Hawaii Five-O classic ’68 to ’79

Greetings, readers. As a binge TV watcher, the latest show that I have been enjoying is the classic Hawaii Five-O. The way I have been enjoying it recently is that I will watch one episode per season. Watching it that way makes it very easy to see how much Jack Lord aged during those years. Hawaii Five-O was one of my favorite programs along with The Waltons and M.A.S.H when I was youth. Here are my thumbs up and thumbs downs for this series, classic Hawaii Five-O.

In 1968, when the series began, the 30-something Jack Lord had a look and feel of a James Bond. Everyone wore short hair, thin ties, and polished shoes. Steve McGarrett was the super cop, the head of the fictitious state police. To me the first season was hysterically funny although the series was a drama. Characters Chin Ho, Kono, and Dan Williams, when asked if they knew anything about the case, would always reply something to the effect that they had no new information. This would leave super-cop McGarrett to be the one who figures out the crime. After a season or so of this, thank goodness, CBS decided to change the format slightly. The other characters added more and didn’t appear so stupid. Steve McGarrett, however, remained the one who always cracked the case.

In the early years, when I was a youth, Steve McGarrett had a wonderful black car, a 1968 Mercury Park Lane Brougham. From season 8 to season 12, his classic car was replaced with a new model. I liked the old one better. I read on the internet that a car collector purchased the original Hawaii Five-O Mercury. I wish I was that person; I would love to own that car.

At the end of season 10, Kam Fong, who played Chin Ho Kelly, wished to leave, so his character was killed off. That made me very upset because I liked him, yet it gave Jack Lord the opportunity to shine with his acting skills, as his character swore to Danno that he would not rest until he caught the killer of his friend. James MacArthur, who played Danno, hung around for one more year. No mention was ever said about where he went or what happened to him. For their final season, season 12, three new characters were created; Lori Wilson, the first female character to join the team, the Hawaiian strong man who played Truck, and Danny’s replacement, Kimo. I have to be honest, book him Kimo didn’t have the same ring as McGarrett’s catch phrase book him Danno.

Two quirks I have with the series; one minor and one major. The minor one I believe took place in season 9 where the Hawaii Five-O team was magically transported to a different building. I believe this was because the Iolani Palace was being renovated in real life. The major one, which makes me chuckle every time I see it, happens in the later seasons during car chases. One scene McGarrett will be driving his new Mercury Marquis, then the next scene he’ll whiz by in his old car, and back and forth it will go. Obviously the editors didn’t care; to them a black car with McGarrett in it was fine. When you have seen the episodes as many times as I have you can forget storylines and pick up little details like this. To them cutting and slicing was probably being cost-effective, to me I call that bad editing.

I did give the new Hawaii Five-O that started about 4 seasons ago a trial run. Although it is still on the air, I don’t watch it. To me there will only be one Hawaii Five-O, what Netflix streaming calls Hawaii Five-O (1968) Classic .

That’s our post for today. Feel free to chime in with your favorite shows in the comments, and for my friends on Facebook and Twitter, leave a comment on there if you wish. So have a good day, bundle up if you are in the deep freeze, take care and happy reading.

2 thoughts on “Hawaii Five-O classic ’68 to ’79

  1. Hawaii Five -O ran from 1968-80. Jack Lord was much older than 39 when it started. Did it even occur to you that Jack Lord might have snubbed James MacArthur in the twelfth and final season because of the way he left the show … in a phone call MacArthur took on vacation with his family South America from producers. MacArthur said he was done with the role. One can imagine this caused some realignment with a few episodes.
    Five-O also used the same characters over within three or four episodes of airing. Usually it was bad guys. Moe Keale, who ended up playing Truck in the twelfth season as a new cop, was a popular bad guy in the late 70’s in SEVERAL episodes.
    It’s safe to say that when a show started in seasons eight through eleven, one wondered when Keale would come in. The storylines were good until about season 10, then they just fell apart. Season 12 was stupid.
    Hawaii Five-O should have packed it in by the end of 1977. It was an amazing a show which outlived its time by a few seasons. Four guys running around in suits trying to stop crime in Hawaii … you can see why Magnum P.I. took off like it did in the early 80’s.

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    1. Hi, Jeff. I agree with you that the last few years of the show were not up to par. In my opinion, the show began its decline when the character Chin Ho Kelly was murdered. [Actor wanted off the show.] Yes, there was some marvelous acting in that episode, but as you said, it was all downhill from there. I’m curious to know what you think of the current Hawaii Five-O series, which itself has gone through many cast changes. Thanks for chiming in, and have a great day. -Joe-

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