Monday M*A*S*H Discussions offers fans the opportunity to offer their opinions on a wide variety of topics relating to M*A*S*H. Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. My hope is these discussion posts will continue to elicit comments in the weeks and months after they’re initially published. Have a suggestion about something you think might be worth discussing? Let me know and maybe it will become my next Monday M*A*S*H Discussion topic.
Today’s topic is: What if Gary Burghoff never left M*A*S*H?
No Good-Bye, Radar
Last November, we discussed how M*A*S*H may have unfolded had Wayne Rogers not left the show after Season 3. We pondered the impact of Trapper staying at the 4077th and, consequently, no need for the writers to create the character of B.J. as his replacement. Now it’s time to think about how M*A*S*H may have changed if Gary Burghoff remained with the show.
Unlike with the other actors who departed M*A*S*H, the writers opted not to replace Burghoff. When Radar left the 4077th, rather than introduce a new company clerk, Klinger took over as clerk. Therefore, the biggest change to M*A*S*H had Burghoff stuck around would be Klinger not having the opportunity to give up wearing dresses and scheming for a Section 8. Or perhaps he still would have, just for a different reason.
To be honest, except for the evolution of Maxwell Klinger, not much would’ve changed for M*A*S*H had Burghoff had stayed with the show for its entire run. Many of the storylines involving Klinger as company clerk could’ve worked just as easily with Radar as company clerk. Klinger would’ve still had his own storylines. Obviously, there would be no need for “Period of Adjustment,” and the Radar storyline in “The Foresight Saga” wouldn’t exist.
Can you picture the last four seasons of M*A*S*H with Gary Burghoff and Radar? Are there any specific episodes from those episodes you feel would’ve worked better with Radar involved?
Hit the comments with your thoughts.