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The Original Magnum P.I. Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Blimpoy06, Sep 12, 2018.

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  1. Blimpoy06

    Blimpoy06 Supporting Actor

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    vlcsnap-2018-09-12-18h35m01s265.

    Magnum P.I. (1980 - 1988)

    This is a thread to discuss and appreciate the original Magnum P.I. There seemed to be some interest in the show after the fun many of us had on Hawaii Five-0. We hope to see the same exchange of opinion happen here. There are long time fans out there, and new ones who may be discovering the show for the first time. This thread is going to look at the show from the beginning. So please use spoilers if you wish to talk about later events that might ruin the experience for the newbies.
     
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  2. Blimpoy06

    Blimpoy06 Supporting Actor

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    vlcsnap-2018-09-12-19h27m54s730.

    "Don't Eat The Snow In Hawaii" aired in December of 1980 and was the two hour premiere of Magnum P.I. The classic theme song by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter isn't present yet. Instead, we have a catchy little jazz tune by Ian Freebairn-Smith.
     
  3. Message #3 of 90 Sep 12, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
    Blimpoy06

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    Cast of characters
    Magnum_P.I._Cast.

    Thomas Sullivan Magnum (Tom Selleck)
    Magnum is a former Naval officer and Vietnam veteran who is making a living as a private investigator in the islands of Hawaii. He lives for free on the estate of a reclusive author named Robin Masters in exchange for being a "security advisor". He often relies upon his friends, and fellow Vietnam veterans, Rick and T.C. for help. He drives an expensive car and lives a comfortable lifestyle well beyond his means as an investigator. (Contrary to the title, he HATES the term "P.I", and always prefers "Private Investigator".)

    Johnathan Quayle Higgins (John Hillerman)
    Higgins is the Major-Domo of Robin Master's estate on the island of Oahu, Robin's Nest. A WWII veteran of the British Army, Higgins prefers a more structured lifestyle on the estate than Magnum would care for and often imposes restrictions on which parts of the estate he has access to. He has two Doberman Pinschers as patrol dogs and companions. (Zeus and Apollo). Higgins is also a member of the board of the King Kamehameha Club, where Magnum often meets many of his clients.

    Theodore Calvin, T.C. (Roger E. Mosley)
    T.C. was a Marine helicopter pilot in Vietnam that runs a charter sight seeing service of the Hawaiian Islands. He is often persuaded by Magnum to use his helicopter for free during many of his investigations.

    Orville Wilbur Richard "Rick" Wright (Larry Manetti)
    Rick was a door gunner for T.C. during Vietnam and is still a weapons expert and collector in private life. He runs the King Kamehameha Club and several illegal betting operations under the table. He is often called upon to get public and private information for Magnum through his contacts. Some of which are in organized crime.
     
  4. Rick Thompson

    Rick Thompson Screenwriter

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    All around excellent show that grew as it went along, particularly in Season 3, which opened with the classic "Did You See the Sunrise." Of course, I enjoyed all three Hawaii CBS series, which kept their Hawaii studio busy till CBS closed it: Hawaii Five-O (for which it was built), Magnum, p.i. and Jake and the Fatman (which finished out the last years).
     
  5. Jeff*H

    Jeff*H Supporting Actor

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    My love of H5O in syndication in the 80s (and thru today on digital HD) led to me enjoying MAGNUM PI in first-run on CBS in the later seasons. I then rediscovered the show once it hit DVD, and enjoyed the early seasons even more. Great stories and cast and scenery like H5O, but with a sense of fun and levity, too.
    Just picked up the digital HD versions on iTunes, too, which gives the show new life just like when H5O hit HD.

    I think my favorite first season episode, beyond the pilot, is “J. Digger Doyle” with the lovely Erin Gray.
     
  6. Message #6 of 90 Sep 13, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
    Carabimero

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    I'm good for one season...let's go!

    101b.JPG

    101/102 “Don’t Eat the Snow In Hawaii”

    I forgot how charismatic Selleck used to be. I got used to him being a stodgy, stick in the mud mustache bristling police commissioner on Blue Bloods.

    The first part was fun. If I’d been Higgins, trying to keep the Ferrari from being stolen, I would have used all my resources to guard a smaller perimeter around the car, not the entire estate. He kind of did that with the combination timer in the car, but he’d have been smarter to guard the doors to the car as well as the perimeter.

    101a.JPG

    By the second part I noticed that Zeus and Apollo, when they are running, rarely have Foley. They are the quietest big dogs I have ever seen :)

    And Judge Reinhold in what I assume is an early appearance!

    I'm generally not a fan of two-parters but looking forward to the rest of season one!
     
  7. Blimpoy06

    Blimpoy06 Supporting Actor

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    There are two actors that would perform the same function for each of Magnum's two creator's over the course of their career's in launching new shows.
    W.K. Stratton would show up in each of Bellisario's pilots up to JAG.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Pamela Susan Shoop
    would be in each pilot for Glen Larson.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  8. Message #8 of 90 Sep 13, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
    Jeff Flugel

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    "Don't Eat the Snow in Hawaii" also features the first appearance by Jeff MacKay in the series (the actor appeared in a total of 22 episodes). Here he plays "Ski," apparently short for "Polenski," judging by his name tag:

    [​IMG]

    MacKay returns in season 1, episode 9, "Missing in Action," as Lt. "Mac" MacReynolds, and later on, also as a look-alike con artist named Jim Bonnick.

    [​IMG]

    MacKay must have been a favorite of Magnum producer Donald Bellisario, as he was cast in several of Bellisario's other TV series, including Black Sheep Squadron, Tales of the Gold Monkey, Airwolf and JAG. I mainly know MacKay from playing Jake Cutter's pal, Corky, on Gold Monkey. And of course he played "Gordie" in the Sid and Marty Krofft series, Dr. Shrinker.

    MacKay sadly passed away in 2008, at the too-young age of 59. He was always a cheerful presence onscreen.
     
  9. Message #9 of 90 Sep 13, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
    Jeff Flugel

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    Thanks for starting this thread, Darin!

    I remember watching Magnum P.I. in my teens back when it originally aired. Whether I ever saw any of these first season episodes, I can't recall. What I've watched so far doesn't ring any bells, other than vague, general impressions of the series as a whole, and fond memories of watching it and Simon & Simon back to back on CBS.

    But until recently, I hadn't watched a single episode in over 30 years...so in many ways, it's like watching the show for the very first time.

    vlcsnap-2018-09-13-20h58m37s114.


    1.1 "Don't Eat the Snow in Hawaii" part 1
    1.2 "Don't Eat the Snow in Hawaii" part 2

    The opening of this two-part pilot episode is interesting and unusual, as Magnum, testing the security, tries to break in to Robin Masters' estate before Higgins and his two Dobermans can stop him. Right away Selleck and Hillerman nail the prickly chemistry between the easygoing Magnum and the uptight martinet Higgins - although their mutual dislike is more pronounced in these early episodes. We also meet Inga and Greta, the two sexy stews (as Austin Powers would say) staying at the estate as guests, and who take a shine to the hunky P.I. (as did most women viewers back then...and now, if my wife's reaction - "Who IS that handsome guy?" - is any indication). The two lovely ladies later invite Magnum for a moonlight skinny dip which he, sadly, must decline, as he learns the sobering news of his old friend Dan's death.

    vlcsnap-2018-09-13-20h48m42s253.

    Speaking of Dan's death...there seems to be a bit of a plothole here. So let me get this straight...the killers pick Dan up mere seconds before Magnum arrives at the naval base, put him in an arm lock, drive him off to somewhere else on the base, somehow stuff 12 baggies of cocaine down him without him vomiting them up, or fighting back...yank him out of the car, punch him in the gut a few times to burst the bags, and leave him to die...and they do all this in what seems to be only a few minutes (the time it takes Magnum to walk into the base, inquire after Dan, and return to his Ferrari). Hmmm, not sure I'm buying that scenario...

    There are other plot problems, too - including an easy to guess (because they're obviously a big name guest star) villain, but what the opener does right far outweighs these narrative niggles. The extra length gives the show time to breathe and establish the main characters, their relationships and their personal quirks. We also get several flashbacks to a hairy episode in Magnum's past Vietnam War days, which not only ties into the plot of the episode, but establishes an important and recurring motif of the series. Their past war service is a crucial facet of Magnum, T.C. and Rick's personalities, and will come back to haunt them several times over as the series progresses.

    While the pilot has its serious overtones, there is a lot of humor sprinkled throughout. Speaking of Rick, we see him here in all his Casablanca-inspired glory...a conceit that the producers wisely dropped like a hot potato.

    vlcsnap-2018-09-13-20h53m17s104.

    Selleck has immediate chemistry with Roger E. Mosley and Larry Manetti, and their friendly bickering and nonstop undercutting of Magnum (a series constant) is in full evidence here. Selleck is charm personified as Magnum, and is an immensely likable screen presence, tough and masculine, but also flawed and funny.

    A few other observations:

    What is up with that theme song?!?! It's not bad, in and of itself, perfectly competent, in fact - but the Mike Post theme that comes later (from episode 8 on) is so iconic, that hearing this original theme tune (composed by Ian Freebairn-Smith) is just...wrong.

    Several shots in these two episodes show Magnum rubbing his left shoulder, obviously an old bullet wound from the war. In a nice, ironic touch, he appears to get shot in the same spot during the brief shoot-out at the end of part two.

    vlcsnap-2018-09-13-20h56m41s163.

    I have the re-issued season 1 single-sided DVD set, and the picture quality is pretty nice...certainly not on a par with the U.K. Blu-Ray set, but good enough. The prints are decently bright and clear, enough to do justice to the extensive location filming around Hawaii.

    Looking forward to making my way through the series with other members here.
     
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  10. Bob Gu

    Bob Gu Screenwriter

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  11. Jeff Flugel

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    As I mentioned above, I don't remember a whole lot about Magnum P.I. from watching it as it aired in the 80s, but I do remember not caring for Higgins much at the time. I never liked how he treated Magnum like a second-class citizen. Ditto how Rick and T.C. seemed so whiny and hesitant to help Magnum, coming through only reluctantly. All that stuff plays better for me now. And it's also more apparent to me now how much Magnum fibs, takes advantage of, and overall manipulates his buddies into helping him out - and rarely for any actual pay! No wonder they complain about him...

    It's interesting how the pilot uses the ring symbol in the opening credit sequence...although I think dropping that was another wise choice (along with changing the theme song.)
     
  12. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer
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    The reboot series looks god awful......
     
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  13. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Cinematographer

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    And probably doesn't have much of an opening either!
     
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  14. Blimpoy06

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    Donald Bellisario talking about the creation of Magnum P.I.
     
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  15. Carabimero

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    103 “China Doll”

    Now that the standard bloated two-part premiere is over, we can get down to some good storytelling. The way the villain was introduced hooked me immediately. This is someone worth Magnum’s time, I hoped, and I was not disappointed. This had very good plotting and even shows magnum get fooled.

    103a.JPG

    When I see characters standing in a spot like this (above) my first question is: “This was shot on location, right?” and my second question is, “I wonder if I could go to Hawaii today and find that spot and that sign?” It’s the sturdiness of its appearance that makes me think the sign might still be there.

    I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed Magnum’s interactions with animals and children.

    103b.JPG

    The climax of this episode didn’t disappoint, either. And I noticed the shot at the end where Magnum raises his brow a couple of times, the one from the opening.

    Nice episode.

    BTW, what was the Six Million Dollar Man leaping sound effect I heard at 44:29 supposed to be? Again at 44:48...

    P.S. More than one person had mentioned back in the H50 thread that my posting an episode a day was probably too much to keep up with and comment on. How about an episode every Monday/Wednesday/Friday. Is that doable? Or I can just wait three days between episodes. I don't mind doing whatever gives people time to comfortably watch and comment. Every three days okay?
     
  16. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Supporting Actor

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    Hi Alan, glad to see you joining in on the Magnum fun. For me, every 3 days or so would work perfectly. I'm not sure I can keep up a 3 a week pace at the moment (new semester starting up, moving house soon, etc.), but two episodes a week shouldn't overtax me. If that's too slow for everyone else, I'll just poke along at my own slower pace, behind you fellas.

    Luckily, I got a few more episodes logged in before my vacation ended, so I'll chime in on "China Doll" soon.
     
  17. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Cinematographer

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    Are you seeing it through the single-sided all-in-one?
     
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  18. Blimpoy06

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    This episode sets the tone for the show better than the pilot did. Magnum is very relaxed and the interaction with T.C. and Rick seems natural and real. Not surprising as it was written and directed by Bellisario,
    Selleck's way of breaking the fourth wall by looking at the audience and saying "isn't this fun" was a great touch. I like spending time with the characters. But Bellisario also let's us know that when the stakes are high, Magnum isn't hesitant to use deadly force to protect himself and others. A good balance that remained in place for the rest of the series.
    vlcsnap-2018-09-14-06h52m55s273.
     
  19. Message #19 of 90 Sep 14, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
    Nick*Z

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    Will reserve my judgment here, but yes - it just looks like another typical actioner series, laden with SFX at the expense of character development. Part of what made the original Magnum P.I. so engaging was the camaraderie between the characters. That intangible chemistry cannot be faked. It also rarely - if ever - gets duplicated in a reboot. We'll see.

    Would encourage Mill Creek or some other third-party distributor States side to release the Blu-ray for we who do not have region free Blu-ray players. Would also encourage studios like Universal to knock off the archaic practice of region-locking vintage series and movies, thus limiting the money they could make off of the rest of us who would have already imported this disc release in a heartbeat.
     
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  20. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Supporting Actor

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    No, Ben, I only have the first 3 seasons in separate sets...and apparently, I made an ordering mistake and accidentally got the flipper version of season 3. Grrrr. :angry:
     
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