Hawaii Five-O season 12 out on DVD in January

Season 12 of Hawaii Five-O, the last campaign of the 1968-80 show, is scheduled to come out on DVD on Jan. 10, according to the TV Shows on DVD Web site.

By this time, star Jack Lord as lawman Steve McGarrett was the only remaining member of the original cast still present. James MacArthur departed at the end of the 11th season. A new supporting cast was recruited, led by veteran character actor William Smith as James Carew, a cop looking for the men who killed his wife. Also on board was Sharon Farrell as Lori, the first Five-O woman officer. Prior to this, Five-O occasionally utilized policewomen working for the Hololulu P.D.

But there were notable returns. Composer Morton Stevens, who wrote the Five-O theme, was back scoring episodes after skipping the 11th season. Ross Martin, who had appeared in three season 11 episodes as a Hawaiian crime boss, was back in the role for two episodes in season 12. And Khigh Dhiegh as archvillain Wo Fat reprised the role one more time. The back of Five-O Season 12 box has at least three images from the episode, titled “Woe to Wo Fat.”

Most season 12 episodes don’t receive good reviews on the Web site of Five-O expert Mike Quigley. Hard-core Five-O fans, we suspect, will still seek out the DVD set.

Here’s the final scenes of the series, with Morton Stevens supplying the music.

`Bored She Hung Herself,’ the lost Hawaii Five-O episode

The term “lost episode” gets thrown away rather loosely. It usually refers to an episode that, for a variety of reasons, hasn’t shown up in syndication. In the case of the original Hawaii Five-O series, there’s an episode that wasn’t so much lost as buried — shown once on CBS, never rerun, never included in a DVD set.

That would be the second-season episode “Bored She Hung Herself.” One of the plot points involves a character who uses a yoga technique where he hangs himself from a beam without dying. He naturally becomes a suspect when somebody is killed by hanging. In 1996, Rose Freeman, widow of Five-O creator Leonard Freeman, told atendees that within a day or two of the epsiode airing somebody tried to duplicate the trick — and killed himself in the process. Mrs. Freeman said the decision was made there and then that the episode would never ben shown again.

Never is a long time. It’s on YouTube (at least for now). It’s clearly a faded film copy of the original. To be honest, the episode (written by Mel Goldberg and directed by John Newland) is hardly the best episode of the 1968-1980 series. (To read Mike Quigley’s review on his Hawaii Five-O fan Web site, JUST CLICK HERE AND SCROLL DOWN TO EPISODE NO. 39.) But it has taken on a mystique because it has never been shown officially since it was first broadcast. Here’s the start:

And here’s the conclusion where McGarrett (Jack Lord) and Danno (James MacArthur) crack the case:

CBS promises better quality on remaining Five-O DVD sets

There’s still no official release date for the Hawaii Five-O season 11 DVD set, even though you can pre-order it on Amazon.com. But CBS promises any remaining Five-O DVD sets (only two seasons are left) will have better quality than the season 10 set that came out last year.

The company commented on the Home Theater Forum and said the following:

CBS Home Entertainment appreciates its dedicated fan base and values consumers’ desires to communicate and share information about its properties. For the remaining seasons, we will make every effort to achieve the same quality standards of seasons 1 through 9. We look forward to your continued interest in “Hawaii Five-O.”

That was a reference how the season 10 set episodes were not digitally remastered, unlike the previous nine season sets. That in turn stirred a lot of negative consumer reaction such as Amazon.com’s customer reviews for the set.

Season 10 had both Maud Adams and Luciana Paluzzi as guest stars in episodes and thus was of some interest to 007 fans. The season 11 set has former Bond George Lazenby in the season’s final episode as well as participation by former TV spies Robert Vaughn and Ross Martin (the latter in three season 11 episodes). It’s also has James MacArthur’s final series appearance. Jack Lord’s McGarrett would go Danno-less in its 12th and final season.

(Also here’s a shoutout to Mike Quigley’s Hawaii Five-O fan page, which tracks all this quite closely. It’s also where we discovered what we linked above. That page says there are rumors the season 10 consumer reaction delayed the season 11 release, originally set for last month.)

Hawaii Five-O season 11 (ex-spy edition) DVDs in the works

No release date is set yet, but a box set of season 11 of the original Hawaii Five-O is in the works and Amazon.com has begun accepting pre-orders, according to the TV Shows on DVD Web site.

Season 11, the next-to-last for the original Five-O, is something an ex-spy edition. Of course, you have the first screen Felix Leiter, series star Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett. In addition, the second screen 007, George Lazenby, shows up in the season-ending two-hour episode that was filmed in Singapore. Also along for the ride are Robert Vaughn, the former Napoleon Solo, and Ross Martin, the former Artemus Gordon, who appeared in three Five-O episodes that season.

One concern for fans of the original show is a two-part story, Number One With a Bullet (aka the “disco episode”), which utilized a number of disco hits of the late 1970s. Studios sometimes get cheap when it comes to music clearance. So it’s possible the two parter gets hacked or the original songs get replaced with generic, cheaper ones. It’s one of the best stories that season and Martin appears in it as a Hawaiian crime boss.

One more note: the season-ending two-hour episode, where Lazenby appears, is also the final appearance of James MacArthur as detective Danny Williams in the show. To read reviews of 11th season episodes on Mike Quigley’s Hawaii Five-O Fan Page, JUST CLICK HERE.

Who will make the Oscars “In Memoriam” segment?

You’d think John Barry (5-time Oscar winner, 11-time 007 composer) would be a lock. What about James MacArthur, Robert Culp, Leslie Nielsen? Peter Graves? The latter were known mostly for their work on television but did a number of films. What about one-time 007 screenwriter Tom Mankiewicz, part of a prominent Hollywood clan that includes Herman Mankiewicz and Joseph L. Mankiewicz? We’ll be watching.

James MacArthur, Danno 1.0, passes away at 72

James MacArthur, the last surviving original principal cast member of Hawaii Five-O, died today at age 72. He played the youthful sidekick, Dan Williams, to the Steve McGarrett of Jack Lord, the screen’s original Felix Leiter. MacArthur was 30 when the show began, though his Dan Williams probably is supposed to be in his mid-20s, based on references in early episodes.

The catchphrase of the original show, “Book ’em, Danno,” has been replicated by the new Hawaii Five-0 (whose official spelling is a numeral 0 in place of the capital “O” of the original). In the new version, Dan Williams 2.0 (Scott Caan) doesn’t find the phrase nearly as endearing. But such is the power of the catchphrase there was no way for the producer of the new version to ignore it. MacArthur, son of Helen Hayes and writer Charles MacArthur, got the gig after creator Leonard Freeman decided to recast the role after the pilot was filmed.

MacArthur, in the years after the show ended, was careful about what he said. At a 1996 fan convention in Los Angeles, he made self-depricating remarks but often declined to go into details even as one-time co-star Zulu, the original Kono (now turned into a woman in the new series, courtesy of actress Grace Park) served up behind-the-scene anecdotes to fans that detailed tensions between some cast members.

In early Five-O episodes, Danno sometimes clashed with McGarrett, something that has been a staple of the new series. In this extended 1968 promo, check out the exchange that starts at the 3:54 mark. It’s from an episode called “Samurai,” which was actually the first episode made after the pilot.

(To watch the entire “Samurai” episode, you can CLICK HERE.)

Mostly, though, the banter between the characters was more light hearted, such as in this first-season episode:

Finally, in 1997, when CBS tried reviving the show, a pilot was produced but never broadcast. MacArthur reprised the Dan Williams character, who was now governor of Hawaii:

1997: Gov. Danno gets shot in unsold Hawaii Five-O pilot

We’ve mentioned before how there was an unsuccessful attempt to revive Hawaii Five-O.

A clip from that effort has surfaced on YouTube. It shows Gov. Dan “Danno” Williams (James MacArthur) being shot during a public appearance. This event causes retired members of the classic Five-O team to collaborate with new Five-O members to solve the crime. That includes Chin Ho Kelley (Kam Fong). Problem: Chin Ho was killed at the end of season 10 of the original show — something that escaped writer Stephen J. Cannell, who had never written for the original series.

Take a look: