'Magnum P.I.' Production Designer Takes Us Inside La Mariana

Jim Halterman
Preview Karen Neal/CBS

When creating Magnum P.I.'s new tiki-bar set, production designer John Zachary didn't go far for inspiration.

"There's a bar called La Mariana here [on Oahu]," he says, describing the hot spot, built in 1957, as "just funky." The show's La Mariana (yup, same name) is owned by Thomas Magnum's (Jay Hernandez) old Navy buddy Rick (Zachary Knighton).

Here, the designer breaks down the 2,200-square-foot space, which includes a stage and restaurant seating and opens onto a (fake) marina dressed with sailboats.

Making History

"Our set decorator, Julieann Getman, sent an email to the crew saying, 'We'd like old photographs [set] in Hawaii, or at the beach, of you and your family having fun.'" 

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"Hawaiiana"

Decor pieces from puffer-fish and fishing-ball lighting to tiki masks and idols dot the set alongside bigger items such as vintage surfboards and Polynesian furniture. But not all the tchotchkes are island originals. "You can buy some artifacts in Hawaii but not in big amounts," Zachary says. "We bought a lot in California and shipped them over."

How Dry I Am

No booze — just tinted water. 

(Karen Neal/CBS)

No Fishing Allowed

Custom-built by Indoor Oceans Hawaii, the saltwater aquarium houses papaya puffer plus yellow and sailfin tang.

Making History, Part 2

For the bar top, paint mimics the look of pricey koa wood, and Zachary personally helps "age" it. "Every time I go in there," he says, "I take a knife and carve something into the bar!"

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Magnum P.I., Fridays, 9/8c, CBS