Month: August 2019

Telefilm Review: Magnum, P.I.: Don’t Eat the Snow in Hawaii

Don’t Eat the Snow in Hawaii is the premier episode of Magnum PI. It aired on December 11, 1980, eleven months after the last episode of The Rockford Files aired leaving television without a top private investigator.

In the episode, Magnum (Tom Selleck)goes to pick up an old Navy buddy only to find he’s been murdered and posthumously accused of trafficking. cocaine. Magnus sets out to clear his friend’s name.

What Works:

Tom Selleck would win both an Emmy and a Golden Globe in the course of his eight season on the show. Here, we get a good sample of why. He delivers acting that’s above and beyond what you expect from a private detective show.

He’s helped by a script that does a superb job introducing Magnum and setting him up as an interesting and complex character. On a superficial level, he seems like a lighter character than James Rockford’s work-a-day private eye, with his own place on the grounds of writer Robin Masters’ palatial Hawaiian estate, but it’s more complex than that.

Magnum served in Vietnam and was a Navy Seal and in Navy Intelligence. He explained his reason for leaving the military, briefly: “One day, I woke up age thirty-three and realized I’d never been twenty-three.” Magnum and his friends had spent their youth getting shot at in a war zone and there’s this sense of him hoping to recapture something he lost.

Yet, he also has a sense of honor and decency. This first story has him trying to solve the murder of a friend and restore his good name. Magnum also resists the advances of his friend’s sister because he doesn’t want to take advantage of her. Magnum was a bit of a maverick in the Navy and is glad to be out of it. However, there’s a hint the Navy’s not entirely out of him when he describes a helicopter surveillance flight as “a mission.”

John Hillerman is fun as Higgins, even though his initial take on Higgins seems to be a bit more broadly British than I remember from my times watching Magnum as kid. We get some great scenes between Higgins and Magnum which help set the stage for  the most consistently interesting character relationship of the series. We also get to see Higgins go into action towards the end of the episode.

Rick (Larry Manetti) is kind of interesting and I like the idea of him having a Casablanca fixation and a real first name he would rather not share. It’s a shame they didn’t go ahead with the Casablanca stuff in the original series.

Beyond that, the series has most everything I really liked about the program as a kid and I still like as an adult: the Ferrari, the helicopter, and that theme music which practically screams adventure. On top of that, there’s some nice Hawaiian scenery although that’s not the main focus.

What Doesn’t Work:

The solution became somewhat obvious during a flashback sequence. It became painfully obvious when Magnum flew over the criminal’s boat. While the mystery itself isn’t bad, it could have landed a lot smoother and been a bit more challenging.

Also, T.C. (Roger Mosley) is mostly functional in this episode. We don’t know a whole lot about him at this point other than that he served in the Marines with Rick and together they served with Magnum in Vietnam. Of course, this may have been based on audience needs. When I watched Magnum growing up, the fact T.C. flew a helicopter alone made him cool and likable. As an adult, I’d like his character to be better developed, but I can’t work up too much annoyance over the fact it isn’t due to the nostalgia factor.

Overall:

Magnum, P.I. began its eight season run with an emotionally compelling case that did a great job establishing its main character and setting the tone for the rest of the series. Magnum can be considered the successor to Rockford Files. Magnum also laid the groundwork for the A-Team, another series featuring Vietnam vets back home as action heroes.

As a pilot, this is rock solid. While this isn’t good as it gets for Magnum, P.I., it’s a terrific opener that does nearly everything you could ask for.

Rating 4.25 out of 5

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EP2918: Dragnet: The Big Key

Jack Webb
Friday and Smith investigate a series of drug store robberies.

Original Air Date: October 26, 1954
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EP2917: Yours Truly Johnny Expiring Nickles Matter or the Egyptian Jackpot

Charles Russell

At the behest of a chaplain Johnny met during the war, he escorts a dying man to Egypt with evidence that could clear a wealthy man who’s about to be executed.

Original Air Date: September 4, 1949

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EP2916: Boston Blackie: Charlie Kingston and The Vanishing 4th Floor

Richard Kollmar

Charlie Kingston is taken for $20,000 at a crooked gambling den. When Blackie comes to get Charlie’s money they find the gambling den has vanished.

Original Air Date: January 5, 1949

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EP2915: Rocky Jordan: The Mystery of the Carl Kleist

Jack Moyles

A German man is murdered and his brother fears for his life.

Original Air Date: April 30, 1950
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EP2914: Let George Do It: Tonight the Mayhem’s Going to be Different

George and Claire are invited to spend a weekend with a woman who pretends to be a longtime friend of Claire’s.

Original Air Date:June 18, 1951

Rebroadcast date: June 9, 1953

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EP2913: Dragnet: The Big Badge (Standard Division #6 (Tied)

Jack Webb

Friday and Romero search for “The Badge Bandit” holds up couples in parked cars while pretending to be a police officer.

Original Air Date: May 4, 1950

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EP2912s: Casebook of Gregory Hood: Death from The Red Capsule

A young woman is poisoned when visiting Gregory Hood’s campfire and Gregory is arrested for the crime.

Original Air Date: July 22, 1946
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Audio Drama Review: Red Panda Adventures, Season 5

Season 5 of the Red Panda Adventures from, “Decoder Ring Theatre” was originally released between 2009-2010 and is set in late 1930s Toronto.

This is the first season with Kit Baxter (Clarissa Der Nederlanden Taylor) and the Red Panda (Gregg Taylor) married and it’s fun to watch their relationship evolve. Events of this seasons do appear to take place over a long block of time as at the start of the season they’re newlyweds but in the second half of the season, they’ve married well over a year.

Season 5 offers its fair share of traditional Red Panda episodes involving supervillains, and mysterious deaths. On the supervillain front, the “Puzzle Master” is one of the more solid episodes of the series so far.

Yet, at the same time, the pre-World War II stories continued to heat up as Gregg Taylor (who also wrote the series) laid the ground for the next four seasons of World War II stories. The Red Panda and Flying Squirrel keep getting in the way of the Nazis mad preparations for war and their efforts to acquire magical objects. While they have a fair bit of luck against them, the season finale makes it clear the overall effort to stop the Nazis hadn’t gone well as the Stranger arrives seeking their help to limit the damage of the defeat suffered by the Council of Mages. In addition, towards the end of the season, we meet Colonel Fitzroy, an Army officer who would play a big role in Season 6.

Overall, Season 5 was a solid season of The Red Panda Adventures. It lived up to the high standards the previous set while doing a very good job laying the groundwork for the future.

Rating 4.5 out of 5

Season 5 of the Red Panda Adventures is available for free download at Decoder Ring Theatre

EP2912: Dragnet: The Big Mannikin

Jack Webb
A woman reports her husband missing.

Original Air Date: October 19, 1954

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EP2911: Yours Truly Johnny Dollar: Out of the Fire and Into the Frying Pan

Charles Russell

Johnny is sent to a State fair to protect a prize hog.

Original Air Date: August 21, 1949

When making your travel plans, remember http://johnnydollarair.com

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EP2910: Boston Blackie: The ‘Killer Lightning’ Murders

Richard Kollmar

A woman and her scientist lover murder her husband by lightning.

Original Air Date: December 8, 1948

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EP2909: Rocky Jordan: The Big Gamble

Jack Moyles

A racketeer tries to pressure Rocky into letting him set up gambling tables in the Tambourine.

Original Air Date: April 23, 1950

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EP2908: Let George Do It: Sucker Stunt

George tries to turn the tables on a man who played him for a sucker but finds out he gave him a perfect alibi for the murder of his wife.

Original Air Date: June 11, 1951

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EP2907: Sherlock Holmes: The Solitary Cyclist (Host’s Choice/Wild Card)

John Gielgud

A charming young governess is haunted by a mysterious bearded bicyclist.

Original Air Date: February 27, 1955

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