Magnum, P.I.: The Purple Calla Lily Aloha Shirt

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum in a promotional shot for Magnum, P.I.

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum in a promotional shot for Magnum, P.I.


Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum, private investigator and former Navy SEAL

Hawaii, early 1980s

Series: Magnum, P.I., seasons 2 through 6
Creator: Donald P. Bellisario & Glen Larson
Costume Supervisor: James Gilmore

WARNING! Spoilers ahead!


Happy Aloha Friday! While the tradition of ending the workweek with a Hawaiian shirt dates back to the ’60s, today is a particularly significant Aloha Friday as the third Friday in August is observed as Statehood Day in Hawaii, commemorating Hawaii’s admission to the United States in August 1959.

Servicemen returning from the Pacific after World War II had an early role in introducing the colorful and tropical style of the Hawaiian islands to the continental U.S., aided over the following decades by movies like the Oscar-winning From Here to Eternity and the Elvis vehicle Blue Hawaii, but I would argue that few productions have been as impactful as bringing Aloha style mainstream as Magnum, P.I.

For the first eight celebrated years of the ’80s, Tom Selleck starred as the self-described “world-class private investigator,” living maika’i ola on a lush Oahu estate with a zippy red Ferrari and an imperious majordomo at his disposal. Episodes ranged from light-hearted adventures to gravely serious drama, the latter often driven by the trauma of Magnum’s shared experiences serving in Vietnam with his pals Rick (Larry Manetti) and T.C. (Roger E. Mosley), and the series broke ground by highlighting the complex struggles of Vietnam veterans and prisoners of war.

As fans of the series know, there’s far more to Thomas Magnum than just a Ferrari, a Tigers hat, and one of the most notorious mustaches in Hollywood history. Over the course of its eight seasons, the show gradually explores more of Magnum’s background, from his battle-hardened years as a Navy SEAL and POW to the troubled circumstances around his wartime marriage, which becomes the focus of the two-part episode “Memories Are Forever”.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

Is it customary for Hawaiian state ID photos to be taken outside?
Prominent shots of Magnum’s license in “Memories Are Forever” establish his date of birth to be January 5, 1946, which alternately aligns and conflicts with other evidence of his birthday across the series.)

Sunsets in Hawaii really are different, warmer, intenser, more romantic than anywhere I know in the world… that is, if you have a girl. If you don’t, sunsets in Hawaii can be depressing, and when you’re depressed there’s only one thing to do: lose yourself in your work, which⁠—for me⁠—happened to be a divorce case.

Airing early in Magnum, P.I.‘s second season, “Memories Are Forever” may be one of the first great episodes of the series, introducing viewers to Michelle (Marta DuBois), the nurse Magnum had married during the war and believed to be killed during the evacuation of Saigon in 1975. During his investigation into what starts as a relatively routine divorce case, Magnum spies a woman he believes to be Michelle, despite the fact that he believed her to have been dead for more than six years.

What’d He Wear?

The Calla Lily Shirt

In addition to its plot and exploration of Thomas Magnum’s background, “Memories Are Forever” is also sartorially significant for debuting one of Magnum’s most recognized shirts, a purple Aloha shirt emblazoned with a large-scaled Calla Lily tropical floral print.

Made of 100% rayon, the purple shirt’s large all-over floral pattern consists of calla lilies with ice-white petals and golden leaves. Consistent with aloha shirt tradition, the shirt has short sleeves, relaxed camp collar (or “revere collar”), and six natural wood buttons up the plain “French placket” front. Unlike the currently offered shirts from Paradise Found, the screen-worn Calla Lily shirts have a non-matching breast pocket, meaning that the cloth to create the pocket was placed without attempting to create an “unbroken” effect.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

“Memories Are Forever, Part 1” (Episode 2.05)

“According to Pacific Clothing Company (the manufacturer of this shirt) Tom Selleck himself came to their showroom in downtown Honolulu back in the 1980s and personally picked out this shirt,” describes AlohaFunWear in their listing for the famous shirt, currently made by Paradise Found. (AlohaFunWear proudly sells an impressive lineup of shirts featured on both the original 1980s Magnum, P.I. as well as the modern reboot starring Jay Hernandez; this is one of several shirts worn in both shows.)

  • "Memories Are Forever, Part 1" (Episode 2.05), dir. Ray Austin, aired November 5, 1981
  • "Tropical Madness" (Episode 2.07), dir. Lawrence Doheny, aired November 12, 1981
  • "Try to Remember" (Episode 2.15), dir. Mike Vejar, aired January 28, 1982
  • "Flashback" (Episode 3.07), dir. Ivan Dixon, aired November 4, 1982
  • "Foiled Again" (Episode 3.08), dir. Mike Vejar, aired November 11, 1982
  • "Of Sound Mind" (Episode 3.13), dir. Mike Vejar, aired January 6, 1983
  • "Two Birds of a Feather" (Episode 3.20), dir. Virgil W. Vogel, aired March 17, 1983
  • "Faith and Begorrah" (Episode 3.23), dir. Virgil W. Vogel, aired April 28, 1983
  • "The Case of the Red-Faced Thespian" (Episode 4.12), dir. Ivan Dixon, aired January 19, 1984
  • "Rembrandt's Girl" (Episode 4.14), dir. James Frawley, aired February 2, 1984
  • "Under World" (Episode 5.05), dir. Ivan Dixon, aired October 25, 1984
  • "Little Games" (Episode 5.12), dir. Arthur Allen Seidelman, aired January 3, 1985
  • "Let Me Hear the Music" (Episode 5.18), dir. David Hemmings, aired February 21, 1985
  • "The Man from Marseilles" (Episode 5.20), dir. John Llewellyn Moxey, aired March 14, 1985
  • "The Kona Winds" (Episode 6.04), dir. Jerry Jameson, aired October 10, 1985
  • "Find Me a Rainbow" (Episode 6.18), dir. Rick Weaver, aired March 13, 1986
  • "Photo Play" (Episode 6.21), dir. Burt Brinckerhoff, aired April 10, 1986

Appearing in 17 episodes from the second season through the end of the sixth season, the “Calla Lily” grew to recognition due to its frequent use on the series as well as in promotional photography for the show. By midway through the series, Magnum’s aloha style had become so associated with the character that it was often the subject of meta-commentary, such as in the episode “The Case of the Red-Faced Thespian” (Episode 4.12) when Robin Masters is hosting—among others—a couple cosplaying as Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald for a roaring ’20s murder mystery-themed weekend. “Great costume!” Zelda comments, to which Magnum responds, “oh, this isn’t a costume.” With some judgement, the well-tailored “F. Scott” clarifies, “Really? You wear that shirt in public?”

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

Magnum reacts to F. Scott Fitzgerald calling out his decidedly un-Jazz Age-approved Calla Lily print in “The Case of the Red-Faced Thespian” (Episode 4.12).

Jeans, Pants, and Shorts

Magnum almost always wears his aloha shirts tucked in, whether he’s wearing jeans or shorts. He almost always holds up both with a khaki webbed cotton belt in the style that he would have worn with his Navy uniforms. Given that the Calla Lily shirt makes its first appearance during the second season, Magnum has already upgraded his gold box-frame friction buckle to one with the U.S. Navy Surface Warfare emblem and “MAGNUM” embossed in gold.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

“Photo Play” (Episode 6.21)

Across the shirt’s trio of second-season appearances, Magnum tucks it into his unique blue denim dungarees, a full-fitting style of jeans inspired by early 20th century naval workwear with two patch pockets on the front and two patch pockets on the back, as well as belt loops for his khaki web belt.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

“Tropical Madness” (Episode 2.07)

For later appearances of the Calla Lily shirt, specifically in “The Man from Marseilles” (Episode 5.20) and “The Kona Winds” (Episode 6.04), Magnum’s jeans are a lighter blue denim wash from Levi’s with the recognizable “red tab” sewn along the inside of the back-right patch pocket.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

In “The Kona Winds” (Episode 6.04), Magnum wears the Calla Lily aloha shirt during a deadly serious moment that finds him belittled as a mere “beach boy”.

“The Kona Winds” also finds Magnum uniquely sporting an aloha shirt and jeans with his navy linen blazer, perhaps to fit his guise as an L.A. insurance rep visiting the islands or merely to add another layer of warmth or protection against the titular cyclone.

Aloha shirts aren’t typically worn with sports coats or tailored jackets; indeed, this potential faux pas threatens to defeat the purpose of aloha shirts, which were partially developed as informal business attire in Hawaii, yet Magnum would repeat this again several more times over the sixth season, including one instance with the iconic red “jungle bird” shirt.

After almost a decade of living in Hawaii, Magnum would almost certainly be aware of the incongruity of wearing his blazer over an aloha shirt, so I suspect the garment’s appearance was merely to reinforce his posing as an unaware insurance representative who needs to bullshit his way past Cindy, a flustered and frustrated Judy Blume-reading secretary at the Bank of Honolulu.

Made from a rich navy blue linen, flatteringly cut with padded shoulders, suppressed waist, and a long single vent, the single-breasted blazer has substantial notch lapels with “swelled” welted edges, rolling down to two crested gilt buttons that echo the four buttons on each cuff. In addition to a welted breast pocket, the blazer also has flapped bellows pockets over the hips, an even sportier detail than regular patch pockets.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

“The Kona Winds” (Episode 6.04)

In “Little Games” (Episode 5.12), Magnum strolls into the back office at the King Kamehameha club, where Rick is suspiciously surprised that Magnum isn’t contesting the invoice for repairs to his damaged sweater before returning to Robin’s Nest in time to meet insurance security specialist Krista Villaroch (Jenny Agutter) and rescue her from the police who mistakenly believe she was trying to break into the estate.

Throughout the evening, Magnum wears his Calla Lily shirt tucked into a pair of off-white cotton flat front trousers with belt loops, side pockets, and back pockets that close through a button-down flap.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

“Little Games” (Episode 5.12)

Recuperating from a mysterious accident in the Ferrari, Magnum stumbles around Robin’s Nest in “Try to Remember” (Episode 2.15) with the Calla Lily printed shirt worn open over a pair of short tan shorts, of which we don’t see much aide from the squared extended waist tab that appears to close through a hidden hook-and-eye. He carries (but doesn’t wear) his Tigers hat, and he wears a pair of brown leather boat shoes that deviate from the lighter-colored pair he tends to wear with this shirt.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

“Try to Remember” (Episode 2.15)

Beginning the following season with the finale of “Foiled Again” (Episode 3.08), Magnum begins regularly wearing a pair of oft-seen khaki cotton shorts, also with a short inseam. The shorts’ single reverse-facing pleats meets the top of each slanting front pocket and the forward-most belt loop, and there are two patch pockets on the back with a small black manufacturer’s tab sewn along the top right seam of the back-right pocket.

Magnum wears these shorts again at the close of “Of Sound Mind” (Episode 3.13) when the eccentric millionaire Wilson MacLeish (Donnelly Rhodes) is being held “at gunpoint” by his frustrated former butler Carlton (Roscoe Lee Browne)… in fact a prearranged practical joke between Magnum and Carlton to teach the wealthy prankster a lesson. Once again, Magnum wears this outfit while in recovery, this time with his right leg in a cast.

Roscoe Lee Browne and Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

Carlton and Magnum confront MacLeish in “Of Sound Mind” (Episode 3.13).

Magnum brings back these khaki shorts in “The Case of the Red-Faced Thespian” (Episode 4.12), beginning with beachside coffee and breakfast with Rick and T.C. at the King Kamehameha club, where Magnum explains that—after Higgins was waylaid by an exploding croquet ball (you had to be there)—Magnum’s now responsibly for organizing “the ’20s costume party for the idle rich of the ’80s” at Robin’s Nest. He returns home only to find many early arrivals, including a pair of Douglas Fairbanks and John Barrymore cosplayers sword-fighting in the foyer as well as the judgmental Fitzgeralds upstairs. Luckily, Robin’s new assistant Valerie (Colleen Camp) is there to set things straight… in a way.

Magnum continues to wear these shorts across the fifth and sixth seasons as well, particularly in “Under World” (Episode 5.05), “Let Me Hear the Music” (Episode 5.18), “Find Me a Rainbow” (Episode 6.18), and with the shirt’s final appearance in the final scene of “Photo Play” (Episode 6.21).

Tom Selleck and Colleen Camp on Magnum, P.I.

During a Jazz Age-themed party at Robin’s Nest that finds his beloved Calla Lily shirt insulted by no less than F. Scott Fitzgerald (okay maybe a little less since it wasn’t actually the long-dead author), Magnum takes refuge with Valerie (Colleen Camp) in “The Case of the Red-Faced Thespian” (Episode 4.12).

The third season also features the Calla Lily shirt worn tucked into a pair of white cotton double forward-pleated shorts with a high rise and wide belt loops that remain unused every time Magnum wears these shorts. Also detailed with side pockets, these shorts appear at the end of “Flashback” (Episode 3.07), during a brief vignette in “Two Birds of a Feather” (Episode 3.20), and at the end of “Faith and Begorrah” (Episode 3.23).

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

Magnum banters with Rick and T.C. at the end of “Flashback” (Episode 3.07).

Magnum diverges from wearing white or khaki shorts in “Rembrandt’s Girl” (Episode 4.14), when he’s interrupted during saxophone practice by Susan Johnson (Carol Burnett), gifting him a new plate after their shared adventure locked in a bank vault for much of the episode. During this brief vignette that ends the episode, he tucks the shirt into a pair of light sage-gray shorts detailed with straight jetted front pockets, a back-right patch pocket, covered button-fly front, and a self-belted waistband with side adjusters.

Tom Selleck and Carol Burnett on Magnum, P.I.

Susan gives Magnum a plate in “Rembrandt’s Girl” (Episode 4.14). Note the red “jungle bird” shirt slung over the banister in the background between them.

After going nearly 48 hours without sleep in “Memories Are Forever”, having been distracted by his search for Michelle, Magnum goes swimming to relieve his mind but ends up unwittingly carrying out his end of his latest deal with Higgins, allowing himself to be chased by “the lads” for their exercise. Luckily, he’s interrupted by his pal Mac (Jeff MacKay), who brings a reluctant Magnum his khaki U.S. Navy service uniform so that he can testify back in D.C. about his old unit in ‘Nam on one condition: Magnum has to officially return to active duty to testify, only to be released after testifying when he’d be promoted to full Commander.

The Navy can’t just pop into my life and say “anchors aweigh!”

Magnum dresses for his dip in the ocean in dark navy elastic-waisted swim trunks with a short inseam and a pocket on the right side that closes with a button-down flap, wearing the Calla Lily shirt and his signature Detroit Tigers baseball cap with the full rig.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

A despondent Magnum returns from a swim in “Memories Are Forever” (Episode 2.05).

Aside from the brown leather boat shoes he wears when laid up in “Try to Remember” (Episode 2.15), Magnum typically wears light taupe suede boat shoes with the Calla Lily shirt.

The history of boat shoes dates to the mid-1930s, when American yachtsman and outdoorsman Paul A. Sperry took inspiration from his dog’s paws to develop the innovative “non-slip” siped soles that would become a signature characteristic the deck-friendly shoes that would become the Sperry Top-Sider. With their moccasin-stitched construction and side lacing, these low, derby-style lace-ups were embraced beyond seafarers to be embraced by the prep crowd. By the 1980s, boat shoes had been firmly established as the casual footwear of choice for pop culture icons ranging from action heroes like James Bond to TV staples like Sam Malone and Thomas Magnum.

Magnum’s light taupe boat shoes, seen mostly clearly in “The Kona Winds” (Episode 6.04) but featured in at least five episodes across the four seasons leading up to it, have softly napped suede uppers with matching rawhide laces through two sets of white plastic eyelets.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

Magnum recounts to a disinterested bikini-clad beauty a science teacher who told him he would never understand “the importance of geometrical objects” given Magnum’s romantic fascination with rainbows… until he’s interrupted by his new potential client in “Find Me a Rainbow” (Episode 6.18).

The Hats

Magnum frequently pays tribute to his—and Tom Selleck’s—hometown baseball team by wearing a navy cotton twill baseball cap emblazoned with a white embroidered “D” in the Middle English blackletter typeface, the longtime logo for the Detroit Tigers. As with all MLB teams, the Tigers’ caps are widely available (including from Amazon) though they’re considerably more popular than many other teams due to their association with Magnum, P.I.

Not including the curious appearance of a downsized Tigers hat in the closing moments of “Flashback” (Episode 3.07), Magnum wears his navy Tigers caps with the Calla Lily shirt in “Try to Remember” (Episode 2.15), “Of Sound Mind” (Episode 3.13), “Faith and Begorrah” (Episode 3.23), and “The Case of the Red-Faced Thespian” (Episode 4.12).

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

By the fourth season, specifically “The Case of the Red-Faced Thespian” (Episode 4.12) here, Magnum has his trio of signature accessories established—POW/MIA bracelet, team ring, and Rolex “Pepsi” GMT Master—as well as his go-to Detroit Tigers cap.

Magnum also wears another kind of “Tigers” cap in the series, as seen in the final scene of “Flashback” (Episode 3.07) as he chats with Rick and T.C. while wearing a red cotton “trucker cap” with a white mesh back and a round patch on the front with “TIGERS” placed in the center of a white circle that otherwise touts the services of “Al’s Automotive and Muffler King”. According to the forums at Magnum Mania, Selleck had first worn this hat in the 1979 made-for-TV movie The Chinese Typewriter, in which he and James Whitmore Jr. starred as a pair of private detectives in Hawaii.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

A different kind of Tigers, Selleck dusted off the Al’s Automotive cap he had worn in a little-seen TV movie the year before Magnum, P.I. premiere, seen here at the end of “Flashback” (Episode 3.07).

Magnum cycled through a number of baseball caps on the series, but the most frequently seen in addition to his Tigers caps was a hat commemorating his service with Marine Observation Squadron 2 (VMO-2). Also constructed of navy twill, the cap has a dark navy patch on the front with “VMO2” and “DA NANG” above and below a yellow-embroidered eagle.

The hat makes frequent appearances throughout Magnum, P.I., but Magnum only wears it with his Calla Lily shirt when he and Rick arrive at the hospital where T.C. is in a coma, appropriately choosing it when showing up to support his former brother-in-arms.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

Magnum appropriately wears his VMO2 DA NANG service cap when in the hospital to support his fellow vet T.C. in “Under World” (Episode 5.05).


After more than a season of Magnum, T.C., and Rick wearing their gold team rings, the significance is made clear in “Memories Are Forever, Part 1” (Episode 2.05) when Higgins spots something curious on Michelle’s necklace from Magnum’s surveillance photos: “I say! That’s the same French croix you have on your ring.”

Also known as a double cross or patriarchal cross, the Croix de Lorraine (“Cross of Lorraine”) emerged as a symbol of resistance in wartime France. Magnum, T.C., and Rick—and some of those in their orbit—each wear large gold rings with these gold crosses set in black enamel, with Magnum wearing his on the third finger of his right hand from the second season through the end of the series.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

Magnum adjusts his own croix de Lorraine ring after spotting it on Michelle’s necklace in “Memories Are Forever, Part 1” (Episode 2.05).

Through the first three seasons of Magnum, P.I., including in flashbacks to Vietnam, Magnum wears a stainless steel Chronosport Sea Quartz 30 dive watch, likely chosen to reflect the actual Chronosports worn by select Navy SEALs during the early ’70s. Worn on a black tropic rubber strap, Magnum’s Chronosport Sea Quartz 30 has a slim black tick-marked rotating bezel, a black dial with luminescent markers and numerals for 12, 6, and 9 o’clock with a black day-date window at 3:00. Episodes that show close-ups of the watch reveal it to be a pre-1982 model that just says “Quartz” on the dial before Chronosport added the full “Sea Quartz 30” designation on the dial.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

Magnum suffers the strain of tropical madness in “Tropical Madness” (Episode 2.07).

Beginning with the excellent fourth season premiere episode “Home from the Sea”, Magnum’s watch is retconned to be a Rolex GMT Master that is established as having belonged to his aviator father, bequeathed to young Thomas following his father’s death during the Korean War. Thus, the watch’s origins are somewhat anachronistic as the GMT Master wasn’t launched until the mid-1950s, following a collaboration between Rolex and Pan Am as the watch would be issued to Pan Am pilots and navigators. In tribute to Selleck’s famous timepiece, Jay Hernandez wears a newer Rolex GMT Master II in the recent reboot of Magnum, P.I.

Selleck wears the eye-catching “Pepsi” GMT Master, so named in reference to the blue-and-red bidirectional bezel. Some debate has endured as to whether or not the screen-worn watch was a ref. 1675 or the ref. 16750, with Danny Milton providing evidence for the latter in the March 2021 Hodinkee article, “Why The Rolex GMT-Master Pepsi Is The Perfect Watch For Magnum P.I. Milton points out that the ref. 16750’s production timeline of 1980 to 1988 perfectly matches with the series run, which would be anachronistic for Magnum being gifted the watch in childhood… though this issue is already moot considering that the GMT Master itself was anachronistic anyway!

Worn on a steel “Oyster”-style three-piece link bracelet, Magnum’s stainless GMT Master has a black matte dial with painted non-numeric hour markers and a date window at the 3:00 position. Selleck himself was a fan of the GMT Master, keeping the screen-worn watch after the series ended and explaining that:

I’ve always loved that watch. It was the perfect match for Magnum. It’s a watch that likes action, and believe me I know what I’m talking about. I’ve had my fair share of “sport” watches but never one as tough as the Rolex. It’s been underwater, buried in sand, taken I don’t know how many knocks, and never a problem. It’s called the Pepsi because the bezel colors are the same as the Pepsi logo. Personally, I thought the red went well with the Ferrari and the blue matched Hawaii’s lagoons and sky.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

Distraught again, this time following a heartbreaking betrayal in “The Kona Winds” (Episode 6.12).

Magnum began wearing his silver POW/MIA bracelet around the same time as the Rolex GMT Master, though he actually started wearing it in the eighteenth episode of the third season, thus it made its first appearance with the Calla Lily shirt in “Two Birds of a Feather” (Episode 3.20).

The POW/MIA bracelet program was launched on Veterans Day 1970, beginning a nationwide practice of wearing bracelets to increase awareness of and remember service members who were prisoners of war or missing in action. The simple silver bracelets are engraved with the service member’s name, rank, and the date they were taken prisoner or listed as missing. Magnum’s bracelet honors Kenneth Ray Lancaster, a U.S. Army Staff Sergeant from Maryland who was listed as missing on January 3, 1969.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

SSGT Kenneth Ray Lancaster’s engraved name can be clearly seen on Magnum’s POW/MIA bracelet as he makes calls in “The Kona Winds” (Episode 6.04).

By the time Magnum was rotating the Calla Lily aloha shirt through his collection, his favorite sunglasses had been well-established as the sporty tortoise nylon-framed Vuarnet Skilynx Acier model, often worn around his neck on a thin cord, alternating between blue, black, and red cords over the course of the series.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

Paradise is no place to be without sunglasses, as demonstrated by the cord that keeps Magnum’s Vuarnets always close in “The Case of the Red-Faced Thespian” (Episode 4.12).

The Guns

As a celebrated Navy SEAL, Magnum had extensive experience with the classic M1911A1 service pistol, which had served all branches of the U.S. military from the 1920s through well into the 1980s. Though Magnum’s sidearm is likely meant to be his service .45, the production instead armed Tom Selleck with a Colt MK IV Series 70 Government Model, a commercial variant of the venerated single-action semi-automatic pistol. In fact, not only is Magnum’s pistol not a military-issue piece, it’s also chambered in 9×19 mm Parabellum rather than the powerful .45 ACP caliber traditionally associated with the 1911.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

Magnum pulls his 1911A1 from its well-worn leather holster in his nightstand in “The Kona Winds” (Episode 6.04).

A firearms enthusiast with military experience from his six-year service with the California Army National Guard, Tom Selleck has been a longtime proponent of the 1911 design, particularly the Smith & Wesson SW1911SC Gunsite Edition that he carried in all eight of the Jesse Stone film series as well as the NBC TV series Las Vegas. You can read more about Selleck’s extensive history with on-screen (and off-screen) firearms at IMFDB.

A screen-used Colt from Magnum, P.I. was included as Lot 152 in a June 2007 auction from the Stembridge Armory Collection, where it was described in the catalog as: “Colt MK IV Series 70 Gov’t Model semi-auto pistol, 9mm Luger cal., 5” barrel, #70L33101. The barrel is adapted for firing blanks, approx. 95% blue finish remaining with slight holster wear, checkered brown plastic grips, correct Colt 9mm Luger marked magazine.”

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

Magnum checks the load in his 1911A1. The Sting-like gambit at the end of “The Kona Winds” (Episode 6.04) implies that Magnum is able to swap out a live magazine for one filled with blanks—similar to the plot of Die Hard 2—though this isn’t how semi-automatic pistols function.

Magnum also handles several other firearms while clad in the Calla Lily shirt, particularly the Tokarev pistol he takes from his Vietnamese interrogators in “Memories Are Forever” (Episode 2.05). “This look familiar?” he asks Rick, who responds, “Yeah, it’s a Tokarev Star 9mm. North Vietnamese regulars carried it.”

As its name would suggest, the Tokarev was developed by the Russians in the early 1930s to replace the aging Nagant revolvers. Following tests conducted by the Revolutionary Military Council, a semi-automatic pistol design from Fedor Tokarev was accepted and quickly adopted as the TT-30 in Soviet service, quickly supplanted by the improved TT-33 with more than a million produced by the end of World War II.

The original proprietary round favored by the Russians was the 7.62×25 mm Tokarev, though many variants produced or imported by foreign users rebarreled the pistol for the more universal 9×19 mm Parabellum round. The Chinese factory Norinco was one of the most prominent non-Russian producers of the Tokarev pistol, though—as Rick notes—the North Vietnamese were also significant adopters of the pistol.

Tom Selleck and Larry Manetti in Magnum, P.I.

Rick recognizes the Tokarev that Magnum grabbed from their captors in “Memories Are Forever, Part 1” (Episode 2.05).

In “Of Sound Mind” (Episode 3.13), Magnum arranges a prank with the disgruntled butler Carlton (Roscoe Lee Browne) that involves Carlton holding his eccentric employer at gunpoint. Magnum takes the gun and then, after some thinking, pulls the trigger on their shocked victim… only for the man to be blasted with a stream of dirty water.

The “water gun” in question is the Colt Bisley, a target model of the venerated Single Action Army “Peacemaker” revolver. Named for the Bisley firing range in England, the Colt Bisley can be visually differentiated from classic Peacemakers by its distinctively shaped and elongated grip. The Bisley was introduced in 1894 during a time when industrialization and urbanization were catching up with the untamed west, and it provided a more sophisticated alternative for those still wishing to carry a six-shooter with their city clothes. Just under 45,000 were manufactured across its 21-year production timeline, in calibers ranging from .32-20 Winchester up to .455 Eley, including the venerable .45 Long Colt round.

Roscoe Lee Browne and Tom Selleck in Magnum, P.I.

To be fair, that is one very convincing water gun.

What to Imbibe

Magnum rarely drinks on the job, avowing to a personal rule to avoid it unless his hand is forced as seen when his potential new client Lydia McCarthy (Julia Montgomery) insists on it in “Find Me a Rainbow” (Episode 6.18). Aside from the fictional Old Dusseldorf referenced as his favorite in “No More Mr. Nice Guy” (Episode 4.13), Magnum’s arguably most imbibed brew is the equally fictional Coops, undoubtedly a riff on the real-life Coors brand right down to its golden-hued label suggesting the yellow branding of Coors Banquet.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

Coops for recuperation in “Try to Remember” (Episode 2.15).

“If you can’t bring Magnum to the party, then bring the party to Magnum!” exclaims gregarious Hawaiian entertainer “Big Ed” Kanakoa (Dick Jensen), who shows up in the back office of the King Kamehameha club with a pitcher when he notices Magnum blew off Rick’s indoor luau in “The Kona Winds” (Episode 6.04).

Magnum ignores the tall hurricane glass that Big Ed fills with the cyanic concoction, which appears to be the famous Blue Hawaii cocktail.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

On a serious job in “The Kona Winds” (Episode 6.04), Magnum doesn’t take Big Ed up on enjoying what appears to be a tall Blue Hawaii.

Hilton Hawaiian Village head bartender Harry Yee developed the Blue Hawaii in 1957 in response to a request from Bols that would include blue Curaçao liqueur to such a degree that the drink itself would turn blue. The potent recipe includes light rum, vodka, blue Curaçao, and freshly made sour mix, with pineapple juice providing the other half… give or take an ounce here or there as too much pineapple juice will turn it green!

Poured into a hurricane glass—apropos the titular kona storm in the episode featuring this drink—the traditional serve is on the rocks, though the Blue Hawaii can also be blended and served frozen, though the final product is almost always given a festive finish with a pineapple slice, maraschino cherry, and cocktail umbrella.

Tom Selleck on Magnum, P.I.

Tom Selleck touts the series’ tropical spirit in a promotional photo for Magnum, P.I. I don’t believe he ever wears this combination on screen… nor does he ever drink from a pineapple.

How to Get the Look

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum on Magnum, P.I., Episode 4.12: "The Case of the Red-Faced Thespian"

Tom Selleck as Thomas Magnum on Magnum, P.I., Episode 4.12: “The Case of the Red-Faced Thespian”

Among Thomas Magnum’s colorful wardrobe, the Calla Lily remains one of the most recognizable aloha shirts due to its eye-catching print and ubiquity, featured in a variety of memorable episodes across four of the show’s eight seasons and frequently appointed with Magnum’s signature accessories such as his Detroit Tigers cap and inherited Rolex GMT Master “Pepsi” watch.

  • Purple “Calla Lily” floral-patterned rayon Aloha shirt by Paradise Found with camp collar, plain front (with 6 wood buttons), breast pocket, and short sleeves
  • Khaki cotton single reverse-pleated shorts with belt loops, slanted front pockets, and patch back pockets
  • Khaki web belt with gold-tone USN “Surface Warfare” belt buckle
  • Taupe suede two-eyelet Sperry Top-Sider boat shoes
    • Available via Amazon
  • Detroit Tigers baseball cap in navy cotton twill with white-embroidered logo
  • Rolex GMT Master stainless steel watch with “Pepsi” blue-and-red bezel, black dial (with 3:00 day-date window), and stainless “Oyster”-style bracelet
  • Silver POW/MIA bracelet
  • Gold Croix de Lorraine team ring
    • Replicas available via Amazon
  • Vuarnet Skilynx Acier tortoise nylon sport sunglasses

Do Yourself a Favor and…

Check out the entire series, and peruse the extensively researched fan site Magnum Mania!

The Quote

Maybe every dream in paradise doesn’t have a happy ending… but this one did.

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