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W*A*L*T*E*R was a pilot for a spin-off of M*A*S*H made in 1984 that was never picked up. It starred Gary Burghoff, who reprised his M*A*S*H character.

The show 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.

Broadcast difficulties

Since the pilot was never picked up by CBS as a series, it was shown as a "CBS Special Presentation" in July of 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.


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.


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 after 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 older brother had died in Korea.

The pilot seems to show that W*A*L*T*E*R would have been lighthearted, simple comedy, in keeping with the O'Reilly character of M*A*S*H, but without the social value of the parent show.


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