The Honolulu Star-Advertiser Outtakes column
Feb 17, 2013 (The Honolulu Star-Advertiser - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Of all the gin joints in town, the "Hawaii Five-0" crew finds Nick's place, and if Nick reminds you of a club manager named Rick, well, your eyes aren't playing tricks on you.
That's Larry Manetti, one of the stars of "Magnum, P.I.," doing a guest gig Monday night as lounge act Nicky "The Kid" Demarco.
Manetti played Rick during the eight-season run of "Magnum," which CBS shot in Hawaii. Rick managed the fictious King Kamehameha Club and served as the well-connected sidekick to the show's main character, Thomas Magnum, who was played with charm and humor by Tom Selleck.
After the end of the original "Five-0," the show kept Hawaii front and center on TV sets from 1980 to 1988.
The 65-year-old Manetti was thrilled to be back in Hawaii last month.
"It was like old home week," he said in a phone call from his home in Los Angeles. "I saw a lot of the Teamsters I worked with on 'Magnum.' It was like coming home. Everything I did was a memory."
Manetti's new character is a tuxedo-wearing lounge singer who owns a place called the Tiki Lounge, which was created at La Mariana, the real-life tiki bar on Sand Island. "The Kid" was a favorite of Steve McGarrett's father and has connections. He ends up helping the "Five-0" team. (The show airs 9 p.m Mondays on CBS/KGMB.)
Of course, he sings, which is something Manetti had never done in front of a camera. Manetti croons the Frank Sinatra standard "I Got You Under My Skin."
"I spent a ton of money on singing lessons, voice coaching and it came off decently," Manetti said.
The actor's singing coach initially balked at the song choice, explaining that even professional singers have trouble with its many keys.
"It was a lot of work and if I come back, which I am sure I will, I am sure they will have me sing more songs," Manetti said. "Look, if an actor doesn't stretch and take chances and do different things, he is not a real actor."
MANETTI has had a variety of television roles since his time on "Magnum": the Hawaii shows "Raven" and "Marker," the long-running series "Quantum Leap" and "Walker, Texas Ranger," and a host of other episodic appearances.
"Five-0" executive producer Peter Lenkov wanted Manetti to guest star from the very beginning of the rebooted version in 2010 but it just didn't work out. Manetti said the "Five-0" showrunner promised him it would happen some day.
When Lenkov approached Manetti this season, the actor's response was beyond enthusiastic. He said he would swim to Hawaii if he had to.
"It is something I wanted to do," he said. "I'm very particular and I turn down a lot of stuff. But the way this was written, it was just marvelous ... and it's a great character."
The other night, Selleck called Manetti to ask how it went. The two men have remained friends since their days on the "Magnum" set. They talked for an hour, Manetti said.
"He's very happy and proud," he said. "He asked me about the character and what I did and he was laughing continuously. He kept saying, 'Larry, you sang.'"
Selleck has a starring role on the CBS police drama "Blue Bloods." Manetti said his friend would love to play Magnum again -- "Tom Selleck and Magnum are one" -- and so would the show's other main stars, Roger E. Mosley (T.C.) and John Hillerman (Higgins).
"There are so many 'Magnum' fans and Selleck and I have talked about it," Manetti said. "All of us are alive and well and all of us would love to do 'Magnum.' But nobody has ever come up with something."
Manetti doesn't view "Magnum" as a show that died and he doesn't think it ever will. But whether or not it comes back, he was grateful for the experience.
"Out of all the things I have done, that is the show that made me," Manetti said. "When they put us all together it was like making one of the greatest potions ever. The chemistry just popped off the screen."
AND that's a wrap ...
Mike Gordon is the Star-Advertiser's film and television writer. Read his Outtakes Online blog at honolulupulse.com. Reach him at 529-4803 or email email@example.com.
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