In the season one MAS*H episode “Love Story,” Radar gets his heart broken. After Radar keeps slipping in his duties, Hawkeye investigates and discovers a recorded “Dear John” letter, in which Radar’s girlfriend dumps him and has a new man. Radar is so despondent that Hawkeye and Trapper hatch a plot to get him a new woman — a pretty new nurse in the 4077th.
The nurse, Lieutenant Louise Anderson, has sophisticated tastes and likes classical music and literature. Hawkeye and Trapper coach Radar on how to impress her, leading to Radar stumbling through lines like “Ah, Bach!” and “That’s highly significant”.
Anderson was played by Kelly Jean Peters, a familiar face on TV. She appeared on favorites such as Love, American Style, Bonanza, and even The Monkees. But one of her biggest roles went buried for years.
All in the Family is still considered one of the most influential and groundbreaking sitcoms of all time. The show tackled topics like racism, war, and religion, combining classic sitcom laughs with more serious moments. When the show premiered in 1971, it was with the family we all know today — Carroll O’Connor as patriarch Archie Bunker, Jean Stapleton as Edith Bunker, Sally Struthers as their daughter Gloria and Rob Reiner as son-in-law Michael.
But before it was All in the Family, it was called Justice for All. That’s right, the original pilot wasn’t even called All in the Family. Instead of the Bunker family, we had the Justice family. O’Connor and Stapleton still played Archie and Edith Justice, but Gloria and her husband — this time named Richard and Irish, not Polish — were played by different people. Richard was Tim McIntire, and Gloria was Radar’s “Love Story” love interest herself, Kelly Jean Peters.
After seeing Justice for All, ABC was interested, but not entirely sold. They funded another pilot with some changes. This one was called Those Were The Days. O’Connor and Stapleton returned again, but this time Gloria was played by Candice Azzara and “Richard” was Chip Oliver.
At this point, ABC became nervous about potential pushback to such a controversial show. CBS, looking to move away from rural programming, picked it up instead, and it became the show we all know and love today.
The Justice for All pilot stayed buried for years, although these days you can hunt it down on YouTube. Even though Kelly Jean Peters didn’t get to be Gloria during the show’s run, she still did alright for herself — and five years later, she turned up at the 4077th to be wooed by Radar.