In looking over these photos of the mostly unfinished library set and/or being shot, I can only guess I wasn't able to be there for the completed set before the film company showed up and pulled it all apart. That was always a challenge due to my unpredictable schedule. They pull out walls and furniture to allow for lighting equipment and the camera to film on any stage set. They will do a "master" shot that captures the scene in a wide angle and then move in for close-ups. It's not uncommon for an actor to be talking to........no one! When they edit it together, two actors are talking to each other. Anyway, what decorator wants actors, and lighting and sound equipment covering up their set? Sometimes there's not much time before the set is dressed and when it's being pulled apart.
What I remember most about this set was a pre-production meeting with some of the writer/producers. I think one of them was Rueben Leder. While discussing the look of this new set, I often was running the availability of local set dressing through my head so I wouldn't come up with an idea that I couldn't produce. I knew that a friend of mine's father had just donated his large collection of animal heads to the Hawaii Opera Theatre prop department. He was a contributor or they wouldn't have been too thrilled with housing this large and heavy stuffed animal collection. I suggested various trophy animal heads for the library walls and semi-jokingly said "How about a water buffalo?" So Rueben called my "bluffalo" (bad) and I felt kind of cocky since I knew I could supply it. The joke was on me because I didn't know that the water buffalo head weighed a few hundred pounds! There was no way that it could be hung on any set wall without causing it to collapse. The carpenters had to build a whole rig to hold up the head and put the whole unit on wheels in case they needed to move the wall. You can see it hanging crooked with 2 ladders in one photo. I'm sure my poor crew was taking a break from trying to hang it.
I see I used my green brocade dining room chairs on the set. I think this was a set where they decided on the day of shooting that the real library table I had in the middle of the set was too small and they wanted a larger table, NOW! So I sent my crew to my house with the big truck and they got my very large dining room table. It's also where the big ding in the top of my black walnut table came from--no compensation since it was the decorator's table. Anyway, I guess it worked out fine. The books don't look very impressive and were, in fact, real books and weighed a ton. One of the things I did when I became decorator was to make all the books in Higgin's den fake so it was easier to move the walls. They couldn't complain about that since it didn't really change the look--only the weight!
On this set you can see a small ceiling piece in the corner--no bigger than it needed to be for whatever scene and angle they were shooting. You can also see a little of the catwalk system above used for overhead lighting. I don't think we had the OSHA safety requirements that they have now or this nasty piece of engineering would have been condemned. I think one of the reasons for the locations and shape of the permanent sets for Magnum was based on the location of the old catwalks left from the Hawaii 5-0 set days. Higgin's Den was in the same location as McGarret's office. In fact, their desk chairs were almost in the same exact spot! I know that story sounds like the tail wagging the dog to have adapted the sets to the existing catwalks rather than building new ones, but I'm pretty sure what's what happened. I think if they had changed them much, they would never have been able to use such unsafe, wooden, hanging from a ceiling system as they had.
Well, not much else is coming to mind about this set. Again, I don't think it was used again or I would have remembered that water buffalo! At least you got some pictures on this post.