Book 'em Danno!

I've recently been enjoying watching DVD sets of some excellent old TV shows (hey! - for less than the price of a new movie you can often find 20 plus episodes!) and I've particularly been enjoying the early 'Hawaii Five-0' [1968 - 1980].

I have the first five seasons and, although it deteriorated towards the end, largely because Jack Lord in particular had become bored with the character Steve McGarrett, and although much of the acting has been described as "wooden" I would disagree, based on what I have seen in many early episodes.

For myself and others, it is because actor Jack Lord fought for the show to be shot in Hawaii as opposed to Hollywood's insistence that it was done on sets in L.A. that it does have some minor characters "acting naturally" and this just adds to the shows charm.

There is also, surprisingly for the times, cultural sensitivity to the Hawaiian customs, place-names and even artifacts; see 'The Big Kahuna' and 'King Kamehameha Blues'.

What really surprised me though, is the quite open-minded attitudes towards issues of the times like drugs, teen-rebellion, unwanted pregnancies and even venereal diseases! While not always accurate by modern standards there is an obvious effort to avoid preaching and mis-information/scare-tactics which I really wonder if they could have gotten away with as much on "the mainland"! There are also some surprising digs at the US military - especially regarding chemical and biological tests and warfare, which must have resulted in a few frantic phone calls being made.

The other pleasant surprise has been some powerful guest appearances from actors like a young Christopher Walken and, who'd have guessed, a quite moving performance by Marion Ross (Mom on 'Happy Days') as a nurse who helps a stubborn Steve McGarrett recover from temporary blindness and gets a bit of a crush on him - although he never sees her face and, so, doesn't know to even thank her as he leaves the hospital. Other notable guest appearances are by Sal Mineo, Ricardo Montalban, Kevin McCarthy, Loretta Swit, Herbert Lom, Patty Duke, Donald Pleasence and a young Martin Sheen - and many more.

Anyway - if you get the chance please check out some of the early series and do let me know what you think.
Stay chilled,
Martin P.

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