ST. LOUIS — There have been several TV shows and movies set in St. Louis. Many people will recall that Up in the Air was filmed at Lambert Airport, or that Escape from New York used St. Louis as a stand-in for a bombed-out Manhattan. You may not know that a spinoff of one of the most popular TV shows of all time is also set in St. Louis. That’s probably because the show Walter was never picked up as a regular series.
Who is Walter? Well, that is the first name of a fictional character from the Mash TV show and movie. It takes place during the Korean War from 1950-1953. Gary Burghoff played the beloved Walter “Radar” O’Reilly. The actor left the show in a special two part episode that aired in 1979. The character left the 4077th after a hardship discharge because is uncle died.
The pilot for the Mash spin-off Walter aired only once on CBS in July 1984. You can see it here.
The new show picks up in 1954 after O’Reilly moves back to the Midwest. “Radar” goes back to using his real first name and moves back to Iowa to help his family. His farm fails, he sends his mom to live with her sister, and then moves to St. Louis with his fiance. She leaves him on their honeymoon for another man.
This upsets Walter, and he tries to overdose on sleeping pills. He reconsiders that after becoming friends with a woman who works at the pharmacy.
Walter’s cousin helps him get a job as a St. Louis Police officer. The odd show then moves onto his new job where he helps resolves issues between strippers and help a poor child who lost his father in Korea is stealing to make ends meet.
A YouTube clip of the show was recently posted to the Mash sub-Reddit. One user left this comment, “One of the lousiest things I have ever watched.”