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Two Birds of a Feather

Episode Screen Caps Episode Number: 60
Season Number: 3.20
Air Date: 3/17/1983
Writer: Donald P. Bellisario
Director: Virgil W. Vogel
Producer: Chas. Floyd Johnson
Exec Producer: Donald P. Bellisario

Guest Stars
William Lucking (Sam Houston Hunter), Joanna Kerns (Jenny Hunter), Richard Roundtree (Peter Jordan), John Calvin (Nick), John DiSanti (Gargoyle), Soon-Tek Oh (Sato), Chad Sheets (Kip Hunter), Ann Doran (Sam's Mother), Matthew Faison (Lee), Dean Wein (Mark), Andy Dupree (Pepe)
Episode Brief
Magnum investigates the crash of a small plane in the Estate's tidal pool and discovers it wasn't an accident and that the pilot he vaguely recognizes helped save him in the Vietnam War.
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1 This episode was used as a "backdoor pilot" for a potential TV series about treasure hunter and ace combat pilot Sam Hunter and his family. The Mike Post and Pete Carpenter score that is heard when Sam comes home (and in the closing credits) was to be used as the theme song. The pilot went unsold. After the pilot failed to attract any interest, Donald P. Bellisario took the bare bones of the concept and eventually developed it into Airwolf (1984-1986). This is universally regarded as one of the worst Magnum P.I. episodes of the entire series!

2 This episode opens with a six-minute Vietnam War flashback, featuring a jungle fire fight at a Cambodian Khmer temple. The sequence was filmed in Haleiwa (North Shore) at an old Naval training airport. (Filming location ID'd by Andy Dupree).

3 William Lucking (Sam Houston Hunter) played a very similiar character in two episodes of Tales of the Gold Monkey ("Legends Are Forever" and "Honor Thy Brother"), another Donald P. Bellisario show. He played Gandy Dancer, a 1930s treasure-seeking pilot, complete with cowboy hat, moustache, and interests in ancient ruins!

4 Chad Sheets was nominated for the 1984 Best Young Actor, Guest in a Television Series Young Artist Award for his performance as Kip Hunter in this episode.

5 Sam Hunter flies three different aircraft in this episode, a Boeing/Hughes Super Stearman (the "Miss Van Nuys"), a Cessna 172 Skyhawk and a WWII P-51 Mustang. The Super Stearman (N121R) was also used in the 1980 film The Last Flight of Noah's Ark with Elliott Gould.

6 Another Robin Masters novel is mentioned (by Sam Hunter), Golden Tradewinds. The story is about "The Legend of the Lost Clipper". This is the fifth Robin Masters book to be indentified. By shows end, it was be thirteen.

7 The radio handle for Magnum's team in Cambodia is "Frodo" (from The Lord of the Rings)!

8 Joanna Kerns (Jenny Hunter) previously appeared in Season Two's "The Last Page" (2.20).

9 Magnum mentions that he served three Tours of Duty in Vietnam.

10 In the denouement, Higgins says that Sam Hunter talked to him about the "Lost Temple of Pele", an ancient stone temple on Maui that houses a jade statue of Pele. Pele is a deity in Hawaiian mythology. She is the goddess of fire, lightning, dance, volcanoes and violence.

11 Higgins and one Alex Clutterbuck were in Northern India together (date unknown) looking for a lost Heathen Temple. The stone temple was said to be over 1,000 years old, and housed a statue of a Tibetan monkey and a sacred cow "engaged in a most obscene act".
Pepe: Gandalf, this is Frodo. Do you read me? Over. Gandalf, this is Frodo. Do you read me? Over.

T.C.: Damn!
Rick: What? Where did they go?
T.C.: Cambodia!
Rick: Cambodia? We ain't supposed to be going there!
T.C.: Yeah, we ain't supposed to die young either.

(after finding a plane crashed in the tidal pool)
Higgins: Magnum, what have you done!!?

Sam Hunter: You know, I used to lay out there in that pasture... look up at them clouds and dream about all the wonderful places I'd read about in books. Places lost so long ago that most people don't even believe they ever existed. But they did... and they are still out there in some form or another... and all you got to do to find them is...
1 In the first scene, with Hunter flying the bi-wing duster (around the :20 mark), you can see the back of the actual pilot strapped in the forward cockpit. (Noted by John Hall)

2 When Magnum is running on the beach (with Sam's plane coming in behind him), for a couple of seconds you can see two straight tracks in the sand, just to the left of Magnum, which were made by the wheels of the camera dolly.

3 There are three flubs regarding the airplane crash in the tidal pool (the plane is, of course, a model, not a real airplane):
  • When the plane is on approach to the beach and flies by Magnum, the engine is running and the propeller is turning. It is supposed to be out of gas! (Noted by John Kosowski Jr.)
  • As the plane crashes, it dips its left wing into the water and cartwheels on its left wing and lands on the other side (ocean side) of the tidal pool on its belly (wheels down). The camera cuts to Magnum looking at the plane and then running into the water to rescue the pilot. However, as he runs out into the water you can see the plane is now belly up (wheels up) and now on the other side (beach side) of the tidal pool. (Noted by IslandHopper)
  • After the crash, Hunter swims back for his hat. We see it drenched, floppy and misshaped. In the following scene as he walks out of the water, the hat appears to be dry and in its normal shape. (Noted by James Hardie)
4 When Higgins and Magnum see the plane in the tidal pool being tampered with (at night), Higgins fires his gun and shouts, "Ahoy there! You are on private property and are trespassing!" All beaches and shorelines (below the "upper reaches of the wash of the waves") in Oahu are public.

5 Sam Hunter and his family live in Waco, Texas, a very flat place. Yet, when Sam returns home for his son's birthday he is seen flying in with fairly large mountains in the background. (Noted by Allen Heaps)

6 As Sam Hunter gets ready to take off in the final plane chase, he's wearing a cowboy hat (like he has all episode). In fact, even the stand-in actually flying the plane down the runway has a cowboy hat on. However, in the next close-up (and for the remainder of the chase) Hunter is suddenly wearing a blue trucker hat. (Noted by Peter MacPherson)

7 Also in the plane chase scene at the end, two different Lear Jet models were used, one had two windows, the other only one. (Noted by Jim Johnson)

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