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The Case of the Red Faced Thespian

Episode Screen Caps Episode Number: 75
Season Number: 4.12
Air Date: 1/19/1984
Writer: Robert Hamilton
Director: Ivan Dixon
Producer: Reuben Leder
Exec Producer: Donald P. Bellisario

Recurring Characters
Kwan Hi Lim (Lt. Tanaka)
Guest Stars
Ronald Lacey ("Archer Hayes"), Colleen Camp (Valerie Kane), June Chadwick (Lady Cynthia Warrington-Stout), John McCook (Nolan Atherton), Laurette Spang (Marge Atherton), Vonetta McGee (Inez Stuart)
Episode Brief
It's murder most foul when Higgins is struck on the head with a stray croquet ball right before a lavish Great Gatsby-themed costume ball is scheduled to be held at Robin's Nest. As Magnum rushes to keep things under control, some priceless jewels go missing, and an addled Higgins finds himself the prime suspect in the murder of one of the guests.
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1 The original script for this episode was titled "All the World's a Stage".

2 This is the seventh "Higgins-centric" episode of the series, following "Tropical Madness" (2.7), "The Elmo Ziller Story" (2.21), "Black on White" (3.6), "Foiled Again" (3.8), "Faith and Begorrah" (3.23) and "Letter to a Duchess" (4.6).

3 Except for one brief scene at the King Kamehameha Club beach bar, the entire episode takes place at Robin's Nest.

4 The episode cast and their 1920's characters: Douglas Fairbanks and John Barrymore (as dueling swashbucklers) are also seen and mentioned.

5 The rarely seen second floor of the estate's main house is featured. There is also a scene on one of the second floor balconies.

6 The piano music played by "Archer Hayes" at the 6:26 mark is Franz Schubert's Opus 1 (D. 328), which is based on the poem Der Erlkonig by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. (Noted by Berd-Christian Schulze)

7 Yet another episode where it is implied that the estate's guesthouse is located behind the main house (when it is, in fact, on the other side of the lawn, near the tennis court); In the opening scene, we see Magnum leave the guesthouse, then immediately we see him come through the "portico" (covered passageway) that is adjacent to the main house.

8 Higgins arrived at Robin's Nest in 1972, and replaced the original majordomo Lowell Xavier Jameson (aka "Archer Hayes") who was fired by Robin Masters.

9 More evidence that Magnum is a big fan of Agatha Christie. We saw him reading an Agatha Christie book (The Seven Dials Mystery) in "Of Sound Mind" (3.13), and here he watches a six-hour Agatha Christie movie marathon. He also has another unidentified Christie book on his coffee table. Based on the dialog and subject matter (Miss Marple and a hated Colonel), the Miss Marple movie that Magnum briefly watches, the one that helps him to solve the crime, appears to be The Murder at the Vicarage (1930), the first novel to feature the character of Miss Marple. The brief clip that we see on his TV is not from the story, however, as The Murder at the Vicarage was not made into a film until 1986. The clip appears to be from something much older.

10 John McCook (Nolan Atherton) appeared in Season Three's "The Big Blow" (3.22) as the Prince.

11 Higgins quotes from several Shakespeare plays, including:
  • Richard III - "Since I am crept in favor with myself, I will maintain it with some little cost..."
  • Othello - "Roast me in sulphur! Wash me in steep-down gulfs of liquid fire!..."
  • Julius Caesar - "In every wound of Caesar, that should move the stones of Rome to rise and mutiny..."
  • Macbeth - "Is this a dagger I see before me..."
  • As You Like It - "All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players..."
  • Hamlet - "Oh, villain, villain, smiling, evil villain!..."
12 Ronald Lacey ("Archer Hayes") played Major Arnold Toht in Raiders of the Lost Ark. MPI will parody Raiders in the Season Eight episode "Legend of the Lost Art" (8.10).

13 Colleen Camp (Valerie Kane) is a former Playboy pin up and is perhaps most remembered for her role as Yvette the Maid in the movie Clue (1985).

14 British babe June Chadwick (Lady Cynthia Warrington-Stout) will play another love interest of Rick's (Sara) in Season Five's "Echoes of the Mind" (5.1). June was in This Is Spinal Tap!

15 T.C.'s love for dance is alluded to again. We previously learned that he loves ballet in "The Sixth Position" (2.11).

16 Robin Masters info: 1) He "never does research" for his novels, 2) His favorite charity is The Home for Incorrigible Boys.

17 As a teenager, Higgins attended Eton College, an elite British public school for boys (13-18). He filled in for the lead role in Hamlet when the main actor became ill. He also mentions that the other boys at the school didn't like him very much.

18 One of the cars seen at the estate is a 1935 Auburn Boattail Speedster! (ID'd by N1095A)

19 The background music that is heard during the King Kamehameha Club beach bar scene with Magnum, T.C. and Rick (there are dancing girls behind them who are listening to the music) was also used in a Rockford Files episode ("Lions, Tigers, Monkeys and Dogs"). (Noted by Maverock)
Marge: Great costume!
Magnum: Oh, this isn't a costume.
Nolan: Really?! You wear that shirt in public?

Higgins: Magnum, I'm very busy placating the guests. Now, will you please send Rick and T.C. away and assume the character of a reasonably competent security person? Only you and I will know you're acting.

Magnum: Higgins, cut it out! The playacting is for the guests.
Higgins: Higgins? My ingnorant lad, that was Richard III. G.B. Shaw begged me to do the Pygmalion role, but, of course, I have no time for comedy.
Magnum: Higgins, come on. Stop kidding around and get back to bed!
Higgins: Back! Back, rogue! "Onward for God, England, and Saint George!"

Higgins: I am Sir Fearing Pangborn; the world's greatest tragedian, on continuous tour.

Rick: Um, Lady Cynthia, that's not exactly a 1920's bathing suit, now is it?

Magnum: Everyone here knows... that a murder was committed here this weekend, and one of you knows who did it.

Magnum: You're doing more damage than the mongeese.
Higgins: Mongooses. And may I remind you that I am something of a demolitions expert. Did I ever tell you about the time in India...
... Bloody... good... show.
1 The official title of this episode is grammatically incorrect. There should be a hyphen between the words "Red Faced".

2 In the scene where Magnum, T.C., Rick, and Archer Hayes are in Higgins' study, there is a close-up shot of a brown telephone on the desk with no telephone cord plugged into it.
(Noted by Wally)

3 In the scene where the waitress is pouring Magnum, Rick and T.C. tea at the club on the beach, the waitress's skirt keeps getting blown up by the wind and she keeps trying to pull it down. (Noted by Tami Young)

4 In the scene where Magnum tackles Higgins to save him from the killer, you clearly see it is a stunt man in place of Hillerman. (Noted by Scott Tucci)

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