I Am Gripped By A Strange Sudden Passion…

Gary Burghoff stars in M*A*S*H

Gary Burghoff as Walter “Radar ” O’Reilly in MASH

… to write a MASH fanfic called “Radar’s Brother.” It would fit into a “Haunted WW2” collection monkey I’ve been thinking about for… sometime now.

Briefly: Radar’s older brother served in WW2. Whatever Radar’s latent psychic powers might have been, his brother’s powers were far greater. Quick tight short story. The government recognizes Radar’s brother’s abilities right away, and they use him in covert operations as a psychic throughout the course of 1939-1945. It has to end tragically with Radar’s brother’s death, and the government covers everything up. Radar and his family receive a letter, a medal, a flag. Radar idolized and loved his older brother. He is devastated. He never recovers from this loss. And this is why poor Walter O’Reilly is so twitchy and weird when he’s serving in Korea in MASH, wielding only a shrapnel of his brother’s power when he’d freeze and whisper, “Incoming.”


MASH was one of the first “adult” TV shows I was allowed to watch as a child, and I was instantly fascinated by the character of Radar. Yeah, we all love Hawkeye—whatever—but Radar was weird, man. He was a misfit, a man-boy with no “real world” experience, sweet and gullible to a fault. Also, he had extra exceptional hearing, or he was psychic. He knew when the choppers were coming in with wounded. “Incoming.”


“Just write it down, write it down now. Because you will forget it.” — Warren Ellis



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