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Retro : Magnum Force : DETECTIVE SHOW GAVE SELLECK HIS PLACE IN THE SUN

August 22, 1993|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

What would you do if you were a television network whose Hawaii-based action series had just gone off the air after 12 seasons and you had built for it expensive production facilities on the island of Oahu? Probably what CBS did in 1980 when the 12-season hit "Hawaii Five-O" departed. Build a new series, not destroy a perfectly good set.

This time around, the action wasn't so heavy, though. In the title role of "Magnum, P.I.," Tom Selleck played a laid-back Vietnam vet with a penchant for wild Hawaiian shirts and khaki shorts, and who just happened to be a private detective.

In return for helping with security arrangements, he lived, for free, on the estate of wealthy writer Robin Masters, who was never seen. Larry Manetti and Roger E. Mosley were Magnum's Vietnam buddies, Orville and T.C. And John Hillerman played Masters' stuffy British manservant, Jonathan Quayle Higgins III.

"Magnum" quickly became a hit after it premiered on Dec. 11, 1980. And Selleck, who had kicked around Hollywood for more than a decade, finally found the role perfectly suited to his easygoing charm. He even won an Emmy Award. In the fall of 1984, though, NBC premiered the red-hot "The Cosby Show" opposite "Magnum," and the Hawaiian-set series ran into ratings trouble.

Though it never regained its early momentum, "Magnum" continued until the spring of 1988. The finale, which aired as a two-hour movie in May, 1988, was the No. 1 program that week. Selleck, who went on to feature films, has said in interviews that he hopes to do a big-screen "Magnum."

Want to find out if you are a die-hard "Magnum, P.I." fan? Then please play detective with Retro's first quiz.

QUESTIONS:

1. What were Magnum's first and middle names? Hint: His friends called him T.S.?

2. What famous actor-director supplied the voice of Robin Masters from 1981 to 1984?

3. Where on Oahu did Magnum live?

4. What were the names of the Doberman guard dogs?

5. What actress appeared in a guest role as a film producer who falls for Magnum?

6. What type of car did Magnum drive? How much was it worth?

7. What's the name of the helicopter charter service operated by T.C.?

8. Do you recall Rick's real first name?

9. What veteran character actor, who appeared in 1941's "The Maltese Falcon," played Ice Pick?

10. Who was Magnum's old Navy nemesis, played by Lance LeGault?

11. Who wrote the "Magnum"theme music?

12. What actor made the biggest splash as a guest star?

ANSWERS

1. Thomas Sullivan

2. Orson Welles

3. North Shore

4. Zeus and Apollo

5. Dana Delaney

6. A Ferrari worth $50,000.

7. Island Hoppers

8. Orville

9. Elisha Cook Jr.

10. Col. Buck Greene

11. Mike Post

12. Frank Sinatra.

If you got

9-12: Buy yourself a Magnum of champagne.

5-8: You've actually been to Hawaii.

1-4: You're president of the Jack Lord Fan Club.

"Magnum, P.I." airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on WWOR and 2 p.m. on KTLA and Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 p.m. on KUSI.

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