Deadwood

The David Milch TV series “Deadwood,” despite garnering critical acclaim and a loyal fan base, prematurely ended after three seasons back in 2006.  Since then, various attempts to tie the story up have been made, with many doubts it would ever happen.  In 2019, however, it finally did and the show was given the opportunity to reach a satisfying conclusion with “Deadwood: The Movie.”  Please note if you’ve not watched the film, this article contains spoilers.

While set in the town of Deadwood, South Dakota, both the original TV series, as well as the movie, were primarily shot in Newhall, California at Melody Ranch.  Another renowned HBO series, “Westworld,” shot at the same ranch, where it served as the town of Sweetwater.  The production designers did a great job of giving each show a much different look from one another.

Melody Ranch is private property, inaccessible to the general public most of the time.  However, the ranch does in fact offer tours (something of a rarity for movie ranches), with the caveat being that no tours occur whenever active production is taking place on the ranch.  The challenge is the fact that production is almost always taking place there.  So opportunities for the general public to see it are rare and not something you can plan much in advance.  You simply need good timing or a lot of persistence.  In years past, the ranch also hosted the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, which also allowed the public inside, but due to the heavy demand of productions over recent years, the festival has relocated elsewhere.

Given that the “Deadwood” show and movie are tied together as one narrative, this article is intended to cover both, but once it was clear the original show would not return after the third season, many of the sets were remodeled, dismantled or shifted around, as often happens on studio lots.  When filming for the movie finally got up and running in 2018, much of the sets had to be recreated.  Since the story in the film picks up 10 years later, as South Dakota is entering into statehood, many of the sets also had to be updated to reflect the passage of time.  The photographs in this article showcase the movie’s sets.

Much like the original show, most of these sets have since been repurposed or dismantled after filming completed, in order to make way for new productions coming in.  Here we offer a glimpse into that brief moment in time where Deadwood stood in full glory once again.

LOCATION: 24715 Oakcreek Ave, Newhall, CA 91321

The most famous location is of course the Gem Saloon, owned by Al Swearengen (Ian McShane), who would often stand on the balcony overlooking the activities of the town.

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The Grand Central Hotel is where the villainous Senator George Hearst, played by Gerald McRaney, takes residence.  He too often stood out on the balcony, engaging in verbal jousts with the residents of Deadwood.

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Seth Bullock, played by Timothy Olyphant, lives in this house at the end of the main street of Deadwood.  This location had long been demolished since the original show, with the original blueprints lost.  The production designer had to study the original show footage in detail in order to rebuild the set for the film.

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Here is a look inside Seth’s house, where he is seen walking down these stairs.

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Here are the train tracks and station platform where visitors arrive.

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After running a hardware store with Seth, Sol Star, played by John Hawkes now lives with Trixie at the Bullock & Star Hotel.  In the film, as Hearst rides through the streets in a parade, Trixie stands on the hotel balcony and berates him.

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The Bella Union, owned by Cy Tolliver (Powers Boothe) in the series, is now owned by Joanie Stubbs (Kim Dickens) in the film.  The same building was famously used as the brothel in Westworld where Thandie Newton’s character works.  It’s also seen in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood” when Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters are interviewed on a western set.

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Here is the interior of the Bella Union, which viewers of “Westworld” would immediately recognize when seen from reverse angles.

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Here is a view of the upstairs.

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This is the bar where Wild Bill Hickok, played by Keith Carrodine, is killed in the show.

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In the film, Calamity Jane, played by Robin Weigert, returns to the bar to pay her respects.

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The outside of the jail of Marshall Seth Bullock.

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The interior of the jail.

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This is the area where Seth tracks down Charlie’s killers and has a brief standoff with them.

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Mr. Wu is relieved when his son escapes unharmed.

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We leave you with a view down the main street of Deadwood, where the sets stood tall one last time.

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The Partridge Family

The house from the 1970s sitcom “The Partridge Family” can be found on the Warner Bros. Ranch in Burbank. This studio lot is separate from the main Warner backlot and unfortunately not open to public tours at this time.  The house has since changed a bit in appearance, due to being used for an explosion during the filming of “Lethal Weapon.”  The same house can be seen in “The Monster Squad.”

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LOCATION: 411 N Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 91505

Buffy The Vampire Slayer

The house from the TV series adaptation of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, can be found in Torrance, California.

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LOCATION: 1313 Cota Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

Located just a few blocks away is Torrance High School, which served as Sunnydale High School.  The same high school was used in the TV series “Beverly Hills, 90210.”

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LOCATION: 2200 W Carson St, Torrance, CA 90501

Bewitched

The house from the classic TV series “Bewitched” can be found at the Warner Bros. Ranch in Burbank, California.  The ranch is a small lot located apart from the main studio lot and is unfortunately not open to public tours.  However, the design of this house is actually based on a real home, located at 267 18th St, Santa Monica, CA 90402, with the layout simply reversed for the ranch set.  While the Santa Monica home was never used on screen, it’s the closest version visible to the public.  The house set at the Warner Bros. Ranch was also used in the TV series “Gidget” and “The Geena Davis Show.”

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LOCATION: 411 N Hollywood Way, Burbank, CA 91505

In The Heat Of The Night

The Sparta Police Station from the television series “In the Heat of the Night” can be found in Covington, Georgia.  The building is located next to the Covington town square, sometimes referred to as the “Hollywood of the South,” where countless other productions have been shot, including “The Dukes of Hazzard,” “Cannonball Run,” Rob Zombie’s “Halloween II” and many more.  This same building was also used as the Forest Green County Sheriff Department in “Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.”

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LOCATION: 1174 Monticello St SW, Covington, GA 30014

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Here is a paver for the show.  Covington places these in the sidewalks as their version of a walk of fame, celebrating the shows and stars who have filmed there.  There are also pavers for actors Carrol O’Connor and Alan Autry from the show.

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The Walking Dead

“The Walking Dead” is famously shot around Atlanta, Senoia and the surrounding towns of Georgia.  The former Raleigh Studios Atlanta is the central hub of the show, but many famous locations have shot beyond the studio property.

Early in season 1, Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln, awakens from this “hospital” to discover a world in chaos.  This scene was filmed at the back of the Atlanta Mission Administrative Offices.

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LOCATION: 2353 Bolton Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

Rick can be seen walking out of the door and down the stairs.

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Rick’s house can also be found in Atlanta.

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LOCATION: 817 Cherokee Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30315

Right around the corner from Rick’s place is Morgan’s house, where the two meet for the first time.

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LOCATION: 376 Ormond St SE, Atlanta, GA 30315

The sheriff’s office where Rick worked is part of a long strip of commercial lots.  It’s a bit further down Ellsworth Industrial Blvd, with a sign stating “Complex F” (though the building itself is labeled “G”).

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LOCATION: 1737G Ellsworth Industrial Blvd NW, Atlanta, GA 30318

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The iconic shot of the post-apocalyptic freeway, used as the poster for season 1, can be seen from the Jackson Street Bridge, overlooking the 10 freeway leading into the Atlanta skyline.  Some CGI was added to achieve the exact look the production wanted.  The same shot (minus the CGI) can be seen in the 2015 remake of “Vacation.”

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LOCATION: Jackson Street Bridge, Jackson St NE, Atlanta, GA 30312 (near 210 Jackson St NE, Atlanta, GA 30312)

Season 1 concludes with the group reaching the Center for Disease Control.  This unique building is the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

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LOCATION: 2800 Cobb Galleria Pkwy, Atlanta, GA 30339

Season 2 was primarily set on Herschel’s Farm.  The farm is a real location, not a set.  However, it sits on private property on a gravel road off GA-85.  The owners are rumored to have distanced themselves from the show, due to the excessive attention it brought.  The property can be found at 33°18’01.5″N, 84°31’22.4″W in Senoia, Georgia, but it is not accessible to the public.

Season 3 largely took place at a prison, which was actually a set at Raleigh Studios Altanta.  After the prison story arc was completed, the set was heavily overhauled and became the Savior’s Sanctuary in later seasons.  The studio can be found at 600 Chestlehurst Rd, Senoia, GA 30276, but until 2018 was entirely inaccessible to fans.  The building still remains, but the fences and towers are now gone.  At first glance, you’d probably not even recognize it as being the prison at this point.

Also in season 3, the fictional town of Woodbury plays a key role.  Main Street in Senoia stood in as Woodbury, with some sets and art decoration added.  Due to the popularity of the show, many of these properties have since become shops and restaurants themed around the series, which we’ll get to later in this article.

Here is a view of the main strip of Woodbury.  The Governor’s house was a set that has since been removed, but the area is still recognizable.

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LOCATION: 9 Main St, Senoia, GA 30276

If you’re headed to the former Raleigh Studios in Senoia, along the way you’ll pass this restaurant, which stood in as a bar where Merle has a drink in season 3, episode 15.

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LOCATION: 34 Chestlehurst Rd, Senoia, GA 30276

As you approach the main studio, you’ll pass Crook Rd, which has been used in countless episodes of the show, any time a wooded road is needed.  Even though the road is not on studio property, it is scarcely used by motorists and is therefore easy to obtain filming permits, hence the frequent appearances.

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LOCATION: Crook Rd, Senoia, GA 30276

Also in Senoia, in season 4, episode 9, Carl sits atop the roof of this house eating a can of pudding.  This house is located near the the “Alexandria” site.

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LOCATION: 239 Pylant St, Senoia, GA 30276

In season 5, “Terminus” plays a central role.  The Terminus site is a real location in Atlanta.  Although there are some walls along Windsor Street obscuring the view a bit, it can still be seen with relative ease by simply looking over top.

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LOCATION: 799 Windsor St SW, Atlanta, GA 30315

Back in Senoia, another location that’s very close to the studio is Dwight’s house, seen in season 7, episode 11.

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LOCATION: 30 Golfview Ct, Senoia, GA 30276

In 2017, AMC purchased Raleigh Studios Atlanta, renaming it Riverwood Studios.  This paved the way for something the fans had long been requesting; a studio tour.  Beyond the studio itself, the tour also takes guests inside the walls of “Alexandria.”

Alexandria is filmed in a real neighborhood in Senioa, just past Main St (“Woodbury”).  Originally the area was a developing neighborhood and open to the public.  You can even see old google street views taking you through it, before the show sealed it off.  At the time AMC took interest, only one brownstone building was there, with tenants already occupying the units.  The rest of the land was vacant lots planned for residential development.  The network worked out a deal with the existing tenants to allow them to film and Alexandria was born.  They then began purchasing the empty lots and constructing houses for the show.  Due to the fact the buildings needed to remain standing for years on end, state laws required them to meet actual building codes, meaning the houses in Alexandria are fully functional.  Likewise, the massive walls surrounding the neighborhood is also built to code, which is to say they are dug deep and very sturdy.

There is a security guard posted at the main entrance of the neighborhood and the whole area is surrounded by cameras.  Tenants are allowed to come and go as they please, but pedestrians and motorists are not allowed in.  That changed slightly in 2018, however, with the launch of the Walking Dead Studio Tour.  Fans are now able to enter within the walls and see pretty much everything there as part of the tour.  Photo privileges are very strict, however.  There is unfortunately only one spot in the entire neighborhood where photos are allowed, which is facing toward the windmill.  Eventually after the show has ended or no longer uses the site, the neighborhood will hopefully return to being open to the public.  As is, key sites such as Rick and Michonne’s house are prohibited from photography.

This is the main entrance into the neighborhood, where the security guard is posted.  If you attempt to approach Morgan St (outside of the tour), you’ll quickly be asked to turn back.   There are signs posted stating the road has no public access.

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LOCATION: 132 Morgan St, Senoia, GA 30276

Here is another entrance, which remains closed unless the production is using it.

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This is the sole permissible photo location inside Alexandria on the studio tour.

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Here’s another look at the completed windmill, taken during the filming of the show.

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Moving on to Riverwood Studios itself, quite a lot of the show has been filmed there.  In addition to the previously mentioned prison set, Hilltop, Oceanside and the Sanctuary are all there as well.  Hilltop is a real building built to code on the outside, but the inside is completely empty.  All interior Hilltop scenes are filmed on a sound stage. The show’s production offices are also based at Riverwood Studios.

The tour opened in late 2018.  Prior to that, the studio grounds were fenced off and guarded by security.  It’s a very large place, surrounded by woods full of animals and insects, so it’s probably not the kind of place you want to go wandering around unprepared.  You’re much better off purchasing a tour ticket.  For the most part, the tour is a very enjoyable experience.  Due to the size of the property, as well as potential safety hazards, much of the time is spent in tour buses, guided by a very friendly and well-informed staff.  There are select spots where you can exit the bus for closer looks.

The biggest drawback of the tour is the strict policy on photography and video.  Video and audio is prohibited altogether. There are some areas that can be photographed.  However, they are mostly limited to the sites no longer used in active storylines on the show.  Anything being used in current seasons, while still showcased on the tour itself, is unfortunately off-limits for photos or video.  This includes Hilltop, Oceanside and the Sanctuary.  Alexandria is the only exception, but it’s very limited, allowing the aforementioned single photo spot.

While there are some minor spoilers involved with some of the sets, if specific parameters were set, as with Alexandria, the photo rules could be a bit more relaxed.  These sets have been shown on screen to millions of viewers for years, so they’re not exactly top secret places.  Having said that, the tour is otherwise excellent from top to bottom and it’s a very welcome change that the studio is finally open to fans.  However, the tour seasons are limited only to times when the show is not filming, so you need to plan in advance.

We’ll now take a look at the sites at Riverwood Studios that can be photographed.  First up is the site where (*spoilers*) Negan kills Glenn and Abraham.  The show was so secretive about which characters would be killed off that they actually filmed scenes of Negan killing every major character, in order to maintain the mystery of which ones would make it to air.

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LOCATION: 600 Chestlehurst Rd, Senoia, GA 30276

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Next is the lake where Rick and Aaron search a houseboat for supplies in season 7, episode 7.  It’s a nice touch that they kept some body props in the water.

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LOCATION: 600 Chestlehurst Rd, Senoia, GA 30276

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Arguably the best site that can be photographed at the studio is the Scavenger’s junkard, also known as “The Heaps.”  It’s right next to the Sanctuary, but the junk is piled so high, you’d never know by the photos alone.

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LOCATION: 600 Chestlehurst Rd, Senoia, GA 30276

The junk is actually just a top layer.  Just beneath are large piles of dirt, giving the appearance of more junk than is actually there.

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Also on the tour are many vehicles used in the show.  These too were prohibited from photography, for reasons unknown.  Overall, if you’re a fan of the show, we still highly recommend the tour.  You’ll see virtually all of the sites available there and gain a lot of knowledge about the show, even if only a few spots can be captured.  The tour hosts did say that it’s a work in progress, so perhaps the policies and places will change as time goes on.

Beyond the actual filming locations, there are several show-themed business in Senioa.  The Woodbury Shoppe sells a wide variety of show merchandise.  The store is located along Main St in Senoia, which served as the fictional town of Woodbury on the show.

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LOCATION: 48 Main St #1A, Senoia, GA 30276

The basement of the store also features a Walking Dead museum, which houses props, posters, artwork, memorabilia and more.  There’s autographs from nearly every cast member scrawled across the walls.  Here we’ll take a look at a bit of what can be seen in the museum, but not everything.  Here is one of the motorcycles Daryl rode in the series.

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One of the main cell blocks from the prison in seasons 3 and 4, on loan from AMC.

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A kid’s bedroom in the prison from season 4, episode 9.

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To the left is the “W” zombie, on loan from executive producer Greg Nicotero.  To the right is a dental chair from season 3, episode 16, in which Andrea is handcuffed to the chair by The Governor and left for dead.

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Some knives from the show.

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Some pieces of the Woodbury Town Hall, from season 4, episode 6.  This was part of a set, which was later destroyed, but these fragments were collected.

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A prop mirror broken by Beth, when she attempts to kill herself in season 2.  Actress Emily Kinney has signed the prop.

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Also on Main St in Senoia is The Walking Dead Cafe.

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LOCATION: 48 Main St, Senoia, GA 30276

For those looking for a full course meal, just a few buildings down is Nic & Norman’s, owned by executive producer Greg Nicotero and actor Norman Reedus.

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LOCATION: 20 Main St, Senoia, GA 30276

Here is some artwork inside the restaurant, done in the style of the famous closing photo from “The Shining,” depicting most of the cast from the show.

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It’s always a challenge photographing anything actively in production.  It’s usually easier to do after filming has ended, so production agendas won’t interfere.  In some cases, however, sites only exist as long as the production does.  We’ve tried to show a mixture of both and we’ll add what we can when the opportunity presents itself.  It’s likewise a challenge capturing the sheer volume of filming locations a long-running show such as “The Walking Dead”  has utilized over its run. We barely scratched the surface here. There are of course dozens more locations we did not cover and new ones always keep popping up as the show continues onward. Atlanta has a lot of sites to offer fans of the show, particularly from the early seasons. The town of Senoia in particular thrives on the show, driving tourism, employing locals at the studio and inspiring show-themed businesses.

Leave It To Beaver

The house from the 1950s television show “Leave It to Beaver” can be found on the Universal Studios backlot on Colonial Street.  The house was later incorporated into the neighborhood that became known as Wisteria Lane for the TV drama “Desperate Housewives.”  The house can be seen as part of the Universal Studios Hollywood Tour.

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LOCATION: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

M*A*S*H*

Malibu Creek State Park today is primarily used for hikers and horse riders, but you’ll find quite a bit of movie and TV history there, as the area was once home to the Fox Ranch, formerly owned by 20th Century Fox.

For decades the land was used as an exterior backlot, hosting many productions, including the original “Planet of the Apes,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and several “Tarzan” films.  One of the most famous locations was the area that stood in as South Korea for exterior scenes for the TV series “M*A*S*H*,” based on the 1970 Robert Altman film.

The area has long since closed as a backlot and is now owned and operated as state property.  The state has made an admirable effort to maintain the old “M*A*S*H*” filming site.  From the main parking lot on Crags Road, the set can be found by hiking about 2.4 miles (4.75 round trip).  It takes a couple hours, but the trail is mostly flat, so it’s not a physically demanding journey and should be suitable for most visitors.

Unfortunately in late 2018, same fire that destroyed much of the Paramount Ranch also tore through Malibu Creek State Park, damaging parts of the “M*A*S*H*” set.  However, unlike Paramount Ranch, the remnants around the M*A*S*H* set actually survived the fire and remain in tact for the most part, albeit with some heat damage.  It’s actually not the first wildfire to come through the area.  During the filming of the show’s famous final episode in the 1980s, wildfires were approaching, which were written into the show.  Some of the original vehicles from the show were severely burned in those fires.  In spite of that, they remain on display to this day.  So the M*A*S*H* set will, in all likelihood, live on for future visitors, as the area slowly recovers.

We had the fortunate opportunity to visit the old set grounds long before the 2018 fires.  Here we’ll take a look at a bit of what could be seen there.

LOCATION: Malibu Creek State Park, Agoura Hills, CA 91301 (currently fire damaged)

The first thing approaching hikers would see is this jeep, which was added as a prop and was not original to the the show.

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This vehicle, on the other hand, was original to the show.  You can see it suffered heavy damages from the 1980s wildfire.

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Here is another burned car frame at the site, also original to the show.

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This sign was a recreation.  It suffered heat damage in the 2018 fire, but will hopefully be repaired or replaced in the future.

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A lot of the surrounding rock formations and geography will also be familiar to fans of the show.  While Malibu Creek State Park slowly finds sings of life again, the “M*A*S*H*” site too will hopefully be restored to it’s former glory.