Discussing May’s Poll

I was a week late posting about April’s poll and now I’m a week late posting about May’s poll. Everything evens out in the end, I guess. Except for this month’s poll, which unless I forgot will only run for three weeks.

Anyway, last month’s poll asked “Have you seen “W*A*L*T*E*R,” the unsold pilot starring Gary Burghoff?” A total of 191 votes were cast and 73% said no, they had not seen the pilot while only 27% said they had. These results were not a surprise to anyone. In fact, I am frankly a little shocked that more than 50 people say they have seen the pilot. I wonder how many people actually watched it when it was broadcast back in July of 1984.

While writing my article on “W*A*L*T*E*R” for Television Obscurities, I probably watched the pilot twice. Once all the way through and then the second time in bits and pieces. Once would have been more than enough. In my opinion, it was an embarrassment to all involved.

Anyone disagree?


  • In addition to the clips posted on Television Obscurities, I’m pretty sure W*A*L*T*E*R had been posted in its entirety at some point on YouTube, and I’m pretty sure I did watch the whole thing at least once.

    In spite of the fact that Radar is my favorite character, the way they went about executing his possible spin off was the wrong way to do so; I guess they figured since over a decade earlier was the Rural Purge, trying to do a sitcom about Radar running the family farm would not have worked, but in actuality, that would have been a much direction to head… they probably still could have worked in his wife leaving him and his mother dying as plot devices, but sending him to St. Louis with his cousin to be a cop is kind of random, like they just pulled the idea out of a hat or something and tried to make it work.

    Plus, I find it odd that Gary would even agree to the idea of a spin off, considering part of the reason he left M*A*S*H was that he was tired of being Radar, unless between 1979 and 1983, he felt he had enough of a break.

  • David G. says:

    I asked Gary about this program in 1995, and he said the reason he wanted to do this take on the character was because he was attracted to the positive light the storyline provided about police officers. Gary commented that there had been some bad news publicity about policemen during the early 1980s, and he thought this type of show would help turn around those perceptions.

    Victoria Jackson, who appears in the show, still had never seen the program at the time I met her at one of the Hollywood Collectors Shows in Burbank in either 2009 or 2010 (whatever year they had the “Back to the Future” cast reunion there). It had been about 25 years since she’d done the thing, but she asked me what I thought of the bit where she danced on the counter top. She confirmed to me that, indeed, her character was going to be O’Reilly’s love interest if this had gone to a series. I informed her that “Walter” was on YouTube, and she said she hadn’t known that and thanked me for that information and said she was going to (finally) watch it.

    Now if only someone would post “Wet Feet” from “AfterMASH” onto YouTube so I could finally say I’ve seen the ENTIRE “M*A*S*H” saga…!

  • MASHGuy says:

    I have W*A*L*T*E*R because the guy who sold AfterMASH to me also included it.

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