Thursday, July 3, 2014

Classic TV: Hawaii Five-O (1968)

Ah, Hawaii. The most glamorous of tourist destinations does have its dark side, which has been explored since 1968, starting with the iconic Hawaii Five-O.

For 12 seasons, viewers tuned to see if Detective-Lieutenant Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord, ex-Stoney Burke) would solve the case. McGarrett's most persistent nemesis was a rogue intelligence agent named Wo Fat (Khigh Dheigh), who proved to be as much as frustrating foe for McGarrett as, say, Prof. Moriarty was to Sherlock Holmes. Fat, however, was finally collared in the series finale in 1980.

Rather than put up an episode that could conceivably be booted off YouTube, I happened to find the following, an excerpt from a CBS preview promo for their 1968 fall schedule, so you'll see a quick snippet of Blondie before Five-O begins.

While Morton Stevens composed the iconic theme music, most people will recall the Ventures' cover, which hit #4 on the charts in 1968.........

Five-O also attracted an eclectic lineup of guest-stars, some being unlikely to be cast as villains, such as Gavin McLeod (ex-McHale's Navy, two years away from The Mary Tyler Moore Show) and impressionist Rich Little, in a dramatic turn, as a psychotic. I really wish that particular episode was available, to be honest with you.

After a pilot made in the late 90's didn't quite catch on, Hawaii Five-0 (note the subtle change in the title) returned in 2010, and just completed its 4th season, with second generation star Scott Caan as Danny Williams (originally played by James MacArthur) opposite Alex O'Loughlin as McGarrett. I really have to catch up with the current version. Thankfully, this season's episodes, or at least some of them, are available On Demand.

Rating: A-.


magicdog said...

My dad and I loved watching this show back in the day. Trouble is, it's so very dated now!

I caught some eps on ME TV last year and I couldn't help but laugh at how things were portrayed compared to modern shows. One ep was centered around a potential outbreak of a virus. Chin Ho of all people was the one sealing off the area! IRL, someone from the CDC would have been doing that! The Five-O guys were doing a lot of things other personnel would have been handling.

During a vacation to Hawaii, I had the chance to go to the areas where Five-O was filmed. We saw the exteriors of HQ (very small area in reality!) and Punchbown Cemetary (where Hawaii's war dea are buried). The cemetary is overseen by "Lady Columbia", the staue of which is shown in the opening credits.

The theme song is still one of the coolest in history!

I remember the attempt to ressurect the show prior to the current version. The intent was to connect it to the original - James MacArthur was supposed to reprise his role as Danny, only now he'd become the Governor and of course, the boss of the new Five-O team. I'd have liked that development!

hobbyfan said...

I wonder who torpedoed that idea at CBS?

I've yet to see the current series, and will bring up the late 90's pilot down the line.