(This is the January 8, 1997 issue of "The WASHED-UPdate", originally run at The Internet Movie Database and Bulmash.com - It has not been updated, but friends and old fans have asked me to put the archives back online for entertainment value for years, so I thought I'd do it here at my blog. Please note that many links may be dead or in need of repair... they're 10 years old or older.)
Archived Issue from: January 8, 1997
Welcome to Part II of the WASHED-UPdate's tribute to M*A*S*H. If you missed Part I, you can always find it in the WASHED-UPdateTM archives (or if you never want to miss an issue again, you can always click here for info on how to get a free e-mail subscription). And remember, that fourth slot for Part III is still open. Dr. Sydney Freedman and Colonel Flagg are leading the pack with Sgt. Rizzo running a distant third. If you want to reinforce one of these or plead your case for another character, drop me a line at [address no longer exists] by Friday, January 10.
As for the fun and requested links... The fun link this week is the Clint Eastwood Page. One of the best designed fan pages out there, plus chock full of STUFF. And the requested link... well, let's just call it the blatant self-promotion link this week... is Internet Underground. Read their online articles, use their online chat, and find out more about their January issue (print edition only) which just happens to contain an article on how to hunt has-beens online (by me, of course) and a profile on the Internet Movie Database.
And speaking of blatant self-promotion, if you're in the Washington D.C. Metro area, listen to Arrow 94.7 FM on Tuesday, January 14, when I'll be talking has-beens with morning show host, Paul Harris.
So, anyway, I guess I should stop talking about me and start talking about the celebs. Okay, I will.
First thing I want to do is make a correction. In last week's issue, I wrote about Loretta Swit touring with the one-woman-play, "Shirley Valentine," and I had referenced it to the character from the movie of the same name. I got lots of mail on this one, because before it was a movie, "Shirley Valentine" was a play.
I vaguely knew about a play, but the secretary who maintains the filing cabinets in my mind doesn't open up every drawer all the time. What can I say? It's my mind, the federal government has no jurisdiction there, so I hired her for her looks. Yet many people were more than happy to correct her mistake.
Second thing I want to do is talk about David Ogden "Major Charles Winchester" Stiers who, lucky for us M*A*S*H fans, had his role in the "Charlie's Angels" pilot cut when the show went to its series run, freeing him up to join the 4077th a bit later. I want to talk about him because I'm hoping someone can answer a question for me...
Who has he been sleeping with at Disney? I'm serious. If you look at his movie projects, six of the eight films he has done since 1994 have had Disney involved. Now, to be fair, two have been Woody Allen films (1995's "Mighty Aphrodite" and the new musical, "Everyone Says I Love You") and he did do prior work with Woody (1992's "Shadows And Fog") before Woody hooked up with the Disney subsidiary, Miramax. But the other four... "Pocahontas," "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," "Iron Will," and "Bad Company"... All products of Disney or Disney subsidiaries. I guess you could trace it back to them being happy with his performance as Cogsworth and the Narrator in "Beauty & The Beast," but I just don't know if that's enough to explain it.
Now this is not to say that David has been faithful. Nooo... He's cheated on Disney. He was in "Steal Big, Steal Little" with Andy Garcia in 1995, and he has a role in the upcoming Rodney Dangerfield release, "Meet Wally Sparks," as well as another voice role in the movie, "Napoleon," which is the story of a Golden Retriever puppy, lost in the Australian outback.
Actually, he's really been hitting it heavy on the voice work. Three Tom Clancy audio books, the audio version of Colleen McCullough's "First Man In Rome," Virgin Interactive's "Toonstruck" CD-ROM, "Empire of The Air" (a radio drama with Ed Asner), and Nova's three-part "Odyssey of Life" miniseries on PBS. He was even in "Stan Freberg Presents the United States of America - Volume II," the long-awaited sequel to what is arguably one of the best comedy albums of all time.
But it doesn't end there. He's been doing guest shots on shows like "Cybill," and TV movies like his recently filmed one with Patty Duke, "To Face Her Past"... Do you know that he's even had over 100 appearances as an orchestra conductor, not in movies but in real life? In fact he's a regular guest conductor at the Newport Performing Arts Center in Oregon. You'll even be able to catch him conducting a program of Mendelssohn in April of this year. Heck, it wasn't for his three appearances on "Murder, She Wrote" (including the final episode), I'd say he was doing everything right.
But speaking of "Murder, She Wrote," let's move on to David's predecessor in the Swamp, Larry "Major Frank Burns" Linville, a man who's been married more times (5) than he's been on MSW (3). As opposed to David, his career has gone in a much different direction. From the low of being in "The Misery Brothers," a straight-to-tape film with Paula Barbieri in 1995 to the high of taking over Jim Dale's role in "Travels With My Aunt" on Broadway that same year. In fact, his movies don't do too well. "Angel's Tide," a movie made on the hefty budget of $500,000 and which was being represented by Golden Rock Entertainment at last year's AFM has yet to appear anywhere I've seen. In fact a call to Golden Rock resulted in a recorded message saying the phone number had been disconnected and there was no forwarding number.
And theater hasn't been that good to him either. Though the Broadway role was good news, I also received mail from a reader who is an actor and who has been in a few dinner theater productions with Larry. Now, though I ridicule it, dinner theater is reasonably respectable... when it's a step up toward stardom. When you're a young, struggling actor, it's a paying job and a credit for that resume you're trying to build. When you're a former star of a top-rated series, it's a big step down. Basically, you've accepted that people won't come see you in a play unless you feed them.
Yet still, I shouldn't say his career has been that bad. I shouldn't, but I'd be lying. Go through his filmography and you've never heard of most of the movies. "Fatal Pursuit" (1994) is probably the most respectable. "No Dessert Dad, Til You Mow The Lawn" (1994) and "West From North Goes South" (1993) both co-starred major WASHED-UPdate candidates, like Robert Hays (most of you remember him from "Airplane!," but I still remember him from "Angie"), Tina Louise (you know... Ginger), Phyllis Diller, and Richard Moll. With "Body Waves" (1992), you just have to read the IMDb plot summary, and with "Rock And Roll High School Forever" (1990), well, there's no topping the original. The only decent movie of the batch was Paul Rodriguez's "A Million To Juan" in 1994.
In terms of TV guest appearances, he's been spotted on "Night Court" and "Dream On" (in an episode that also guest starred Ja'net Dubois from "Good Times") in 1991, and "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" and "Nurses" in '93. But still, the character of Frank Burns keeps at least one positive image in mind. That's probably why the National Association of Broadcasters inducted him and some fellow "M*A*S*H" co-stars into the NAB TV Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the annual convention in April of 1996.
And who should be there to be inducted along with Larry (besides Loretta Swit)? Gary "Radar O'Reilly" Burghoff, our only profilee this week who wasn't on MSW. Does this failure to descend into TV hell make Gary the coolest of our profilees this week? Well, maybe... if you don't count his role in 1992's (or 1994's -- sources conflicted on the actual date) "Small Kill," where he played a cross-dressing murderous psychopath. Click on the name of the movie to go to an unbiased review.
But since then, he's been concentrating his time on art, something he got into when he was a judge in a duck stamp competition (oooh, hip reference to "Fargo" in that somewhere). Since then, he's become a fair hand at painting. In July of '96, he had a showing of his work in Toledo, Ohio. Jamie Farr even dropped by since he happened to be in town for a golf tournament (I've got a Jamie Farr golf story for you next week). And in November of 1996, his work was part of a celebrity art auction for the Rainforest Action Network.
On TV, he's done a guest shot on "Burke's Law" in 1995, and he's done a few documentaries called "Through The Eyes of [blank] with Gary Burghoff" for PBS. The blank is filled in with whomever is being profiled.
Yet Gary isn't the only one spending quality time with Jamie Farr. Nope, Jamie and William "Father Mulcahy" Christopher have been touring in a production of Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple." I'll leave it up to you to guess who plays Felix Unger, but if you want to see for yourself, the tour continues in 1997. You'll find them in such places as the State Theatre in Easton, PA in March, and the McCain Auditorium at Kansas State University in April.
William has been doing a bit of regional theater in fact. If you were up in the Mississauga section of Peel, Ontario last spring, you might have caught him in a 2+ month run in "Lend Me A Tenor" at Stage West. That's probably why reader Jay Lewis in Canada reported catching him on "Entertainment Desk," which he described as an Entertainment Tonight'esque show. He also popped up, or so I hear, on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," a Tonight Show'esque show, and of course there was that after "After M*A*S*H" appearance on MSW in 1985. If you want a fun reference to him, check out the list of people who have a first name for a last name.
And on the Autograph Price Popularity Scale, only William Christopher hits, coming in at Signit! with an asking price of $25 for his signed and mounted photo, putting him in the league of Gary Coleman and Connie Stevens. But hey, he does beat veteran Chicago Cubs announcer, Harry Carey, by $5.
Coming Next Week: Moshing With M*A*S*H - The Final Chapter. Col. Potter, Klinger, Klinger's wife, and a player to be named later. And, to hold you over until then, here's one more M*A*S*H-related link for your surfing pleasure.