Magnum PI Action Figures Identification Tool with Pictures

Magnum PI logo

In the shadow of the Vietnam War, movies, television, and other media took the tales of post-traumatic disorders and ran with them. Writers only wrote about veterans who became killers or dysfunctional drug addicts. In defiance of the set trope, one show defiantly presented three Vietnam veterans as men learning to simply live life again. This bold choice along with the power of its star actor, Tom Selleck, made Magnum PI one of the most popular series of the 1980s.

Magnum PI was originally going to be a show developed for ABC. However, after the network canceled Battlestar Galactica and terminated the production of the Magnum PI, Glen Larson took the concept to another network. At the same time, CBS was wrapping Hawaii Five-O and sought a show that could replace it. The network also wanted to reuse the Hawaii-based studio where they had filmed the series. Luckily, Magnum PI could easily be reworked to be set in Hawaii instead of the original plan, California. Thus, the show found a new home with CBS.

CBS also had a five-year contract with Tom Selleck, promising to land him a leading role in a television series. They understood that Selleck did not want to take on a role that would only showcase his good looks. Instead, the man wanted to flex his comedy and other acting skills. He also wished to work with Donald Bellisario, who had previously impressed him with the script he prepared for the failed pilot of Gypsy Warriors.

Fully understanding Selleck’s desire to work with Bellisario, Glen Larson enlisted him as an executive producer for Magnum PI. He then requested Bellisario to seek out and recruit Selleck as the lead for the show. Bellisario also played a strong role in writing the story and deciding the direction for the series. His insistence in defying the requests to remove flashbacks and references to Vietnam drove the direction of the show’s writing. Likewise, his reliance on a travel guide due to his ignorance of Hawaii led to an outdated, laid-back presentation of the islands.

LJN 1982 Magnum PI Car and Action Figure

With all of the elements in place, Magnum PI launched in 1980 with its pilot episode, Don’t Eat the Snow in Hawaii. The episode helped to explain how Thomas Magnum had bonded with Theodore “T.C.” Calvin and Orville “Rick” Wright during the Vietnam War. Their dynamics helped propel the series into its successful 8 season run.

Aside from the main three characters, there were several other significant characters in the series. The most influential of them was the mysterious Robin Masters. As he was impressed with Magnum’s skills, Masters offered Magnum stable housing within the guest house at his estate. This allowed the man to take only the cases that he cared about. The series also quickly introduced a rival for Magnum, Major Johnathan Higgins.

To many viewers, the Ferrari GTS 308 that Magnum drove around in was the most iconic part of the series. While Manum used this car, it was part of Masters’ collection. This car collection also included an Audio 5000 and a GMC Jimmy Siera. Another notable vehicle from the series was the Island Hoppers helicopter that T.C. flew.

By the end of the seventh series, Tom Selleck had become one of the executive producers for the series. However, as he had landed a leading role in a movie, he and the staff agreed that it was time to conclude the series. They eventually decided to create a final, shorter 8th season. At the end of the run, Magnum PI had a total of 162 episodes.

Magnum PI’s success made the series ideal for licensing. So, it did not take long before the series began popping up in toy aisles. One of the first manufacturers that picked up the license was LJN. Their small but memorable Magnum PI toy line came out in 1982. While the line only had two elements, the Ferrari and an action figure of Thomas Magnum, the action figure made it stand out. All other toy lines that featured Magnum PI only focused on the show’s vehicles.

For instance, LJN included magnum PI in their Stunt Riders toy line with a miniature version of the Ferrari. Similarly, Kidco featured both the Ferrari and T.C.’s helicopter in their Tough Wheels line. Both manufacturers brought out these toys in 1982. There were also various accessories produced by Ja-Ru, like Magnum PI sunglasses, in the 1980s.

Around the same time, Corgi produced Magnum PI die-cast vehicles in two scales. Some were produced for the Corgi Juniors line, which also featured a police car and T.C.’s copper. Meanwhile, the series was also represented with a 1/36 scale die-cast car of Magnum’s Ferrari. Revell from Europe also produced a 1/24 scale model kit of the Magnum PI GTS Ferrari around 1987.

Years after Magnum PI stopped production, the series was featured as part of the Matchbox die-cast cars toy line. The Ferrari was featured in the manufacturer’s Star Car Collection.

Magnum PI finally made its debut in the Hot Wheels toy line in 2012. The company created a few different die-cast vehicles based on the iconic 1980s series. These vehicles included the Ferrari GTS QV, the Volkswagen Sunagon, and the Island Hopper helicopter.

Magnum PI was revived on television with a revival television series in 2018.  This new version starred Jay Hernandez as the titular character. It ran on CBS from 2018 until 2022. After that, NBC picked up the series and began airing new episodes in 2023.

Recently, Playmobil has added Magnum PI to its catalog of toys. In 2023, they released a set that included four characters from the series: Thomas Magnum, T.C., Rick Wright, and Higgins. This set also featured the Ferrari from the series.

How to use the Identification Tool to find your action figures and toylines

Do you have any vintage toys you are trying to identify? Don’t know the name? No problem! We can help you out with this useful identification tool.

Using our Identification Tool is simple; you can easily search for any toy in your collection. For example, type “jet” into the figure name field and hit search. You’ll see all the toys that are jets. Otherwise, you can try “car” and select the color “blue” and a list of action figures with matching results.

Even if you know the name of your toy but do not know its proper spelling, our tool will help you. For instance, you can type “Wheljck” and still find the results for various Wheeljack action figures.

Our database has an extensive list of toy lines from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. So, you can seek out information about your favorite toy lines and even sublines like Droids or Ewoks. Some of our other prominent lines include, but are not limited to:

Our Identification Tool will help you locate the basic information for each action figure and much more. For instance, you may discover whether or not your action figure came with a sticker sheet or instructions. Our identification tool includes detailed information on which accessories and weapons were included with the toys. We will even help you determine the release date of your toys.

If you need additional help, please do not hesitate to contact us. We also buy and sell toys through our toy shop. Thank you for stopping by.