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Secrets About Magnum P.I. We Bet You Didn’t Know

How many do you know?


Everything about Magnum P.I. was amazing. The fact it was set in Hawaii, the cars, the caps, the shirts, the lay-deeeees, the characters…and, of course, Tom Selleck. *swoon* And would you believe the first ever episode aired in 1980? Just to make you feel old. But we still miss Magnum P.I., so we decided to give you some Magnum P.I. secrets. So take a pew, and have a read (while daydreaming about Tom Selleck)…

Iconic facial hair

Of course, we’re talking about Tom Selleck’s facial hair. Selleck is known for his mustache,
and it even has its own Facebook Page, it’s own Twitter page and has been entered into the International Mustache Hall of Fame (that’s a thing?). When Selleck met with producers for Blue Bloods, he suggested to the producers that he shave it off *gasp*. Thankfully, the producers told him he needed to keep it.

Breaking records

The final episode of Magnum P.I left a few tears in our eyes. How would we go on? What would we watch? But when the episode first aired in 1988, it broke records. With 50.7 million viewers, the episode is number sixth in the most-watch TV finales ever watched. Well, that is a very big achievement. Well done, Magnum P.I. And well done for making us cry.

Ol’ Blue Eyes

Hardcore fans of Magnum P.I. may have noticed a familiar face in season 7. Yes, Frank Sinatra appeared on the series. He appeared in the ‘Laura’ episode as a retired police detective who tries to find the murderers who killed his granddaughter. It has been said that this appearance was Sinatra’s idea, and was his last on-screen role before his death.

A hit with the ladies

On-screen, Magnum was a hit with the ladies, and always got the girl. But in real life, his co-star seemed to have done a lot better than him. And we mean a lot better. Roger E. Mosely had apparently fathered so many children that he had to make sure that all of them met each other, so they knew who they were, and wouldn’t fall in love with each other when they got older. True story.

He could have been Indiana

We all know Harrison Ford as the Raider of the Lost Ark. But that role was originally meant to be Tom Selleck’s. However, his commitments with Magnum P.I. meant he had to turn the role down. We’re not quite sure how we feel about that. On the one hand, he could have been Indiana Jones. On the other hand…Magnum P.I. Mustache.

What a wardrobe

When Magnum P.I. came onto our screens, it soon became the epicenter of Hawaiian shirts. Magnum just loved wearing his flamboyant shirts almost as much as we loved his mustache. And one of his most famous shirts, the Crimson Jungle Bird shirt, has even been preserved in the Smithsonian Museum. Because people really do care that much. His Tiger cap and his ring were also donated.

Hawaii Five-O

Have you ever wondered where these Hawaiian shirts came from? Or why the whole thing was set in Hawaii? Well, Magnum P.I. took over the production office of Hawaii Five-O after that series finished, just because of convenience. In other words, they were cheapskates. But it worked.

He didn’t travel very far

In the series, we see Magnum traveling across the globe, solving crimes and basically saving the world. But in reality, the production crew only ever left Hawaii once – and that was to film in London. When they filmed scenes in Italy, Kenya, Japan and more, they stayed in Hawaii and used what they had there.

Orson Welles and Magnum P.I.

You wouldn’t put the genius director that is Orson Welles and Magnum P.I together, but sometimes our dreams can come true. Welles played a small role in the TV series and voiced Magnum’s wealthy author and playboy (isn’t that Welles anyway) friend, Robin Masters.

The car could have been very different

Along with his mustache, and clothes, Magnum P.I. also made the red Ferrari famous, and men and women dreamed all around the world dreamed of owning that beauty. But because of Selleck’s tall body, the car had to be customized. Originally, the producers wanted Magnum to roll around in a Porsche, but the company refused to customize their cars. So they settled for the Ferrari. Eugh, sloppy seconds, right?

A fake accent

If you loved Higgins and couldn’t bear to hear anything bad about him… read on. The formal, stuffy and British voice of Jonathan Higgins was (suspense) fake! John Hillerman was actually born and raised in Texas and was not British in the slightest. It’s said that he used to study the work of Laurence Olivier to get the perfect British accent which brought us our favorite catchphrase, ‘Oh my God, Magnum!’

Man’s best friend

Dogs have always been known as man’s best friend. And in this case, the dogs were two men’s best friends. In the series, Higgins has two Dobermans (Zeus and Apollo) who guard his home. During season four, they were going to be cut out to save money. Hillerman and Selleck both argued with the producers to keep them for so long that they eventually gave in…

The odd-jobs

When Selleck was cast as Magnum P.I., the production (and Hollywood) was struck down by a union strike, meaning filming was put on pause for a few months. By this time, Selleck had already moved to Hawaii and was renting an apartment. To make ends meet during this time, he worked as a handyman, earning $7 an hour to keep up his rent. What a trooper.

A family affair

Tom Selleck is a family man, and he obviously wanted company over in Hawaii, as most of his family made appearances on the show. His mother, father and adopted son all had brief cameo roles in the series, and also his first wife, Jacqueline Ray, and even his second wife, Jillie Mack had a small part.

An Amateur Expert

One of Magnum P.I.’s most recurring actresses, Gillian Dobb as Agatha Chumley appeared in more than 29 episodes of the series. But Magnum P.I. was her first ever acting role. She was incredibly inexperienced but didn’t let it show. She soon became one of the favorites. There’s hope for everyone.

There was almost a movie

After the show had ended, there was the talk of a Magnum P.I. movie. Tom Clancy had already decided on and written the script, and Selleck had approved of it. Unfortunately, Universal didn’t feel like the movie would be a hit and scrapped it. Err… we would have definitely watched it!

The Theme Song

The theme song of Magnum P.I. is almost as famous as Tom Selleck’s mustache. And there’s a weird coincidence between those two. In fact, Tom Selleck and Mike Post were classmates at the same high school. Mike Post was the co-composer of the famous theme song. Weird.

Magnum P.I. Awards

The show became a huge success, for the show as a whole and the actors. Tom Selleck won both a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for his role of Thomas Magnum. John Hillerman also won the same, both a Golden Globe and Emmy for his portrayal as Higgins. Well done, lads!

Throwing a few punches

Let’s be honest; Magnum deserved a few punches sometimes. And Rick, T.C, and Higgins all punched him at some point or another in the series. However, outside of dream sequences, Magnum never hits any of them.