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Mad Buck Gibson

Episode Screen Caps Episode Number: 27
Season Number: 2.9
Air Date: 11/26/1981
Writer: Robert Hamilton
Director: Winrich Kolbe
Producers: Rick Weaver, Andrew Schneider
Exec Producer: Donald P. Bellisario

Guest Stars
Darren McGavin (Buck Gibson), Vera Miles (Joan Gibson), Wally Landford (Jim), Jo Pruden (Dr. Jewell), Peter Kalua ("Gorilla"), Gillian Dobb (Nola Barnes - uncredited)
Episode Brief
Magnum is asked by the ex-wife of the adventure-seeking author Mad Buck Gibson to keep him out of harm's way until she collects the alimony he owes her. But, this task proves to be difficult as Magnum learns that Mad Buck is harboring a secret that could be the reason for his self-destructive behavior.
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1 This is the first of a handful of episodes to feature no "bad guys" or villians. Here, Magnum has his time filled trying to keep daredevil Mad Buck from seriously hurting himself!

2 This memorable episode features two great film/television stars, Darren McGavin (Buck Gibson) and Vera Miles (Joan Gibson). Darren McGavin will film A Christmas Story in the following year.

3 Buck Gibson and Robin Masters (both writers) have been friends for over thirty years. Buck will later be referenced by T.C. in the Season Six episode "The Treasure of Kalaniopu'u" (6.9).

4 Gillian Dobb makes an uncredited appearance as Nola Barnes, a friend of Higgins (and fellow "beach croquet" player). Dobb will play two more minor characters, a hotel desk clerk in "The Elmo Ziller Story" (2.21) and Mabel (another friend of Higgins') in "Ki'i's Don't Lie" (3.3), before beginning her more familiar role as the reccurring character Agatha Chumley, who will first be seen in Season Three's "Black on White" (3.6).

5 Magnum's gun is again verbally identified as a ".45".

6 Magnum has a little speech where he tells Mad Buck that baseball really only lasts a summer (however long that summer is). Magnum says his dad gave him that advice after he was passed over by major league scouts. Two seasons later, in "Home From the Sea" (4.1), Magnum is still a kid when his dad is killed. (Noted by Shermy)

7 Lots of physical pain in this episode. Higgins is sent to the hospital with a seperated shoulder, two cracked ribs, a slight concussion and 2nd degree abrasions. Ricks gets beat up (again) and has his jaw wired shut. Mad Buck hurts his leg and breaks his arm. All three spend time in the hospital.

8 At the 20:46 to 31:30 mark, we get to see some rare views of the real backside (and north end) of the Estate's main house. (Noted by Bernd-Christian Schulze)

9 The guest house bathroom has changed. Instead of a tub and shower combination, there is just a walk in shower with closed, transparent walls and door. (Noted by Tim)

10 Vera Miles and Gillian Dobb (Nola Barnes) both appear to be wearing wigs in this episode. Darren McGavin's (Mad Buck) beard is also a make-up artist's handiwork; men's natural beard color almost never matches the color of the hair on their head. Buck's matches exactly. Also, during Magnum and Rick's initial meeting with Joan Gibson, Vera Miles is wearing a necklace with a pendant that says "Bitch". It's barely visible on screen and in real time, but if you pause it and zoom in a bit you can clearly seen the words.

11 The saloon that Magnum and Mad Buck go to was filmed at the famous J.T. Silva Pantheon (1129 Nuuanu Ave., built 1911) which is now closed.

12 The "international Mozambique pattern" that Higgins mentions (in regards to Buck's gunshot pattern on the guesthouse bathroom wall) is a reference to the Mozambique Drill, a close-quarter shooting technique in which the shooter fires twice into the torso of a target, then follows them up with a carefully aimed shot to the head of the target. (Noted by MaximRecoil)

13 Footage from this episode is used in a 1994 episode of Murder, She Wrote ("Death in Hawaii"). It is the scene where Buck steals the Ferrari from the Estate, with Magnum jumping into the Audi to chase him. Three seconds of footage showing the Audi racing down the driveway towards the main gate are used. In the Murder, She Wrote episode, the estate footage is supposed to show Jessica Fletcher and a lady police officer in between leaving a police station and arriving at a sugar mill. (Noted by rubber chicken & Tayne)

14 During her initial meeting with Magnum on the beach at the club, Joan Gibson states that Buck "...took an early flight from New York..." and should be arriving shortly. Be this the case, leaving New York for a non-stop "early flight," say 6 a.m., would land you on Oahu 12-hours or more later at about 10:30 a.m (give or take) Hawaii time. After a 12 to 13 hour flight, Buck would need at least two hours to disembark, get his luggage, and wander over to civil aviation to get on the biplane for his parachute stunt. Then, it would take some time to fly to the beach, crash land, and go to the hospital to get a cast on his leg (and start "racing" in his wheelchair). That's a lot to do in one day! Even if he had slept some on the plane ride in, Buck surely would have been suffering from some severe jet lag at this point! Pretty tough for someone who is dying of bone cancer and developing spontaneous fractures. (Noted by Jim Gossweiler)

15 Buck's hang gliding scene at the end was filmed at a popular hang gliding spot on the Kamehame Ridge. The location is very close to the Anderson Estate (the real life setting for Robin's Nest). In fact, you can see Rabbit Island in the background. The scene is accompanied by a great Mike Post/Pete Carpenter score. Some of the aerial hang gliding shots will later be used in Season Four's "Smaller Than Life" (4.3), and the spot on the Kamehame Ridge will be used for the climactic scene in Season Four's "The Look" (4.9). (Ridge ID'd by Sam)
Magnum: You know, there's some quotations that would make good rules to live by, for instance "never drive behind an old man wearing a hat", or another, "it's always brightest just before the storm". If I'd have remembered that one, I'd have really been on my guard, because the afternoon it all started, was a truly beautiful day. (Narration)

(Buck is driving the Ferrari recklessly)
Magnum: I was looking at several very grim possibilities involving the destruction of Buck, the Ferrari, innocent by-standers, and any combination thereof. (Narration)

Higgins: I heard gunfire and thought it only prudent to investigate.
Magnum: Gunfire? Shots?! Well, maybe there were just a couple...
Higgins: I counted twelve to be exact. A forty-five automatic from the sound of it, fired in the international Mozambique pattern if I'm not mistaken. And since that's hardly a technique prominent in divorce court, the person firing those shots could only have been...

(just before he attempts to hang glide to Molokai, something that will more than likely lead to his death)
Buck Gibson: Don't look so grim Magnum, with my luck I'll make it! (laughs)
1 In the opening scene, the camera crew's light bank is visible in the Magnum's sunglasses reflection. A light board (a white, rectangular, board-like screen used to reflect diffuse light on the actors during filming) is also visible. Shortly later, just before Buck Gibson parachutes onto the beach, the same light bank is visible in Nola Barnes' (Gillian Dobb) glasses as she leans forward with Higgins to sight and install a beach croquet wicket. (Noted by J.G.)

2 Also in the opening scene, Higgins notes that Magnum is not wearing a watch while "timing" his run-paddle-run-paddle exercise. Looking closely, Magnum is not wearing a watch or his team ring. However, when Rick urges Magnum to come up the beach to meet Joan Gibson, the new potential client, Magnum is wearing his team ring. It is visible as he gets up from the table to rescue Buck in the surf. (Noted by J.G.)

3 Just before Buck crash lands his parachute on the beach croquet field, one installed croquet wicket is visible at his head. At the post-crash scene immediately after, while Buck is on the ground, two installed wickets are now visible at Buck's head. Feeling bad about the crash, the second croquet wicket apparently decided to install itself! (Noted by J.G.)

4 When Buck is firing the .45 in the guest house bathroom, he completes four Mozambique patterns (four shots to the head, eight to the body), and we hear four additional patterns being fired while Magnum is talking to Higgins outside, yet when Magnum later goes into the bathroom to search Buck's shaving kit, there are clearly only three holes in the head area on the figure on the wall. Buck may have fired the four patterns that we heard, but didn't see at a different target, but there should be at least four holes in the head area. (Noted by Jason Crawford)

5 When Magnum pulls up in the Audi after Buck has crashed through the wood fence, there is a brief panning shot through the Audi's front window. A cameraman's hand and a portion of the camera is visible in the Audi's right (passenger's side) rearview mirror. (Noted by J.G.)

6 When Buck leans his walking stick against a chair at the bar, the stick can be seen moving on it's own! The stick continues to move on it's own until it is out of the shot. Maybe Mad Buck picked up a magic walking stick during one of his adventures.

7 In the scene where Magnum and Buck are walking from the Ferrari to the bar where they meet Rick and T.C., and in the scene in the hospital where Buck walks away from Magnum after listening to Magnum's baseball story, Buck is clearly only wearing a white shoe on his left foot, and not the cast that he has in other scenes. (Noted by Jason Crawford)

8 After the bar fight, in the hospital, Magnum has a scar on the right side of his face. In the next scene at the Estate, the scar is suddenly on the left side of his face. (Noted by András Kürthy)

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