There's a rare glimpse of the fourth cot in the Swamp in this 10th season M*A*S*H episode
The cot remained empty after Spearchucker left, until this episode.
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Visits to the Swamp happened pretty much every episode on M*A*S*H. In the pilot, it's established there are four cots in the Swamp, with Hawkeye in the front left corner and Trapper John in the back left. Across from them is Frank Burns in the front right and Oliver "Spearchucker" Jones in the back right.
Each cast member in a corner, it was easy to orient the audience to the layout of the small tent space, but after Jones' character got written off the show after the 11th episode, rather than fill the empty bunk, the show typically only pivoted between the occupied bunks and just didn't show the vacant fourth.
But then, in the 10th season of M*A*S*H, one of the show's most odious characters, Major Lawrence Weems, shows up in "The Tooth Shall Set You Free" and the cameras suddenly turned once again to the forgotten corner of the Swamp.
Check out Weems settling into Spearchucker's old bunk in the frame below.
This was a rare glimpse at the fourth cot, and as usual, the show gave us good reason to see the Swamp from another angle. Weems' story arc led to a confrontation in the Swamp that was more serious fare than the typical carousing the audience was used to expecting there and it came from a corner the show and its audience had largely forgotten about.
But then, who could forget about Spearchucker, the Swamp's original fourth resident?
Played by Timothy Brown, Spearchucker was one of the few characters to carry over from the movie that inspired the show, and although Brown didn't play the character in the movie, he did have a role in it as Corporal Judson. On top of that, he was a professional football player featured in the memorable first episode expertly tossing a football to Radar, making the actor all kinds of bonafide M*A*S*H material.
Ultimately, writers said budget cuts led many characters to be cut, including favorites like Spearchucker and Lt. Dish.
More cast changes shifted who slept where in the Swamp, but Hawkeye always stayed put in his corner.
Once Trapper John left, B.J. Hunnicutt filled the back left bunk, and once Burns bade adieu, in marched Charles Winchester III to fill the front right.
The fourth bunk? Well, for the most part, it remained empty, and the show dimmed the light on the back right corner for good.