|Painless Pole Waldowski|
John Schuck as "Painless Pole" Waldowski in 1970 MASH film swamp scene with Donald Sutherland (Hawkeye, far left) Rene Auberjonois (as Father Mulcahy 2nd from right)
|Rank:||Captain (O-3), U.S. Army Reserve|
|Job/Role in Unit:||Camp Dentist at the 4077th|
|Spouse(s):||Name not mentioned|
|First appeared in:||N/A|
|Last appeared in:||N/A|
|Appeared on/or in:||MASH (film)|
|Played by:||John Schuck|
Captain Walter Koskiusko "Painless Pole" Waldowski was the camp dentist and a buddy of Hawkeye Pierce in the 1970 Robert Altman film M*A*S*H* who began having questions about his sexuality, and contemplates suicide as a solution, only to be thwarted by the antics of the surgeons with the use of placebos in a hilarious coffin burial scene. Played by actor John Schuck, who was appearing in his first film role after a noted stage acting career in the 1960s.
The character is very briefly referenced (by his nickname only) but never seen in the pilot episode of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H in 1972. However, the producers deemed the character as non- essential to the storyline of the series, and after that one passing reference, the Painless Pole was completely dropped from the show.
In the film, Waldowski tells Hawkeye that he has suffered a "lack of performance" with a visiting nurse and now believes he has latent homosexual tendencies. Soon after, he reveals his desire to commit suicide and seeks advice on which method to use. Hawkeye, Trapper and Duke (Tom Skerritt) suggest that he use the "black capsule" (a fictitious, fast-acting poison). At an impromptu Last Supper, Painless takes the capsule (actually a sleeping pill) and falls asleep in a coffin to the strains of "Suicide is Painless". Hawkeye then persuades Lt. Maria "Dish" Schneider (Jo Ann Pflug), a nurse who is returning to the U.S. the following day, to spend the night with Painless and cure him of his problems.