Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Almost Boston


Before he became well-known for his starring role on Magnum, P.I. (1980-1988), it seems actor Tom Selleck signed on to play “Tom Boston” in a 1979 TV pilot film called The Chinese Typewriter. That film was written by Stephen J. Cannell of The Rockford Files fame and also starred James Whitmore Jr. (who’d previously been in Cannell’s Baa Baa Black Sheep). The Web site Modcinema, which sells this 78-minute movie, offers a description of its plot:
It’s a story about two opposites (one’s a genius, the other’s a weapons expert) who team up to bring back a stolen jet for their rich, powerful client. Parts were filmed in Hawaii (apparently at the estate that would later be used for Magnum, P.I.) and Los Angeles. Tom Selleck is a work in progress in this vehicle providing the eye candy. James Whitmore Jr. gets to play a more interesting set of characters throughout the story. This movie, paired with all the other pilots that Selleck did in the ’70s prior to Magnum, make for a fun evening of mindless entertainment.
I’d never heard of The Chinese Typewriter until earlier today, when--during a swing through YouTube--I stumbled across the film clip embedded atop this post. I can’t say it immediately attracts me, or that I am a candidate to purchase my own copy. But Cannell’s work could usually be depended on for good action and dialogue.

Does anybody else remember this pilot?


John McFetridge said...

Never heard of it. That opening is really Cannell-like, though, isn't it?

'79 would have put it just around the time of "Tenspeed and Brown Shoe."

michael said...

I have heard of it but have never seen it. The date is interesting as it connects to two episodes on "The Rockford Files."

White On White & Nearly Perfect" (October 20. 1978) and the second Lance White (Tom Selleck) episode, Nice Guys Finish Dead (November, 16, 1979).