Radar’s Teddy Bear Sold at Auction Last Month

The original prop teddy bear used during the production of M*A*S*H was sold at auction by Gary Burghoff last month. The auction took place on March 27th online via One of a Kind Collectibles. The starting bid was $500 and there were 19 bidders involved. The final bid, with buyers premium, was $14,307.50. Burghoff included a notarized letter, which I have transcribed below, explaining what happened to the bear after the series ended.

The teddy bear offered in the one of a kind collectables auction on March 27, 2014, is the actual bear we used on MASH television series between 1971 and 1981. It is the ONLY bear used in the series.

When the series concluded in 1981, the bear mysteriously disappeared for nearly 30 years, prompting my non-ending search for my little on-camera companion and friend. It was conspicuously missing at the MASH exhibit of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC which was one of the most successful exhibits in Smithsonian history.

Finally, “TIGER” (as I had secretly named him), surfaced in a specialized show business memorabilia auction. It had been in the possession of the MASH set designer all along! A friend and I purchased it and TIGER has been in our care for many years.

The Radar Teddy Bear may be said to be the most famous teddy bear in the world today. MASH is still loved world-wide in more than 15 languages.

Tiger is a true 20th and 21st Century Television icon and, due to the importance of the MASH series, has a lasting place in American history.

My hope is that he will find a new home with a person or institution that understands the true value of this special American icon.

The auction Burghoff refers to was the July 29th, 2005 Profiles in History 22nd Hollywood Auction. The bear was sold for $11,000 (including buyers premium).

I’ve updated my Prop Spotlight: Radar’s Teddy Bear with this latest information.

(Source: BestCareAnywhere.net)

14 Comments

  • Tuttle says:

    What a great cultural artifact.

    The MASH geek in me would like to point out that Gary’s dates are all wrong. Gary was on the show from 1972 to 1979, and the show ended in 1983, not 1981.

  • Barbara J. Wiley Deel says:

    I love this show and eleven years of mash. I have watched it ever since it has been out. I have every episode that was ever made. It I’m blue I put one of the episode on and get happy. There to funny.plus my whole family loves almost all those actors in the cast. I love haweye, Margaret, trapper, blake, rarar, Frank, Klinger, bj, morgan, winchester, synden, father, all the nurses. Such a successful show and it brought a lot of laughter in my heart and my son Donnie.

  • Mike says:

    There were three bears used and there was one buried in a time capsule that the cast each put a item in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBsrSBH6Pvo for reference

    • Matt says:

      The video says they by tried something in the capsule but not what it was. And no mention of this third people have mentioned. I believe there is only one bear. No one would bury that bear

  • LIN says:

    I have a childhood teddy bear the same as Radar’s! I love my bear just as much as radar loved his! His should never have been sold!! It should have been put in a museum for future generations to enjoy!

  • Paul Robles says:

    So what is the final tally , was there three bears or just one as Gary Burghoff says ? A very very life long fan , since it came into existence .

    • Matt says:

      I believe 1 bear. Have never heard of others, and the time capsule was for show. The time capsule they burried after the show, they don’t say what was in it. But why bury That bear, to much an icon. Would be hard to duplicate

      • James says:

        There actually were two bears… Radar’s “Tiger”, and the one Alan Alda put in the time capsule in the episode “As Time Goes By.”. With that being said, after the last “Cut, and Wrap!” of the last filmed episode, the cast apparently did a real time capsule. It’s said that “Tiger” (Radar’s actual Bear) was put in, and thereby went “missing for 30 years”. If that’s the case, then apparently the MASH Set Designer who auctioned it off, and thereby allowed G.B. to get the bear back by winning the auction, dug up the time capsule for himself. A bit rude, but I don’t believe it would be illegal for him to do so. After all, once buried, the time capsules and the items within are in most places considered to be abandoned (unless on private property?).

  • Beth Cooper says:

    Not sure exactly how many there were, however, I feel the “real” or “original” one should really go to Gary Burghoff, the caregiver of Tiger for all those years. I know it was said he auctioned it after discovering its location , but I honestly feel this is just wrong!! Should have not been allowed to be with anyone other than “Radar”” !! Please tell me I’m not the only one who feels this way? Just doesn’t feel right….. makes me sad actually …

    • Belvedere Jehosaphat says:

      I feel that way too. I’m a pretty rational and unsentimental person but I’m not convinced that beloved teddy bears are entirely non-sentient.

  • Hawkeyelover says:

    I remember there being two bears. The one hawkeye put in the time capsule was very different. It was darker in color and didn’t have the plastic snout. I think the original should be in a museum.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.