The door of the King Kamehameha Club is open, but you won’t get far if you go inside. “Are you members?” Asks a guardian, “Unfortunately you have to stay outside.” Randy Spangler tries the jovial way: “I worked here once.” No chance.
But even from the entrance you have a good view of the room. The bar with the round tables and rattan chairs, the cave-like low ceiling, the whole, somewhat musty semi-darkness that opens onto a terrace towards the beach, not just any, but rather the Terrace. The light pops in from here, the cloudless sky, the turquoise Pacific with the surfers on top – everything that Waikiki has to offer in terms of radiance in the early morning. The private investigator Magnum was out there, drinking beer from long-necked bottles, trying to get his friends Rick and TC involved in his investigation. In the background bikini beauties with poodle hairstyles strutted through the sand. Back then it was the eighties. They are still in this room today. “Nothing has changed,” says Randy Spangler, “oh, boy!”
It’s been 30 years since Spangler worked here at 2933 Kalakaua Avenue in Honolulu. Not as a waiter or bouncer, although he would still have the ideal, impressive stature for the latter job despite his 70 years. Spangler was location manager of the television series “Magnum, pi” – the abbreviation for “private investigator” was omitted in the German version. There were 162 episodes in eight seasons, from 1980 to 1988 in the USA and from 1984 in Germany. At that time, Derrick and the old man were still in charge of the investigation in this country. Difficult to say which of the two commissioners had larger bags under the eyes. And then suddenly Magnum rushed through the evening program in a fire-engine red Ferrari 308 GTS. Straight from Hawaii! Exotic, funny and a bit forbidden, because the airtime is actually too late for children – so: irresistible for a 13-year-old boy who was drawn out into the world.
“Tom has a heart of gold,” says the person who organized the filming locations for the series
Magnum lives in the guest house of Robin Masters as security advisor to the richly bestselling author Robin Masters – much to the annoyance of the over-correct British majordomo Jonathan Higgins. He is particularly bothered by Magnum’s casualness, which also includes his style-defining look: mustache and hair dryer, Hawaiian shirt and chest hair as well as tight, short pants. When looking back at the old episodes, these trousers, you have to keep in mind, look even more abnormal than the shoe-box-sized car phones or the absurd whistle of some action scenes. Much more important, however: Magnum’s self-deprecating off-commentary (“I know exactly what you’re thinking now, and you’re right, but…”), The running gags, the suspense of the cases, the spectacular show value of the locations – that’s today still good. Magnum is naturally likable, not like its big competitors in the 1980s: not as slippery as lifeguard Hasselhoff, not as cocky as Popper cop Don Johnson in “Miami Vice”. How nice that Randy Spangler doesn’t destroy this sentimental idea. He not only knows Magnum, but also its actor Tom Selleck. And he says, “Tom has a heart of gold.”
Randy Spangler’s job was to find the locations. For the King Kamehameha Club, for example. It’s actually a club, but it’s actually called Elks Lodge 616. Even Spangler doesn’t know what the members do. “Something patriotic, charitable,” he suspects. A parking space is reserved for the “Deer of the Year” in the parking lot in front of the club. In addition, Spangler has parked his brand-new, white jeep. The palm logo of a “Pupukea pineapple plantation” is emblazoned on the doors of the car. Below it says: “For official use only.” Spangler explains: “That’s one of my tricks. The jeep looks like the authorities. That’s how you let me through everywhere.”
In addition to Magnum, he has organized locations for dozens of other TV series and films, including “Hawaii Five-0”, “Lost”, “The Hunger Games”, “Godzilla”, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “Jurassic Park” and ” Jurassic World “. He knows every palm frond on Hawaii’s main island of Oahu. He grew up here. His father was in the army and after the end of World War II had the choice of either being stationed in Germany or in Hawaii. “Well,” says Randy Spangler with a laugh, “I suppose he chose the right place.” After retiring, his father rented out holiday apartments. In the 1960s, television people came looking for locations for the crime series “Hawaii Five-0”. The Spanglers were in business, and Randy has been for 50 years to this day.
He steers his jeep down Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu’s shopping street. Left and right hotels, expensive boutiques, odds and ends, the statue of the surfing god Duke Kahanamoku, surfers with their boards under their arms. “When Tom showed up here with the Ferrari, everyone stopped and took photos,” says Spangler. He stops in front of the wood-paneled entrance to the Hyatt Hotel. “Thousands of people watched him pull up here. The director yelled ‘Cut!’ And at that moment everyone ran up to Tom and pushed him against the wall. The police had to protect him. Crazy!”