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Sunday, March 22, 2020

Magnum Goes to Disney…or Not

by Beth Keating
March 22, 2020

With so many of us housebound for the next few weeks due to coronavirus recommendations, you’re probably hitting the Hulu, Disney+ and Amazon Prime streaming services pretty hard. In flipping back to some of my favorite 80s TV shows, I came across an old Magnum, P.I. episode entitled “Professor Jonathan Higgins.”

The episode (S5, E13) originally aired January 10, 1985, and featured a subplot whereby Magnum wins fourth place in a slogan contest for Mrs. Peroni’s Frozen Pizza, and the prize is a weekend for two at Disney World. Unfortunately, transportation is not included, and without giving any spoilers away, Thomas spends the rest of the episode plotting to get to Disney, while helping Higgins (who would prefer that Thomas go visit “David” Duck rather than stay on the estate) solve a bankruptcy scam case for his cousin. An Eliza Doolittle-esque overlay to Higgins’ situation adds the comic tones to the episode, and in the end, Thomas solves the case. Did you have any doubt? 

The episode is currently available on Amazon Prime.

As a little bonus info for you, the actress who played cousin Sally in the episode was Jillie Mack, who became Mrs. Tom Selleck just a few years later.  

To add another Disney link, Steven Spielberg had chosen Tom Selleck to play Indiana Jones, but Selleck was under contract to do Magnum, P.I. at the time and was unable to accept the role.  The iconic archeologist was eventually brought to life by Harrison Ford, and the movie franchise later spawned the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular at Hollywood Studios, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar at Disney Springs, and the Indiana Jones Adventure thrill ride at Disneyland.
Honestly, though, forty years later, can you imagine anyone else other than Harrison Ford wearing Dr. Jones’ fedora?    

Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.

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