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Created byLarry Gelbart
Gene Reynolds
Based onWalter O'Reilly
by Richard Hooker
Written byBob Weiskopf
Bob Schiller
Everett Greenbaum
Directed byBill Bixby
StarringGary Burghoff
Ray Buktenica
Victoria Jackson
Noble Willingham
Music byPatrick Williams
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes1
Executive producersBob Schiller
Bob Weiskopf
Michael Zinberg
ProducerMichael Zinberg
CinematographyWilliam Jurgensen
EditorsStanford Tischler
Noel Rogers
Running time30 minute pilot / CBS Special Presentation
Production company20th Century Fox Television
Original release
ReleaseJuly 17, 1984 (1984-07-17)

W*A*L*T*E*R is a 1984 American television pilot for the third spin-off of M*A*S*H that was never picked up. It starred Gary Burghoff, who reprised his M*A*S*H character.[1]

The episode chronicles the adventures of Corporal Walter "Radar" O'Reilly after he returns home from the Korean War. He is no longer calling himself "Radar" and has moved away from Iowa after he sent his mother to live with his aunt. Settling in St. Louis, Missouri, by the beginning of the series, he has become a police officer.[2][3][4]


No longer using his army nickname "Radar", Walter O'Reilly is now a rookie police officer living in St. Louis with his colleague and cousin Wendell Micklejohn. As they get ready for work they are watching the start of a television interview by Clete Roberts, who is following up with various former staff from the 4077th; the previous week Roberts had interviewed Hawkeye Pierce, and this week Walter's interview was being televised. At the police department and through a store front window, Walter and Wendell catch bits of the interview, giving viewers of the pilot a chance to bridge the events of M*A*S*H and AfterMASH with W*A*L*T*E*R.

In flashbacks during the interview scenes, viewers learn that Walter had returned home to Iowa but failed at farming and was forced to sell the farm and livestock and then he sent his mother to live with his aunt. After marrying his bride in River Bend (as shown in an episode of AfterMASH), she left him for his best friend during their honeymoon in St. Louis. Having hit rock bottom, a wandering Walter went to a drug store to buy an overdose of sleeping pills (and aspirin, as sleeping pills gave him a headache), but the drugstore clerk, Victoria, dissuaded him and they became friends. Wendell then helped Walter get a job with the city police. Walter solves a dispute between two strippers, and gets his wallet back from a young would-be thief whose father was killed in Korea.[5]


Relationship with M*A*S*H[edit]

In the pilot episode of W*A*L*T*E*R, only three main characters from the original series, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake, Captain Benjamin "Hawkeye" Pierce, and Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan were mentioned by Walter O'Reilly. He had kept a photograph of all of his former Army buddies from the 4077th MASH unit in his wallet.



The episode takes place after the series finale of M*A*S*H, and a two-part guest appearance on AfterMASH, in which Radar was forced to leave the family farm.

Broadcast difficulties[edit]

Since the pilot was never picked up by CBS as a series, it was shown as a "CBS Special Presentation" on July 17, 1984. It was shown once in the Eastern and Central time zones of the United States, but pre-empted on the West Coast by CBS News coverage of the Democratic National Convention. This is the only known broadcast of the pilot.[6]


  1. ^ Walter pilot episode, 1984, retrieved 2021-07-03
  2. ^ David Scott Diffrient, M*A*S*H (Wayne State University Press, 2008), ISBN 978-0814335529, p. 142. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  3. ^ Vincent Terrace, Encyclopedia of Television Pilots, 1937-2012 (McFarland & Company, 2013), ISBN 978-1476602493, p. 316. Excerpts available at Google Books.
  4. ^ Maçek III, J.C. (12 January 2017). "What Happens When Happy Shows Turn All X-Files on You?". PopMatters.
  5. ^ "W*A*L*T*E*R". Best Care Anywhere. 2006-06-02. Retrieved 2013-08-21.
  6. ^ "W*A*L*T*E*R". Television Obscurities. 2005-02-15. Retrieved 2013-08-20.

External links[edit]