As many of you might recall, Magnum, P.I. ran on CBS from 1980-1988, primarily on their 8:00PM prime time slot. By all accounts it was a fantastic show which consistently ranked in the top 20 American television programs during its first several years. It ended in the 8th season after the writers evidently killed him off in season 7 due to slipping ratings. There was such public outcry that the 8th season was made and ended with Magnum rejoining the Navy.
I think most men you ask about this show would have to agree that NOBODY had it better than Thomas Magnum. He lived on a sprawling 200 acre estate called Robin’s Nest on Oahu, under the employ of one Robin Masters, who was a never seen, but evidently wildly successful writer of romance novels. Ostensibly, Magnum was hired by Masters to handle security, but he seems to have full run of the estate, a Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole, a mini-fridge with an infinite supply of Old Dusseldorf beer(beerbecue may need to do a review on this one), not to mention being surrounded almost constantly by a bevy of beautiful women. In spite of the amazing abilities of Magnum and his friends, the Nest constantly had security breaches, which no doubt allowed the show to have a plot.
The estate is managed by Englishman Jonathan Quayle Higgins III, and both the viewers and Magnum often wonder if Higgins is actually Masters. Fortunately or unfortunately, the show ended without fully revealing if Masters was Higgins, or vice versa. Either way, the old boy was quite handy around the estate, and had a successful military career as a Sergeant Major in the British Army.
The other cast members included Theodore Calvin “TC”, who was Magnum’s buddy and a great helicopter pilot. He was actually a former marine helicopter pilot in the Vietnam war, and he’s often called for backup when Magnum gets into trouble, which is frequent and expected.
Orville Wilbur Richard Wright “Rick” owns the King Kamehameha Club, which is an exclusive beachfront member’s only club. He’s also a former marine, and was TC’s gunner on the helicopter. All told, these four guys are pretty resourceful. Sort of like the A-Team. With more Stache.
Magnum’s main identifiers are his porn-star mustache, his Detroit Tigers hate, his solid swath of frequently exposed chest hair, and a large assortment of colorful Hawaiian shirts. Did I mention his mustache? Unless you have been in a coma for the last 25 years, then you’re probably aware his mustache is commonly referred to as “The Stache” by the general public.
Wikipedia, which I am shamelessly pulling information from, indicates that Magnum was head of security based on his days as a Navy Seal, which included a litany of specialized training. Some of these include: being counter insurgency expert, sniper, lock-picking, safe-cracking, firearm expertise, dating your girlfriend, Vietnam veteran, epic mustache growing abilities, serving 10-yrs as a Navy Seal Operator, quarterbacking the US Naval Academy’s football team, and general investigative expertise.
I found it to be quite interesting that the show was actually intended to be violent and edgy. In fact, the pilot episode had an altogether different Magnum. One who shot first and smiled later. Evidently, Tom Selleck just didn’t have the persona to pull this off with his dimples and short shorts.
Another interesting side story is that he was actually going to be selected to play Indiana Jones, but was forced to pass when CBS wouldn’t release him from filming on Magnum PI. Can you imagine what that would have been like?
So in a bold move, the producers went a completely different route and made Magnum into the easy-going quirky character that he was.
Honestly, did they ever really think this could be edgy?
I mean let’s face it, the 80’s were pretty awesome. I might even work up a poll for the best 80’s TV shows. Macgyver, Airwolf, The A-Team, Knight Rider, Dukes of Hazzard, and Miami Vice to name a few.
Here is the opening for Magnum PI – I bet you remember the music.
I know this isn’t the most important thing you’ve ever read, but I hope you got to reflect on the 80’s, and the Stache with at least a little nostalgia.
And, there are some great T-shirts out there that I’m putting in my collection.
And now one little item for my good friend and loyal reader Ashley.