Also Starring Gary Burghoff As Radar

While watching “Private Finance” the other day for this week’s Episode Spotlight installment, I noticed that Gary Burghoff received a special mention in the opening credits: Also Starring Gary Burghoff as Radar. And yet he didn’t appear in the episode. I mentioned this in my review and it was also discussed in the comments, with someone suggesting perhaps there was a cut scene featuring Burghoff that necessitated the credit.

I don’t recall offhand but you probably don’t see the special credit when watching the series in syndication.

Also Starring Gary Burghoff as Radar

I was aware that Burghoff had received the same special credit for a few episodes early in Season Eight, notably his two-part farewell and at least the two other episodes in which Radar made brief appearances while on leave (“Too Many Cooks” and “Guerilla My Dreams“). I hadn’t realized that he was also credited in so many other Season Eight episodes.

In all, Burghoff received his special credit in 12 of the 25 episodes that season despite only appearing in four of them. Here’s a list of the Season Eight episodes in original broadcast order, with notations indicating those that included the special credit and featured Burghoff:

  • (08×01) “Too Many Cooks” (credit, brief appearance)
  • (08×02) “Are You Now, Margaret” (credit, no appearance)
  • (08×03) “Guerrilla My Dreams” (credit, small role)
  • (08×04) “Good-Bye Radar, Part 1” (credit, full appearance)
  • (08×05) “Good-Bye Radar, Part 2” (credit, full appearance)
  • (08×06) “Period of Adjustment” (credit, no appearance)
  • (08×07) “Nurse Doctor” (credit, no appearance)
  • (08×08) “Private Finance” (credit, no appearance)
  • (08×09) “Mr. and Mrs. Who?” (credit, no appearance)
  • (08×10) “The Yalu Brick Road” (credit, no appearance)
  • (08×11) “Life Time” (credit, no appearance)
  • (08×12) “Dear Uncle Abdul” (no credit)
  • (08×13) “Captain’s Outrageous” (no credit)
  • (08×14) “Stars and Stripes” (no credit)
  • (08×15) “Yessir, That’s Our Baby” (no credit)
  • (08×16) “Bottle Fatigue” (no credit)
  • (08×17) “Heal Thyself” (no credit)
  • (08×18) “Old Soldiers” (no credit)
  • (08×19) “Morale Victory” (no credit)
  • (08×20) “Lend a Hand” (no credit)
  • (08×21) “Goodbye, Cruel World” (no credit)
  • (08×22) “Dreams” (credit, no appearance)
  • (08×23) “War Co-Respondent” (no credit)
  • (08×24) “Back Pay” (no credit)
  • (08×25) “April Fools” (no credit)

That means Burghoff received his special credit for the first 11 episodes of Season Eight and then, for some reason, for “Dreams” later in the season. That doesn’t make much sense until you look at the season in production order:

  • [Prod. #S601] (08×01) “Too Many Cooks” (credit, brief appearance)
  • [Prod. #S602] (08×02) “Are You Now, Margaret” (credit, no appearance)
  • [Prod. #S603] (08×03) “Guerrilla My Dreams” (credit, small role)
  • [Prod. #S604] (08×06) “Period of Adjustment” (credit, no appearance)
  • [Prod. #S605] (08×08) “Private Finance” (credit, no appearance)
  • [Prod. #S606] (08×09) “Mr. and Mrs. Who?” (credit, no appearance)
  • [Prod. #S607] (08×10) “The Yalu Brick Road” (credit, no appearance)
  • [Prod. #S608] (08×07) “Nurse Doctor” (credit, no appearance)
  • [Prod. #S609] (08×11) “Life Time” (credit, no appearance)
  • [Prod. #S610] (08×04) “Good-Bye Radar, Part 1” (credit, full appearance)
  • [Prod. #S611] (08×05) “Good-Bye Radar, Part 2” (credit, full appearance)
  • [Prod. #S612] (08×22) “Dreams” (credit, no appearance)
  • [Prod. #S613] (08×12) “Dear Uncle Abdul” (no credit)
  • [Prod. #S614] (08×13) “Captain’s Outrageous” (no credit)
  • [Prod. #S615] (08×14) “Stars and Stripes” (no credit)
  • [Prod. #S616] (08×17) “Heal Thyself” (no credit)
  • [Prod. #S617] (08×15) “Yessir, That’s Our Baby” (no credit)
  • [Prod. #S618] (08×16) “Bottle Fatigue” (no credit)
  • [Prod. #S619] (08×19) “Morale Victory” (no credit)
  • [Prod. #S620] (08×18) “Old Soldiers” (no credit)
  • [Prod. #S621] (08×20) “Lend a Hand” (no credit)
  • [Prod. #S622] (08×21) “Goodbye, Cruel World” (no credit)
  • [Prod. #S623] (08×25) “April Fools” (no credit)
  • [Prod. #S624] (08×23) “War Co-Respondent” (no credit)
  • [Prod. #S625] (08×24) “Back Pay” (no credit)

As you can see, Burghoff received his credit for the first 12 episodes produced for Season Eight, which included “Dreams” even though that episode was aired much later in the season.

Why did Burghoff get the credit? Either whoever was in charge of the opening credits back in 1979 messed up and nobody noticed or it was something Burghoff negotiated with 20th Century Fox and/or CBS when he agreed to return to the role of Radar for a few episodes during Season Eight. According to Ken Levine, Radar’s final episode was originally supposed to be the last episode of Season Seven but CBS opted to push it back to Season Eight.

I would assume that put Burghoff in a pretty strong position to negotiate with 20th Century Fox and/or CBS for his limited return during Season Eight. While the details of whatever the parties worked out are certainly none of our business, out of pure curiosity I would be interested in knowing how it was determined which episodes Burghoff would appear prior to his departure. That would dictate which episodes aired before “”Good-Bye Radar, Part I.” It was probably a mix of Burghoff’s schedule and the production schedule for the series.

Perhaps Burghoff discussed this in his 2009 autobiography Gary Burghoff: To M*A*S*H and Back. Can anyone who has read it confirm if he goes into detail about his limited return during Season Eight?

7 Comments

  • David G. says:

    Well …. it’s the DVDs that I think are wrong.

    I started watching the series on CBS with the original airing of Radar’s final episode, and my very strong memory is that Burghoff’s credits did NOT appear again after that episode. (This would have stuck out to me like a sore thumb if I kept seeing his name during the weeks after Radar had left the show.) Plus, I started watching the weeknight reruns at that same time, and my recollection is that Burghoff’s name in those syndicated episodes did NOT include his name in the opening credits when I finally got around to seeing those 8th season shows again a year later.

    The first time I ever noticed Burghoff’s name continuing in the show after “Goodbye Radar, Part 2” was when I bought the DVDs. Then … it stuck out like that sore thumb.

    • RJ says:

      You know, I considered the possibility that the DVDs were wrong. But as far as I know, there has never been any indication that the episodes as presented on DVD differ at all from the way they were originally broadcast (with the obvious exception of “Our Finest Hour”).

      The only way to know for sure would be to find somebody who taped some Season Eight episodes when they originally aired.

  • Benjamin says:

    Well it wouldn’t be the first time the DVD’s were wrong, I believe some of Mike Farrell’s opening scenes were different as was the original opening scene used on different episodes as well. But this is just from memory and articles so don’t quote me on this, lol.

  • David G. says:

    Back when the “M*A*S*H” episodes were released on 90-minute tapes for Columbia House in the late 1990s, the episodes went through a clean-up process. (They ALMOST got that process right. Whatever mechanism was used to color-adjust the episodes resulted any shot involving text during an episodes opening and closing credits shot to have nice, bright letters, but a noticeably darker and murkier image of what what going on in the actual scene.) My theory is that the incorrect opening theme may have got appended onto the post-Burghoff episodes during this time. Somebody probably thought: “Why take the time to clean up the same opening theme sequence every single time for 20-some episodes when we can just do it once with this first one from that season?” Based on the problem that still exists with the murky/dark opening/closing credit shots on every episode, my guess is that the source material used for the Columbia House tapes may have also served as the source material for the DVDs (…although I still can’t figure out why the DVDs didn’t use the full “Our Finest Hour” that was available on the Columbia House tape….). I’d have to check my copies of whatever later 8th season episodes ended up on those Columbia House tapes to see which opening theme sequence was used on those. (FYI: Columbia House packaged those 3-episode tapes in “themes”, rather than in non-sequential order.)

    • David G. says:

      Miswrote that final line. Should say there that the Columbia House tapes were packaged in 3-episode tapes by “themes”, rather than IN sequential order.

    • paul says:

      I think that David G is wrong about the quality of the picture behind the credit fonts. If I remember correctly, the real reason for that dark, fogginesss is due to the fact that back when they made the show, the credits were on a separate cel that was then placed on top of the original print. that would mean that the only so much light was going through both cels (and therefore the original appears dark and somewhat blurry under the cel with the titles on it).
      I’m not an expert but it would be neat to have this confirmed.
      I don’t think the clean-up processes would have done anything but improve the picture behind the titles.

  • Knowledgable says:

    Paul is correct about the picture issue. Remember, this was a show edited on film – you wouldn’t ever have this “dark” issue with text over a shot today, because it would be digital.

    As for Burghoff, he likely got a guarantee of 12 episode payments (12/22) when his agent negotiated for the 8th season, but that he didn’t have to appear in all 12. He did what he had to do, got paid, and he got the credit. Yes – a little funky that one was after Goodbye, Radar, but c’est la vie.

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