Magnum, p.i. (1983) – Letter to a Duchess and Squeeze Play


Higgins (John Hillerman) and Thomas (Tom Selleck) find themselves at odds in the first episode this week, Letter to a Duchess. This episode originally aired 10 November, 1983, and was penned by Robert Hamilton.

As Thomas prepares for the annual surfski race, hoping to place better than his position of 62 last year, which was still up from the year before, Higgins takes center stage for a moment, when he comes to the aid of a face from his past, though the lady in question doesn`t know it. He helps, Vivien (Jane Merrow), the Duchess of Whitt first in a shop, and then to take care of a pair of ruffians who are accosting her, in search of some jewelry she`s supposed to have on her person.

Through flashbacks, we learn that Higgins has long fancied this woman, though she`s never taken notice of him in that regard. But he decides to write a letter to her expressing how he feels. Vivien believes the letter has come from Thomas, who, will not unreceptive to her attentions, doesn`t share her romantic intentions. Higgins maintains a stiff upper lip, but even Thomas can see that the major domo is hurting, and upset over Vivien falling for Thomas.

No matter what Thomas does, she won`t see Higgins as he is, even when the two have to find a way to save her from the ruffians.

Thomas is finally able to blow her off after the surfski race, ranking 18 (!) and pretends to be a womanizing beach boy, much to Higgins` gratitude and amazement.


The second episode is even lighter. Squeeze Play was written by Reuben Leder, and aired on 17 November, 1983.  Robin Masters (again voiced by Orson Welles) has a bet with a publisher Buzz Benoit (Dick Shawn), who runs a playboy-esque magazine that may leave Tom and Higgins homeless for a year, after a game of cards goes south for Robin. The author suggests a wager, his island softball team, the Paddlers, will take on Buzz`s team the Blasters, and if the Blasters win, Buzz will have free run of the estate for one year, and his plans don`t include leaving space for either Higgins or Thomas!

What they think is going to be a friendly match, turns even more troublesome, when Thomas learns that Buzz is bringing in a series of ringers to play for his team. Meanwhile, he has Rick (Larry Manetti), T.C. (Roger E. Mosley), Higgins as third base coach, Keoki (Patrick Bishop) from the club, as well as Lola (Debbie Zipp), who has hired Thomas in the interim to find her ex, though she can`t decide if she wants him, or his back alimony.

But it seems Lola`s ex, Jerome (Peter Isacksen) is a former ball player as well, so Thomas has his own ringer.

As the game nears its climax, however, trouble strikes, and while Rick, T.C. and Thomas represent the tying runs, they’re not sure they can all pull together and win the game…

This one was a lot of fun, and it’s always fun to see an episode where the rubber chicken pops up! I could have done without Eddie Deezen though, he was always annoying…

Until next time, ALOHA!





2 Comments Add yours

  1. mspence says:

    Squeeze Play also features Eddie Deezen as Buzz’s unwilling accomplice nephew, who appeared in War Games that year and was known for his nerd roles in 70’s and 80s, including 1978’s Laserblast.

  2. westvirginiarebel says:

    Squeeze Play also features Eddie Deezen as Buzz’s unwilling nephew. Deezen is known for his nerd roles, and appeared in War Games that year.

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