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W*A*L*T*E*R title card.jpg
Created by Larry Gelbart
Gene Reynolds
Based on The character of Walter O'Reilly created by Richard Hooker
Directed by Bill Bixby
Starring Gary Burghoff
Ray Buktenica
Victoria Jackson
Noble Willingham
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 1
Running time 30 minute pilot / CBS Special Presentation
Original network CBS (ET/CT only)
Original release July 17, 1984
Preceded by M*A*S*H

W*A*L*T*E*R is a 1984 pilot episode for a spin-off of M*A*S*H that was never picked up. 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, though his character is still as in the original series.[1][2][3]


The episode opens with Walter O'Reilly in his cousin Wendell Micklejohn's apartment. They are getting ready for their workday while watching the start of a television interview. The interview shows journalist Clete Roberts following up on the members of the M*A*S*H 4077th. The previous week Roberts had interviewed Hawkeye Pierce, and this week he is catching up with O'Reilly. At the police department and through store windows on the street, O'Reilly and Micklejohn catch pieces of the television interview, giving viewers of the pilot a chance to sample the potential series and to build a bridge between the events of M*A*S*H and W*A*L*T*E*R.

Viewers learn that O'Reilly returned to Iowa, where he failed at farming. He sold the farm and the livestock and sent his mother off to live with his aunt. His bride left him for another man during their honeymoon. O'Reilly decided to commit suicide, and went to a drug store to buy sleeping pills for an overdose (as well as aspirin, because sleeping pills give him headaches). The drugstore clerk, Victoria, cheered him up and they became good friends. His cousin Wendell helped him get a job on the police force. Walter solves a dispute between two strippers, and gets his wallet back from a young would-be thief whose father had died in Korea.[4]




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.[5]


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

External links[edit]