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Smaller Than Life

Episode Screen Caps Episode Number: 66
Season Number: 4.3
Air Date: 10/13/1983
Writer: J. Rickley Dumm
Director: Alan J. Levi
Producer: Reuben Leder
Exec Producer: Donald P. Bellisario

Guest Stars
Cork Hubbert (Waldo Norris), Lenore Kasdorf (Savannah), Blackie Dammett (William Skuler), Alika Chee (Lee), Lani Kim (Hall of Records Clerk), Gene Price (Pres. Reagan's Voice)
Episode Brief
Trouble comes in all shapes and sizes when childhood friend Waldo Norris asks Rick to help him investigate an insurance claim for a priceless figurine. Rick then discovers that his friend isn't quite all he seems, but the truth of Waldo's identity may put an even higher price on finding the missing piece.
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1 This is the third "Rick-centric" episode of the series, following "The Curse of the King Kamehameha Club" (1.11) and "The Woman on the Beach" (2.3). Rick will be "front-and-center" in the next episode as well.

2 The opening trailer features a clip of Higgins and Rick driving along at night (possibly in the Audi), with Higgins talking about Magnum lying in his hospital bed, that was not included in the actual episode. (Noted by Jay-Firestorm)

3 The historic Walker Estate (the "Garth Braden Estate" in the episode) in Nuuanu Pali (2616 Pali Highway) is used as a filming location. Several scenes, including the climax, were shot inside the main house of the estate. The Walker Estate was previously used in Season One's "The Curse of the King Kamehameha Club" (1.11) and Season Three's "Of Sound Mind" (3.13), and will be featured in several more episodes to come. The estate was built by George Rodiek sometime between 1903 & 1905.

4 Magnum breaks his shoulder in a hang gliding accident (not seen). He wears a cast for most of this episode.

5 Rick and Waldo grew up together in Chicago and were best friends. Taylor Street is mentioned as a place they used to frequent.

6 Soap star Lenore Kasdorf (Magnum's girlfriend Savannah) will go on to guest star in several episodes of Murder, She Wrote and Jake and the Fatman, another popular TV show filmed in Hawaii. She also had a memorable role as Mrs. Rico in the 1997 film Starship Troopers.

7 Both this episode and the previous one ("Luther Gillis: File #521") contain scenes where a dead body, standing upright, falls flat on the floor after a door has been opened. (Noted by Neil Peel)

8 The hang gliding scenes seen at the beginning were lifted from Season Two's "Mad Buck Gibson" (from the final scene, with Buck flying off to his certain death).

9 Blackie Dammett (William Skuler) is the father of Anthony Kiedis, lead singer of the successful rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers. For many years he was head of Rockinfreakapotamus, the official Red Hot Chili Peppers fan club

10 The game console that Lee is using is an Atari 800 - with the Atari 850 Interface Module and Atari 830 Acoustic Coupler Modem add-ons! The games Lee plays are: Defender, Missile Command and Donkey Kong. In-episode screen shots of the games can be seen here.

11 Rick takes a trip to the "Hall of Records" for the first and only time. Luckily for him, he doesn't have to deal with Ms. Jones.

12 When Waldo is wandering around the "Garth Braden Estate" (at ~ 35-minute mark), two famous classical piano pieces are used as background music - Prelude in C sharp minor by Sergei Rachmaninoff and Prelude in E minor by Alexander Scriabin. (Noted by Bernd-Christian Schulze)

13 In 1942, Higgins was the only member of his unit to survive a flank attack by a German regiment. A lad in his unit tried to warn them of the Germans presence, but was ignored because he had lied often in the past.
Magnum: In paradise, each day is as gentle as the last. Life flows easily from one moment to the next, quietly washing away limits and boundaries until you think there are no rules at all. That's a mistake. There is at least one rule I'd promise myself I'd never forget: If you are going to jump off a cliff, be sure you are ready to fly. (Narration)

Magnum: My dad once told me that life is a trick done with mirrors. You look at something from one direction, it looks like one thing, you turn it over, it looks like something else. I guess he was right. Sometimes it's hard to tell who's a real friend, and who's just an illusion in glass. (Narration)

Waldo Norris: Ah, staying here reminds me of Taylor Street. Do you remember Taylor Street?
Rick: Yeah, I remember Taylor Street.
Waldo Norris: There was this kid, he couldn't a been more than sixteen years-old, kind of like you Orville, only kind of innocent. Well, one day he comes to me and he says he's in trouble. He says that some guy's out to break his fingers. Says he wouldn't come to me, except I'm his best friend. Anyway, he wants me to go out, risk my own neck, to get some cash before the guy with the bad temper finds him. Of course, back in those days you did what you could to help a pal. So anyway, I go out and get the money; a nickel here, a dime there. Funny thing, that kid today, he's a big shot, runs a fancy club. Ha-ha! Who would a thought it?
Rick: Ok Waldo, what do you want me to do?

Savannah: I really wish you'd reconsider Thomas. I can show you excitement like you have never known in your life.
Magnum: Savannah...
Savannah: You can watch me until you are completely confident...and then we'll do it together.
Magnum: We are not going to do it together at all.
Savannah: I like to do it face-to-face. It is so wonderful to watch your partner's expression with the heart-pounding, the ears-ringing, falling together through space until that moment when you body is jerked upward and shudders, and your shute catches and you float gently to the ground.
1 At around the 7:40 mark, Rick picks up Waldo from the police department wearing cowboy boots, but when they get to his apartment he is wearing black loafers! (Noted by Mike Green)

2 When Magnum hooks the phone up to the Atari 830 Acoustic Coupler Modem the analog TV turns itself on. This could never happen in real life.

3 At 46:26, Rick is seen putting on a gunbelt to go with the uniform Higgins got him. A few seconds later the gunbelt is seen laying buckled on the coffee table, where Rick picks it up to put it on... again. (Noted by Tami Young)

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