Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Gary Burghoff & Ray Buktenica in W*A*L*T*E*R (1984)

This is the second and last of the official spinoffs of M*A*S*H. In it we catch up with Radar, the gentle radio man from the original series. His marriage has failed and he's decided to become a policeman in St. Louis, MO, after being encouraged by his cousin (Buktenica). This comedy is of the "laughter through tears" brand of sitcoms made popular by the foregoing series, featuring the lead character in some gritty circumstances including that failed marriage, the loss of his family farm and a suicide attempt. The lead character's charm apparently wasn't enough to pull the show through, however. It was never picked up, and the pilot ran only once as a special in the eastern and central time zones on July 17th, 1984, being preempted by convention coverage on the west coast.

This is an extremely rare show and without YouTube would be almost impossible to find. It's been uploaded by TheGorzak for your viewing pleasure, however.

Obscurity factor: 9 (not on DVD, almost completely forgotten, available on YouTube)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Harry Morgan & Jamie Farr in AfterMASH (1983)

The wildly successful series M*A*S*H (1972), surprisingly only fostered two official and one unofficial (Trapper John, MD [1979]) spinoffs. This series is the one that made it. (Look for a post on the other one soon). In AfterMASH, we find Col. Potter returning home after the war and somewhat at loose ends. He eventually finds his way to a VA hospital in Missouri, where he's offered the job of Chief of Staff. The job allows him to gather some familiar faces around him, including Klinger (Farr) and Father Mulcahy (William Christopher). The series chronicles the goings on at General Pershing Veterans Hospital.

Though they make a valiant effort with the show, there's a strange flat quality to the acting. It might be a choice to try and represent the regional affect of the midwestern location, but perhaps that's giving it a bit too much credit. It's worth a look especially if you're fond of the original series from which it sprang.

This has been almost totally forgotten. It's not available on DVD and is only known to hard core fans of the original series and people who watched it at the time. Oddly enough, it was very successful in its original run, but failed miserably when put up against the mega-hit The A-Team in its second season. Select episodes are available on YouTube. Above is the pilot, uploaded by TheGorzak.

Obscurity factor: 8 (not on DVD, known to fans of M*A*S*H, otherwise forgotten)