Trivia / Magnum, P.I.

  • Actor Allusion: One episode is an Affectionate Parody of Raiders of the Lost Ark, a movie Tom Selleck was considered to do the lead in, but gave up to do this show instead.
    • The opening dream flashback in "Tigers Fan" has a character talk about how "Jim [Rockford] was being driven nuts by this pain-in-the-butt named Lance White". Lance White was played on that show by Tom Selleck.
    • In "Luther Gillis: File #001", Robin Masters leaves a message on Magnum's machine, telling him the personal access code needed for his next assignment's computer is "Rosebud".
    • In "The Legacy of Garwood Huddle", John Ratzenberger's character has a friend named Norm.
    • In "Italian Ice", Magnum is choked pretty badly by the Marchese's bodyguard, played by Lenny Montana, whose most famous character was garroted to death.
    • James Doohan plays a Scotsman (again) in "The Big Blow".
  • Blooper: The ending credits could never seem to spell poor Buck Greene's name right.
    • When Magnum jumps and tackles Norm in "The Legacy of Garwood Huddle", you can clearly see his face is not of Tom Selleck but of his stunt double, Tom Lupo.
  • Creator Cameo: Creator, writer, and producer Donald P. Bellisario appears as the desk clerk of the Low Surf Hotel in "Faith and Begorrah".
  • The Danza: Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum.
    • John Hillerman as Jonathan Quayle Higgins.
    • Esmond Chung as Sergeant Kenny Chung.
  • Descended Creator: Bob Minor, stunt coordinator and double for Roger E. Mosley, plays T.C.'s friend Ron Pennington in "Round and Around", who is soon murdered. Hilariously, Minor later appears in the same episode's climax as Mosley's double, effectively avenging his own death.
  • Edited for Syndication: In addition to Title Sequence Replacement, some episodes lack scenes originally seen in the network airings (such as the opening scene of "Basket Case"). But that's nothing compared to the DVDs...
  • Fake Brit: John Hillerman, a native Texan, playing a retired British Army Sergeant Major — and playing him so convincingly even British viewers thought he was a genuine Brit.
    • In "Luther Gillis: File #001", Higgins insists on accompanying Gillis into a cowboy bar. When Gillis says they won't talk to a "limey", Higgins grabs Gillis by the lapels and intones "Who you callin' a limey, boy?" in a broad Texas drawl. He played the whole bar scene this way.
  • Fake Nationality: The Italian Marchese in "Italian Ice" is played by French actor Jean Claudio, whose natural accent slips through in his English dialogue.
    • Mexican Mafia king Pasqual Valez in "On the Fly" is played by American Byrne Piven, father of actor Jeremy Piven.
    • Soviet agent Colonel Ivan, played by Swedish-American Bo Svenson.
    • Many Chinese-American or Chinese-Hawaiian actors play Japanese or Japanese-American characters, and vice versa.
  • Real-Life Relative: Tom Selleck's ex-wife Jacqueline Ray appears in two episodes, and current wife Jillie Mack appears in three episodes.
    • Tom's father Bob Selleck plays Magnum's Grandpa Everett in the home movies seen in the opening of "Going Home", as well as in the baseball flashback scene in "Infinity and Jelly Doughnuts", along with Tom's mother Martha and his son Kevin.
    • Larry Manetti's wife Nancy DeCarl appears in two episodes.
    • Producer Donald P. Bellisario's then-wife Deborah Pratt played T.C.'s girlfriend Gloria in four episodes.
    • Real-life couple John McCook and Laurette Spang-McCook play husband and wife in "The Case of the Red Faced Thespian".
    • Sondra Currie guest stars in "The Big Blow", directed by her future husband Alan J. Levi.
  • Science Marches On: "Wave Goodbye", while otherwise a well-aged episode, is incredibly dated in that the police are unable to determine who raped Kacy before killing her, as the episode aired in 1981, well before DNA forensic testing became the norm.
  • Technology Marches On: Naturally, given the time period.
    • The video game seen at the start of "Little Games" is too advanced for the time, but looks hilariously dated now.
    • "Novel Connection" sees T.C. using a first-generation mobile phone.
    • In "The Return of Luther Gillis", Lloyd DeWitt's predictions about the use of computers in investigating see him treated more or less like a hack, but nowadays it's easy to see how computers have benefited both sides of the law.
    • Lee in "Smaller Than Life" plays Defender, Missile Command, and Donkey Kong on an Atari 800, complete with an 850 Interface Module and 830 Acoustic Coupler Modem.
    • Higgins in "Photo Play" uses a Betamax recorder to tape his snooker games. Not only is the Beta format Deader Than Disco now, but so is home tape recording. Of course now, even with The Internet, Higgins might still have to contend with the time zone difference in hopes of seeing the games as soon as possible.
  • The Other Darrin: DA Carol Baldwin was played by Patty McCormick in the character's first appearance and by Kathleen Lloyd in twenty episodes.
    • Walter Chotzen played Icepick in his first appearance, before being replaced by Elisha Cook Jr. for the rest of the series.
    • Ed Russler was played by Burr DeBenning in "The Jororo Kill", and by John Saxon in "Jororo Farewell".
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The producers actually planned to reveal Orson Welles as Robin Masters when the series ended. Unfortunately, though, Welles died in 1985 before the storyline could materialize.
    • Don Bellisario's later show Quantum Leap was going to have a crossover episode, but unfortunately the Magnum series was established as existing within that show's universe, and he preferred to avoid the Celebrity Paradox.
    • Jack Lord was approached several times to appear on the series, but he never did (in fact, once Hawaii Five-O ended he never acted againnote ).
  • Written by Cast Member: Roger E. Mosley co-wrote "Missing Melody," one of the few episodes of the series to focus on his character of T.C.
  • You Look Familiar: Tons, like Gillian Dobb appearing as different characters in "Mad Buck Gibson", "The Elmo Ziller Story", and "Ki'i's Don't Lie" before finally appearing as Agatha Chumley in "Black on White".
    • Glenn Cannon playing another doctor, Dr. Kessler in season one's "Never Again... Never Again", before appearing as Doc Ibold in season two's "Try to Remember".
    • Lance LeGault as John W. Newton in "Missing in Action" before appearing as Colonel Buck Greene in "Memories Are Forever". The voice helps.
    • Paul Burke as Admiral Kitchner in "Memories Are Forever" before appearing as Admiral Hawkes in "Did You See the Sunrise?".
    • Kathleen Lloyd as Bridget Archer in season three's "Almost Home" before appearing as Carol Baldwin in season four's "Distant Relative".
    • Kenneth Mars as elderly caretaker Joseph in "The Woman on the Beach", before playing Magnum's former client Archie in "Fragments".
    • James Whitmore Jr. plays the title character in "Billy Joe Bob" before coming back as Nuzo in "Did You See the Sunrise?".
    • Walter Chotzen plays the bellhop working with Gillian Dobb's character in "The Elmo Ziller Story" before playing the original Icepick in "Past Tense".
    • Elisha Cook Jr. played the imposter Harold Farber in "Ghost Writer" before taking over the character of Icepick in "Distant Relative".
    • Ina Balin plays Professor Martinez in "Dead Man's Channel" before coming back as Lila in "L.A.".
    • Jeff MacKay played Navy man Ski Polenski in "Don't Eat the Snow in Hawaii" before playing "Mac" MacReynolds and later Jim "Mac" Bonnick.
    • In relation to Magnum's Vietnam storyline, Clyde Kusatsu played Colonel Ki in "Memories Are Forever" before playing Detective Gordon Katsumoto in "This Island Isn't Big Enough". Soon-Tek Oh played Michelle's husband General Hue in "Memories" before playing Dr. Bill Su in "Kiss of the Sabre". Later on, however, both actors' former characters reappeared via either flashback or photos, to the likely confusion of newer viewers.
    • Cassie Yates played Betty Windom in "Kiss of the Sabre" and Shelly Faraday in "Photo Play".
    • Robin Dearden played Mandy in "No Need to Know" and Lexi Ziller in "The Elmo Ziller Story."

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