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The Aunt Who Came to Dinner

Episode Screen Caps Episode Number: 147
Season Number: 7.20
Air Date: 3/18/1987
Writer: Chris Abbott
Director: Russ Mayberry
Producer: Rick Weaver
Exec Producer: Donald P. Bellisario

Recurring Characters
Gillian Dobb (Agatha Chumley), Kwan Hi Lim (Lt. Tanaka)
Guest Stars
Barbara Rush (Phoebe Sullivan), Mark Stevens (Dennis Parker), Katherine Kelly Lang (Lani), Fred Sadoff (Theo Winters), Moe Keale (Mortie), Connie Kissinger (Hall of Records Clerk), Dan Ryan (Herbie), Kiersten Warren (Sugar)
Episode Brief
Magnum's private investigator license has expired, and he has the frustrating task of trying to renew it. But he has a welcome surprise when his aunt, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Phoebe Sullivan, pays an unexpected visit to Hawaii from New York. The rather eccentric authoress has just finished writing a new play, but now is convinced that someone is trying to kill her for it, and that they have trailed her to the Islands.
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1 Magnum's Aunt Phoebe was previously mentioned (but not seen) in Season Five's "Ms. Jones" (5.19). It appears that Phoebe is not Magnum's blood relative, but rather an aunt by marriage. Her deceased husband "Sully" (probably short for Sullivan -- and not necessarily connected to Magnum's middle name) was Magnum's blood uncle. She lives in New York City and is a successful, Pulitzer Prize-winning, playwright. Her first play, Murder Came Knocking, was a big hit on Broadway. "Sully" died around the same time the play came out. As we learn in this episode, she is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's disease.

2 This is one of the first television series to address (or even mention) Alzheimer's disease (AD). The end credits feature the following acknowledgement:

The Producers wish to thank the Honolulu Chapter Of The Alzheimer's Disease And Related Disorders Association for their cooperation

3 Unusual for the show, there is no opening preview for this episode.

4 Kwan Hi Lim (Tanaka) is billed with the opening guest stars, not during the closing credits. He is usually billed in the closing credits. (Noted by Jay-Firestorm)

5 Rick only appears in one scene in this episode.

6 Barbara Rush (Phoebe Sullivan) makes her second appearance on the show. She previously appeared in Season Five's "Blind Justice" (5.7).

7 The historic Hawaii Theatre in downtown Honolulu is used as a filming location for both exterior and interior filming. The theatre was closed from 1984 to 1996, when it reopened after renovations. The theatre opened in 1922 and is listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.

8 Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is mentioned and quoted from by Phoebe - "Lovers and madmen have such seething brains, such shaping fantasies, that apprehend more than cool reason ever comprehends....". At the end of the episode, we see Magnum reading the play at the edge of the tidal pool. When Magnum was 8, Phoebe took him to see the play in New York (he loved it). After that, she took him to New York once a year to see a new play.

9 British Victorian poet Robert Browning is mentioned. Magnum was supposed to read one of his poems at "The Anglo-Hawaiian Society for the Preservation of the English Language".

10 Aunt Phoebe took Magnum to Paris to see the famous Folies Bergeres music hall when he was a kid.

11 Agatha played Cinderella in a pantomime production at the "Blackpool Music Hall" when she was a child. At some point later in her life, she played Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire. Her involvement in Higgins' production of The Mikado from "Let the Punishment Fit the Crime" (4.17) is also mentioned.

12 Connie Kissinger (Hall of Records Clerk) makes her second appearance on the show, apparently replacing Ms. Jones as the "Hall of Records" clerk. Connie is a well-known local Hawaiian singer/songwriter. For many years she sang with pianist Kit Samson's Sound Advice at the old Kahala Hilton's Maile Lounge. She previously appeared as a nurse in Season Four's "On Face Value" (4.19).

13 Future soap opera star Katherine Kelly Lang (Brooke Logan on The Bold and the Beautiful) plays the temp maid Lani. Desperate Housewives cast member Kiersten Warren makes her first professional TV or film appearance (briefly) as "Sugar".

14 Hawaiian singer/actor Moe Keale makes his third and final appearance on the show as Mortie the used car salesman. He previously appeared in "The Taking of Dick McWilliams" (2.10) and "Murder 101" (5.8).

15 The King Kamehameha Club "Anuenue Room" (or "Rainbow Room") set is used for a brief scene.
Magnum: My Aunt Phoebe was the smartest woman I ever knew. She also had a tendency to see things bigger than life, which meant that when you were with her you got to see more vibrant colors, hear more intriging sounds, feel things more fully than when she was gone. But, it also meant that sometimes you had to translate her view of the world into a more mundane reality. (Narration)

Magnum: What I need right now is a reference, a recommendation from somebody like you, an upstanding citizen, a pillar of the community.
Rick: So, ah, how come you didn't ask me to do it?
(T.C. laughs)
Magnum: I was going to Rick, but, uh, you've done so many nice things for me lately.
T.C.: Ok, ok, ok, what am I supposed to say?
Magnum: What you honestly feel. Well, you know what those examiners like to see.
T.C.: Like you're the kind of guy who always pays his debts?!
Magnum: Yeah, something like that.
T.C.: The kind of guy who would never drag a citizen into a dangerous situation? The kind of guy who would never use his friends, who are not licensed private investigators, to do all of his footwork?
Magnum: I don't do that!
1 Magnum incorrectly calls Phoebe's first play "Murder Comes Knocking". As we hear several times in the episode, the play is called "Murder Came Knocking".

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