I’m jumping ahead to the next Bellisario title, Magnum, P.I., while I fight with my computer and try to get more Airwolf to watch. That’s not a bad thing though, because this is my second favorite Bellisario show ever, and I am so looking forward to revisiting this one! I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this show, and all the things that make it what it is, well most of them (the theme song is notably absent).
The original series opener was written by Bellisario and Glen A. Larson (together again!) and aired 11 December 1980.
The inner monologue is there from Thomas Magnum (Tom Selleck), the cast is in place, Higgins (John Hillerman), the dogs, Zeus and Apollo, Rick (Larry Manetti) and T.C. (Roger E. Mosley). The gorgeous locations, the Robin Masters estate, the characters’ history, including Thomas’ time in Vietnam and Navy, and the fact that no one believes he’ll pay off his debts…
If the theme song by Mike Post had been in place for the series opener, it would have been perfect. Instead, there’s a title sequence that works with a weird title song (very late 70s) and uses the silhouette of the team ring, that Thomas, T.C. and Rick all wear for the run of the series.
There are a few odd things… Rick isn’t running the King Kamehameha Club, instead he has a gauche disco called Rick’s Café American.
But the pieces are recognizably there. Including the sense of humor and charm.
The first case Thomas gets involved with, involves an old service buddy, Dan Cook (Allen Williams), who ends up dead, and it looks like he was a cocaine mule. Thomas refuses to believe that and begins to dig up the truth, finding drugs and gold, and ghosts from the past.
Working with Dan’s sister Alice (Pamela Susan Shoop), they learn about a missing naval officer that was filed on the day of Pearl Harbor, and uncover a friend turned villain. He is pretty easy to guess at, because he’s the guest star and you know he didn’t show up just for a small role in the Vietnam flashback sequences… I’m talking about you Robert Loggia.
There are chases in the Ferrari, some great inner monologues from Thomas, and the repartee between the characters is already there. It’s like they climbed into the story as fully realized and conceived, more so than most other shows I remember watching at the time.
Thomas is off to prove his friend was framed, while trying to sneak into the grounds of the estate to make sure Higgins is capable of his job, avoiding the dogs, and flirting with the flight attendants that are staying over at Robin Masters’ request.
And hey! There’s Jeff MacKay, but not playing his recurring role on the series just yet. And Judge Reinhold!!
And best of all, it all still works brilliantly. This is fun, smart, and highly enjoyable television and I am so looking forward to working my way through the series again and sharing it all here on the blog. (Though I am hoping I get my computer issues resolved and can finish Airwolf as well.
But for now, I’m heading back to paradise…