Magnum Mania! Banner

Previous Episode Next Episode

I Never Wanted to Go to France, Anyway...

Episode Screen Caps Episode Number: 118
Season Number: 6.12
Air Date: 1/2/1986
Writer: Reuben Leder
Director: Arthur Allan Seidelman
Producer: Chris Abbott
Exec Producer: Donald P. Bellisario

Recurring Characters
Kwan Hi Lim (Lt. Tanaka)
Guest Stars
Clive Revill (Walter "Inky" Gilbert), Geoffrey Lewis (Gus Zimmer), Anne Schedeen (Audrey Gilbert), Skeeter Vaughn (the Chief), Tommy Madden (Charles, the Dwarf), Richard Alfieri (Mike Janes), Karen Price (Robin)
Episode Brief
An old comrade of Higgins' brings his Inky Gilbert Traveling Carnival & Midway to Hawaii. But when one of the performers is fatally stabbed, Higgins asks Magnum to investigate. Working undercover as a carny, aided by Rick, Magnum learns that even before the killing, the carnival had been experiencing a string of "accidents", and must pinpoint exactly who is trying to force the show out of business.
7.6(38 votes)Rate Episode
1 This is one of the few episodes to have elements of light horror; the dark, spooky "Tower of Terror" carnival attraction; the burned, disfigured face of carnival geek Gus Zimmer (complete with Jason Voorhees mask); deaths by knife; the fiery, Carrie-esque ending! Season Two's "The Woman on the Beach" (2.3) and Season Five's "Fragments" (5.6) also had some light horror elements.

2 Another episode memorable for having the main cast members in costumes. Magnum spends most of the episode dressed as a carny (and he also dresses up as a convict for the apple dunk attraction); Rick finds himself dressed up as a Native American in the Chief's knife throwing act; Higgins appears as a clown (and a scary one at that!). T.C. is only seen at the beginning of this episode and escapes having to wear a carnival costume on this occasion.

3 Most of the carnival scenes (virtually the entire episode) were filmed at a large grassy area of Sandy Beach Park, just off Kalanianaole Hwy. According to Magnum P.I. set decorator Rick Romer, high winds were a problem during the entire shoot. Some scenes (including a scene involving a ferris wheel) had to be shot at the backlot of the Hawaii Film Studio.

4 Clive Revill (Walter "Inky" Gilbert) is a well-respected New Zealand actor of stage, film, and television. He appeared in many British films and stage productions in the 1960s and 1970s, including the leading role in the 1973 British horror classic The Legend of Hell House.

5 Well-known character actor Geoffrey Lewis (Gus Zimmer) previously appeared in "The Return of Luther Gillis" (4.16). Tom Selleck and Geoffrey Lewis co-starred in the 1982 television film western The Shadow Riders.

6 Anne Schedeen (Audrey Gilbert) played the mom on ALF (1986-1990). She started that role several months after she guest starred in this episode.

7 Rick ran away with a carnival for three weeks when he was 14 years old. He also apparently ran away with a circus at some point, or so he says anyway.

8 Stuntwoman Karen Price (Robin) is a former Playboy "Playmate of the Month" (Jan. 1981).
Inky Gilbert: There's got to be a "little boy" inside you to stay in this racket, god know it's not going to be around long. The carnivals that criss-cross this country playing country fairs, or revivals, are soon going to be a thing of the past. A dying piece of Americana. The midway and the sideshow will soon be replaced by the computer arcade, or the cheap horror films that are churned out every five minutes. They don't leave anything to the imagination. Mind. The kid in all of us. I don't know, maybe America has grown out of this?! Maybe, the "little boy" grew up too fast?! He blinks his eyes and he becomes a lawyer, or a computer operator, or a bank teller. We carnies just try to get by ... and we try to reach out to the kid out there. (looks at Rick) I'm glad we reached you. (smiles)

Magnum: ... because even when I was nine years old and my Grandpa took me to the carnival at the county fair, I found myself asking too many questions. Questions like, in the basketball shooting concession, why was the ball so full of air that it would bounce off the too-small rim, and there goes your quarter. Or, why did the beautiful blond lady in the "dollar-a-kiss" booth smell like a distillery from twenty feet away. Or, how come the biggest stuffed animals you could possibly win in the shooting gallery always had an inch of dust on them. And now, a lot of years later, who would want to make a murder out of a sideshow? (Narration)

(lights match)
Donald "Gus Zimmer" Gilbert: I never wanted to go to France anyway.
(throws match on the ground, ignites suicidal fire)
1 Magnum says that one of the clues that helped him solve the mystery of "Donald Gilbert" is the fact that Higgins never mentioned "North Africa, August of 1942" in all of his years of "ramblings". Well, in Season Three's "Basket Case" (3.15), Higgins tells the story of when he was in Tripoli in August of 1942. After enduring heat, malaria, and bad food for weeks, he tried to raise morale by organizing a basketball game and created what was later known as the 'floating zone', or sphere defense.

2 In the scene with Magnum, Audrey, and the Indian, the Indian is standing with his arms crossed when Audrey takes hold of his hands. Less than a second later, he is back to standing with his arms crossed, and Audrey is not holding his hands. (Noted by Mark S.)

Shoot me an email if you'd like to have something added or corrected

Magnum P.I. on DVD

All 8 seasons are now available for purchase! External DVD Reviews

Rubber Chicken's Guide Magnum P.I. Locations

Magnum on the Web