Thursday, December 20, 2007

Happy birthday, Higgins!

I've gotten more enjoyment out of "Magnum, p.i." than a human being should be allowed to have over the years.

The show has not only provided a hundred laughs, but it's also been the organizing factor behind countless get togethers and indirectly led to a couple of great friendships. In short, it's a fun old program.

I first watched "Magnum" on Thursday nights (and, later, Wednesdays) during its original 1980-88 run on CBS. My dad loved the show and I guess I picked it up from him. When USA added the show to its lineup in the mid-1990s, several high school buddies and I would gather around the tube at 4 p.m. to watch our favorite Vietnam vet in action.

Whenever I visit pal David Romas, the ultimate "Magnum" guru, and his wife Jennifer Bondy in Michigan, a screening of several "Magnum" episodes, usually accompanied by several of Magnum's favorite beverage, is always a must. Buddy Drew Weaver and I have spent many a baseball rainout laughing at some of our favorite moments.

Most of such moments somehow involve co-star John Hillerman as the stuffy but loveable Sgt. Major Jonathan Quayle Higgins. I remember being flabbergasted when I discovered a few years after "Magnum" was canceled that Hillerman really wasn't British. I've often said that his characterization of Higgins owed as much to "Magnum p.i."'s success as Tom Selleck, Hawaii, the Ferrari, Robin Masters or those dobermans ever did.

David e-mailed last night to say that today is John Hillerman's 75th birthday. I wish him well. I doubt I could ever repay that guy for all the joy he's brought me over the years. I don't know if Hillerman ever won an Emmy for his portrayal of our favorite majordomo, but if he didn't, it's a darn shame.

I guess I'll have to watch a favorite "Magnum" moment or two before bed in honor of Higgie's big day.

Here's to you, John. Thanks for the laughs.

"Higgins, I can explain!"

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