|Created by||Larry Gelbart|
|Based on||The character of Walter O'Reilly created by Richard Hooker|
|Written by||Bob Weiskopf|
|Directed by||Bill Bixby|
|Music by||Patrick Williams|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||1|
|Executive producers||Bob Schiller|
|Running time||30 minute pilot / CBS Special Presentation|
|Production company||20th Century Fox Television|
|Original network||CBS (ET/CT only)|
|Original release||July 17, 1984|
W*A*L*T*E*R is a 1984 television pilot for the third spin-off of M*A*S*H that was picked up and canceled after the pilot episode flopped. It starred Gary Burghoff, who reprised his M*A*S*H character.
The episode relates 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.
No longer using his army nickname "Radar", Walter O'Reilly is now a rookie policeman 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, Walter had returned home to Iowa, but failed at farming and was forced to sell the farm and livestock and then send his mother to live with his aunt. After marrying his bride in River Bend (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.
- Gary Burghoff as Walter O'Reilly
- Ray Buktenica as Wendell Micklejohn
- Victoria Jackson as Victoria
- Noble Willingham as Sergeant Sowell
- Meeno Peluce as Elston Krennick
- Clete Roberts as The Interviewer
- Sam Scarber as Haskell
- Lyman Ward as Bigelow
- Sarah Abrell as Judith Crane
- Larry Cedar as Zipkin
- Francine Gable as Pretty Girl
- Victoria Carroll as Bubbles Sincere
- June Berry as Dixie Devoe
- Bobby Ramsen as The Singer
- Dick Miller as The Theater Owner
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.
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.
- Walter pilot episode, 1984, retrieved 2021-07-03
- David Scott Diffrient, M*A*S*H (Wayne State University Press, 2008), ISBN 978-0814335529, p. 142. Excerpts available at Google Books.
- Vincent Terrace, Encyclopedia of Television Pilots, 1937-2012 (McFarland & Company, 2013), ISBN 978-1476602493, p. 316. Excerpts available at Google Books.
- Maçek III, J.C. (12 January 2017). "What Happens When Happy Shows Turn All X-Files on You?". PopMatters.
- "W*A*L*T*E*R". Best Care Anywhere. 2006-06-02. Retrieved 2013-08-21.
- "W*A*L*T*E*R". Television Obscurities. 2005-02-15. Retrieved 2013-08-20.