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Legend of the Lost Art

Episode Screen Caps Episode Number: 159
Season Number: 8.10
Air Date: 2/10/1988
Writer: Jay Huguely
Director: Burt Brinkerhoff
Producer: Rick Weaver
Exec Producer: Donald P. Bellisario

Recurring Characters
Carmella Barut (Carmella), Esmond Chung (Sgt. Kenny Chung)
Guest Stars
Margaret Colin (Connie Northrop), Anthony Newley (Peter Riddley-Smythe), Kabir Bedi (Malcolm)
Episode Brief
Higgins wants Magnum to find the "Lost Art of the Ancients", a priceless ancient scroll from a fallen civilization, that could spell disaster if it should ever fall into the wrong hands. But the search for the long lost artifact is laced with abduction, danger and deceit, as an old flame of Magnum's, a foreign double agent, and a ruthless rival of Higgins' are all out to find the scroll as well, and the dangerous path to unearthing it could ultimately lead to death.
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1 This episode is commonly referred to as the "Raiders of the Lost Ark" episode. It is a humorous homage/parody of the classic 1981 Spielberg/Lucas film Raiders of the Lost Ark, but with different characters and storyline. Tom Selleck was originally offered the role of Indiana Jones by Steven Speilberg, but Selleck had to turn it down because of contractual obligations with Magnum P.I.. As it turned out, the filming for Magnum P.I. was delayed by a writers strike that year, so Selleck would have actually been free to play the role! In Season Four, Ronald Lacey (Major Arnold Toht in Raiders) guest starred in "The Case of the Red Faced Thespian" (4.12) as Lowell Xavier Jameson (aka "Archer Hayes"), the majordomo of Robin's Nest before Higgins' reign.

2 The Complete Eighth Season DVD features excellent episode commentary by longtime Magnum P.I. writer/producer Jay Huguely. According to Jay, this was one of the most expensive Magnum P.I. episodes ever produced.

3 In attempting to figure out Peter Ridley-Smythe's plan, several classic movies are mentioned - The Maltese Falcon (1941), The Treasure of the Sierre Madre (1948), North by Northwest (1959), Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), King Soloman's Mines (1950, the Stewart Granger version), Raiders of Ghost City (1944), The Perils of Pauline (1947), and Perils of Nyoka, aka "Nyoka and the Lost Secrets of Hippocrates" (1942). A brief clip from Perils of Nyoka is seen on Magnum's TV at the end. Interestingly, Raiders of the Lost Ark is never once mentioned.

4 The scroll that everybody is after is called the "Lost Art of the Ancients". It was created by a highly advanced prehistoric group of people ("of small size & gargantuan intellect") called "The Ancients". The Lost Art scroll "may contain solutions to maladies that have plagued man for centuries". According to legend, the only way to translate the scroll is with the mysterious "Hanole Prism". "The Ancients" appear to be a reference to the Menehune of Hawaiian mythology.

5 Higgins breaks the "fourth wall" by looking directly at the camera/audience for the fourth and final time of the series, following "China Doll", "Never Again ... Never Again" and "The Ugliest Dog in Hawaii". This is the first time he's broken the "fourth wall" since Season One! (Noted by nha trang)

6 Many scene transitions use the "sweeping wipes" made famous by George Lucas (Star Wars) and (earlier) Akira Kurosawa.

7 Margaret Colin (Connie Northrop) played girlfriend Rebecca opposite Tom Selleck's Peter Mitchell in Three Men And A Baby (1987). In this episode, we learn that Magnum and Connie were involved with each other seven years prior, which would have dated it to the first season, or early second season. However, this is the first time we have ever seen or heard mention of the character! Magnum broke off the relationship by note.

8 Branscombe Richmond makes an uncredited appearance as one of Ridley-Smythe's henchmen. You can see him fighting during the long camp battle sequence.

9 Higgins has known Peter Ridley-Smythe for many years. He is a double-agent and master thief "who is known to concoct elaborate scenes out of his favorite movies as part of his assignment". It's his "calling card".

10 Out of the blue "Bogie Rick" returns, complete with white tux and cigarette.

11 The King Kamehameha Club "Anuenue Room" (or "Rainbow Room") set is used for a great brawl scene. This rarely used "party room" was previously seen in "I Witness" (4.21), "The Kona Winds" (6.4), "A Little Bit of Luck, A Little Bit of Grief" (6.20), "Death of the Flowers" (7.12), and "The Great Hawaiian Adventure Company" (8.9).

12 T.C. says that he subscribes to "a couple" of archeological magazines.
Magnum: Oh, give.. it.. up Higgins! You went too far with the "Hanole Prism". You had your fun trying to sell me on that story about the prehistoric little people geniuses.
Higgins: The Legend is well documented. The Ancients did exist; a highly advanced culture. Diminutive in stature, gargantuan in intellect! And the "Lost Art" scroll may contain solutions to maladies that have plagued man for centuries!
Magnum: Like practical jokes! Goodbye, Higgins!

Magnum: KENNY! (the police officer)
Higgins: All right! I was sworn to secrecy, but I'll tell you everything. The "Lost Art" is not just a whim of Mr. Masters. International agencies wish to remain officially uninvolved and Robin Masters provides them with a perfect, innocent collector.
Magnum: How accommodating of you.
Higgins: I have reason to believe that those three men that were here tonight are foreign operatives.
Magnum: Working for the eccentric Peter Ridley-Smythe, double-agent and cinema buff!?
Higgins: This is no joking matter Magnum. We must find Ms. Northrop before they do.
Magnum: KENNY!
Higgins: All right! I lied! She does have the prism. It's the key translating the "Lost Art", and if we don't get to her before they do!

Higgins: That's it. We've found it. The Ark...
Magnum: Art... Don't you mean Art, Higgins? The lost Art?
Higgins: Of course I do. The lost Art is in the Ark.

Connie Northrop: Thomas, before we die, truth, are you sorry now that we didn't get married?
Magnum: Take off your skirt.
Connie Northrop: This is hardly the time or the place!
Magnum: I need some cloth... for a torch... to find out what that hissing sound is. It can't be... snakes. There are no snakes in Hawaii, even Ridley-Smythe couldn't arrange that.

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