Hawaii Five-O’s 45th anniversary: cop show with a spy twist

Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett

Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett

Forty-five years ago this month, Hawaii Five-O debuted. While a cop show, it had an element of international intrigue from the start.

The two-hour television movie version version of the pilot, which first aired on CBS on SEPT. 20, 1968, concerned a plot where Red Chinese intelligence operative Wo Fat was torturing U.S. intelligence agents in the Pacific Rim and obtaining important information.

Steve McGarrett, the no-nonsense head of state police unit Hawaii Five-O is drawn to the case because the latest victim was a friend of his. The lawman, a former U.S. Naval intelligence officer, isn’t one to back down from official pressure to lay off.

The pilot immediately grabbed the attention of viewers. A short pre-titles sequence shows Wo Fat using a sensory deprivation chamber for the torture. That’s followed by a 90-second main title featuring a stirring theme by Morton Stevens.

The composer initially thought about re-using the theme he wrote for an unsold pilot, CALL TO DANGER. His wife, Annie Stevens, strongly advised against the move, according to a 2010 STORY IN THE HONOLULU STAR ADVERTISER. As a result, Stevens created one of the greatest themes in television history.

The series was conceived by veteran television producer Leonard Freeman, who wrote the pilot. Freeman’s 1967 first draft had a team led by McGarrett, with a mid-20s Hawaiian sidekick, Kono Kalakaua, a third, heavy-set detective and Chin Ho Kelly, who was the Honolulu Police Department’s liaison with Five-O. In the final version of the story, the sidekick became the Caucasian Danny Williams; the Kono name was given to the heavier-set character; and Chin Ho was made a full-fledged member of Five-O.

Freeman & Co. were preparing to film the pilot with American actor Robert Brown as McGarrett. Rose Freeman, widow of the Five-O creator, told a 1996 fan convention in Los Angeles that CBS objected to the casting and, just five days before filming was to start, Brown was replaced with Jack Lord, the first screen incarnation of Felix Leiter in Dr. No. Brown ended up starring in another 1968 series, Here Come the Brides.

The pilot had Tim O’Kelly as Danny. When the series was picked up, Freeman recast the part with James MacArthur, who a small, but notable role in Hang ‘Em High, a Clint Eastwood Western film that Freeman had produced.

The international espionage aspect of Five-O remained throughout the show’s 12-year run, though less so in the later seasons. Wo Fat, played by Khigh Dhiegh, made a NUMBER OF RETURN APPEARANCES, including the 1980 series finale. As the U.S. and China began to normalize diplomatic relations, Wo Fat became an independent menace. In the ninth-season opener, Wo Fat attempts to take over the Chinese government.

Five-O matched wits with a number of other spies played by the likes of Theodore Bikel (who had tried out for Goldfinger), Maud Adams and Soon Tek-Oh. George Lazenby, the second screen James Bond, played a secondary villain in a 1979 episode filmed on location in Singapore.

Five-O wasn’t always an easy show to work on. Freeman died in early 1974, after the sixth season completed production. Zulu (real name Gilbert Kauhi), who played Kono left after the fourth season; he told fans at the 1996 convention about problems he had with Jack Lord. His replacement, Al Harrington as another detective, departed in the seventh season.

Nevertheless, Five-O had a long run. When it left the air, Five-O was the longest-running crime drama, a status it held until Law and Order, the 1990-2010 series.

Lord’s Steve McGarrett emerged as one of the most recognizable television characters. In 2007, 27 years after the final Five-O episode, THE NEW YORK TIMES’S OPINION PAGES summed up Five-O’s appeal.

“Evil makes McGarrett angry, but when he speaks, his voice is startlingly gentle, exuding a quiet control that a beleaguered generation of parents surely wished they had when facing the forces of social decay,” reads the commentary by Lawrence Downes.

The writer ends his piece describing what it might be like if McGarrett was president. He dispatches Kono and Chin to stop illegal immigration and tells Danny that he wants undocumented workers “legalized. Tell Congress to send me a bill. I want it tough, and I want it fair. And I want it on my desk Monday morning.”

Cast of the 2010 Hawaii Five-0

Cast of the 2010 Hawaii Five-0

In 2010, CBS introduced a new version of the show, with a slightly different spelling (Hawaii Five-0, with a digit instead of a capital O as in the original), a younger McGarrett (Alex O’Loughlin), a Danny with more attitude (Scott Caan) and a woman Kono (Grace Park).

CBS will begin televising the fourth season of the new Five-0 later this month. The show been shifted to Friday nights after falling ratings during the 2012-13 season, including a 25 percent decline for its season finale compared with a year earlier.

Even if the new Five-0′s ratings stabilize, it doesn’t seem likely editorial writers will muse what it’d be like to have McGarrett 2.0 as president. On the other hand, the producers were smart enough to keep the Morton Stevens theme music.

Hawaii Five-0′s fixation with Die Another Day

DADposter

Goldfinger said, “Mr. Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: `Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.”‘

We’re way beyond coincidence now. Clearly, the makers of CBS’s Hawaii Five-0, a remake of the 1968-80 television series, have a thing for Die Another Day, the 20th James Bond movie, released in 2002.

The April 15 installment featured an episode where the setting, for the second time in consecutive seasons, was set in North Korea. One of the villains was played by Rick Yune, who played Zao, the “physical villain” of Die Another Day.

Well, that could be happenstance, you say. Except, the show previously has had Will Yun Lee, who played North Korean Colonel Moon (who transforms himself into Gustav Graves, played by Toby Stephens), from the same movie. Lee has had a recurring role since the start of the show.

More tellingly, a November 2011 episode borrowed even more from Die Another Day. In that episode, scenes set in North Korea are photographed so they’re all dark while scenes set in other locales have bright colors. Also, there’s a scene where McGarrett 2.0 (Alex O’Loughlin) is tortured much the same way that Bond (Pierce Brosnan) is tortured in the 2002 Bond movie.

We’re definitely passed coincidence. Die Another Day these days tends to get mixed reviews among 007 fans. But it seems clear that it has fans among the Five-0 crew.

EARLIER POSTS:
McGarrett 2.0 clearly has never watched Die Another Day (Nov. 21, 2011)

Compare Die Another Day vs. Hawaii Five-0 (Nov. 24, 2011)

007/Hawaii Five-0 actor on Dave White presents

Will Yun Lee

Will Yun Lee

Dave White Presents, the Internet radio show, has an upcoming installment featuring Will Yun Lee, who was in 2002′s Die Another Day and has a recurring role on the new version of Hawaii Five-0 on CBS.

Some more details, courtesy of Wes Britton:

2002 was a banner year for actor Will Yung Lee. For one thing, he starred as baddie Colonel Tan-Sun Moon in the 20th James Bond opus, Die Another Day. In the same year, People magazine named him one of the “50 Most Beautiful People.” Five years later, People included him in their list of “The 15 Sexiest Men Alive.”

Along the way, Lee has been busy on both the small and large screens. He’s had roles in Witchblade, Bionic Woman, Electra, and as a recurring character on Hawaii 5-O. He’ll also be the Silver Samurai in the Upcoming The Wolverine.

On Tuesday, March 12, Will will join Wes Britton to talk about his career, especially what it was like to work on the 40th anniversary 007 film and how his role as Sang Min on Hawaii 5-O was shaped. In addition, he’s the star of a new DVD release called The Four Assassins and we’ll go behind the scenes of that thoughtful character study.

The show will be Tuesday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern time and then at 7:30 p.m. Pacific time at WWW.KSAV.ORG. The show will be available as a downloadable podcast the next day at www.audioentertainment.org/dwp.

Five-0 `Hookman’ remake’s similarities, differences

Hawaii-five-O-new

Feb. 5: Updated with a correction about the credit fonts.

CBS’s new Hawaii Five-0 followed the 1973 version of “Hookman” pretty closely in the remake that aired Feb. 4. But there were some significant differences, as well. Here’s a sampling of the similarities and differences:

Episode title: The new Five-0 repeated “Hookman” as the episode titles. The new show, that debuted in 2010, usually uses Hawaiian words as titles while not actually showing those episode titles on screen. (CLICK HERE for an example.) Apparently, “Hookman” doesn’t have a good Hawaiian equivalent. Also, the title “Hookman” was shown on screen just before the main titles. The villain had prosthetic hands rather than hooks, but “Prosthetic Hand Man” wasn’t nearly as good a title as “Hookman.”

Credit fonts: It appeared that Five-0 used the same, or at least a very similar font for the credits as the one used in the original show. Presumably this was intended for a “retro” look that CBS had hyped in promoting the episode. (Shoutout to Mike Quigley, webmaster of The Hawaii Five-O Home Page for pointing out differences in the fonts.)

Car chase: In both the 1973 and 2013 versions, the villain takes off in a Ford Mustang. In the original show, Ford Motor Co. was the supplier of vehicles. In the new show, General Motors Co. has that role (McGarrett 2.0 tools around in a Chevrolet Camaro). It looked like the crew attempted to obscure the Mustang logo in the front grille of the Feb. 4 show.

Meanwhile, in the original, McGarrett chased after the villain by himself. In the Feb. 4 show, both McGarrett 2.0 and Danno 2.0 are in McGarrett’s Camaro. Naturally a “cargument” (a schtick of the new show) ensues between the two men.

Things not shown in the original: In the 1973 “Hookman,” we don’t see the villain send his car into the bay; we’re just told about it later. Such a scene was staged in the remake. What’s more, the Feb. 4 show had a flashback sequence showing how the villain lost his hands. In the 1973 version, McGarrett provides a quick recap. Also, in the new version, it was McGarrett’s father who was involved in that case, rather than McGarrett himself.

Score: Morton Stevens won an Emmy for his “Hookman” score. The score on the Feb. 4 story keeps with the general Five-0 background music by Brian Tyler and Keith Power that seems like it’s the poor man’s Hans Zimmer from Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies.

New ending: McGarrett 2.0 “meets” the ghosts of the villain’s victims, something that didn’t happen at all in the original.

UPDATE (Feb. 5): You can CLICK HERE to watch the Feb. 4 episode on CBS’s Web site.

Hawaii Five-0′s remake of `Hookman’ to air Feb. 4

Hawaii-five-O-new

The new Hawaii Five-0′s remake of the “Hookman” episode from the original 1968-80 series is scheduled to be broadcast by CBS on Feb. 4, according to the TV LINE WEB SITE.

The story is presumably accurate because CBS promoted TV Line’s piece IN A TWITTER POSTING.

According to TV Line, the remake includes some scenes shot in the same locations as the 1973 original. The story includes stills from the new and original versions of Hookman, which features a villain who has no hands and must use hooks to operate weapons. Here’s an excerpt of the TV Line story:

Fans of the original series will remember the episode’s title and plot from the sixth season premiere, which nabbed an Emmy for the iconic drama. Only back then, a double amputee gunned for Jack Lord’s Steve McGarrett, who’d played a huge role in his accident.

Morton Stevens, composer of the Five-O theme, won the Emmy for his background music for the 1973 episode.

UPDATE (Jan. 23): We came across a CBS PRESS RELEASE for this episode and see a red flag. It has some credits near the end including “Written by Joe Halpin.” But what about the writers of the original episode, Glen Olson and Rod Baker?

In the 1990s, Lois and Clark: the New Adventures of Superman remade “Panic in the Sky,” an episode of the 1950s George Reeves series The Adventures of Superman. Jackson Gillis, the writer of the original, got a “story by” credit for the 1990s show. It would seem that Olson and Baker would be due similar treatment for the new version of “Hookman.”

UPDATE II: Back IN NOVEMBER: CBS said writer Halpin had consulted with Olson and Baker about the remake to get their blessing. Executive Producer Peter Lenkov said the remake would “stay true to each and every element that made ‘Hookman’ such a beloved hour of television.”

UPDATE III (Jan. 25): The Writer’s Guild of America has weighed in on the credit issue for Glen Olson and Rod Baker. See Rod Baker’s response to this post below. We’re glad to hear it. If you click on the link to the online CBS press release, it now has a credit for Olson and Baker.

UPDATE IV (Jan. 28): Peter Lenkov fielded a question from a fan on Twitter about Hookman:

Peter Lenkov‏@PLenkov

“@FangirLEEng: @PLenkov Currently watching the original Hookman. Are you guys going to remake every single scene of the episode? #H50” yep

That’s going to be a neat trick. In the 1973-74 season, Five-O episodes were 49-50 minutes without commercials. The new Five-0 is 42-43 minutes.

New Hawaii Five-0 to remake “Hookman”

Hawaii-five-O-new

The new Hawaii Five-0 series is going to remake the “Hookman” episode of the original Hawaii Five-O, according to a story at ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY’S WEB SITE.

The first “Hookman” led off the 1973-74 season. The story concerned a double amputee out for revenge against lawman Steve McGarrett and others. It won an Emmy award for composer Morton Stevens, who also wrote the Five-O theme and established the musical template for the original series.

Here’s an excerpt from the EW.com article:

Peter Weller (RoboCop) is set direct the episode and guest star as the title villain, taking over the role originally played by double amputee Jay J. Armes.

“It was a stand-out and a fan-favorite,” says executive producer Peter Lenkov of choosing the episode from a batch of many contenders. “It sort of came to everyone’s mind — everyone remembered ‘Hookman.’”

Part of the episode is on YouTube, at least for now. It provides a sample of the score that won Stevens his Emmy:

New Hawaii Five-0 borrows from 007 again


Last season, the new Hawaii Five-0 televisions series seemed to borrow quite a bit from the 2002 007 film Die Another Day in an episode where Steve McGarrett 2.0 (Alex O’Loughlin) ended up going to North Korea and was tortured by arch-nemesis Wo Fat.

For the third-season premier on Sept. 24, the CBS show was at it again, this time paying an homage (if you can call it that) to You Only Live Twice and Licence to Kill.

Wo Fat, captured at the end of last season was supposed to be transferred to a super-maximum security prison on the Mainland. He’s in an armored car (not unlike, say, Franz Sanchez in Licence to Kill). A helicopter swoops out of the air. Instead of using a giant magnet (as the Japanese secret service did in You Only Live Twice), it uses a giant claw and takes the armored car away.

The helicopter then, once over the Pacific Ocean, lets go of the armored car, as in Twice (except it appeared to be GCI rather than the real thing). After the armored car is submerged, there are thugs in scuba equipment ready to rescue Wo Fat (again similar to Licence to Kill where the armored car carrying Sanchez goes off a bridge and into the water).

As we type this, the episode is still being broadcast, so maybe the script by Peter M. Lenkov has more 007 homages in store.

UPDATE: No other 007 homages (at least not as obvious), but the episode also showed how the new series is different than the 1968-80 original.

In the third season of the original Five-O (spelled with a capital O instead of a 0 as in the new series), the girlfriend (Anne Archer) of Dan Williams was killed by a murderer wanting it to appear to be the work of a psychopath. Danno eventually caught up with the culprit and could have let him fall off a cliff. Danno was tempted but brings his man in alive.

In the third-season opener of new Five-0, the wife of Chin Ho Kelly dies. When Chin Ho catches up to his man, he shoots him dead. There are no witnesses and he gets off without repercussion.

The literary James Bond and beer

The product-placement deal between Skyfall, the 23rd James Bond film, and Heineken has gotten some 007 fans worked up. Yahoo! Movie’s MovieTalk blog did an April 4 post summarizing fan reaction. An exerpt:

"Martini, James?"
"No. Make mine Heineken (R)."

“D**** you, Product Placement,” Doug wrote on Twitter in response to our update on @YahooMovies. Davey C simply tweeted “Screw ‘em.” Dave Yakir echoed thoughts with a “what a load of crap” tweet, and Keith Williams typed, “Booooo!!!”

The James Bond of Ian Fleming’s original novels and short stories was no stranger to beer, though he didn’t drink it with the same frequency as martinis, bourbon, whiskeys and soda or champagne. But here is a sampling:

Diamonds Are Forever (1956): Bond and Felix Leiter are driving to Saratoga from New York City. The duo “stopped for lunch at The Chicken in the Basket, a log-built Frontier-style road-house with standard equipment…(T)he scrambled eggs and sausages and hot buttered rye toast and the Miller Highlife beer came quickly and were good.”

The Living Daylights (1962): Bond is in Berlin. One one of three nights a British agent will cross the border between East and West and 007 is to shoot a KGB assassin. During one afternoon, after a two-hour walk, has a meal in a restaurant. He has two Molle mit Korn, which we’re told is a double schapps “washed down with draught Lowenbrau.”

The Man With the Golden Gun (1965): Trying to get a lead on killer Fransisco Scaramanga, Bond stops by a brothel and orders a Red Stripe beer. The woman taking his order “deftly uncapped the bottle and put it on the counter besides an almost clean glass.”

In 2006, the Brookston Beer Bulletin blog had a long post (CLICK HERE to read it; the post also has a longer list of other times the literary Bond had beer) that addressed the possibility 007 might have a Heinken in that year’s Casino Royale movie. The blog did not approve of that brand.

But Heineken? Not Heineken. Bond’s character would never drink such swill. He wouldn’t be a snob about wine, food, clothes, cars and practically everything else and then drink such a pedestrian beer.

(snip)

The fictional resort town where most of the (Casino Royale) novel takes place is supposedly near the mouth of the Somme River in the Picardie region, which is only about two hours from Belgium. So while France is not known for its beers, a good selection of Belgian beers would likely be available at the casino and area restaurants. That’s what a beer savvy Bond would order.

We suspect all of this will depend how the Heineken placement is handled. If Daniel Craig’s Bond has a Heineken while still having other drinks, no problem. On the other hand, if it’s handled like this recent Hawaii Five-0 episode with Subway, audiences may wince:

The proprietor of the James Bond Dossier was interviewed by the CBC about product placement and the Heineken deal. Just CLICK HERE to check it out.

UPDATE (April 8): The Scotsman.com Web site has weighed in on the subject and you can CLICK HERE to read it. The article starts off with an anecdote that appears to have been taken from the 1998 book Adrian Turner on Goldfinger. We say appears because the quotes are the same as the ones Turner got from interviewing Guy Hamilton. There’s no attribution of the quotes, however.

UPDATE II (April 9): Looks like the Web site of Bloomberg Businessweek also ran a short article on the subject.

Homages in Skyfall and Five-0 to past 007 films? (spoiler)

Spoiler involved is fairly minor (especially since the horse is out of the barn) but stop reading if you want to remain spoiler-free.

After looking at images at the Facebook page of Bondklub Deutschland & Friends you have to wonder whether Skyfall, the 50th anniversary James Bond film,will have homages to past 007 movies.

Bond flies past a statue of a stag in Thunderball (left), a statue of a stag at 007's ancestral home in Skyfall as photographed by the Foraging Photographer. Coincidence?


Thanks to photos appearing on the Foraging Photographer blog, images of a set intended to pass for Bond’s ancestral home in Scotland show there’s a statue of a stag atop a gate post. In 1965′s Thunderball, Bond (Bill Suitor doubling for Sean Connery), using a jetpack, flies past a statue of a stag while getting away from some minor villains.

An homage? If so, it’s fairly subtle. Eon Productions pulled the same trick with 2002′s Die Another Day, the 40th anniversary 007 movie, which was packed with references to earlier Bond films. Many were pretty obvious, such as Q’s workshop filled with old gadgets, everything from what was supposed to be Thunderball’s jetpack to Rosa Klebb’s deadly shoe in From Russia With Love.

Separately, the March 19 installment of the new Hawaii Five-0 series had a “McGuffin” that would be familar to those who’ve seen Die Another Day. The plot centered around conflict diamonds, the same thing that caused Bond (Pierce Brosnan) to pursue Colonel Moon/Gustav Graves in the 2002 Bond film.

You could write that off to coincidence except the Nov. 21 episode of Five-0 also had things in common with Die Another Day, including a North Korean setting, the hero being tortured and dark, murky photography for scenes set in North Korea. Maybe the Five-0 writing staff liked the movie.

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