Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Anderson Estate (aka "Robin's Nest") To Be Torn Down.

Aloha All,

Can't believe it's been 3 years since I've posted but I no longer seem to be in the film or TV business even after becoming the first person from Hawaii to enter the ADG (Art Directors Guild).  I'm afraid the business has returned to the pre-Magnum days of bringing in all department heads (and even many assistants) from L.A.  I rose to too high up the ladder to be considered, apparently, for any job.

Well, this isn't about me, it's that this article just appeared on my Facebook page and is not good:


I had been considering a posting since a few of you have inquired if I will having anything to do with the "new" Magnum, and my opening paragraph will answer that for you.

I am currently finishing my first season as the Prop Master for Hawaii Opera Theatre which is a return to my original theatre roots--however not in my former capacity as a lighting and set designer.  I really am enjoying the position, although it is only 5 months of work a year, unemployment compensation only lasts 6!

Still working on my historic home which turned 90 last year and I celebrated with a big birthday party for it.  Now with my "new" roof from 1986 leaking, I can understand the frustrations of the owners of the historic Anderson property.  Although mine is older and built on boulders that go into a stream, it is not the ocean with the corrosive salt air.  Many people don't realize that ocean front homes here even have to replace their electronics every few years.  In the case of a home that is built from reinforced concrete and stone using iron rebar, there is little that can be done to stop the internal crumbling (spalling).  Her beautiful wrought iron stair railing  looked like it had been eaten by acid even decades ago.

When the house first sold, the local CBS news station called me to ask some questions about filming there.  They were not aware that none of the show was ever filmed inside the house--Eve actually forbid anyone going inside other than me and my crew to place ferns and chairs on the 2nd floor lanai that faced the courtyard below.  Funny how many people still think we filmed the series' interiors there.

As far as the new Magnum show, it is the same producer / writer (showrunner) used for the new "5-0" as well as the new "McGyver."  What concerns me about the new "Magnum" is the show being tied to the 80's as much as it was to Tom Selleck.  Since neither are available, the show will be updated for the audience who they expect will watch it.  We are no longer in that age group.  As someone once told me, "Episodic TV is just filler between commercials."  Crass as that may be, it is true.  The show's success will be determined by viewership of the key demographic age group and that will determine what the advertising rates will be for commercials appearing during it's hour.  Our watching or not watching will not affect the show.  Higgin's is now a woman.  Magnum will not have a mustache.  The 80's are over.

Mahalo for your interest over the years,

Rick Romer

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Information on Anderson Estate Sale


Sorry if this isn't showing as a hyper link but just copy and paste it into your browser.  This was in the morning Honolulu paper.

Interesting to note they did not pay cash but got a mortgage for more than the cost of the house.  Wonder what would have happened if one of us had tried that?  Maybe being BFF with the president helped?

Will post any updates….



P.S.  I did just have a local TV station contact me and wanted pictures of the estate interior.  They were shocked to learn that we only shot the EXTERIOR of the house and that all interior filming was done inside a soundstage.  But YOU already knew that!   You also know that the soundstage sets were more based on the Marks Estate (also in escrow) and later used as the King Kamehameha Club because the pilot was shot in that house, not the Anderson Estate.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Two Estates Are in Escrow

Can't believe it's been almost 1-1/2 years since I've posted on this blog.  Well, considering it's been 30+ years since I was working on the show, I guess it's not surprising.

I ran into a realtor friend yesterday who told me that both the "Marks Estate" (pilot for Magnum and frequent film location including the King Kamehameha Club) as well as the Eve Glover Anderson Estate have been sold and are both in escrow.  I don't know who bought them or what the final selling price was or what the new owners are planning to do with them.  If any of you find out, please feel free to add a comment here.  If I hear of anything, I will post it.

As for me, I just finished a Chinese movie on Friday as the Production Designer called "Pali Road" (previously called "Life Unknown").

FYI, Tom Selleck is now 70 and John Hillerman is 83.  I'm still 36.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Island Hoppers Lives Again as Paradise Helicopters!

I'm working on a film out at the Turtle Bay Hotel on the spectacular north shore of Oahu.  We are building some set pieces before filming begins next week.  I was very surprised to see the Magnum, P.I. helicopter taking off right next to where we are working.  I knew that a company here was flying the same helicopter (but not THE identical one) we had used on the show with the same graphics.  I walked over to see if they would allow me to take a photo to post here.  I met the pilot, Josh, and Sarah and mentioned to them I had worked on the show and they kindly allowed me to take these photos:

The helicopter had just been used for some aerial photography and still had the camera mount.  We are working right on the other side of those trees.
Both Roger Mosley and Larry Manetti have visited and signed the helicopter in 2 places.

They have also signed the console at the bottom as well.

It was great to see this copter again after so many years.  It's in much better condition than I remembered ours being.

So if any of you get a chance to visit our beautiful State sometime, contact www.paradisecopters.com and go for a ride.  Too bad they can't fly to the estate and land, but maybe someday.  Josh said he'd take me up sometime so maybe I'll have something more to post!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Answer to map of Robin's Nest Question

I think I addressed this once in an earlier blog posting.  I know we had a fairly crude (by today's standards) framed drawing or painting of the Robin's Nest Compound.  It was one of the many "meaningless" remains of the show that was kicked around for years in the set dressing area and finally either eaten by termites or dumped when cleaning out the space--I know, what a waste when there is still so much interest in the show.  
Any reference to floor plans would have been more of a writer's issue for any episode that needed one and would have then become a working prop item rather than set dressing.  I think they mostly made things up as they went along although there was a Magnum "Bible" that did keep track of things that were invented so they didn't make a big mistake or repeat something.
I would say the door-to-banister measurement was probably 4' as you have guessed--based more on a standard sheet of plywood being 4' than any artistic reason.  There wasn't a lot of room up there as I recall.  As i have repeated several times, I joined the show 30 years ago this August for season 4 and all of the permanent sets (except for the later, seldom used living room) were done by then.  There probably were plans that were kept for awhile on the permanent sets, but Universal eventually bulldozed the remains of not only Magnum sets, but all of the original Hawaii 5-0 sets that were still stored under tarps in the back lot around 1987 when the show shut down.
So at this point, your guess is as good as anyone else's!
FYI, with the new "Hawaii 5-0" filming at the State Film Studio again, the old 5-0 / Magnum soundstage has been refurbished with new air conditioning and is again being used for filming rather than storage as it has been for the past 14 years or so.
Thanks for your continued interest!  Original blog comment / question below for reference. 

Hey Rick! Did you guys have a reference floor plan or blueprints of Robins nest when you were working on the show? And if you did can we (the fans) see it? I am currently trying to construct a formal and real floor plan of robins nest and Magnums guest house from scenes compiled from the show. I know the rooms where not in real time as they were really just studio sets and locations filmed at different residences to make up the imaginary Robins nest. All of my dimensions are guessed based on visuals... for example the stair landing when you walk in the entrance of magnums guest house looks like its about 4 to 5 feet wide from door to banister. Do you still have the dimensions for the interior settings? Just in case we fans want to reproduce them?
August 26, 2013 at 4:01 PM
Blogger lamond jack said...
Believe it or not I am currently trying to make formal blue prints of the entire Robins Nest estate and could really use your historical knowledge of the different sets dimensions and measurements. I know the guest house was located behind Robins main house in TV land but they actually filmed and used the boat house located past the tennis courts in real time as the gust house. I want to blue print everything about Robin's Nest in its TV land make believe interpretation. So far I have had to slightly enlarge the houses structure width wise and height wise to accommodate some of the rooms depicted on the show. I also had to add three basements... LOL. We all know the double doors that are suppose to be the entrance to Robins nest actually lead out to the court yard. Hence the reason why I had to widen the house to fit the shows central hallway in comfortably. LOL I know, I know, I'm a Magnum PI NUT! Sorry but I can't help it!
August 26, 2013 at 4:19 PM

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Yearly Update! Greetings from 2013.....

Aloha All!  I had never intended this to be a once a year posting.  I even had trouble remembering my password to answer all of those (well, not that many) who have emailed in the past year.  So, if you don't mind not much news about Magnum, P.I., here's what's going on:

I'm afraid my "new career" as a Creative Director for a special events company only lasted 10 months.  The job wasn't particularly creative, nor was there a need for the kind of creativity I could provide.  So other than creating an 18' long smoke breathing dragon we put into the middle of a swimming pool at a hotel for a food and wine festival, I spent most of my time doing Xcel documents in a cubicle!  I now have a much greater respect for my sister who managed to do 38 years in a cubicle for the phone company.  I'm not a cubicle kind of guy!

Earlier this year, I spent about 10 days as the Production Designer for the opening credits and trailer for the new "Dog and Beth Bounty Hunter" show.  It's actually not being filmed here and I don't know if they used any of the footage we shot since I haven't seen the show now on the CMT network.  I thought I was going to be working on "Godzilla" which just wrapped.  The day and location for my interview were set, but the call with the time never came.  They did bring over a huge number of crew people from the mainland and Canada which was mildly insulting.  It's ok, a movie about Godzilla attacking Waikiki will not be on my viewing list anyway.

What will be on my viewing list is my next job--one of the potential best of my career. Funny how one job doesn't even want to meet and a much bigger one, with an Art Director position working for an Academy Award winning Production Designer and very famous director on a true story with an incredible script does work out.  Unfortunately the 3 page non-disclosure agreement I signed prevents me from discussing it here!  But I think I can say that I am very excited and look forward to my 6 week involvement.

I can tell you, however, I have written up a Production Design course outline I will be teaching at Pacific New Media through the University of Hawaii extension division this fall.  There will be 6 weekly 2 hour sessions for anyone who wants to sign up.  It will be a chance to educate a group of people what actually does happen in the art department and hopefully give some insight to visual aesthetics when creating a film or video production.  If nothing else they will learn how to fake it and find it!  I am hoping that this will eventually lead to the possibility of teaching more within my field.

The only Magnum News to report is that a local helicopter company did bring Roger Mosley over here to land in their Island Helicopter looking helicopter that is now doing tours here on Oahu.  The actual helicopter crashed years ago, but I believe this is the same model and is painted to look like the original.

Other news is that the facility that the new "Hawaii Five-0" had been using in an old newspaper warehouse complex near downtown is being torn down for one of 22 new 40 story high-rises being built in Honolulu.  Apparently being recognized as already having the worse traffic in the USA, we need to be even more crowded in our city core so that our new $5 billion monorail might actually get used. (yes, I have my own opinions!) Now that Disney has given up their lease (originating with "LOST") on the State Film Studio at Diamond Head (where the original "Magnum, P.I." was filmed), 5-0 has moved in there.  Shows today are so much more complex than they were 30 years ago so they are also renting additional warehouse space.

I will try and post more than once a year!  Thanks to those of you who do keep in touch.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Career Change

I've been thinking about how to write this for the past few months.  On the one hand starting a new career for anyone has its challenges especially after 30 years of what I've been doing.  The reality is that the TV and film business has changed.  Let's just say they aren't changes that agree with me so changing professions is actually not that traumatic.  Well, spending days on end on the computer with Xcel and Pages can be traumatic at times!  In any case, I am now the Creative Director for a large special events company here.  They don't really have to advertise and we do mostly high end corporate and incentive events, weddings, --well, special, special events!  My creative abilities haven't been used as much as I'd like to see, but it will come and learning the business end first will ultimately benefit me more.

For anyone that doesn't think this was meant to be, about a year ago someone to told me to write down what my ideal job would be.  List everything I really wanted to be doing and the money I wanted to be making.  Early this year a job under "Business and Management" on craigslist appeared--which I never would have seen since I wouldn't have thought to ever look in that category for work.  Anyway,  a friend forwarded this position and what they were looking for almost matched my ideal job list line by line.  Even more bizarre was the date of my first big event was also the same day that the last episode of "The River" on ABC appeared AND the very last thing I worked on in January, one episode of "The Biggest Loser" on NBC.  Now I wouldn't have minded the last thing I worked on not being called The Biggest Loser, but the fact that both appeared on the same day as my first big event was pretty obvious to me that it was meant to be.  So out with the old and in with the new as they say.

As all the jobs I've had my entire adult life have required, I still get off the H-1 Freeway on the Kokohead Avenue Exit each day.  Instead of Diamond Head Theatre or the State Film Studio, it's now my current job.  The film studio is across the street from the Bark Park where I sometimes take my dog.  They are starting up a new series called "Last Resort" where I was doing "The River" this time last year and "Magnum, P.I." 29 years ago.  You would think I would feel something--but, like the lyrics in that song in "Chorus Line"...."I felt nothing."  Even less so when you hear that the"Last Resort" is not about a tourist hotel, but a stolen nuclear submarine that declares itself the world's smallest nuclear nation, or power, or something.......whatever.   Break a periscope!

So that's my news.  My only regret is that I hadn't thought to do this years ago but it's a lot like that thing about the frog being in the pot of water with the stove on.  It's taken finding a new creative profession to make me realize what I've been missing.  I now call on all sorts of dormant experience and talent within the entertainment industry, photography, writing descriptive narratives, lighting, well, you get the picture.

For those of you "of a certain age" who aren't happy with what you are doing--put it out there and see what happens!