Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Suppose...Just Suppose, Danno..."

Yesssssss. I've been waiting a long time for this to happen.

Season One of HAWAII FIVE-0 hits DVD February 27. It'll have the first 23 episodes, plus the feature-length pilot, "Cocoon," in which intrepid Five-0 head Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord) does battle with Red Chinese baddie Wo Fat (Khigh Dhiegh) for the first time. "Cocoon" is also of interest because McGarrett's number-two man, Dan "Danno" Williams, is portrayed by actor Tim O'Kelly (TARGETS), instead of James MacArthur, who took over the role in the first regular episode and stayed on as Lord's sidekick for eleven of the series' twelve seasons. HAWAII FIVE-0 remains the longest-running police/action series in TV history.

Among those 23 first-season episodes, which I expect to really pop off the screen if CBS/Paramount has done a good job of remastering them, is "Samurai," a not-great episode guest-starring Ricardo Montalban as a Japanese (!) gangster, "Yesterday Died and Tomorrow Won't Be Born," with John Larch (DIRTY HARRY) as a vengeful ex-con after McGarrett, the outstanding "King of the Hill," with Yaphet Kotto as a mentally unstable Vietnam vet who takes Danno hostage in a VA hospital because he believes he's still in combat, "The Box," in which prisoners (including a fat Gavin MacLeod as a wiseass con named Big Chicken) take McGarrett hostage, and "Six Kilos," which has long been out of syndication.

HAWAII FIVE-0 was a very good crime drama, at least for the first six or seven years it was on, and will be well worth catching up with on DVD. I grew up watching the show in syndication, when it aired at 11:00pm after M*A*S*H on the local CBS station. I stayed up 'til midnight just about every night when I was in high school to watch it, and became drawn to the clever plotting, unusual Hawaiian scenery, and, of course, Lord's intensely oddball performance as McGarrett. What's really interesting about the scenery is that it appears to be the only TV series filmed in Hawaii that went out of its way to show the seamy side of the islands as much as its beauty. Directors shot in back alleys, slums, jungles and dirty streets to give HAWAII FIVE-0 a gritty, realistic look. Certainly MAGNUM, P.I. never did this, and I think it added to FIVE-0's visual flair.


Anonymous said...

It's about doggone time!

Karen Rhodes,
author, Booking Hawaii Five-0

Marty McKee said...

Hi, Karen,

I'm honored to hear from you. I read your book many years ago. I'm looking forward to using it as a reference guide when I rewatch those great Season One episodes on DVD.

bill said...

Delighted to hear 5 0 will be on DVD at last. Hope they release it on region 2 also!
This show deserves top notch treatment! Remastering, extra's, booklet etc!
The box looks nice.
Will also get a copy of Karens book in spring!
Bill. Near London, U.K.