My favorite television show of the 1980s was, without doubt, Magnum, PI. I loved the show’s humor, the chemistry amongst the cast (despite the fact that Larry Manetti, who played Rick, was a lousy actor), the Hawaiian locales which were more than just a nifty backdrop for a detective show, and the show’s versatility: sometimes it was a standard mystery show, sometimes an espionage thriller, sometimes a political thriller, occasionally a legal drama, and often times a riotous farce. There were hilarious episodes, such as the one where Magnum and Higgins engage in a war of pranks (complete with Magnum blowing up Higgins’s matchstick Bridge on the River Kwai, while whistling “Colonel Bogey” to Higgins over the phone). There were complex espionage episodes, such as the episode where Magnum realizes that his wife — whom he had married in Viet Nam, and whom he thought dead — is still alive. There were farcical episodes that paired Magnum with outrageous cohorts — gumshoe Luther Gillis (Eugene Roche), the daughter of a counterfeiter with whom Magnum is locked in a bank vault (Carol Burnett), and a Japanese-American policeman who insists on speaking in an awful John Wayne impersonation (Clyde Kusatsu). There were also intense, noir-style episodes, most notably one that featured Frank Sinatra in a guest role. Magnum, PI was an awfully good show. I’d love to see some kind of reunion special. This year we had LA Law and Laverne & Shirley get reunions; why not Magnum?
(The occasion for this bit of TV nostalgia is this Flash movie, which is a hilarious parody of Magnum, PI‘s opening credits sequence.)