M*A*S*H episode
“The Bus”
Hawkeye, B.J., Potter, and Radar try to tell Frank that the walkie-talkie he's trying to to use won't work, in the episode "The Bus".
Season 4, Episode # 6
Number (#79) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Soon-Tek Oh
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: G-512
Writer(s) John D. Hess
Director Gene Reynolds
Original airdate October 17, 1975
IMDb logo IMDB The Bus
Episode chronology
← Previous Next →
"Hey, Doc" (G‑510) "Dear Mildred" (G‑505)

(broadcast order)

(broadcast order)

"The Kids" (G‑511) "Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler" (G‑513)

(production order)

(production order)

Season 4 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

"The Bus" was the 79th episode of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H television series, and, also the seventh episode of the fourth season of the series. Written by John D. Hess, and directed by Gene Reynolds, it first aired on October 17, 1975.


After their bus breaks down in the middle of nowhere on the way back from a medical convention, Hawkeye, B.J., Colonel Potter, Frank and Radar find themselves stranded.

Full episode summaryEdit

The doctors and Radar are returning from a medical conference when they get lost on the Korean country roads. They pull over to assess the situation and Potter orders each officer to travel 100 yards in different directions in search of a village or other roads. Frank cowardly takes Radar with him, making him walk ahead and act as a shield in case of enemy attack.

Nothing is seen, so they board the bus to backtrack and take a new road, but there's one problem: the bus won't start. To compound the problem, they have no food, water, blankets, communication and might be stranded in enemy territory. Frank takes a stab at fixing the engine but gets electrocuted for his trouble. Radar finds a walkie-talkie on the bus, but the other unit is broken and back at camp. Undeterred, Frank takes it and absurdly tries to contact “Allied personnel” that may be listening. His attempt to alert someone he is directly under a passing jet is met with laughter from the other doctors.

With dusk approaching, there is nothing to do but wait, so the five men bunk down on the bus. As Frank covertly munches a hidden chocolate bar, B.J. decides they should tell stories about their first loves. Potter tells a WWI tale (naturally) about falling for a French nurse while blinded from poison gas; Radar declines, opting to leave to go to the bathroom; Frank relates a story of a brunette Jewish girl who was “warm for his form”, but Frank refused her advances on moral grounds (“Creep!”, growls Potter.)

Radar hasn't returned from his bathroom break, and when the doctors hear noises outside the bus, they hope it is the corporal returning, but it turns out to be a wounded North Korean soldier surrendering to the medicos. His wound is patched and Frank stands guard over him while the others sleep. Waving the North Korean's gun menacingly at him, Frank starts a movie gangster-type monologue to scare the wounded man, but the North Korean falls asleep.

Radar, who was out scouting a way out, finally returns in the middle of the night, waking Frank and happens on his cache of chocolate bars. Frank warns him not to say anything as the others warmly greet their missing comrade.

Next morning, the North Korean tinkers with the engine (Frank thinks he's sabotaging it) and gets it running. As they drive off, a proposal is made that food should be stored on the bus. Radar makes a reference to chocolate bars and falling asleep on guard duty, needling Frank into “discovering” he has six chocolate bars in his knapsack and passing them out to his fellow riders (passing over the North Korean, of course).

In an epilogue scene usually cut from syndicated airings, Hawkeye and B.J. get their revenge on Frank when they find the second walkie-talkie and have the North Korean speak into it, freaking Frank out entirely. Frank thinks he is eavesdropping on enemy secrets and starts shouting pro-American trash talk as the captains break into hysterics.

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit

Research notes/Fun facts Edit

  • Loretta Swit and Jamie Farr both receive billing, but do not appear in this episode. The only characters seen or heard in the episode are Hawkeye, B.J., Colonel Potter, Frank, Radar and the Korean soldier.
  • This is the first episode to entirely take place away from the M*A*S*H site. It's never explained how the M*A*S*H unit is expected to function with seemingly ALL their doctors away at a conference.
  • The gun Burns has is a German World War II Scheimesser MP 40; submachine guns used in the Korean War were either the US .45 Thompson or the Chinese "Burp" gun.
  • First episode since "O.R." without a laugh track.
  • Apart from act breaks, there is no music score.
  • B.J. remarks that he served under Frank's command for a week, during which time Frank ordered the toilet seats to stand at attention. This is a gag lifted from the Andy Griffith movie "No Time for Sergeants", which was filmed in 1958 and featured Jamie Farr in a small role.
  • This is Soon-Tek Oh's second appearance in a "M*A*S*H" episode, and the first time he appears as a North Korean who surrenders to the MASH staff (he does so again in "The Yalu Brick Road" in Season 8).
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.