Old School Americana & Nostalgia


‘M*A*S*H’ Star Gary Burghoff Had to Reshoot Final Scene After Blowing It

‘M*A*S*H’ Star Gary Burghoff Had to Reshoot Final Scene After Blowing It

Gary Burghoff starred as Radar in the 1970s sitcom M*A*S*H, which revolved around doctors and staff stationed overseas during the Korean War. The actor, upon reflecting on his departure from the series, revealed that he had to reshoot his final scene. The reason was that he felt his initial delivery of a dramatic goodbye was subpar.

In a preview for the upcoming special, M*A*S*H: The Comedy That Changed Television, Burghoff reminisced about filming his last episode, “Good-Bye Radar: Part 2,” which aired in 1979. In this episode, Radar’s character was granted a hardship discharge after his uncle’s passing, marking the farewell of the beloved character.

During the episode, there came a moment when Radar’s farewell gathering was unexpectedly disrupted by the arrival of injured soldiers. This incident sparked a creative choice in Burghoff, influencing the way his character conveyed emotions.

“I said to myself, what a wonderful moment, I can cry my eyes out and I can do this wonderful dramatic moment, I can just completely fall apart. And the director said, ‘If I were you, I would fight the tears.’ And I said, ‘No, no. Just let me do it, okay?’” he recalled.

Despite Burghoff getting his way, his highly anticipated dramatic moment did not unfold as he had envisioned. “The next day, in dailies, I look at the screen and it’s awful. I mean, it is just terrible,” he remembered. “The director was right, I was wrong… I said, ‘Please can I do this again?’ And he said, ‘Yes, you may.’”

Gary Burghoff Reveals Why He Left ‘M*A*S*H’

Gary Burghoff candidly discussed his choice to depart from M*A*S*H, which aired on CBS from 1972 to 1983. “They’ve been asking me for 30 years why I left the show,” he said. “My life, at that time, it was a beautiful picture that was all crooked and I had to step back big time in order to grow as a human being. Part of my stepping back, unfortunately, included M*A*S*H.

The star’s contract came to an end after nearly a decade on the show, but it was his decision not to renew it. “I didn’t leave the show. My contract expired. I had a seven-year contract,” he explained. “I just didn’t renegotiate because I was stepping back from everything.”

M*A*S*H: The Comedy That Changed Television, which also features interviews with other original cast members, airs on Jan. 1 at 8 p.m. ET on Fox. For those looking to revisit the series, all 11 seasons are currently available to stream on Hulu.