down in the dirt or immovable cement.


I’m sure they could have gotten tile, if they said the general wanted to eat his barbecued steaks in a hot tub on his cement patio.

On subject of the need for a cement floor, would a real MASH have had a cement floor for surgery? While the show explains why it was necessary, is a real MASH really going to pack it up and take it with them when they bug out?

Yes. They pry it out of the ground, fold it neatly eight times and stuff it in a backpack along with excess helicopter blades.

The show you’re referring to specifically showed us that they do NOT pack it up and take it with them, so your question (like so many others) is nonsense.

Here’s an image of a Korean war MASH hospital interior (scroll down). The floor looks like a polished cement to me.

Here’s an aerial view of the real-life 8063rd. It was abig place. I think the more forward evac units were more mobile, moving with the battles. THe MASH units received their patients my chopper or ambulance, so were probably at a distance.


That’s why they had to use the ruse of building a barbeque for the general. Remember they weren’t going to let them have it because it couldn’t be easily moved.

But the date on that is January 1954 well after the truce had gone in to effect in July of 1953 so odds are it was a permanent hospital.

It is astonishing to me how much that looks like the exteriors used for MASH*, right down to the mountains in the background. Except for the river and bridge, of course.

Remember, this is the EARLY Fifties. Plastic is rare, paint is essentially temporary, acrylic hasn’t been “invented” yet. Laminate is probably a distant dream.

Goods had to be cheap, easily available, and plentiful.

Considering the difficulty in folding a piece of paper eight times, I’m a little dubious of this.



For comparison, here’s the 8209th OR on 4 August 1952. No idea when nor where this is but definitely features wood planks.