The Wildlife Art of Radar O'Reilly
April 10, 2002 7:24 PM   Subscribe

The Wildlife Art of Radar O'Reilly
Gary Burghoff is a star of many art forms who has expanded his multi-faceted career to include that of wildlife artist.
posted by quonsar (62 comments total)
A freind of mine alerted me to the fact that Burghoff has a flipper for a hand on one side(I forget which), which is of course, deliberately obscured onscreen. We spent the better half of a 6-hour M*A*S*H marathon carefully watching and did catch a few breif glimpses of said flipper.
Many people have said that Burghoff is as goodhearted as his character, and as cheesy as some of this art might be, that does show through.
posted by jonmc at 7:34 PM on April 10, 2002

I actually have a piece of Gary Burghoff art done in high school that my family acquired after his grandmother (I think) died and some of her belongings were sold off. (My hometown is the same city where he went to high school.) If I can find where its packed away in the storage room in the next couple days, I'll scan and post it online.
posted by SenshiNeko at 8:09 PM on April 10, 2002

ok. $10 worth of blortbux to the first one who posts a pic of said flipper.
posted by quonsar at 8:19 PM on April 10, 2002

How much for a shot of FDR in his wheelchair? Neither one wanted their disability publicized, you know.
posted by yhbc at 8:25 PM on April 10, 2002

yhbc-I wasn't trying to mock Gary Burghoff. I'm a certified Radar buff, in fact. I just thought was a weird story about what two drunk freinds istting on acouch watching TV will do to amuse themselves.
posted by jonmc at 8:30 PM on April 10, 2002

Well, according to the M*A*S*H FAQ, it's not a flipper:

Q: Are the rumours true about Radar O'Reilly having a deformed hand?
A: Yes, a couple of the fingers on Gary Burghoff's left hand are smaller than normal. This is well hidden from the audience though, as just about every scene has Radar conveniently covering up his left hand or holding something with it.

No luck finding a pic, though.
posted by shagoth at 8:30 PM on April 10, 2002

ever tried to spend a blortbuck yhbc?
posted by quonsar at 8:31 PM on April 10, 2002

I'm a big fan of Burghoff. He's done good stuff for needy causes over the years, like helping handicapped kids cope with their disabilities, or finding homes for orphaned pets. However, this artwork is wholly uninspired. It's practically paint by numbers stuff. I don't see the appeal, beyond the fact that Radar painted it, which isn't more than a novelty thing.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:36 PM on April 10, 2002

Just makin' the point, jon. I didn't mean to sound accusatory.
(and it wasa rpetty funn ystory)
posted by yhbc at 8:37 PM on April 10, 2002

i heard a rumor that the series won a special emmy for their careful camera work to obscure Radar's hand. Sounds wacky -- anyone else heard it?
posted by o2b at 8:41 PM on April 10, 2002

Deformed hand or not, if you aren't willing to show me a high-res photo of the artwork I'm not going to even consider buying it. Come on, who is going to spend over $300 just because this guy had his 15-minutes of fame on an overrated TV show?
posted by skallas at 8:41 PM on April 10, 2002

And the movie too, skallas - I believe he was the only character to appear in both
*implicit confession of Radar buffitude muself *
posted by yhbc at 8:44 PM on April 10, 2002

(and it wasa rpetty funn ystory)

And the freind who told me about the flipper was Rob the EMT, so it must be true...

15-minutes of fame on an overrated TV show?

Blasphemer. :)
posted by jonmc at 8:45 PM on April 10, 2002

burghoff exudes guilelessness and humility. and while i found the pictures to be, well, what ZachsMind said, the whole site seemed so damned friendly, so 'radar-like' that it struck me.
posted by quonsar at 8:48 PM on April 10, 2002

It is a friendly site. And I always liked Burghoff for many reasons, not the least of which is because he was born is Bristol, Connecticut. I also remember watching a few episodes of Match Game '74 or something that had him as a substitute for Charles Nelson Reilley. He was quite good; I remember thinking that it took a lot of skill to wear clothes uglier than Reilley's, which he indeed did. I mean, the most hideous shirt/slacks combo ever. Cheers to Gary.

Unfortunately his site looks like it was scraped off the bottom of a Geocities sewage tank. Someone should build him a better one.
posted by evanizer at 9:08 PM on April 10, 2002

Radar used to play some shit hot drums in MASH. Anyone know if he was just miming?
posted by skinsuit at 11:24 PM on April 10, 2002

> Anyone know if he was just miming?

This page says: "While in high school Gary played drums with the Bud Wilber Orchestra in Milwaukee clubs." And this page has a pictures and .wav samples.
posted by pracowity at 2:31 AM on April 11, 2002

A pretty good pic - a friend of a friend who knows him says that IRL he is very upfront about his hand (the hand is somewhat smaller and has three fingers which are shorter and only grew to the first joint, as you can see by the photo - not a "flipper"!), and that it was always hidden on the show for realism, because the Army would never have accepted anyone with his disability. Makes sense.

The screaming bird sound file on his website makes my teeth hurt.
posted by iconomy at 4:59 AM on April 11, 2002

"...and that it was always hidden on the show for realism, because the Army would never have accepted anyone with his disability."

Fair enough, but would the Army have taken anyone as nearsighted as his character was?
posted by jalexei at 5:40 AM on April 11, 2002

As soon as I saw the Burghoff post about the artwork, I knew the thread would be all about the flipper. I love you, Metafilter.
posted by luser at 5:53 AM on April 11, 2002

>>would the Army have taken anyone as nearsighted as his character

Good point. I thought about that too - was his nearsightedness part of the plotline? I don't really remember, I wasn't a follower of the show. I wonder if he really wore glasses or if they were a prop, because while looking for a pic of him I noticed that the only times he had glasses on in were in the stills from MASH. In all of the non-MASH pics, he bears an uncanny resemblance to Truman Capote.
posted by iconomy at 6:08 AM on April 11, 2002

And the movie too, skallas - I believe he was the only character to appear in both

Burghoff was the only actor to appear in both. The first few episodes of the TV series had all the major characters from the film, including Duke, Spearchucker, and Dish (these characters disappeared quickly)
posted by briank at 6:23 AM on April 11, 2002

including Duke, Spearchucker, and Dish (these characters disappeared quickly)

Extreme Trivia Alert: Marcia Strassman the actress who played Lt. Dish(although she was actually called "nurse Cutler" on the show-Dish was a nickname) cut a 45 called "The Flower Children" in 1967(weird bubblegum psychedelia if yu must know). She later became Mrs. Kotter.

My God, I sound like Matt Pinfield, and I haven't even had coffee, yet. Stop me before I dig up something else...
posted by jonmc at 7:41 AM on April 11, 2002

the Army would never have accepted anyone with his disability

My uncle served in the army, and he had two thumbs on one hand, joined together. It didn't affect his ability to shoot a rifle, however.
posted by groundhog at 8:31 AM on April 11, 2002 [1 favorite]

what a great post (and ensuing discussion). wacky, trivial, spaning many different topics, and incorporating a number of different viewpoints. this is what metafilter is all about.

i can't add much to the thread, except to say that my dad really enjoyed m*a*s*h while i was growing up — so there was no way i would have been caught dead watching it. i've tried to watch since becoming an adult of sorts, but i can't get past all the issues of father-son relations, approval/disapproval, love/hate, etc. i think that m*a*s*h may have been a brilliant melding of the comedic and dramatic forms, forever changing the face of television; but all i can think of while watching is my father.
posted by mlang at 9:14 AM on April 11, 2002

"was his nearsightedness part of the plotline?"

I think I remember a few episodes where he either misplaced his specs or they were broken, and he had to do the whole feel his way around the room schtick.

And mlang, speaking of M*A*S*H associations, it was always the show (along with various game shows, Hogan's Heros and a few others) on the UHF band (I'm only 32 and feeling old, old, old!) that I'd watch when I was home sick from school - You think of father/son relations, I always feel like I'm getting a sore throat...
posted by jalexei at 9:25 AM on April 11, 2002

along with various game shows, Hogan's Heros...

Hogan's Heroes! Woo-hoo! Bob Crane is yet another illustrious Nutmegger.

Although considering the rather sordid details(NSFW) of his off-camera life, not to mention his mysterious death, maybe he's not one we should be bragging about...
posted by jonmc at 9:38 AM on April 11, 2002

MASH was my favorite tv show growing up but that was at least partly because I had a crush on Alan Alda. Or maybe the crush was due to my liking the show & esp the Hawkeye character so much, I don't know. the opening credits are one of my yellow wallpapers... (am I remembering proust right? I mean a trigger of nostalgic feelings...)

I had no idea about the flipper after all these years... the show's not playing on late night tv in NY at the moment but when it comes around again I'll be looking.
posted by mdn at 9:48 AM on April 11, 2002

the opening credits are one of my yellow wallpapers... (am I remembering proust right? I mean a trigger of nostalgic feelings...)

I've never read Proust, but mrs. jonmc says she's pretty sure it was actually a pastry that triggered Proust's memories. I also remember an episode of Northern Exposure where Chris-in-the-Morning says something to that effect...
posted by jonmc at 10:03 AM on April 11, 2002

skallas -- Collectors of nature art would pay for Burghoff's stuff. My dad was minimally into nature art a decade ago and I was surprised to learn there's quite an art industry out there.

Burghoff is still considered a pretty good native son here in Connecticut, but I sure wish he'd lay off the Doppler radar ads he's doing with one of the the local television stations. With their "that's some radar!" tagline, those ads are beginning to get downright annoying.
posted by debrahyde at 10:11 AM on April 11, 2002

it was actually a pastry that triggered Proust's memories

Madeleines, to be accurate, which are a type of cookie.

(sorry, my brain is in Trivia Mode today)
posted by briank at 11:44 AM on April 11, 2002

jonmc- indeed mrs. jonmc is correct, it was a madeline (small, shell-shaped cookie) that caused proust's reverie- here's the relevant passage from the ck scott moncreiff translation:
"And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom , my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it; perhaps because I had so often seen such things in the meantime, without tasting them, on the trays in pastry-cooks' windows, that their image had dissociated itself from those Combray days to take its place among others more recent; perhaps because of those memories, so long abandoned and put out of mind, nothing now survived, everything was scattered; the shapes of things, including that of the little scallop-shell of pastry, so richly sensual under its severe, religious folds, were either obliterated or had been so long dormant as to have lost the power of expansion which would have allowed them to resume their place in my consciousness. But when from a long-distant past nothing subsists, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered, taste and smell alone, more fragile but more enduring, more unsubstantial, more persistent, more faithful, remain poised a long time, like souls, remembering, waiting, hoping, amid the ruins of all the rest; and bear unflinchingly, in the tiny and almost impalpable drop of their essence, the vast structure of recollection."
I love that paragraph. In four incredible sentences he sums up the beauty and sadness of nostalgia. The Yellow Wallpaper is a story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman from the same basic period as Proust. If you read the summary here, you will see that yellow wallpaper is not a pleasant thing at all.


My uncle was good friends with Werner Klemperer (Col. Klink from Hogan's Heros, and I met him a few times. He was really mean, but very smart and funny. I also forget that Richard Dawson [Since this page is an Angelfire one, this is a link to Google's cache of the page so the original doesn't go down so quickly] was on Hogan's as well, so with him and Crane on the same set, the sleaze factor must have been astronomical.

Plus you can use the Dawson link to connect M*A*S*H and Hogan's Heros: Richard Dawson was on Hogan's and also on Match Game with Gary Burghoff who was on M*A*S*H.

Strange that Crane is from Connecticut (Waterbury) as well as Burghoff. Which brings us back to our topic.

posted by evanizer at 11:46 AM on April 11, 2002

Sorry, here's the link to the description of Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper.
posted by evanizer at 11:49 AM on April 11, 2002

This thread is topic drift at its finest.
posted by iconomy at 12:55 PM on April 11, 2002

Okay, I'll bite. I'll bring it back to M*A*S*H* and someone else can bring it back to Gary Burghoff's animal paintings:

Here's what Jamie Farr is up to these days, according to a Toledo radio station. (via FARK)
posted by briank at 1:19 PM on April 11, 2002

"Plus you can use the Dawson link to connect M*A*S*H and Hogan's Heros..."

You don't need Dawson for the link, William Christopher (Father Mulcahy) was on both shows.
posted by jalexei at 1:35 PM on April 11, 2002

"Making personal appearances." Professionally Himself. What a fate. Hell is other people being condemned to be you.
posted by rodii at 1:35 PM on April 11, 2002

Ok - I'll bite too.

That's an interesting thing Jamie Farr says, the comment about no work for older actors. I was watching a show about Diane Keaton last night, and she's become pretty vocal about ageism in Hollywood, and is producing a special on it - I think Sissy Spacek and Goldie Hawn are the other two people involved. Diane Keaton's beautiful photographs of empty hotel lobbies were compiled into a fabulous book called Reservations. The pages can be pulled out and framed and hung on the wall. Just like Gary Burghoff's animal paintings.
posted by iconomy at 1:36 PM on April 11, 2002

So who's this Gary Burghoff fellow, and why are you bringing him up here?
posted by yhbc at 1:39 PM on April 11, 2002

I saw William Christopher on an episode of Love Boat that featured a scene of him making out with a woman. I know he's not a real preist, but I still felt scandalized somehow.
posted by jonmc at 2:04 PM on April 11, 2002

I don't know which is a more disturbing image; William Christopher making out with a woman, or your watching Love Boat.
posted by yhbc at 2:08 PM on April 11, 2002

I never read the gilman story (at least I don't remember it) so I have no idea why i thought of yellow wallpaper. The closest I could find in a search was a passage of dostoyevski that described the cross hatched yellow wallpaper, but it wasn't about nostalgia... I've only read excerpts of proust, and the pinter screenplay, (which I've loved & I mean to read the whole thing, but damn. that's a project. maybe once I learn french...ha. ) so probably shouldn't refer to it, but I wanted a word for nostalgia triggers, and somehow thought I remembered a scene where the wallpaper was one.

lalala. Actually it's kind of nice we can go from sitcoms to deformities to classic lit without it seeming out of place.
posted by mdn at 2:59 PM on April 11, 2002

The best thing about this thread is that no one has mentioned 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon yet.

'cept me, of course. D'oh!
posted by iconomy at 8:57 PM on April 11, 2002

Marcia Strassman as Lt. Dish? Not in my fallible memorybanks...
Marcia Strassman, I think, was Bailey Quarters on WKRP in Cincinnati. I only recall Lt. Dish being on M* A * S * H * during its first season. Played by Karen Phillip, who had been with Sergio Mendes & Brasil '77 prior to that and did a PLAYBOY pictorial during her 15 minutes on M* A * S * H *. After that, I never heard any more from her...
posted by StOne at 9:07 PM on April 11, 2002

I think Bailey was Jan Smithers. Marcia Strassman was Nurse Margie Cutler in MASH.

And they were both on The Love Boat
posted by iconomy at 9:12 PM on April 11, 2002

Damnit, I had sworn off this thread, but now I have to say:

Bailey (played by Jan Smithers, not Marcia Strassman) was to Jennifer (Loni Anderson) as MaryAnne was to Ginger in my mind.

Thank you.
posted by yhbc at 9:15 PM on April 11, 2002

* not quite fast enough *
posted by yhbc at 9:16 PM on April 11, 2002

This is beyond freaky. I just posted about Bailey Quarters(hubba-hubba) at VFTC[self-link].

FWIW, Marcia Strassman was on M*A*S*H(just follow the link), her charcter was named "Nurse Cutler" but I distinctly remember Hawkeye referring to her as "Lt. Dish." But, I could be wrong. She did cut that weird-ass 45, tho.
posted by jonmc at 9:42 PM on April 11, 2002

Make sure you don't confuse Jan Smithers with Jane Withers, whatever you do.
posted by iconomy at 10:31 PM on April 11, 2002

perish the thought.

Although, Gordon Jump from WKRP has replaced Jesse White(from your Josephine the Plumber link) as the Maytag Repairman.

The connections keep popping up. This is eerie.
posted by jonmc at 10:40 PM on April 11, 2002

D'OH! I always got Marcia Stratton/Jan Smithers confused...and I remember now checking the credits thinking they might be sisters...

OK, Stratton may have been Nurse Cutler, but Karen Phillipp (two P's) was Lt. Dish...
posted by StOne at 10:52 PM on April 11, 2002

It's all Jon's fault, his blog pointed me to this thread...Gary Burghof indeed.
posted by StOne at 10:56 PM on April 11, 2002

Strassman, stOne, my man, Marcia Strassman.

Here's one for you trivia-heads, Which cast member of the Dukes of Hazzard made a guest appearance on M*A*S*H and who did he play?
posted by jonmc at 10:58 PM on April 11, 2002

Sorrell Booke (Boss Hogg) as General Barker -
posted by jalexei at 7:44 AM on April 12, 2002

Even stranger, that goof with the guitar that hovered in the background in several episodes (Captain Calvin Spalding) turns out to have been Loudon Wainwright III.
posted by jalexei at 8:01 AM on April 12, 2002

Here's a good list of famous people who guest-starred on M*A*S*H; the icons and background remind me of k10k. Even they don't have the Wainwright connection, though - good one.
posted by iconomy at 8:13 AM on April 12, 2002

"Even they don't have the Wainwright connection, though - good one."

iconomy, I'd love to take credit, but that's actually where I got it ;-) It's under "Other Characters", not "Guest Stars"....
posted by jalexei at 8:47 AM on April 12, 2002

Correct, Sorell Booke, who of course played Boss Hogg on The Dukes of Hazzard which also featured Ben Jones as Cooter. Mr. Jones became a Georgia congressman(he lost his seat to Newt Gingrich(ooh! the irony!). Also in Congress was Fred Gandy who played Gopher on Love Boat which as we said before featured a guest appearance from William Christopher who was on M*A*S*H with Gary Burghoff.


Side Note: James Best who played Roscoe P. Coltrane on the Dukes later ran an acting school where one of his students was none other than Quentin Tarantino.

Also William Christopher has been very active in fund- and awareness-raising about autism, rising from the fact that he has an autistic son. He even wrote a book on autism for parents which sadly seems to be out of print. Between that, Gary Burghoffs wildlife campaigns and Mike Farrell's anti-death penalty crusade, the ex-M*A*S*H crew is quite the little bunch of activists.
posted by jonmc at 8:48 AM on April 12, 2002

I can't believe I said "Stratton," but I saw I misspelled Karen Philipp's name twice. Gary Burghoff (probably just misspelled his name for the second time too) was out of laziness.

I couldn't have answered that last (Dukes of M*A*S*H) trivia question, but I remember spotting both Jamie Farr and William Christopher in Andy Griffith episodes...and James Best (Duke-boy-chasing Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane) did at least two guest shots on Andy Griffith as a good ole boy guitar prodigy.

Finishing off with a LOTR reference, Gandalf could have been talking about me when he said of Barliman Butterbur, "His mind is like a lumber-room: the thing wanted always buried."
(Stratton. Jeez.)
posted by StOne at 9:02 AM on April 12, 2002

And Jamie Farr also had a small part in The Blackboard Jungle where he played a mentally disabled delinquent, although he was credited under his birth name of Jameel Farah. I also remember him doing a commercial for Mars bars which featured him rewarding himself with a Mars bar for tying his shoes. or something.

OK. I should really go to work now.
posted by jonmc at 9:33 AM on April 12, 2002

Speaking of Quentin Tarentino, I just deleted the reference to Reservoir Dogs that was on my user page.

And Quentin Tarentino has a really large, pointy chin, as does Jay Leno, host of The Tonight Show, who was preceeded by Johnny Carson, who interviewed Gary Burghoff once.

See it comes full circle once again ;)
posted by iconomy at 10:59 AM on April 12, 2002

now that we've got all that out of the way, could we please return to father mulcahy?

there used to be this priest at my church (i'm a cultural catholic, not a religious one; my relationship with catholicism being similar to that of paris paramus with judaism — though i'd have no objection to moving the vatican elsewhere if some displaced persons needed a new homeland. kurdistan, perhaps?) who looked exactly like father mulcahy.

his name was father mcsweeney and he was a former wall street financier who felt that his fast life was empty and therefore gave up a lucrative position and a whole pile of dough to take a vow of poverty and become a catholic priest.

he was actually a very nice man and one of my favoritest priests ever, so when i was eleven or whatever and found myself 'questioning my faith', as they say, i didn't hesitate to bring the topic up in the confessional.

and do you know what father mcsweeney/mulcahy said to me? he said 'pray, my son. pray'. and i'm all like, 'father, i'm having a fucking existential crisis here...and all you can tell me to do is pray?' and he's all 'fuck you bitch, i didn't give up wall street and cocaine and high-class, pretty-ass ho's to get kvetched at by some suburban punk who can't stop masturbating long enough to say a couple motherfucking hail mary's'.

so i did pray. and the crisis did pass.
posted by mlang at 12:57 PM on April 12, 2002

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