Note: This post was originally published Sept. 14, 2011, just after I had started my blog. Almost nobody read my blog back then, so this is your chance to catch up (yay!). Plus, it’s been a busy week and I didn’t have time to write an original. Enjoy!
Reader, if you were born after 1990, please Google “Magnum, P.I.” before proceeding. Otherwise, you’ll be lost. Preparation is everything.
As you may recall, Magnum, P.I. was one of the most beloved crime dramas of the 1980s. Set in beautiful Hawaii, Magnum and his pals worked to solve crimes and thwart danger while taking time to enjoy the tropical paradise that surrounded them. The cast also included T.C., Higgins, Robin, two frightening dogs and some other people I don’t remember.
Families all across America watched this great show, and my family was no exception. I, however, did not watch on a regular basis, as I was but a young lass and had more important things on my mind, like thinking up ways to avoid nap time and hiding my toys from my brother and sister. On occasion, I would catch glimpses of the show, but only because I had no other choice if I wanted to watch TV. We only had one TV and, because I was the youngest, my suggestions usually got rejected when it was time to select the programming. To this day, I wonder to what degree my development was delayed as a result of my having missed so many episodes of Sesame Street.
It was a weekday afternoon. I was in the TV room with my mom, watching her fold laundry and, most likely, telling her where she was going wrong when matching up the corners of the towels. Magnum, P.I. was on and, being the observant child that I was, something caught my eye. That man playing Magnum looked strangely familiar. His height, his build, his hair and most importantly, that glorious mustache, all reminded me of someone. Suddenly, an epiphany: was this man my father?
My suspicions were growing and I couldn’t get it out of my head. I immediately began investigating. There was no time to waste. I would be starting Kindergarten soon and needed to know the truth before I could begin this next chapter in my life. My older siblings often briefed me on what occurred at school and I knew I would be expected to talk about my parents’ occupations. When it came time to explain what my father did, would I say “Commercial Real Estate Agent” or “Highly Successful Actor?”
I developed my theory rather quickly. My father was, in fact, Magnum P.I. and he flew to Hawaii each day for filming. I had flown several times and was well aware that it took a long time to fly from Alaska to anywhere. But this could be explained. He must have had a special Hollywood plane that flew faster than the rest.
I also remembered that Magnum played tennis. My father, too, was a tennis player. This was one of the reasons they chose him to play the part. They needed someone who looked like he knew what he was doing on the court. My father was also a seasoned hunter and knew how to handle a gun, which was a key requirement for the role.
But what about the issue of climate acclimation? Were the producers of the show willing to take a man living in Alaska and expose him to such warm temperatures, over and over? That too could be explained. My father was originally from Texas and could handle the heat.
I also knew that most famous actors were usually rich. This threw a big wrench in my theory. We certainly weren’t rich, so where did all the money go? I surmised that my parents had set up trust funds for each of us that we would have access to at a later date. They wanted us to learn the value of a dollar by earning money on our own. They weren’t going to shower us with gifts and have us turn into spoiled brats (parenting was different back then). This also explains why I didn’t get the Barbie I had my sights set on.
But then, just as I was set to expose the truth, my theory fell apart. My mother did not like the cold weather up north and frequently dreamed of warmer days. If I knew my mother, and I was pretty sure I did since she birthed me, I was certain there was no chance she would let my dad fly to Hawaii on a regular basis without taking her along. But this never happened. I couldn’t remember a single instance in which both of my parents were away for an extended period of time. I also would have known that something was amiss when she came back with a tan and flowers in her hair. I could explain my dad’s tan. He spent hours outside during the summers and, contrary to popular belief, you can actually get a tan in Alaska. This was not a possibility for my mother, as she was primarily an indoor parent.
So, I finally accepted the fact that my dad was not Magnum, P.I. The person playing him was a man by the name of Tom Selleck. While I was willing to acknowledge this, I still believe they could be long-lost brothers.
I recently discovered that my sister had the same suspicions as a child, which tells me that I wasn’t completely off-base. My brother, however, said that while Magnum, P.I. was one of his mentors and heroes, he did not believe that the role was actually played by our father. My mother is now a skilled towel folder. The mustache was removed years ago while on vacation in order to allow my dad to attach his snorkeling mask more effectively. It is missed and will be remembered fondly.
(Images Courtesy: rottentomatoes.com)