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.

HMSS’s favorite character actors: Robert Drivas

Robert Drivas, as Morgan Midas, struggles with Robert Conrad's James West

Robert Drivas in The Wild, Wild West

One in an occasional series

Robert Drivas had a talent for playing characters who seemed normal on the outside but were wound just a little tight on the inside.

In the first season of The Wild, Wild West, Drivas portrayed Morgan Midas, who had a rather ambitious scheme. He stole diamonds and melted them down to create a serum that allowed him to move at super speed.

The episode, The Night of the Burning Diamond, written by Ken Kolb, was pure fantasy, stretching the limits for a series that was often unconventional. But Drivas was an engrossing villain, one who often dominated the scenes where he appeared.

Drivas appeared in a number of episodes of Quinn Martin-produced shows. One of his best performances was in a two-part story in The FBI. Drivas played Paul Clamenti, a man in his mid-20s with lots of issues. Clamenti’s parents had been killed as part of La Cosa Nostra violence and he was adopted by his aunt and uncle.

Problem: his uncle, Edward (Telly Savalas), was one of the chiefs of the Cosa Nostra. He also fell in love with Chris Roland (Susan Strasberg), who was the daughter of Leo Roland (Walter Pidgeon), another mob boss.

On top of all that, Paul Clamenti decided to be a hit man on the side. His specialty was to shoot his victims twice in the heart, earning him the nickname Cupid. That sounds rather melodramatic, but Drivas pulled it off, more than holding his own in scenes with old pros.

Drivas also played a key role in the only three-part story in the original Hawaii Five-O series, V is for Vashon. Drivas, by this time in his 30s, played Chris Vashon, the early 20s scion of the Vashon crime family in Hawaii.

Once again, Drivas played opposite old pros (Harold Gould as his father, Luther Adler as his grandfather) and held his own. Chris Vashon died at the end of the first installment, an event that drives the remaining parts of the story.

Drivas played a variety of parts during his career, including Loudmouth Steve in Cool Hand Luke. He died of AIDS-related cancer in 1986 at the age of 47.

Dr. No’s 50th anniversary conclusion: legacy

In evaluating the legacy of Dr. No as it approaches its 50th anniversary, start with the obvious: There’s still a 007 film series to talk about.

James Bond isn’t the biggest entertainment property in the world the way it was in 1965. But its longevity is unique. The five decades that have passed include more than a decade of enforced hiatus (a troublesome 1975 financial split between Eon co-founders Albert R. Broccoli and Harry Saltzman; a legal fight in the early 1990s between Broccoli and MGM; and MGM’s 2010 bankruptcy) disrupting production of the Bond movies. But the Bond films soldier on, with the 23rd entry in the Eon Productions’ series, Skyfall, coming out soon.

The series turned actor Sean Connery into a major star. It made Roger Moore, known mostly as a television star, into a movie star. The same applies to Pierce Brosnan. It made Daniel Craig a star. Even George Lazenby (one movie) and Timothy Dalton (two) who had limited runs as 007 are identified with the series.

The films generated new fans of Ian Fleming’s hero to the point that the movie 007 long ago outsized the influence of his literary counterpart. Finally, the film 007 helped form an untold number of friendships among Bond fans who would have never met otherwise.

All of that began with a modestly budgeted film, without a big-name star, led by a director for hire, Terence Young, who’d be instrumental in developing the cinema version of Agent 007. Dr. No, filmed in Jamaica and at Pinewood Studios, made all that followed possible.

Fans may fuss and feud about which Bond they like best. This 007 film or that may be disparaged by some fans, praised by others. The series may get rebooted. Bond may get recast. The tone of the entries may vary greatly.

In the end, Bond continues. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. can’t say that; The Avengers, the John Steed variety which debuted the year before Dr. No, can’t say that; Matt Helm can’t say that. In time, we suspect, Jason Bourne, which influenced recent 007 movies, won’t either.

Many of those responsible for Dr. No aren’t around to take the bows. They include producers Broccoli and Saltzman; director Young; screenwriter Richard Maibaum; editor Peter Hunt; United Artists studio executive Arthur Krim who greenlighted the project; Joseph Wiseman, who played the title charater, the first film Bond villain; Jack Lord, the first, and some fans say still the best, screen Felix Leiter, who’d become a major television star on Hawaii Five-O; art director Syd Cain, the main lieutenant for production designer Ken Adam; and composer John Barry who orchestrated Monty Norman’s James Bond Theme and who would later define 007 film music.

That’s too bad but that’s what happens with the passage of time. The final product, though remains. It’s all summed up with these words:

James Bond will return.

The Andy Griffith/Hawaii Five-O/007 mashup

Andy Griffith died this week at 86 and, naturally, obituaries detailed his work on the highly successful The Andy Griffith Show. He had one television guest appearance we’d like to note, one that had connections to James Bond movies as well as Griffith’s 1960-68 television series.

Andy Griffith as con man Arnold Lovejoy

That would be the fifth-season Hawaii Five-O episode I’m a Family Crook — Don’t Shoot! The episode, which first aired Dec. 19, 1972, is one of Five-O’s best and one of its most unusual.

Griffith played Arnold Lovejoy, patriarch of a family of grifters. The Lovejoys have arrived in Hawaii to ply their trade. Things go awry when they steal a briefcase belonging to a bag man for an island hood, Charlie Walters. It contains almost $100,000 and Charlies isn’t happy it’s missing.

Now this sounds like standard 1970s police television stuff. But the script by Jerome Coopersmith includes some dark humor mixed with sudden, brutal violence. For example, the hood abruptly shoots his bag man to death while the latter desperately tries to explain how the Lovejoys ripped him off. A thug asks Walters, “Hey Charlie, what if he was tellin’ the truth?…Supposin’ he was?” Charlie’s response? Without a hint of remorse he says, “Then I just made a terrible mistake.”

The score by Morton Stevens reflects the changing mood of the story. He has a “Lovejoys theme” that sounds very light but the music turns frantic as both crooks and the law (led by Five-O’s Steve McGarrett, of course) get closer to the family.

Griffith plays Lovejoy as a sort of darker, amoral Andy Taylor. He evokes his famous role without copying it. He may have gotten some help from director Bob Sweeney, who had helmed 80 episodes of The Andy Griffith Show from 1960 to 1963. Sweeney was supervising producer on Five-O during seasons four through seven and directed several episodes during that time.

The Lovejoys attempt to pull another con.

The 007 connections? With Five-O you start out with Jack Lord the first screen Felix Leiter in Dr. No. But another familiar face briefly shows up: Harold Sakata (sans his Oddjob hat), who plays a thug for another hood who’s a rival of Charlie’s. Sakata gets a couple of lines. Nothing memorable but more than, “Ah ah!” as he got to say in Goldfinger.

CBS renews Hawaii Five-0 for a third season

CBS renewed the new Hawaii Five-0 series for a third season, according to the show’s official Twitter feed. It also linked to THIS PART of CBS’s Web site, but didn’t really provide any additional details.

Earlier this month, CBS said star Alex O’Loughlin would miss some time for rehab related to pain medication for a shoulder injury, according to a story on the Dateline Hollywood Web site.

Next week, CBS will also televise an episode where Edward Asner reprises a role he played in the original Hawaii Five-O series. Apparently the new show will say Asner’s August March was arrested by the father of O’Loughlin’s Steve McGarrett, rather than the Jack Lord original version of McG. Here’s a preview CBS uploaded to YouTube:

UPDATE: iTunes is offering episodes of the original Hawaii Five-O free for a limited time. To check it out, CLICK HERE.

Hawaii Five-O’s final season: McGarrett’s kooky quintet

We checked out the DVD set of Hawaii Five-O’s 12th and final season. The show’s final campaign is almost universally reviled among fans. At the same time, it’s not shown as often in syndication as earlier seasons. For some, the last time they saw a 12th season episode was in the mid-1980s when they were shown with the title “McGarrett” on the CBS Late Movie.

Hawaii Five-O's season 12 cast

Indeed, the season isn’t up to previous ones. It’s not for lack of effort, though.

The 12th season often still has the Five-O ingredients. The production team even stepped up a bit on international intrigue story lines, including terrorists, assassins, fugitive Nazis and, in the series finale, the final appearance of arch villain Wo Fat, this time trying to develop a laser-based missile defense system/weapon (a couple of years before the U.S. publicly announced it would try to develop a “Star Wars” defense system). And the scores for episodes are mostly good, with Morton Stevens (composer of the Five-O theme and creator of Five-O music template), Bruce Broughton, Don Ray and Robert Drasnin, among others, contributing.

Yet, for the most part, something goes awry. It’s as if the ingredients are either mixed badly, cooked at the wrong temperature or contaminated. Part of it may have been the absence of James MacArthur as Dan Williams, the sidekick to Jack Lord’s Steve McGarrett. MacArthur’s departure at the end of season 11 seems to have altered the chemistry of the show. Without Danno around, McGarrett, who already had a pious streak, breaks into lectures — about the U.S. constitution, the criminal justice system or the pathetic failings of individual characters.

Plus, the Danno-less Five-O team at times just across as just odd: loyal but bland Duke (Herman Wedemeyer), the only supporting character holdover from previous seasons; James “Kimo” Carew (William Smith), the blunt, revenge-driven ex-cop from Boston; Lori Wilson, revenge-driven present cop and first woman Five-O member (Sharon Farrell); and Truck Kealoah (Moe Keale), a frequent loaner from the Honolulu Police Department. McGarrett hires Carew and Wilson despite each showing questionable judgment at times in their debuts (being revenge driven will do that to you).

In Marvel’s Avengers comic book, there was a period now informally known as “Cap’s Kooky Quartet.” The title started out as an all-star collection of Marvel heroes. In issue 16, heavyweights with their own titles left the super hero team, leaving Captain America to cope with three reformed villains (Hawkeye, the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver). Five-O’s final campaign can be considered McGarrett’s kooky quintet.

In previous seasons, there had been cast changes aplenty. But the McGarrett-Danno duo kept things steady. That steadiness just isn’t there in season 12. It seems like the writers and producers kept looking for chemistry. You never see all of the team at once. You get Kimo-Lori or Kimo-Truck matchups a fair amount. Duke floats in and out and never seems to have much to do. Sometimes, McGarrett takes the lead, sometimes he lets the others take the lead at least for a while. Behind the scenes, there apparently was some turmoil. Sharon Farrell is in less than half the episodes and departed.

The season actually started out with a very good two-hour episode, A Lion in the Streets, which included the return of Ross Martin as Hawaiian crime boss Tony Alika, a character introduced in the 11th season. Martin wonderfully crews the scenery and is an adversary worthy of McGarrett. Unfortunately, the show couldn’t maintain that level. Martin would return one more time a few episodes later. Alika was arrested yet again, taking away one of the season’s main positives.

For the finale, the producers didn’t even attempt to use any of the supporting cast as the series brought back Wo Fat (Khigh Dhiegh), last seen in the first episode of season nine. It was hardly the most satisifying of the McGarrett-Wo Fat encounters but it does remind viewers of better times for the show. Fittingly, Morton Stevens scored the final episode and his music is probably its best attribute.

Questionable clothing choices by 007 and other heroes

Being a hero is tough. You have to save the world, or an important part of it. People are trying to kill you. And when you develop a large following, your wardrobe gets critiqued.

Still, when heroes, including James Bond, make questionable clothing choices, people notice. This list is by no means a comprehensive list and it’s definitely subjective. With that in mind, here we go:

Q is in disbelief about 007's choice of neckwear.

1. James Bond’s pink power tie (Diamonds Are Forever). When 007′s popularity peaked in the mid-1960s, the Bond image was that of Saville Row suits. Anthony Sinclair, who made Sean Connery’s suits for the film series produced by Eon Productions, even became a minor celebrity and was interviewed by newsmen (a clip of one of those interviews appears on the John Cork-directed documentary Inside Dr. No).

At the start of the 1970s, the world was changing in all sorts of ways. That included how men, 007 included, dresssed. The first hint of this was in Diamonds Are Forever. Bond (Sean Connery) is trying to find captured billionaire Willard Whyte and investigates a house out in the desert near Las Vegas. He wears a white suit (two-piece as opposed to the three-piece white suit Steve Martin would wear a few years later), presumably because of the heat. And he wears a wide, pink power tie.

Pink? Yes. That wasn’t part of the ’60s Bond wardrobe. As the decade progressed, and Roger Moore was hired to take over the role, Eon’s costumers put Bond in flared trousers (even with his tux) and a greater variety of colors. Arguably, the pink tie was the start of moving away from the Anthony Sinclair suit look.

2. Napoleon Solo’s clogs (publicity stills for The Man From U.N.C.L.E.) When you’re the star of a popular television series, as Robert Vaughn was during the 1964-68 run of The Man From U.N.C.L.E., you maintain a busy schedule that includes posing for publicity stills. One day, the star showed up for such a shoot wearing clogs and white socks. While he changed into his Napoleon Solo suit, he didn’t bother to change his footwear. Nobody was supposed to notice. The attention wasn’t supposed be on Solo’s feet, after all.

Illya Kuryakin is stunned to discover Napoleon Solo is wearing clogs.

One of those shots was used in the end titles of the show in the third and fourth seasons. It was cropped before you could see the clogs. Even if the full shot was used, Vaughn’s pose was at such an angle you’d really have to look hard to spot the clogs. (It would also show up in the 1983 television movie The Return of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. as a photograph on the wall of Solo’s apartment. We present a thumbnail version of the full image with this post.) A second still from the shoot, though, was used for the cover of the Ace paperback The Monster Wheel Affiar. The negative was flipped so both Vaughn and David McCallum appeared to be left handed. And Vaughn’s clogs were in full view. Decades later, The Solo Clogs Affair is still something of a running joke among fans, particularly among women fans of McCallum ribbing women fans of Vaughn.

3. Steve McGarrett’s leisure suits (later Hawaii Five-O seasons). In the original Hawaii Five-O, Jack Lord’s Steve McGarrett was a tough, shrewd no-nonsense leader of a Hawaiian State Police unit that dealt with crime bosses and enemy spies with equal efficiency. His wardrobe reflected that: simple, classic looking suits.

McGarrett in his preferred dark blue leisure suit

As the show progressed, and mens fashions took a turn for the worse with polyester suits, that look changed. By the 11th season, McGarrett was alternating regular suits (which didn’t look as classic as in earlier seasons) with that bane of 1970s mens fashion, the leisure suit. McGarrett wore two of them. The one he wore the most often was a very dark, Navy blue version. It was so dark a viewer could overlook it to a certain degree. But McG sometimes donned a light gray version, that exposed the flaws of the leisure suit for all to see.

In the 11th and 12th seasons of the show, McGarrett sometimes wears the leisure suits almost as he does his regular suits. In the 11th season episode The Skyline Killer (which featured excellent stunt work, staged by Beau Van Den Ecker, the show’s stunt arranger who graduated to director), Lord’s McGarrett and his stunt double wear the Navy blue leisure suit while pursuing a killer on a construction crane about 20 stories above the ground (not unlike a similar sequence in Casino Royale 27 years later). Meanwhile, in real life, one of the blue leisure suits was part of a 2008 auction.

Happy 91st birthday, Jack Lord

The first screen Felix Leiter, Jack Lord, would be 91 years old if he were alive today. The Leiter character wasn’t in the Dr. No novel by Ian Fleming but he ended up in the 1962 film version scripted by Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood and Berkely Mather. When approached about reprising the role in Goldfinger, he famously demanded billing on par with Sean Connery and was refused.

007 fans wonder why Lord would have done that, but let’s face it: being Felix in a Bond movie isn’t going to get you much screen time and probably isn’t going to help your career that much. A few years later, five days before filming was to begin on the pilot, Lord was cast as lawman Steve McGarrett in Hawaii Five-O, whose lead character dabbled in spy storylines. Here he is on The Mike Douglas Show during the show’s first season, 1968-69:

And here are the opening credits of the 11th season Five-O episode The Year of the Horse, where former Bond George Lazenby was “special guest star.” (No Lazenby in the clip but you do see his billing). McGarrett even flies to Singpore on Pan Am, the airline of choice in the Bond movies up to this time (United was the normal airline shown on series episoes):

How the ex-spies fared in Hawaii Five-O season 11

We finally caught up with the Hawaii Five-O season 11 set that we informally dubbed the ex-spy edition. So we watched the episodes featuring guest stars who had previously portrayed spies and made a few notes about the performances of series star Jack Lord, who had been the screen’s first Felix Leiter in Dr. No. WARNING: spoilers await.

Ross Martin (Number One With a Bullet parts I and II, Stringer): The former Artemus Gordon from The Wild, Wild West makes the strongest impression of the guest star ex-spies. In all three episodes, he plays crime boss Tony Alika, the head of the Hawaiian mob the Kumu.

In the two-part Number One With a Bullet, aka the “disco” episode, he gets limited screen time in a storyline involving a clash between Alika and a Mainland crime boss (Nehemiah Persoff) for control of Hawaii’s discos and music industry. But Martin draws the viewer’s attention whenever he’s on the screen, including when he verbally jousts with Jack Lord’s Steve McGarrett.

Martin returned for another episode, Stringer, in which free-lance photographer Paul Williams takes photos of Alika having a meeting with a public official and attempts to commit blackmail. Martin’s Alika gets more screen time as the primary villain. Going into one commericial break, Alika’s evil laugh continues over the Five-O logo. Evidently, the actor made an impression with the production team because he’d be brought back for the show’s final season. Meanwhile, Martin and Williams would work together again a short while later in the 1979 television movie The Wild, Wild West Revisited, with Williams as the son of Dr. Loveless.

Robert Vaughn (The Spirit is Willie): The one-time Napoleon Solo got “special guest star” billing and Vaughn’s phony psychic is the episode’s villain. By this time, Vaughn mostly played bad guys so if you’ve ever seen one of those performances, that’s more or less what you have here. Vaughn is a poster child for bad 1970s fashion, wearing a leisure suit whose shirt is unbuttoned at least one button too far.

The episode is a sequel to a 10th season story involving a mystery writer who likes to also solve real-life mysteries. Thus, Mildred Natwick’s Millicen Shand character gets more of the attention.

George Lazenby's wardrobe in The Year of the Horse wasn't as nice as in OHMSS

George Lazenby (The Year of the Horse): Lazenby, a decade removed from playing James Bond in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, also gets “special guest star” billing but is clearly a secondary villain. He appears in a very non-Bondian manner. He sports a baggy three-piece white suit, white hat and wears sandals. He also has a mustache and a few days growth of beard. However, he definitely comes across as a better actor than his one 007 film.

Disappointingly, Lazenby doesn’t have any scenes with Jack Lord, so we don’t get to see a meeting between movie Leiter No. 1 and film Bond No. 2. Most of Lazenby’s scenes are with Barry Bostwick, an Annapolis graduate presumed killed during the Vietnam War who’s now involved with drug smuggling. Lazenby and Bostwick are buddies, but Lazenby’s character is dispatched when he attempts to double cross Bostwick.

The two-hour episode takes place in Singapore and was actually filmed there. It was the season’s final episode and is also the final appearance in the series of James MacArthur’s Danno, who, as it turns out, really doesn’t get much to do. Which leads us to:

Jack Lord (series star): Lord didn’t get an executive producer credit but by this time his control of the show was so tight he probably should have. In earlier seasons, you’d have occasional episodes built around the supporting cast, but that became more rare as the series progressed.

Lord’s McGarrett by the 11th season, was also wearing leisure suits, favoring a very dark Navy blue one (if you CLICK HERE it’s described as being black but the revamped picture quality of the DVDs makes it look very, very dark blue to us). At least he kept his shirt buttoned, so it’s not as much of a distraction. He also sometimes shows up with a gray leisure suit.

McGarrett also gets preachier here than in earlier seasons. That trend began in the 10th season and it gets worse in the final season. Still, he’s still McGarrett and if you liked his take on the character, there’s nothing here to cause you to reverse that judgment.

There is the issue of McGarrett’s age. In the second season episode “Blind Tiger,” it was implied that the Big Kahuna was in his mid-30s, so he should at least be close to 45 in season 11. Death Is a Company Policy, the first show of the fifth season, gave McGarrett a 1926 birth date, meaning he would be 52 or 53 when season 11 ends, depending on the specific date. And actor Lord turned 58 in December 1978. Yet, in The Year of the Horse, which aired in the spring of 1979, one of George Lazenby’s lackeys (who’s about to be killed) describes McGarrett as being “40, 42.” Lord looks pretty good for 58, but there’s no way he looked that young.

Edward Asner to reprise role from old Five-O in new Five-0

The new Hawaii Five-0 evidently is going to bend the space-time continuum by having having 82-year-old Edward Asner reprise a role from the original Hawaii Five-O.

Here’s an excerpt from a report on the Deadline entertainment news Web site.

EXCLUSIVE: Ed Asner is upgrading his status on Hawaii Five-0 from a guest star to recurring. In a very unusual series guest arc spanning 36 years, the multiple Emmy winner will guest star on CBS’ Hawaii Five-0 reboot in the spring, reprising the role of August March, which he played in an episode of the original series in 1975.

That episode, Wooden Model of a Rat, aired in the eighth season of the original show. Logically, he can’t play the same role unless you accept the idea that there are two Steve McGarretts, two Dannos and two Chin Ho Kellys in the same fictional universe. August March was the villain going against a 49-year old McGarrett (the series established a 1926 birth date for the Big Kahuna; star Jack Lord was older than that, being born in late 1920) and a Chin Ho who was less than a perfect physical specimen. At least both Dannos (James MacArthur and Scott Caan) are short compared with their McGarretts (Lord and Alex O’Loughlin).

Then again, as the old saying goes, it’s just a television show.

According to the Deadline story, the new show will use footage from the original Asner appearance. The 1975 episode was written by Alvin Sapinsley, one of the best writers on the original show. His other credits include Sherlock Holmes in New York, the 1976 TV movie where Roger Moore played Holmes.


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