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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. Carabimero

    Carabimero Producer
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    107 “Never Again, Never Again”

    This was the first one-hour episode I thought average. Plus while I can’t claim it was idiotic behavior, Higgins needs to learn to stay with the object or person he’s guarding. Better to make bad guys come to him than go searching the grounds for them.

    And Magnum. Again it wasn’t idiotic, but highly questionable Magnum wouldn’t contact the police and bring them to the doctor’s house after Magnum called the doctor from his office.

    I will say the final scene between Higgins and Magnum was very nice. It’s fun to watch their relationship develop knowing what I know now (as opposed to the first time I saw this series NOB).

    107.JPG
     
  2. Message #62 of 93 Sep 22, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2018
    Jeff Flugel

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    vlcsnap-2018-09-23-00h09m27s121.

    1.07 "Never Again...Never Again"

    Yeah, something seemed a little off with this one. It was still an engaging enough story, with some nice moments with Magnum, Higgins and the gang, but something just didn't quite click in the execution.

    Perhaps it was the direction by Robert Loggia (only his second, of three, directing credits). There were a lot of nice exterior scenes, including some scenic aerial footage of Waikiki, but a good deal of the dialogue in those was ADR, adding to the slightly detached, fractured feel of this episode. And then, perhaps it was the script. It didn't help that the story was a tad outlandish (Mossad agents and Nazis among the palm trees and beaches).

    vlcsnap-2018-09-23-00h03m25s250.

    Since Hanna Hertelendy (playing Lena Greenberg, the elderly lady who Magnum and Rick try to help) was over 60 when this episode was filmed, it doesn't seem...well, seemly...to label her as "Magnum Babe of the Week," even though she's occupying that pole position in the guest cast. The closest we get is this cutie (Lisa Hullana), who plays a sympathetic nurse, though she only gets a few lines of dialogue:

    vlcsnap-2018-09-23-00h08m56s124.

    Since Alan outlined some of the character inconsistencies in his post, as well as the good scene between Higgins and Magnum at the epilogue, I'll focus on a few other highlights, starting with the fun bit where T.C. accidentally messes with Higgins' hospital bed, and Higgins' subsequent request for Magnum to feed his "lads" (Zeus and Apollo) some steaks..."Oh all right, you can have one, too." I also liked Magnum rightfully chastising the dogs in their uselessness in fending off intruders, and them whimpering in response. And we get some more skillful detective work from Magnum, as he pieces together some crucial information from an old photograph.

    So in the final analysis, a kind of "meh" episode after a couple of really strong entries...hopefully the next one will get us back on track.
     
  3. Blimpoy06

    Blimpoy06 Supporting Actor

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    I like this episode a lot more than "Skin Deep". Too much of that episode is set in one apartment either watching someone making tapes, or watching Magnum watch the tapes. Feels like they were short on material and had to pad the hour. (Could be the case considering the disaster that occurred on location during filming.) No action until the last 10 minutes. I liked it OK the first time I watched it, but not one I repeat too often.
    vlcsnap-2018-09-22-20h58m03s065.
    Not on your life! Higgins is a man of action and will take the offensive to protect the estate. He is also cautious and methodical. (He leaves the dogs to protect the guest). Turning on the lights and looking for signs of where security was compromised, Higgins jumps a fence and is on the move!
    vlcsnap-2018-09-22-20h42m48s269.


    I like the show for that very reason. We always see Nazi war criminals in Brazil, why not Hawaii? The story does a nice bit of miss-direction, using the standard devices and characters you would expect in such a story, but with what I felt would have been a unique twist for a show in 1981.

    As touched upon by both of the comments of my good friends, we end the episode with Magnum contemplating the events he has witnessed.
    vlcsnap-2018-09-22-21h21m24s596.
    The loss of his friends, no matter the cause, always has a deep impact on Magnum. It's one of the reasons the show is still relevant for me today.
     
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  4. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Supporting Actor

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    Well, Darin, it's a good thing that we aren't always in agreement on these episodes...it would make for a pretty boring exercise if we did! Good to hear your thoughts.

    I wasn't crazy about all the focus on the main actress in "Skin Deep," but otherwise I thought that episode was much better than "Never Again...Never Again." It's funny, I was thinking the same as you about them padding out a shorter run time, but about this episode, not "Skin Deep."

    I know Alan doesn't want to be spoiled by any predictions, so need to go into any detail, but I'm curious: in your opinion, how would you rank season one overall in comparison to the other seasons? I'm guessing seasons 2 and 3 are where the show really starts to fly.
     
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  5. Blimpoy06

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    The first season is strong, and contains some classic shows. Seasons two and three build on that, but there was a lot of turnover in the writing/producing and Director of Photography roles the first three years. They each have a distinct look and feel that differentiates them. I can tell them apart instantly if I come in the middle of an episode. By the fourth year there is a stable core that remain with the show for the rest of it's run. The main creative driving force of Magnum P.I. was Don Bellisario, and he sets the tone for the show in those early years. By season four, Bellisario was developing other TV shows and contributed very little in the way of actual scripts for Magnum anymore. As Lenny on the Simpsons once said, "The first three seasons of any show are the best."

    By the fourth year you also have a larger group of recurring characters that Magnum has to help each week for the stories, and it gets a little predictable at times. But, the show always managed to produce a few gems, even in the weaker seasons and never "jumped the shark" in my opinion. I'll even go on the record and say that season seven was the best year Magnum P.I. ever had. Anyone who sticks with the series will be rewarded. It's that good. :thumbs-up-smiley:
    vlcsnap-2018-09-23-00h09m50s403.
     
  6. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Cinematographer

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    OT: same as I felt about The Streets of San Francisco; even with Richard Hatch having replaced Michael Douglas for the final go in 1976-77 of that ABC police/detective series, several of those fifth-and-final-season outings turned out quite appealing, not least due to the format and setup (and excellent on-location photography in its namesake area), but also credit to the great, late Karl Malden (who could invigorate even the seemingly weakest Hatch episode).
     
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  7. Carabimero

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    108 “The Ugliest Dog In Hawaii”

    I heard the first strains of the eventual Magnum title theme at 12:20!

    Toward the end, Higgins says, “The entire episode is absurd.” I love a show that’s self-aware and can be funny in acknowledging it.

    After only 8 episodes, I’m left to wonder if this, by the end of all eight seasons, will still be the worst episode of MAGNUM P.I. that I ever see.

    I hope so.

    108.JPG
     
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  8. Blimpoy06

    Blimpoy06 Supporting Actor

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    I'm sorry you didn't like this episode. I've always enjoyed this show. And there will be plenty more like it in the future of the series. I'd say by the fourth season it's a 50-50 mix of serious vs. light episodes. Some even manage to combine the two successfully.
    vlcsnap-2018-09-24-06h51m31s993. vlcsnap-2018-09-24-06h51m13s529.
     
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  9. Jeff Flugel

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    I liked this one, too. Silly, yes, but entertaining. I'll go into more detail later, but I did have one question/ observation. Was the dog in this episode the same one who played "Jack" in Tales of the Gold Monkey (another Donald P. Bellisario joint)? Sure looked like the same dog to me.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
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  10. Message #70 of 93 Sep 24, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
    Bob Gu

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    Is that one Arf! for YES, and two Arfs!! for NO?? Or is it two Arfs!! for Yes and one Arf! for No?

    robin3_jimmy.



    Arf! Arf! Yes, that's Leo the Dog who played "Jack" and "Sir Farnsworth". Magnum Mania says Leo died in 1989 at 21 years of age.
     
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  11. Jeff Flugel

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    Thanks for the confirmation, Bob! I have to say I preferred Leo's work in Gold Monkey. He was a little annoying in this Magnum episode, as he kept barking nonstop, always tipping the bad guys off to where Magnum was hiding.
     
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  12. mark-edk

    mark-edk Second Unit

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    Watching Computer Date S02e14 today I noticed Doug Mossman's name in the closing credits, though I didn't recognize him in the show. He played Moke on Hawaiian Eye for years, plus he had parts on Hawaii 5-0 - both the original, and the new unimproved version.

    The digital download for this ep had an extra 5 minutes or so at the end. Turned out to have opening credits, a few scenes from the episode, and the closing credits (without the text), all of these minus audio.
     
  13. Message #73 of 93 Sep 25, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
    Jeff Flugel

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    vlcsnap-2018-09-25-21h21m52s141.
    1.8 "The Ugliest Dog in Hawaii"

    Maybe Higgins' expression above matched Alan's feeling after watching this episode. Hey, I won't deny it. This, Magnum P.I.'s first outright comedic episode, is goofy and throwaway...but I found it a hoot. It was co-written by Allan Cole and Chris Bunch, two guys well-known for their epic fantasy and sci-fi novels.

    Higgins does not have a good time this episode. Magnum has him over a barrel, demanding a year's worth of tennis court use in exchange for helping protect the dog (with the ridiculous name of "Sir Algernon Farnsworth") of an influential board member of the King Kamehameha Club (Kathleen Nolan). The following photo expresses Higgins' emotional state throughout most of this episode:

    vlcsnap-2018-09-25-21h24m36s17.

    What I liked about this episode, besides the maneuvering between Magnum and Higgins, was how much we got out into the Hawaiian countryside. A good half of the show seemed to take place in the outdoors, including a banana / pot plantation and a seaside construction site. Both Rick and T.C. get in on the action (I count this as the third time T.C. pulls Magnum's fat out of the fire. He always comes through - and gets some bullet holes through the windshield of his helicopter for his trouble.)

    I also liked the parallel story of the tough geezer gangster showing his Ivy-league junior helpers how to do things the messy, old school way. The were ultimately pretty ineffectual as villains, but entertaining. Some viewers might find Michael V. Gazzo a bit annoying as the shouty, gravel-voiced boss, but I thought he had some funny lines.

    This episode's Magnum "Babe of the Week," Shawn Hoskins, was a real whiny cry baby, slowing Magnum down at every opportunity. Her saving grace was that she was pretty cute in a "girl next door" kind of way, and looks good in tight pants.

    vlcsnap-2018-09-25-21h25m51s214.

    All in all, an entertaining romp with some good action and scenery. I wouldn't want this kind of episode week in and week out, but once in a while? I'm OK with that.

    And I'm sorry, I don't find this dog particularly ugly. That's Jack from Tales of the Gold Monkey, dammit! Show some respect, writers.
     
  14. Carabimero

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    109 “Missing In Action”

    This was marginally better than the last episode, IMO. I’m hearing more music that sounds familiar to me, which is very nice. I realize I am a soundtrack aficionado, but it just feels more like the show I remember when I hear familiar riffs on the main title.

    109.JPG
     
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  15. Blimpoy06

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    vlcsnap-2018-09-26-00h28m38s377.
    Yes, the last two episodes have been scored by Mike Post and it's starting to sound like Magnum P.I.would for the rest of it's run. Post is credited for music in an earlier episode, "No Need To Know", but it sounds nothing like these efforts. I wonder if Pete Carpenter has joined him already and just isn't being credited yet.

    More importantly, for me at least, is the appearance of Jeff MacKay as Magnum's Navy buddy Lt. MacReynolds.
    vlcsnap-2018-09-26-00h26m37s248.
    I thought "Missing In Action" was a top tier episode for the first season. We get some more hints on Magnum's past, (He was shipped overseas in 1967 and was involved in some distasteful covert operations while in the NIA), a pretty girl, (Future Knight Rider star Rebecca Holden), a good villain (The ever reliable Lance LeGault) and some solid action.
    vlcsnap-2018-09-26-00h46m26s836.
    vlcsnap-2018-09-26-00h52m35s548.
     
  16. Message #76 of 93 Sep 27, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2018
    Jeff Flugel

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    vlcsnap-2018-09-28-06h43m44s72.

    1.09 "Missing in Action"

    Magnum helps Laura (Rebecca Holden, later of Knight Rider), the beautiful but troubled new singer at Rick's club, try to track down her old boyfriend, supposedly a soldier M.I.A. in 'Nam but actually a covert operative, Eric Tobin, who is very much alive and in Hawaii, hunted by government agents led by the shifty Newton (Lance Legault).

    Director Robert Loggia fares a bit better this time out, with some good scene composition, such as this nice shot when Higgins is hypnotizing Laura:

    vlcsnap-2018-09-28-06h44m34s53.

    The script has Magnum do some odd things. Rather than trying to talk to Tobin first (as you'd think his client would want him to do), he chases after him and shoots at him. Later, when Magnum's voiceover is going on about how Tobin got sloppy and left a clue for Magnum to trace him, Magnum then tromps around outside the guy's apartment, clearly silhouetted through windows and doorways, an easy target. These are nitpicks, though, in an otherwise fine episode, featuring some excellent banter between Magnum and T.C., as tightwad Magnum cajoles T.C. into performing a tune-up on the Ferrari, then tries to avoid paying him. There's some good action, and Lance Legault makes for a charismatic bad guy. Not to mention, the Magnum "Babe of the Week" is a full-on stunner:

    vlcsnap-2018-09-28-06h41m20s153.
     
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  17. Carabimero

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    I'm sorry to bail on you guys. A big part of the problem is that I never watched Magnum with my father. Truth be told, nearly all of the classic TV I watch, I watch because my dad and I used to watch it together, and it reminds me of being with him because it is the only shared experience still "alive" in the world that hasn't changed. That's really my problem here, not the show itself. It's what got me all the way through Five-O and what has me struggling with Magnum. But I wish you guys the best. I know you'll have fun.

    I'll check in from time to time...
     
  18. Jeff Flugel

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    Sorry to hear that you've lost interest in the show, Alan, but I respect your decision. Hope to see you chime in now and again as the mood strikes.
     
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  19. Message #79 of 93 Sep 28, 2018
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    Jeff Flugel

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    One thing I forgot to mention that I liked about "Missing in Action," and other Magnum episodes, is how Tom Selleck sells the hard side of the character. When he tells Newton (Lance Legault) that he'll blow his head off if he doesn't take him to the kidnapped Laura, you believe him.

    I like that balance of light and dark, of charm and steel. Magnum has many facets to his character. Sometimes he's easygoing, light and funny, sometimes a romantic, sometimes a goofball beach bum that his friends don't take seriously...but when he really means business, watch out.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Flashgear

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    Man, I'll have to pick up Magnum P.I. at some point, you guys have sown my interest in it again. I haven't seen it since the '80s. I know Allan has mentioned before his deeply held special affection for shows he remembered watching with his family, especially his dear dad. I can relate to that for the same reasons, and the shows I particularly associate with my dad are The Fugitive, The F.B.I. and Mannix. So I understand...

    Jeff, your mentioning of how Tom Selleck "sells the hard side of his character", to convincingly play a real hard core special forces veteran. I knew several guys like that in real life, who had a barely subdued but rarely shown "hard" side. All of them were WW2 and Korea veterans, both family and friends, who I discovered had done the real deal and walked the walk in the brutal combat and suffering of the big wars. One of the more humorous incidents I can relate involved my high school electronics teacher, a man who didn't go on about it, and didn't brag, but let slip enough info that you were always on the edge of your seat when he started to tell a story. I knew he had seen battle in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Burma. He had burns and jagged scars all over his arms and hands, and was missing 3 fingers on one hand. Even so, he had amazing dexterity in doing the fine precise work of assembling circuitry components without the clumsiness of the students, especially myself. One day I stupidly dropped a big and expensive power amplifier glass vacuum tube on the floor where it burst in an enormous bang. The old man turned around with his eyes wild and his nostrils flaring and began to dig his fingernails into my forearm in what can only be described as a incredible vice like death grip. I fell to my knees in agony and the old man was horrified about having hurt me so bad...he had broke the skin and I was bleeding a little bit, but other than the bruising that was to come, it was no big deal. After all, I felt bad about destroying that tube. My arm completely turned dark purple and then black in the weeks to come. The teacher was also worried about me getting him fired. That was definitely not going to happen, as we all loved this old man and understood that the loud bang had set him off. He was a great teacher and funny as hell.

    Long story short, years later I'm reading a book on the history of the SAS (British special forces, Special Air Service) and I see my teacher's name in the book! He was a renowned veteran of this exulted unit and played a prominent role in it's then secretive operations. So, I imagine that for one brief second when he had me in that powerful grip he was seeing some 'Fritz' or 'Jap' from the old days, ha, ha...till he released the scrawny and pimply faced idiot teenager instead...

    I guess this is the kind of guy Thomas Magnum represented.
     

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