wave from opening credits




                                                          Volume 1                                          April 1999                                           Issue 2             



Aloha, Wedey

By Liz Clare

Herman Wedemeyer, who played Duke Lukela on Hawaii Five-O, passed away on January 25, 1999. He was 74 years old.

Wedemeyer appeared in seven episodes of Hawaii Five-O, including the first episode, "Full Fathom Five," in the first four seasons of the show before joining the cast at the beginning of the fifth season as Sgt. Duke Lukela of the Honolulu Police Department. In the eighth season Duke became a full-fledged member of the Five-O team. He was instantly recognizable for his glasses and silver-haired good looks, and became a fan favorite for his classy, no-nonsense manner.

Many Five-O fans do not know that Wedemeyer’s stint as Duke was actually a footnote to an earlier and more glorious brush with national fame. In the 1940s, as a star halfback for St. Mary’s College of California, Wedemeyer (or Wedey, as he was known to his fans) became one of the nation’s leading sports celebrities. He was a two-time All-American, contended for the Heisman Trophy, and played in two major bowl games and two college All-Star games—an unprecedented achievement. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979. His audacious. lightning-quick style of play earned him the nicknames "Squirmin’ Herman," "The Hawaiian Hurricane," and "The Hawaiian Centipede."

Herman John Wedemeyer was born on May 10, 1924 in Hilo, Hawaii, to a family of Hawaiian, German, Irish, English, Chinese, and French Tahitian ancestry. When he was four years old, the family moved to Honolulu, where they lived in Kalihi Valley, the toughest and poorest neighborhood in the city. Herman was the oldest of nine children growing up in a tiny two-bedroom, one-bath house. All of the siblings shared a bedroom, with the girls getting the bed and the boys sleeping on the floor. Because the warped bathroom door didn’t close, family members had to hang a jacket or a towel across it even to have privacy in the lua.

All of the Wedemeyer siblings were athletic. In addition to swimming, surfing, and diving, all of them competed in team and individual sports. The boys played football, baseball, and basketball and the girls excelled in judo and other sports. In sports-crazy Hawaii, the Wedemeyer kids became local celebrities. Because there wasn't much in the way of pro or college athletics in Hawaii, high school football was tremendously popular, with big games drawing huge crowds to the old Honolulu Stadium, known affectionately as the "Termite Palace."

Wedemeyer’s senior season at St. Louis High School was brilliant. In those days, a football player had to be able to play the full sixty minutes, taking roles in both offense and defense. Wedemeyer excelled at them all. He was a triple-threat—meaning he could run, pass, and kick. Wedemeyer also excelled as a blocker and could call plays on the field. His exciting style of play caught the eye of recruiters at Notre Dame and Ohio State, but Wedey decided to go to St. Mary’s, a small Catholic liberal arts college with a big reputation in football.

In Wedey’s freshman season, St. Mary’s was crippled by wartime restrictions, facing mostly service teams with a lineup of underage players and 4-F’s. Nonetheless, Wedey was a sensation. In his first game at St. Mary’s, playing the University of California at Berkeley, he nearly caused a riot with a series of dazzling plays: dancing down the field, confounding his opponents so badly they ran into each other; unexpectedly lateralling passes just before being tackled; and catching passes one-handed, like the centerfielder he was during baseball season. California won the game, but it was young Herman Wedemeyer who was carried off the field on the shoulders of his fans.

Wedemeyer missed the 1944 season for a stint in the merchant marine. He returned to St. Mary’s a week before the start of the 1945 season. It was to be a fairy-tale season, one that would make him a legend. The nation was at the end of a war and ready for fun. The St. Mary’s Gaels were ready to give it to them.

No player in the country could match the stats of Herman Wedemeyer. Whether it was passing, yards per carry, or kicking, he led the way. As the tiny Gaels continued to beat bigger and better-known opponents, the press discovered that Wedemeyer made good copy. He was wholesome, intelligent, and polite. He sang and danced and told wonderful stories about Hawaii. He was married to his high-school sweetheart and had a baby daughter. He played baseball and golf, boxed, swam and surfed, practiced judo and karate, and even tended bar. And in a sport often dominated by dull and solemn hulks, he was smiling and handsome. The tousled dark hair and exotic good looks of Herman Wedemeyer sold newspapers and magazines. Before long, bobby-soxers were waiting outside the Gaels’ locker room for his autograph.

That 1945 season, Wedey was first team All-American and finished fourth in the balloting for the Heisman Trophy. He was hailed by sportswriters as "the greatest player in any position of any year in any part of the country." The season was topped by a trip to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, where the Gaels were outgunned in the end but got all the press for their outstanding and imaginative play. One writer said, "They did everything but saw a woman in half."

In 1946, Wedemeyer had another outstanding season, highlighted by a trip to Manhattan to play Fordham. Wedey made national headlines with a sensational play in which he kicked the ball back over the heads of Fordham’s defense. Wedey was again an All-American, and again St. Mary’s traveled to a bowl game, this time an invite to the Oil Bowl in Houston.

Wedemeyer turned down chances to turn professional for another shot at the Heisman Trophy in 1947. But it was not to be. He injured his ankle in a homecoming game in Hawaii. Before that could heal, his sternum was badly injured in the Nevada game. Like many sports heroes before and since, Herman Wedemeyer discovered a painful truth: nobody loves you when you’re down and out. Fans and sports writers who had sung his praises the year before now harshly criticized him, saying he had lost his edge. Despite an invite to the 1948 East-West game, the season was a hard lesson for the 23-year-old Wedemeyer.

Wedemeyer went on to play two seasons of professional football, first for the Los Angeles Dons and then for the Baltimore Colts. Even in those days, he was small for the pros, and injuries continued to plague him. He switched to baseball, playing several seasons for the San Francisco Seals organization. Finally, divorced from his first wife and disillusioned with life as a professional athlete, he returned home to Hawaii.

Wedemeyer entered the business world, working at various times for Hawaiian Airlines, Dairyman's Association, the Ilikai Hotel, and the Makaha Valley Golf Club, eventually retiring in 1996 from Servco Pacific (Toyota). He married again, and he and Carol had two children, Kittie and Douglas. Eventually they would have 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

In the late 1960s, he entered politics, serving first on the Honolulu City Council and then in the State Legislature. He later commented that he had ambitions to eventually become governor. Again, life had other plans for Herman Wedemeyer. He suffered a serious heart attack, and the doctor advised him to quit politics. During a golf match with one of the producers of Hawaii Five-O, he was offered the part of Duke Lukela. He accepted and became part of television history. Those who worked with him remember a kind, modest, even-tempered man who brought an air of lightness to an often-tense set.

Throughout his colorful life, Wedey remained in touch with his friends from college and from show business, often through his love of the game of golf. He conducted himself as a gentleman, unfailingly courteous with fans and big-hearted with friends and family. In sports and television, he had the opportunity to represent Hawaii to millions of people who might never meet a Hawaiian, and he did it with class, grace, and dignity. The game is over and the credits roll on a life well-lived. Aloha, Wedey.


In 1981, Al Harrington guest starred in an episode of The Jeffersons as a friend of Florence the maid who intended to marry "Leon" and live in the islands forever. Leon, however, just wanted to be "good friends." Also in the two part episode were Doug Mossman as a local who was about to get kicked off his land so Fred Ball - another Five-0 guest actor - could build a condominium.

The Jeffersons also made reference to Five-0 in another episode in which George decided to have some of his poems published. One poem which caused him great anguish to write was :


Ode To The Cancellation of Hawaii Five-0

Lord, oh Lord, What’s happened to Jack

I fear, I fear, he’ll never be back

No one can every know my woe

when for the last time

I heard "book’em Danno


 Heeere’s JOHNNY!!

By Sandy Sturdivant

Today’s Guest Star is: Johnny Crawford

At the height of the Viet Nam War, Hawaii Five-0 did several sensitive stories on problems plaguing servicemen on R&R in Paradise. By the Numbers, original air date 12/12/68, was among the best. It dealt with a young G.I. on leave, who gets drawn into a mob power struggle when his friend is killed. Guest star Johnny Crawford gave one of the most outstanding performances of his career as the haunted, and hunted, serviceman, whom McGarrett must find before the mob can destroy him.

Born 26 March 1946, there was never any doubt that John Ernest Crawford was headed for show business. His father was a successful Hollywood film editor, and his grandfather a musician and music publisher. From the time he could walk, Johnny was singing and dancing. He was also highly skilled at fencing, along with his older brother Bobby. When the call went out for kids who could sing and dance and had other talents as well, Johnny answered the call. He was one of the first chosen to become an original member of the Mickey Mouse Club. He was just nine years old and on his way to stardom.

That first year as a Mouseketeer was like a Chinese fire drill, but it was an exciting, wonderful experience for a young man who wanted to continue in show business. By the time he was twelve years old, he had logged over sixty television roles. In 1958, he landed a role which would endure him to millions. As Mark McCain on The Rifleman, his tearful "Paw! Paw!" made him an overnight success story and would earn him a coveted Emmy nomination.

Johnny has really fond memories of The Rifleman. Not only did he glean a great deal about ranch life, the rodeo circuit, and horses, he also indulged in his interest in baseball. His costar on that series was Chuck Connors, who had played for the Los Angeles Dodgers before becoming an actor. Johnny considered himself the "luckiest kid on the face of the earth" to be starring with Connors AND be in a western at the same time. He even gave up tap-dancing because real cowboys would not tap dance.

Capitalizing on his instant fame, his producers launched him on a recording career, and a number of his records made it into the top ten with such songs as "Cindy’s Birthday," "Rumors," "Proud," and "Patti Ann." My own personal favorite is…what else?…"Sandy." He was exceptionally good with songs that had girl’s names in the titles. He cut five LP’s and dozens of singles.

After The Rifleman, Johnny guest-starred in a number of top TV shows, but he never achieved the fame that he had on The Rifleman. Furthermore, he really didn’t care. His all-consuming passion was the rodeo circuit, and he spent every single spare minute he had as a rodeo performer. For ten years, he was a rodeo cowboy, even passing up auditions so he could do bronc busting and calf roping competitions. To this day, he still enthralls audiences with his rope tricks.

Johnny was a PR man in the Army. He spent his two years making promotional movies for recruiting purposes, but this also gave him experience in all phases behind the camera. In 1970, the film The Resurrection of Bronco Billy won for him and filmmaker John Longnecker an Academy Award for best live action short film.

In 1988, Johnny surfaced again in a television series, Crossbow, for the Christian Broadcasting Network. By this time, he also had worked as a longshoreman and a few other acting roles. It was his more compelling pursuits of music, however, which now commanded most of his attention. With an attic full of sheet music from his music publisher grandfather, Johnny decided to launch a new musical career. Even as a teenage heartthrob, he had never really liked the pop songs. He much preferred the genre of music that Rudy Vallee and Bing Crosby sang from the 1920’s and 30’s.

He gained experience in the easy-listening music by warbling with Vince Giordan’s Night Hawks in New York for two years. Then, in 1990, he started the 1928 Society Dance Orchestra, which later became known as the Johnny Crawford Dance Orchestra. "I tell my guys, let’s pretend it’s 1934 and we’ve been together since 1928, to help them get the mood." He carries this through to his performance. In his song introductions and in between patter, he speaks to his audience as though the time is the 1930’s.

Johnny is still a dance orchestra leader with his top hat and tails. He feels he has found his true calling. "I’d be perfectly happy to do nothing but music for the rest of my life," he once said in an interview. "I’m still a performer, and this is the role I love playing. It’s perfect."


Danno Alert!!!

According to an article on the internet from The Aid Association for Lutherans a new television program called Times of Your Life will be hosted by James MacArthur.

The article reads as follows: Times of Your Life will be introduced to audiences across the country thoughout the spring and summer of 1999. The show is a 30-minute, unique magazine-format program hosted by actor, James MacArthur and nationally known artist, Elizaeth Smith. James MacArthur is best known for his roles in Walt Disney feature films, including Swiss Family Robinson, Banner in the Sky and Light in the Forest. He also starred in CBS televisions Hawaii Five-0.

The pilot episode, sponsored by AAL, features three segments which intertwine throughout the program telling the stories of people over 50 who are having the times of their lives while positively impacting the lives of the people around them.


Name Your Five Favorite/Least Favorite Episodes

There has been some discussion in the past about favorite episodes - Hookman is probably the number one favorite, but just for fun, send us your five favorite episodes and your five least favorite episodes and we will run the results in the next newsletter.  You can find both the email and snail mail address at the end of the newsletter.  Oh, and only one rule applies - the last season doesn't count!!!!!!!!    All responses must be in by June 1, 1999.


Hawaii Five-0 Reunion - Hawaiian Style

by Pennie Tsuha

(note: This article was sent to me by Hawaiian resident William Atkinson but without telling me where it came from. It is a photo copy so the pictures won’t scan in - but included were shots of Marie Lord chatting with Jimmy Borges, Henry Endo, Moe "Truck" Keale and Dennis Chun, Margaret Doversola with emcee Doug Mossman, Dee Dwyer, Police Chief Lee Donohue with unidentified fan (no, Mr. Mike, it isn’t you!!) and Seth Sakai.)

Honolulu, HI - After 30 long years, regulars of the cast from the famous television series Hawaii Five-0 and invited guests reunited in the original soundstage, built by Universal Studios on the back slopes of Diamond Head, now called the Hawaii Film Studios.

Among those who were honored included Jack Lord’s widow, the elegant Marie Lord, Doug Mossman who also stood in as emcee for the event, Harry Endo, Dennis Chun representing his father Kam Fong who was recuperating from surgery, Moe "Truck" Keale, Seth Sakai, Ben Chapman, Jimmy Borges, and Honolulu Police Chief Lee Donahue who played bit parts in earlier episodes and presented each of the stars a replica Five-0 badge to highlight the event. The person most surprised was Dee Dwyer, accepting a plaque on behalf of her father Richard Denning who had died on October 11, 1998 in California. Also on hand was Five-0 casting director Margaret Doversola who praised the workings of the show and the hopes for a brighter future for Hawaii’s film industry.

James MacArthur couldn’t attend the event because of a previous engagement, but is planning a trip to Hawaii in April. Others who were missed were Al Harrington who now lives in Salt Lake City Utah, and Herman Wedemeyer who had suffered a heart attack the morning of the event.

It was unfortunate that Lt. Gov. Mazie Hirono, who was scheduled to present a proclamation to Marie Lord on behalf of the Governor’s Office for the success of the Five-0 series, was a "no show." Well, as Steve McGarrett would have appropriately said, "Book’em, Danno."

The reunion was the brainchild of Carey Anderson, the former Five-0 property master, who unselfishly spent his own time and money to orchestrate this event into reality. Inside Edition was also on hand to conduct an interview with Marie Lord, to be aired in late February. The State’s Film commission missed a golden opportunity to showcase the event.

As the evening wore on, the soundstage decked with "Five-0" memorabilia and stars drew a large number of fans who remembered character names and episodes in detail, memorabilia collectors, and autograph seekers. It was as though one had stepped back in time reliving the era of excitement and suspense as McGarrett and Danno tracked one criminal after another through a landscape of palm trees, sandy beaches and the streets of Honolulu.

Though the diabolical Wo Fat (Khigh Dhiegh) was captured, marking an end to the longest running crime show ever, the show’s title and theme song have made its mark, remaining in the hearts and minds of fans around the world.


Hawaii Five-0: Believe it or Not!

Jack Lord - It’s Tough Being a Cop (Even on TV!!!)

(from an unidentified magazine dated 1974)


B&W smiling Jack Lord

You think you have problems? Well just listen to Jack Lord, TV’s highest-rated cop on Hawaii Five-0:

"I came into our production office on Saturday," Jack admitted recently on location in Hawaii, "and our telex was clicking away an SOS from the Mainland FBI addressed to Steve McGarrett to track down a criminal who was wanted on the Mainland and believed en route to Honolulu!

"The FBI wanted McGarrett to help them locate him! I tore off all four copies from the telex so no one else in the production company would see them and became alarmed, then called our local FBI office and informed them of the message from their headquarters. The FBI asked a fictional character - who someone in their agency believed was actually real - to solve the crime!"


And now a word from our sponsors:

We are looking for the following Jack Lord episodes on VHS: Dr. Kildare - A Willing Suspension of Disbelief and the movie The True Story of Lynn Stuart. Anyone who may have information about these programs can contact the Center at either the fan club or email address listed above.


Memorial contributions can be made to the Jack and Marie Lord Trust c/o Hawaii Community Foundation, 900 Front Street Mall, Suite 1300, Honolulu, HI 96813. This fund was established in 1988 and was set up by the Lord’s to benefit their favorite charities. We have been assured that while personal responses are not possible, Mrs. Lord is made aware of all contributions.


From Jerry Picard: he reminded us that last fall Kam Fong underwent surgery for cancer. Jerry spoke to Kam’s son Dennis and who said his dad was a bit down. Anyone interested in sending cards to wish him well may do so. The address is Kam Fong, c/o Dennis Chun, 2578C-2 Pacific Hts. Rd. Honolulu, HI 96813.


Aloha, see you in July





















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