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WATCH: Magnum P.I. Premiered (With a Different Theme Song) 40 Years Ago Today

  • On December 11th 1980, 40 years ago today, the first episode of Magnum P.I. premiered on CBS. Starring Tom Selleck as a private investigator living in Hawaii and driving around in a Ferrari, it ran until 1988 and was such a popular hit that it eventually spawned the remake that's on the air today with Jay Hernandez in the title role.

    The show's theme song ultimately became iconic, but it wasn't the original theme. This clip above features the original pilot episode's smooth-jazzy sort of theme composed by Ian Freebairn-Smith, which was replaced later in the first season with the well-known '80s action rock piece below from Larry Carron. While the latter may have fit the time period a bit better, the former seems to capture more of Thomas Magnum's easy-going style.

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    Andy Hunsaker has a head full of sitcom gags and nerd-genre lore, and can be followed @AndyHunsaker if you're into that sort of thing.

    TOPICS: Magnum, P.I. (1980 series), CBS, Tom Selleck