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Basket Case

Episode Screen Caps Episode Number: 55
Season Number: 3.15
Air Date: 2/3/1983
Writer: Julie Friedgen
Director: Ivan Dixon
Producer: Chas. Floyd Johnson
Exec Producer: Donald P. Bellisario

Guest Stars
Dana Hill (Theresa "Willie" Henderson), William Schallert (Bob), Jo Pruden (Vera), Joe Moore (Ernie), Madeline Press (Gloria), Sundown Spencer (Lee), Haku Kahoano (Danny)
Episode Brief
T.C. and Magnum train their respective junior basketball teams for an upcoming game. T.C.'s team seems to have the advantage until Magnum meets a spunky young teenager with a great game and persuades her to join his team. Magnum and Higgins take a shine to the girl, but discover that her foster parents are criminals who are using her as a pawn in running their con games.
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1 This episode was originally titled "Free Throw".

2 For her performance as Theresa "Willie" Henderson in this episode, Dana Hill won the 1984 Young Artist Award as Best Young Actress, Guest in a Television Series. Dana, who suffered from diabetes which stunted her growth, was actually 19 when she filmed this episode. She sadly died in 1996 from a stroke after complications from her diabetes.

3 "Sweet Georgia Brown", the theme song of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, is played during the closing credits instead of the usual Magnum P.I. theme song.

4 In syndication airings, the opening scene with Willie pulling her con on the speeding tourists is almost always cut out, and instead the episode starts with the playground basketball court scene.

5 The King Kamehameha Club Jeep Wagoneer is seen for the first time (license plate # AVN 222). It appears to be a 1982 model. The Wagoneer will only be seen once more in the show, in Season Four's "The Look" (4.9).

6 T.C. went to Grambling State University where he was the 3rd all-time leading scorer in basketball in school history. He shoots left-handed.

7 The playground basketball scenes were shot at Kapaolono Park in Kaimuki. (Noted by Sam and rubber chicken)

8 The rarely seen Robin's Nest dining room set is used.

9 Willie name-checks basketball legend Bill Walton. She says Bill taught her how to play basketball.

10 Magnum is seen wearing his gray U.S. Naval Academy t-shirt. We learn that in addition to football, Magnum also played basketball at the Naval Academy.

11 T.C. wears the blue Hughes Helicopters baseball cap for the fifth and final time.

12 Higgins states that he invented the "Floating Zone" (aka the "Sphere Defense") defense while stationed in North Africa during WWII while the Allies prepared to take Tripoli. Of course, there is no such thing as a "Floating Zone" defense. The closest thing to a "Floating Zone" would be a Box-and-One defense, or maybe a Triangle-and-Two defense. In any event, his squad, which featured two "Yanks", was known as the North African Anglos.

13 Early in 1944, Higgins was at the Battle of Monte Cassino, north of Salerno, a "bloody mess". He and Lt. Carlton Houghtailing were pinned down by sniper fire for 16 days in an abandoned mushroom cellar. They ate nothing but mushrooms, which caused deleterious effects for Lt. Houghtailing; by the sixth day he had forgotten his own name, by the tenth he was convinced they were Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.
Willie: Like I said, defense. You better make it a zone two. They'll get killed playing man-to-man.

T.C.: Man, talk is cheap! When was the last time you played anyway? Oh, the Academy! That basketball powerhouse (laughs) with their height limit. What were you, their center? Kareem Abdul Magnum! (laughs)
Magnum: Don't go anymore farther. I know what you are going to say next - the third all-time leading scorer at Grumbling.
T.C.: Grambling!!
Magnum: Oh...yeah (laughs)
T.C.: Yeah!!

(regarding the kids playing basketball on the estate's tennis court)
Higgins: They can do more damage out here then Sherman's men did marching through Georgia!

Magnum: Winning is not everything Willie.
Willie: (laughs) Next you'll be telling me that it isn't important whether you win or lose, but how you play the game, right?
Magnum: (smiles) How'd ya guess?
Willie: Come on, Magnum, these are the 1980's. Well, that kind of stuff went out with high-button shoes.
Magnum: Well, maybe it shouldn't have. Maybe those trite expressions are there because... they have meaning. I mean, you sparked this team, Willie. You pulled 'em within a basket of the toughest bunch of ballplayers that I've seen for their age. Now, maybe we didn't win, but you became part of the team.
1 During the last second of the basketball game at the end, Willie passes the ball to her teammate and he takes a shot. Watch as the ball starts to go around the rim in a counter-clockwise motion, and looking like it is going in, only to have it magically change into a clockwise motion and miss the shot! (Noted by Mark Seaman)

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