"Magnum" Makes the Smithsonian

by Scott Murakami January 28, 2014

If you've ever watched and episode of "Magnum PI" you are probably well aware that Thomas Magnum (played by the awesome Tom Selleck) wore Aloha shirts every once in a while when solving crime. Of all the shirts he ever wore on that show, none became more iconic than the red shirt with the parrot and banana leaves. That Aloha shirt is officially named "Jungle Bird" and was deemed worthy of being included in the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of History. During the induction ceremony, Tom Selleck presented director Roger Kennedy with the shirt and other mementos from the show. So remember, whenever you put on the Jungle Bird Hawaiian shirt, you really are putting on a piece of American TV history!

And here's a little history and background info about that famous shirt. For most of its existence, the Jungle Bird shirt was made of 100% cotton. From the late 80s to 2013, that shirt existed as a cotton shirt. But the original shirt was actually made of 100% rayon. Rayon shirts are known to have a softer feel and more vibrant color that cotton giving it a more premium feel. In late 2013, Pacific Clothing, the owner of the rights to that design, switched the shirt from cotton back to rayon.

When the fabric for Hawaiian shirts is produced, they are rarely produced in only one "color way". Almost all prints by any Hawaiian clothing manufacturer are produced with the same design in multiple colors. This gives the manufacturer some options to produce different shirts and dresses of the same print in different colors which gives them a broader product lineup and a better chance to recoup the money spent on any given print. The Magnum PI shirt is no different. Whenever this shirt is seen in the media or in public, it is almost always the red version you see here. But it also comes in a black shirt and different dress styles

All this Magnum PI talk has gotten us thinking about the show. Here's the intro to the show we below we found on YouTube. There are many versions but this one seems to be the one we remember most. The shirt does not make an appearance until the final seconds of the intro when Magnum does his mischievous eyebrow thing. 




Scott Murakami
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