Tanna meets Magnum

I have written here before about the requirements for my TV-watching in my younger days — cool detective(s) who drives cool wheels and whose show has a cool theme song, preferably by the great Lalo Schifrin.

That cinematic cornucopia known as YouTube unearthed this …

… described by the Internet Movie Database as …

Tom Selleck is a member of the “Bunco” squad, the squad in charge of nabbing con men, cheats, and swindlers. Most of their time is spent dealing with penny-ante street-corner crooks. But their investigations start to reveal a larger con game in progress…

Odd that IMDB doesn’t mention “Bunco”‘s other star, Robert Urich, who first got attention on the TV series “SWAT” …

… a concept that became a movie …

… and a rebooted TV series …

… each with the same theme music (somewhat in the movie’s case) …

… which was the first 45 I purchased, for $1.03 at Walgreen’s in Madison. But I digress. (I know what you’re thinking. “You certainly do digress.”)

“Bunco” — produced by the producers of “Dallas” and “Knots Landing” — was one of five pilots Selleck did that didn’t get sold to one of the networks.

Selleck was also in the pilot to “Most Wanted,” but wasn’t cast for the series.

A year later, Tanna was cast in “Vega$.”

For those unfamiliar with this one of producer Aaron Spelling’s 17,343 TV series, Urich was cast as Dan Tanna, a Vietnam veteran turned private eye in Las Vegas, where he worked for a somewhat eccentric casino owner, where he lived and from which he got to drive a 1955 Ford Thunderbird.

Two years later, CBS came out with “Magnum P.I.” …

Selleck was cast as Thomas Magnum, a Vietnam veteran turned private eye in Hawaii, where he worked for an eccentric novelist and under the eye of a British World War II veteran. He lived in a house on the novelist’s Hawaii estate,  from which he got to drive the novelist’s Ferrari 308GTS.

And people complain about Hollywood’s lack of originality today.

A note about the music: The theme to “Bunco” was written by John Parker, possibly better known for …

The “Vega$” theme was written by Dominic Frontiere, who also did a lot of TV and movie work:

The first “Magnum” theme was written by Ian Fairbairn-Smith. The second, and much better known, theme was written by Mike Post, and his TV work would clog the Internet if I listed it here.

“Vega$” was created by Michael Mann, later better known for …

Tanna lasted four seasons in Vegas … or Vega$.

“Magnum” was created by Donald Bellasario, now known for …

… soon starting its 17th season.

Magnum lasted eight seasons and was a huge hit, one of the quintessential ’80s TV series, and it made Selleck an international star. And as always, Hollywood success will breed attempted imitators, with subtle changes, such as rich businessman-turned-PI …

… or beach bums-turned-PIs:

The imitators include the inevitable reboot:

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