The longest-running police show of all time, Hawaii Five-O focused on Steve McGarrett, an intensely dedicated law enforcement officer who headed a division of the Hawaiian State Department known as Five-O, chiefly eliminating the Islands of the criminal underworld. Helping to wage this war on crime were Danny "Dano" Williams and Chin Ho Kelly. A recurring gueststar was enemy Wo Fat, the guru of the Chinese mafia. Shot entirely on location, the Islands themselves almost served as a member of the cast. Adding to the Hawaiian flavor was the surf-rock theme song (recorded by The Ventures).

Many episodes dealt with current issues of the day, including drug trafficing in Hawaii. But we always knew that McGarret would see it through to the end, and Honolulu would remain safe for yet another week.

Key to the show's success was Jack Lord's performance as McGarrett. Always fashionable in a tailored suit, his hair perfectly groomed, McGarrett seemed always to be in control. He seemed never to answer to anyone. And his most famous quote, "Book 'em, Danno", became a part of the day's slang lingo.

Hawaii Five-O aired from September 26, 1968 to April 26, 1980 on CBX (until recently, it was the longest continuous-running police series in U.S. television history), with an impressive 278 episodes.

Today, it remains timelessly popular in reruns and is seen in syndication around the world. There could be a multitude of reasons for this ... perfect cast, well-written scripts, etc. But perhaps a major reason is that unlike many shows of its time (Mod Squad or even Miami Vice, for example), it avoided fads, fashions and terminology of the day. For that reason, Hawaii Five-O could be seen as though it were filmed today.

CAST:

Det. Steve McGarrett - Jack Lord
Det. Danny Williams - James MacArthur
Det. Chin Ho Kelly - Kam Fong
Det. Kono Kalakaua - Zulu
Wo Fat - Khigh Dhiegh
Gov. Paul Jameson - Richard Denning
Det. Ben Kokua - Al Harrington
Edward "Duke" Lukela - Herman Wedemeyer

Jack Lord (born December 30, 1920) passed away on January 21, 1998. Following his "retirement" from Five-O, he lived a secluded life in a waterfront condominium in Honolulu. There was speculation that he suffered from Alzheimer's during his last few years, but these rumours were denied by his wife Marie.

James McArthur ("Danno") is the real-life son of legendary actress Helen Hayes. Today he lives with his wife, a former professional golfer, and their 11-year-old son. He has three children from a previous marriage, the oldest, 36.

He is involved in various business holdings, including being part-owner of San Diego's Daily Californian newspaper.

Cast members who have since passed away include:

Richard Denning (The Governor) - October 11, 1998
Herman Wedemeyer ("Duke") - January 25, 1999
Kam Fong ("Chin Ho Kelly") - October 18, 2002

 


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