Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday, September 14 – Viewing the Lost MPI Treasures and the Byodo In Temple

Last night, I said to golf, “golf, aren’t you supposed to be getting in touch with the MPI crew member who still lives here? You know, he has props and stuff that you’re supposed to look at, right?” golf looked at me in total shock: “My god! I forgot! How could I forget when all I’ve been doing is looking for filming locations?”

First thing this morning, she emailed this gentleman (whose email address she already had from previous email contact) and then hoped to hear from him sometime today. She had given him her cell phone number, and when she finally turned the laptop over to Larry, she went back inside and found two missed calls on her cell phone. Good grief! How embarrassing! She hadn’t expected to hear that quickly. She returned the call and spoke with him for a while, arranging when and where they could meet. She and Larry were to meet him at his storage facility at 10:30. He was reluctant to reveal his identity, so golf just “named” him Michael – and Michael he shall stay for the duration.

Larry said golf had to drive this time, since she was always picking at his navigational skills, so again she didn’t get pictures of the Pali tunnels or have the chance (or the time!) to look for the Walker Estate. Now Larry was the navigator, and they got lost anyway!! Had something to do with the H-1 splitting and they took the north leg instead of the south one and ended up about six blocks north of where they needed to be. Apparently golf can read a map (sort of), so when she stopped and looked at the map, she was able to figure out where they went wrong, where they were, and where they needed to go. Well done, old girl (except for the getting lost in the first place part, and she’s still blaming Larry for that and sticking to that story).

At the storage facility (they were expected something like the grouping of garages we see around here), they found a HUGE building. Apparently storage is a big business in Hawaii (or at least Honolulu). They left the car (and me!) out on the street and went in to the office where they were advised that they were expected and that Michael was gathering things from his area and would be joining them shortly. They also had time to realize that they could park in the building (probably safer in this industrial area, at least according to what everyone told us while we were there), so golf moved the car into the parking area inside.

I think Larry went out for a cigarette, then as he was coming back in, there was suddenly a man there with a hand cart and some boxes and Larry was helping him get the door open and into the lobby area. They introduced themselves, then golf was brought into the loop, and Michael led them back to a conference room. He pointed out the VCR player but apologized that it wasn’t hooked up so he could show them some of the VHS tapes he had. He said there was one he particularly wanted them to see, but . . . .

At that time, he began putting things on the large conference table. The first was a Hawaiian shirt that he identified as being from “Memories Are Forever” (the print of this shirt was used in two different versions in MAF; and James, the moderator for, was able to point out that this actual shirt, though perhaps used in Memories Are Forever, was definitely worn by TM in “Foiled Again,” with the exact arrangement of the print as in the shirt Michael had). Golf can’t remember the exact order of how all these magical things were presented, but the following items were brought out and shown to Larry and golf:

Shooting scripts with different colored pages showing the different revisions; the three “Robin-1” license plates (the actual state-issued one, the mock-up because the actual plate was at risk of being stolen any time the car was parked and not guarded, and a duplicate of the mock-up in case the mock-up did get stolen, the first two of which had cropped corners so the corners wouldn’t stick out and show around the license plate frame on the Ferrari); TM’s MIA bracelet with Kenneth Lancaster’s name and date; the broken Ray-bans from “Solo Flight”; the base and stub of broken glass from the A.A.P.I. award Magnum (TM) won in “A.A.P.I.,” which, it was implied, was broken at the end of the episode, and an unbroken version of the same award in case the first one got broken by accident (Michael told us that he suggested that the unbroken one be rigged to look as though it had been glued back together, and it was agreed that that should be done, and Michael put squiggly lines of glue on the back of the unbroken glass to imitate the appearance of glass pieces’ being glued back together; he said he thought it was on display in the guest house in the following episode [but so far golf has been unable to spot it in a subsequent episode, but everyone is still looking – so if anyone reading this has spotted it, please post a “Comment” and let me know in which episode to look for it so I can tell golf and she can try to get a screenshot of it]); Larry Manetti’s original team ring, which was lost and replaced, then the original was found; a brass team ring used by stunt doubles; the black onyx pinkie ring worn by Alan Hale in “All Thieves on Deck” and the test tube with a strip of film in it, hidden in the tiki statue in the same episode; numerous crew Christmas or wrap gifts (gimme cap, key ring, watch, belt buckle, etc. – all “personalized” to MPI logos/themes); Mac’s military identification; Magnum’s wallet containing driver’s license, PI license, picture of him and Michele – with “filler” of gas cards of Tom Selleck, along with his SAG card and an insurance card; some cough drop wrappers when TS was sick during the filming once and kept having to suck on the cough drops; a keyring (and duplicate back-up) of a key ring with an ornament shaped like a basketball player with his arm raised to dunk; the paperback book used in “The Treasure of Kalaniopu’u” (the “guts” of which was actually a Joyce Brothers book – Michael told us that the art department back in Los Angeles would work up cover art such as this for a book needed on the set and would use anything on hand as the actual pages of the book [Magnum-Mania folk have found similar conditions when a newspaper is shown – the article being used in the show is worded correctly – other columns around the main article are usually nonsense]); a military combat knife used in one episode; a brass Doberman Pinscher dog statue that appeared to have been broken off some kind of award; pieces of Higgins’ balsa wood “Bridge over the River Kwai” (blown up by TM in “Paper War”); the headless rubber chicken and the head from “Paper War” (Higgins’ payback to TM for blowing up the River Kwai model) (but these had “petrified” and the body was a wadded up lump since it had been stored for 20 years stuffed in a bag) (Michael also explained that the taped-neck one later used was not the one whose head had been cut off but an intact one on whose neck they just put tape to make it look as though the head had been cut off and taped back on); a clapboard from March 4, 1988; the necklace worn by the ghost boy in “Rapture,” plus another one with sand glued on it to be used when the necklace was retrieved from the ocean floor (but the clean one ended up being used); a cardboard sign used by Higgins to protect one of his orchids, the Cereus Mandevillus; the hockey mask from “I Never Wanted to Go to France Anyway”; TM’s hospital wrist tag from “Limbo”; the earring lost by Linda Lee Ellison in the first episode of “Resolutions” that she picked up from the gutter; a couple of stainless steel pocket knives used in one episode, one sharp, one dull so it wouldn’t cut a neck when held up against the neck; the brass lighter TM used in “Murder by Night” to light his cigars; a brass pocket knife still in its box; uncut pictures of cast and crew baseball games; Betamax tapes of discarded dailies; VHS tapes of miscellaneous folks’ “home movies” on the set taken with a full-size VHS-tape camcorder; a couple of pairs of gag glasses that Tom Selleck used to play practice jokes on other cast members while filming – Michael recalled one time that the close-up was to be on John Hillerman, opening a door to Tom Selleck and Selleck was wearing the gag glasses and cracked Hillerman up. golf did ask about the bearded lady picture discussed on the Magnum-Mania site and was able to determine that it was only the picture of the Queen over the safe that had the added beard (in "Paper War"); therefore, a closer look at the picture that looks like it has a beard IS only a shadow.

Pictures of individual items can be seen if you click on the link below my picture. (can you see the miniature team ring I'm wearing on MY ring finger??)

Click here
Larry and golf looked at all these things as Michael pulled them out and discussed them. Golf was just in awe, thinking of all the Magnum-Mania folk who would have fits to see and perhaps own some of these things. Once they had everything spread out on the table, Michael suggested that Larry and golf take pictures of everything, and they did so, as they both had cameras. In the middle of the picture-taking, Michael asked where I was!!! Golf told him I was out in the car, and he suggested she should get some pictures of MGI (me, me, ME!!) with all this stuff. She was delighted to take him up on his offer, and I was THRILLED that I got included. I was also very flattered that Michael remembered me and asked about me.

Golf decided the best picture for me was to be wearing Manetti’s ring with the MIA bracelet around my waist. The ring, of course, wouldn't fit over my hand, so she rather unceremoniously popped my hand out of my wrist socket, stuck the ring on my arm, and punched my hand back in place. But I didn’t really care. I was wearing a team ring! And the MIA bracelet! And sitting with the remains of Higgins’ bridge; a decapitated, ossified rubber chicken; Magnum’s wallet; and his broken Ray-bans. Two really exciting experiences for me on this trip – first the tidal pool and now actual props from the show itself! Wow!

Michael and golf discussed what he planned to do with the items. He would like to sell them all as one lot, if possible. However, at this point, he simply does not know what all he has because he hasn’t been through all the boxes in storage and won’t be able to get to them until late in October. Golf suggested that he get a little portable dictator; and as he goes through the boxes, he can describe/identify what he has – she thought it would be a lot less trouble simply to say something that to stop and have to write everything down. She has the equipment to transcribe his dictation, so she told him if he would like to do that and mail her the tapes, she will be happy to work up an “inventory list” for him.

Golf had asked questions of Michael while they were looking at the items. After seeing the film strip in the test tube from ATOD, she asked if he had the ki’i from the Simon & Simon cross-over episodes. Michael advised that he hadn’t been with the show during the filming of that episode; he was with the show only after the first couple of seasons and stayed through till the end. One thing she asked about was the story in Larry Manetti’s book that the Ferrari was towed almost all the time. Michael advised that that was not accurate, the only time the Ferrari was really towed was when they were filming close-ups of TM driving, e.g., a shot where he was doing his voice-over narration but he was driving the car. With that going on, all the cameras and lights and equipment would be strapped/hooked to the car so he couldn't see where he was going, of course, so in those instances, the car would be towed so the viewer saw the scenery moving behind him. Golf assumes this would be the case also, if there were close-ups of him with someone riding with him in the car. I believe he also said that he never watched the show when it was on and hasn’t seen it that much in syndication, so his memories of certain episodes are only from what he remembers of being there, not of watching the episode later on TV.

Michael explained that there were usually four of each Hawaiian shirt for Selleck. Two for shooting scenes, one for back-up in case of damage to the shirts, and one for the stunt double. He said there were occasions when Selleck would mess up a shirt at the lunch break and have to switch to a back-up.

Michael said that Ms. Anderson was a real animal lover and had many different animals at the estate frequently, pigs, goats, dogs, etc. He said that, because of this, the crew would have to clean up the estate grounds before they could film. He told that the production company was always very generous with gifts to the crew at Christmas and at wrap (end of the season) each season, with some little gifts and some a little more significant (the final wrap gift after the end of the eighth season was a Rolex watch).

Golf asked about Lt. Tanaka, and Michael said, yes, he had been a lawyer when the show was filming and he used to see him around town, but he thought he was retired now. He almost always saw Tom Selleck when Tom would come back to Honolulu, but he had had virtually no contact with the rest of the cast since the show ended. I believe he said Tom would usually find out where he was working and come visit him on a set.

Golf told him about how they might go to some filming locations if they could find them and that rubber chicken from the MM site had created the filming locations “map” on Google Earth. She went out to the car and got her laptop and showed RC’s locations guide to him.

At this point, I guess golf, Larry, and I had spent a couple of hours with him. Michael asked what they were doing that afternoon and they told him they would probably go play golf. He asked if they had been to the Byodo In Temple yet; they had not; he highly recommended it. Michael then asked if they were hungry. Larry said, “I can always eat.” So Michael asked if he could take them to lunch – how very gracious! He called a restaurant whose number was programmed into his cell phone, found out mahi-mahi was the catch the day, asked if they needed reservations (they did not), so he asked golf and Larry to wait while he put all the stuff back in his storage unit and then they could go to lunch. Larry said he would be happy to drive and Michael could direct them to the restaurant.
Michael directed us to Sam Choy’s at 580 North Nimitz Highway. Food ignoramus that golf is, she didn’t know it was the restaurant of the celebrity chef, cookbook author, TV show host and award-winning restaurateur. Michael seemed to be known there, so Larry and golf guessed that he was a regular.

(I was left in the car, but I really wanted to go in for pictures inside the restaurant; however, I acknowledge that such a photo op for me might have been pushing Larry just a LITTLE too far.) Michael told golf to take her laptop in so it wasn’t stolen out of the car. Oahu residents seem to be really worried about rental car thefts! Michael told golf and Larry that, if they are going to leave anything in the car, which he strongly advised against, what they need to do is put the stuff in the trunk before they get to their destination, because the thieves watch people get out of their cars, stash the valuables in the trunk, then the thieves know which cars to break into.

In the restaurant, there was a huge lunch buffet spread for $27.99, but both golf and Larry decided they couldn’t eat $28 worth of food for lunch, so they decided to order from the menu. Everyone got the mahi-mahi. During lunch, Michael told golf and Larry a little about his background and how he came to work with Magnum, P.I. golf asked him about some other stories she’d heard about the show – for example, the regular guys got rather annoyed with Angela Lansbury and her female cohorts during the shooting of “Novel Connection” because the ladies always took so much time with their makeup and slowed down shooting. Michael said he didn’t remember that, particularly, but Ms. Lansbury brought a large, old-fashioned alarm clock to the set on her first day there – the kind with the bell caps on top and the little hammer that ricochets between them for the sound – set it for 6 p.m., and when it went off, she simply got up and left. He explained that this was very unusual on the MPI set because almost everyone there was very dedicated to the show and would spend the extra time to help each other finish up a scene. He elucidated with the example that they’re shooting a scene where everyone is sitting down having lunch, as we were, for example, and they do the full shots, then the close-ups for certain lines. Generally, the other actors who were not having close-ups shot would stay and say their lines so the close-up-ee would have the correct dialog to react and respond to. Ms. Lansbury wouldn’t do this, of course, not if it went to after 6 p.m.

Michael asked what golf and Larry would be doing for the rest of the day, and Larry responded that they might go play golf if they could find somewhere to buy golf balls, they were running low. Michael said there was a K-Mart right across the street, did K-Mart carry golf balls? Then they went through this long involved spiel of Larry’s explaining he usually played with Maxfli golf balls, Michael tried to find K-Mart’s phone number in his cell phone, not there, got a phone book, called K-Mart and determined that they didn’t carry the Maxfli balls. At this point, golf and Larry couldn’t be picky. So after lunch, Michael directed Larry to K-Mart, which was sort of across the street, it was just a one-way street in front of the restaurant so they had to go around the block to get there. (The red arrow in the picture below is Sam Choy's; the yellow arrow is K-Mart.)

At K-Mart, Michael again insisted that golf carry her laptop in, just in case, and explained again how thieves look for the bar code on the front window to identify rental cars so they know whom to steal from. Once in the store, golf and Larry went to get golf balls and then found Michael in the electronics section, where he had found an all-in-one TV-cum-DVD-and-VHS-player, and he had brought in his VHS tape of Frank Sinatra and Carol Burnett “behind the scenes” – he really wanted golf and Larry to see this so they would know the kind of videos he had on tape. He told them how, when Frank Sinatra was on the set, everyone was told to always call Sinatra, “Mr. Sinatra.” The first time someone said this, Sinatra said, “Call me Frank.” And then everyone did. Even though Michael was working with Tom Selleck, et al., he seemed to be pleased and rather awed to have been around Frank Sinatra. I certainly can understand that! Of course, not being in show business themselves, golf and Larry would probably have been plenty impressed, just to have been around “TV star” Tom Selleck. (Well, maybe not Larry, he’s pretty laid back about things like that.) While they were in the check-out lane, golf doesn’t remember how it came up, but she mentioned that Larry looked rather like a cross between Gerald McRaney and Jeff Foxworthy. Michael said he knew Gerald McRaney. Then he was kind enough to say golf looked a little like Hope Lange – “Do you know who that is?” golf said she did and thank you very much!
Michael directed them back to the storage facility to drop him off. As Michael got out of the front seat and golf got out of the back to move to the front, she asked Michael if she could give him a “thank you” hug. He consented, and she was delighted to hug him and thank him for his time and lunch – and just all the fun they had had with him. As she got in the car, he said, “Cute shoes!” (she was wearing her lime green sneakers that Larry makes so much fun of!)

So golf and Larry headed back to the windward side of the island. Golf was really stoked! She had had SO much fun meeting Michael and seeing the MPI stuff (that’s what Michael calls it – he said it meant a lot to him when he collected it but now, twenty years later, it was just “stuff”). This was everyday work to him – to MPI fans, it’s the most unusual, unique, and one-of-a-kind (that’s redundant, isn’t it?) things to see. Okay, it’s not like the most valuable stamp in the world to a philatelist, but these things are very special to MPI fans because they’ve seen them in the show, followed their “history” in the show (for some props repeatedly seen – license tag, River Kwai bridge, rubber chicken). Just think of some item – a favorite toy for your childhood, a piece of clothing that always made you feel good/pretty/handsome when you wore it -- just something you owned in the past that was really special to you but you no longer have it. It doesn’t have to be unusual or valuable, but it’s meaningful to you. That’s what these props would be to MPI fans. And golf cannot adequately express how lucky and fortunate she felt to have been on Oahu when Michael was available and had the time to show these items to a representative of the Magnum-Mania site.

It seemed to be getting cloudy again as they headed back over the mountains, but based on Michael’s recommendations, they went to the Valley of the Temples to see the Byodo In Temple.

Golf particularly wanted to see it because of the scene with TC in the Little Bird (MD500) and TM in the Kiowa (Bell 206) hovering over the pool in front of the temple.

Wow! Look at the difference between the growth of the trees -- current picture on the left, the scene from Part 2 of "Did You See the Sunrise?" with TC in the Little Bird on the left and the Kiowa (Bell 206) on the right!!

And now for some pictures of some of the "critters" at the Temple:

The temple was beautiful, though it was gray and cloudy, and it probably would have looked better in full sunlight. And poor golf was dinner to every mosquito there! So – fair warning – if you go there – use bug spray. But golf did let me go see it too. I was quite the hit when sitting here:

(Is this sacrilege?)

I’m not sure anyone knew who I was, but as golf was taking pictures, they stopped and took pictures too.

Well, this is enough for today. golf says she doesn't even remember what they did that evening, because she was still so excited about having seen all the MPI stuff. So . . . . "CUT! That's a wrap."


Frank Coffman said...

I'm intrigued by your reference to and link to a photo of the "pinkie ring" worn by Alan Hale, Jr. Is this photo a blow-up/enlargement from a scene in that episode of Magnum, PI?

The reason I ask is that Hale always wore his father's Emerald and Diamond pinkie ring in episodes of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND. I'm trying to track down the look of that ring. It's said he always wore it in memory of his famous actor father. Can you attest to the provenance of this enlargement or steer me to the episode of Magnum?

Frank Coffman

golfmobile said...


Screen capture shots of the ring on Alan Hale's finger in the sixth season episode, "All Thieves on Deck," can be seen here:

golf for MGI