Something I've been contemplating for awhile is buying Season One of the original Hawaii Five-O. I find I'm watching less and less current TV, and the old shows from my youth certainly hit the nostalgia sweet spot. But Hawaii Five-O is a little different. It debuted in 1968, the year before I was born, and ran to 1980, when I was 11. I don't really remember ever watching it when i was a kid, and from what I've read, it seems like it was one of those '70s action shows that had a bad rep for needless violence. My mother would likely have vetoed my one year younger brother and I getting to watch it.
I'm sure I saw a few episodes in the '80s and maybe later when it was in syndication; possibly, if I did, it didn't make much of an impression. But a while back, when I was looking for other stuff, clips of the show, usually 3-5 minute segments kept popping up. I started watching some, and I was hooked! But I craved more background and opinions on it. Was the show itself as cool as the theme song? Were full episodes as good as opening and closing segments?
So it dawned on me - why not turn to the most knowledgable folks you'll find anywhere?
Any fans of the show here? What did you like or dislike about it? Are certain seasons considered superior to others?
Season One is on Amazon for a pretty decent price so I think I'll give it a go, but I'd love to get thoughts on the series from you good folks.
I remember the original Hawaii Five-O, mostly from its syndicated reruns. It used to be on all the time in the afternoons/early evenings. Plus for a very long time it ran on CBS in late night, after the local 11 o'clock news, while ABC carried Nightline and the majority of the viewing audience up at that hour was glued to The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
I did watch Hawaii Five-O live n its later years, which were well past its glory days. Longtime cast members Fam Fong (who played Chin Ho Kelly), Zulu (Kono Kalakaua) and even James MacArthur (Danny "Danno" Williams) weren't around at the end.
I best remember the earlier seasons, and even vividly remember specific episodes, even though I haven't seen them in decades. One I recall was the team trying to catch a serial killer who was bumping off people who resembled characters in a Brenda Starr-like daily newspaper comic strip. To catch the killer, they worked with the comic strip artist to draw Danno into the strip as a new character.
Another featured Yaphet Kotto as a U.S. Marine on furlough from Vietnam who went to an exhibition baseball game, got beaned by a foul ball and went to the hospital. When he awoke at the hospital, he hallucinated that he was back in the war, grabbed a gun, shot Danno (thinking he was a VC soldier) and held everyone in the ward hostage. (I'd mention how it was resolved, but I don't want to put in too many . You'll come across it early.)
Another I remember was about a group of bratty college kids who stole a sacred item of King Kamehameha from a museum. The ringleader of the bunch was a white kid who cared nothing about its value, which wasn't monetary. I specifically recall Chin and Kono being personally offended at the theft of this piece of Hawaiian culture and appealing to one of the other kids, a native Hawaiian, for its return. Kono told the boy, "Taking this cloak of King Kamehameha -- it's like spitting on him."*
I remembered Hawaii Five-O well enough that I wasn't enamored with the revival, although I did give it a try. If you're looking for our thoughts on it, I direct you to the handy-dandy thread "The New Season -- 2010", where we chew on both the old and new versions.
So, I'd say you'll find the original Hawaii Five-O entertaining, but be aware it's running on fumes the final two or three years.
* Funny the things that stick with you from childhood; I haven't seen that episode in forever, but I vividly remember that bit.
Forgot to mention, one thing I really liked about the original Hawaii Five-O was the lab guy/coroner/science wizard Che Fong. He was a CSI before CSIs were cool, and he was more cool than all of the guys and gals on the CSI shows. Che could show up at a crime scene and spot tire tracks on the ground and a cigarette butt, and tell you the driver's name, age, sex, police record, where he was from and if he was left-handed or right-handed, and which way he went. He was awesome.
Conversely, I disliked Hawaii Five-O version 2.0 because it did not have a Che character.
Thx CK! I've seen a clip from the episode about King Kamehameha's cloak. McGarrett and company meet the bratty hippy kids and try to get them to give up the cloak, without success. The part where Chin and Kono try to appeal to the Hawaiian kid is part of this. It's a great scene, and I'm not surprised it stuck with you.
Anyone else like to chime in?
I remember my brother used to watch Hawaii Five-O, but i was too young to really appreciate it.
Great theme song, though! It was part of our pep band repertoire when I was in high school.