W*A*L*T*E*R was a comedy episode which was broadcast on July 17, 1984 to test audience response for a potential new spin-off series of the TV show known as M*A*S*H. The pilot featured Walter "Radar" O'Reilly who was a main character on that series. Walter returned home from his Korean War M*A*S*H unit, lost his farm, lost his wife, and then became a policeman in St.Louis, Missouri in the year 1954.
Gary Burghoff .... Walter O'Reilly
Ray Buktenica .... Wendell Micklejohn
Victoria Jackson .... Victoria
Noble Willingham .... Sergeant Sowell
Meeno Peluce .... Elstin
Sarah Abrell .... Judith Crane
June Berry .... Dixie Devoe Bobby
Lyman Ward .... Bigelow
Sam Scarber .... Haskell
Larry Cedar .... Zipkin
Francine Gabel .... Pretty Girl
Victoria Carroll .... Bubbles Sincere
Bobby Ramsen .... The Singer
Dick Miller .... Theater Owner
Clete Roberts .... Interviewer
Walter's police duties as a rookie in this pilot were a bit lame but, what the heck, it was a comedy, not Hill Street Blues. He recovered his and his cousin's stolen wallets from a homeless boy. Walter lets the boy go after learning that his father was killed in the Korean War. He also stoped a fight between two strippers after they tossed him around a bit and helped one of the strippers find her lost bird.
The story for this pilot was written by Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf, and Michael Zinberg. It was adapted for television by Bob Schiller, Bob Weiskopf, and Everett Greenbaum. It was produced by Michael Zinberg and directed by Bill Bixby who is probably best known as an actor who played "Dr. David Bruce Banner" on the series, "The Incredible Hulk".
On M*A*S*H we often heard how RADAR was from Iowa. Supposedly, on this series he moved to St. Louis after his mother died and then a season of crop failure cause him to lose the family farm and his wife left him on his honeymoon. His moving from Iowa and the reasons for it were shown on a 2-part episode of the series, "AfterMASH" with Gary Burghoff appearing as a guest star! Those episodes were titled, "Yours Truly, Max Klinger" and "It Had to be You".
Walter still has his "super-hearing" and "mind-reading" abilities that we all loved on M*A*S*H! After Walter files a motor vehicle report, a female cop starts to ask him why he only gave serial numbers for two tires. She says, "You only give serial numbers for two" and before she can say "tires", Walter responds, "It's a motorcycle, ma'am". When Walter helped the stripper find her lost Dove, Walter was the only one who could hear it "cooing".
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