THE HAWAII FIVE-0 FAN CLUB NEWSLETTER
Volume 5 January, 3002 Issue 18
Meet Thorwald (Tom) Boie, McGarrett's Double in Welcome to Our Branch Office!
I worked as a Cinetechnician on
Hawaii Five-0 in Hawaii at Fort Ruger and on the various shooting locations on
the all the shows in 1974, 1975, and 1976.
A Cinetechnician takes care of the all the motion picture camera
equipment, including lenses, etc. Most of the work has to be done after shooting
for the day is done. The cameras have to be ready and in the best possible
condition for the next shooting day. After shooting in dusty locations, like in
the pineapple fields, a little more cleaning is required.
My experiences working for
Hawaii Five-0 for those three seasons were a very positive one. It was always a
pleasure taking to Jack Lord, James McArthur, and Kam Fong when they stopped at
the camera truck to say "hello". We also had a great camera crew and a
wonderful supporting crew to make the show a success.
It was in 1975 when the show "Welcome to our Branch Office" was filmed. It was during lunch break, that the casting director, Bob Bush noticed me, indicating, that they could use me as the "fake Mc Garrett". After finishing lunch I landed in the make-up department and was put into one of Jack's suits for photo tests. Everything worked out and the director send me into the production office as the "surprise" Mc Garrett. Bernie Oseranski, our great Production Manager nearly feel at of his chair when he saw me. Jack Lord was kidding that we should both go in town dressed in our blue suits. Jack and I were both the same size, even our shoe size was interchangeable!
The filming of "Welcome to our Branch Office" went well, except, that they had to use a voice-over because of my German accent. This was not a problem since I only had a few lines. Several times people asked me for an autograph thinking that I was actually Jack Lord. After trying to convince them, that I was not Jack Lord the reply was often, "Now look at this, now Jack Lord even puts on a German accent." In several episodes I was also used as Jack's photo double in several drive by shoots driving Mc Garrett's car, etc.
Now were comes that German accent in? I learned the Cinetechnician trade in Germany in the Optical industry for 3 ½ years in the early fifties. After that, I worked for 6 years in Switzerland were we developed precision machinery for the watch making industry. It was in Switzerland, that I became very interested in the Motion picture industry. I remember going often to movie theaters were American films were shown with German subtitles or dubbed into German.
In 1964-1966 I worked at MGM studios and it was during these years that Elvis Presley made movies at MGM. I had the privilege seeing him often as he used the side entrance were I was working. He had to avoid the main entrance as there was always a mob waiting! After working at MGM, I worked at CBS for several years, again as Cinetechnician on various shows such as Bob Newhart Show, Loni Anderson Show. Through CBS I also worked for Universal Studios on "Smokey and the Bandit 2" and "the Island" with Michael Cane. I enjoyed working on these different shows, but working on "Hawaii Five-0" will always be the highlight of all the shows. After all these years, I finally left Los Angeles to retire in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
Once again Jerry Pickard has had the wonderful opportunity to chat with more people who were willing to share their memories of Hawaii Five-0 with us. Mahalo, Jerry!
Some Musings with Mossman
Fellow Fan and amateur reporter sought out Doug
Mossman in September 2002 when on O'ahu once again, and Doug did not
disappoint. A lunch-time meeting was arranged just behind the
sprawling Ward Center complex along Ala Moana Blvd.
Doug, of course, was another 'local boy' who appeared in a number of different roles throughout the series' run. Notably, he played Lt. George Kealoha in the earliest years, and later Frank Kamana. With the greater exposure previously gained when he was cast as 'Moke' on HAWAIIAN EYE in the early 60's, Doug brought to the set some rare--for the homegrown Hawai'i talent--and appreciated experience and depth. Well after Five-0 had finished, he has still been in acting demand, including a stint on the short-lived 'Wind on Water.'
An exceptionally tall man, and very personable, he picked me up near my modest lodgings and we headed off to the accompaniment of distinctive Big Band tunes emanating from his car radio. He's a major fan of that musical genre. This jarred me slightly, because as a student in Honolulu over 30 years before, I regularly listened to this afternoon drive-home radio program on KCCN, then "All-Hawaiian, All-the-Time." But not surprisingly as revealed through conversations with other Five-0 personalities, their breadth of interests was indeed far-ranging.
Our ride was not long; we soon pulled in by Kua A'ina, an eatery boasting some of the best burgers on the island, prepared "country-style" (hence the name). We placed our orders, and began the interview segment of our get-together.
Doug first spoke of what happened after Jack Lord died. The instructions had been that cremation was to take place as quickly as possible, with no public funeral--simply a scattering of remains in the ocean near the Lords' Kahala condo. Marie arranged a small private memorial service in front of the building. This took place about a week following Jack's passing. Some close associates from the network, along with a few friends from the show, attended. The latter included Margaret Doversola, Herman Wedemeyer, Jimmy Borges, Moe Keale and of course, Doug. Along with the minister's words, the Five-0 actors offered some brief on-the-spot eulogies. Then paddlers took the urn in a canoe a short distance out to sea and completed Jack's wishes. Like the character's often rapid-fire actions on the set, the proceedings were over in short order --probably the way he would have approved.
There needed to be something more, however, Doug and others thought. After all, it was no secret that Five-0 in both its original airings and ongoing syndication, had lured countless visitors and their spending to the Islands from around the world. And a strong argument could be advanced that this was largely due to Jack Lord and his mostly tireless efforts, when all was said and done. Maybe, similar to tributes made for other local notables like Duke Kahanamoku and Don Ho in more recent times, a roadway could be renamed? (For example, Doug had considered to himself that the small thoroughfare just Diamondhead of the Ilikai, next to where the once-proud but long-gone Tahitian Lana'i restaurant was sited, might better be called Jack Lord Lane...or similar.)
As did the brilliant Captain James Cook almost 200 years before, the catalyst to launch "something more" came from England. Esperanza Isaac, a highly devoted Lord fan, approached Doug and offered to work with him in arranging a suitable memorial to Jack. Some of those from the show who'd been at the ashes-scattering, also gave their input. But it has been Esperanza and Doug Mossman, who have been largely responsible for advancing it toward reality. Specifics on the project can be found at www.jacklord.co.uk
(Anyone wishing to make a contribution to the Jack Lord Memorial may do so by sending a check or money order to The Jack Lord Memorial Fund, 95-1503 Ainamauka Drive #78, Mililani, HI 96789)
Some Straight Buzz from Jimmy Borges
Your humble scribe (!) was very
fortunate to make contact with Jimmy Borges, among others, during a February
2002 visit to Honolulu. As Jimmy, 66 at the time of our conversation, was
still keeping up a hectic schedule, he graciously made time for a rather
forthright talk-story-by-telephone. It was quite obvious he was very
willing to discuss the series, his relation to it, and other intriguing morsels.
Jimmy Borges is at once a very personable and tell-it-like-it-is kind of guy. His parts in Five-0 were not particularly endearing overall, and this suited him fine, he revealed. Unlike some of the better known characters closely associated with the show, Jimmy delighted in culling the unsavory. He was especially "at home" when portraying nightclub-singer types of persona, with mob-type connections.
And sing he did, and does, with wide acclaim, particularly for his jazz acumen. He performs considerably on the Mainland, and beyond. I was surprised to learn he's been a featured headliner more than once at my home area of Vancouver's annual jazz festival.
In 1970 Borges, who has Portuguese/Hawaiian/Chinese genes figuratively roaring through his dynamic frame, moved back to the Islands, having left at age 11 with his family to live in California's Bay Area. Not long afterwards he found himself enjoying a special relationship with Five-0's primary star. Jack Lord had caught his vocal act, and invited him to try out for the show. They hit it off right from the start. Throughout Jimmy's Five-0 career and afterwards into the mid-90's until it was no longer feasible for Jimmy to meet Jack & Marie for occasional get-togethers, there was never any friction between them.
He believes this was mainly because Jack respected him for his proven singing abilities, so he was never considered any possible threat to the consummate actor, Jack Lord. Moreover, because of Borges' numerous and formative years on the Mainland yet being
an Islander by birth and at heart, he could develop his characters with a unique spin that deftly combined both geographic and cultural backgrounds. Jack was also very favorably impressed that Jimmy was invariably able to do his scenes on the first take.
Borges feels that Lord regarded him as a genuine professional in his own musical right. As well, he appreciated that Borges was obviously enjoying what he did on the show.
Jimmy described Jack, not maliciously of course, as a true despot that he was proud to know. To have Jack and Marie as regulars whenever Jimmy was marking an opening night, did not hurt the cause. He said too that Jack gave him his Five-0 badge at one point. When Jimmy was being wed, Jack attended the ceremonies and even offered a toast. But, as Borges recalled, Lord was hopeless at properly dressing himself...it was Marie, with all her fashion design savvy that she could muster, who made him as presentable as he was!
I asked Jimmy more about Jack in terms of what Lord was and what he did for Five-0. His response was immediate, and telling: Jack's visions and attitudes toward what he believed were "right" and "wrong" left no doubts in anyone's minds. Society's values, although under major scrutiny and in considerable flux in 60's America, were more closely defined than in later decades, vis-a-vis good and evil. And, they were manifested in McGarrett. In Borges' view, McGarrett was Lord, and vice-versa, without question. The good guys won virtually every time; Jack would not have had it any other way.
From the perspectives of
Five-0's record long-term on the air-waves, Jimmy's views were again candidly
offered. A big part of it was due to Jack Lord's attractive looks and
charisma. Borges believes Jack appealed very strongly to the female
all the potential buying power, which that meant for the network and sponsors. (Note: the writer cannot take issue with that notion, based on this online group's apparently strongly skewed gender make-up!) He mentioned that Hawai'i's enticingly exotic scenery probably added 2-3 crucial rating points on its own, along with the unique cast mixture of locals and guest stars from the Mainland, etc.
The stock request was made as to whether Jimmy could share any especially memorable incidents during filming. He said there was a scene in which he was playing himself, handcuffed to a chair. (This was from A Capitol Crime.) Sharon Farrell was to run belligerently to him, and Jack Lord would intercept her in mid-stride, at chest level. From what Jimmy could see, they got it right on the first or second take. However, Jack insisted on several more because, as Jimmy recalled, Jack was not averse to exercising his fondness for feminine curves. Indeed, Karen Rhodes' recap of this episode states "...when she's finally apprehended, Jack Lord has his hands full holding on to her."
As our talk time drew to a close, I asked Borges about anything he'd like to say in particular to the show's fans. Once again he was not hesitant with his response. Jimmy wants everyone to know how grateful he feels to them, for all their support of Five-0 over
the years. He said the show's success was a tremendous boost to his fortunes own in 70's. Also, he pointed out that we should be aware of what is perhaps not usually considered to be a big benefit of the series to the people of Hawai'i. Sure, it's well accepted that Five-0 attracted countless more visitors to the Islands' shores and thus beefed up its economic fortunes. But how many of us, he wondered, realize that this production went such a long way toward helping Islanders, particularly those beyond urban O'ahu, to relate to Mainlanders and others from afar. He believes that the show was a significant catalyst in opening up the possibility of exploring other worlds, for those born and bred in Hawai'i. So, there was this large, not often thought of sociological value to the State. He himself could identify with it, he said, because of his own hybrid background from living on the continent for almost 25 years before coming back to Honolulu.
Jimmy's kindness in being so agreeable to speaking so openly with the writer, is most appreciated. If any of us are lucky enough to catch him in concert, including on the Mainland, I'm sure he'd not mind if a Five-0 aloha were offered.
(You can write to Jimmy Borges at 1561 Kanunu St., Suite 505, Honolulu, HI 96814)
Five-0 and Bill Bigelow
interviewer first became aware of Bill probably in late 1968. Bill was a
driving force behind and unmistakable news director/morning anchor of KCCN-1420
AM, once touted as "The Only Radio Station in the World Up a Tree."
That's when it really did have its broadcast booth cradled in the boughs of the
enormous banyan at the entrance to the International Marketplace, on Kalakaua
Avenue. KCCN in those days played music: All Hawaiian All The Time,
and around sunrise, according to Bill, it had to compete with very noisy mynah
birds for listeners' attention!
Bill had a variety of supporting roles in the series over the years. But before those are discussed, it's worth noting he arrived for our meeting not at all bereft of amusing stories from his pre-Five-0 radio days. Prior to KCCN's move into Waikiki, its studios were on Sand Island, out near Honolulu Airport. It shared premises, a sizable warehouse, with Granny Goose Potato Chips. Bill chuckled heartily when recalling how, after he'd arrive at 5:00 A.M. to open the station, his first task would be to chase away numerous rats which had been gorging themselves all night on crinkly dried spuds. Interestingly, the late Robert "Lucky" Luck, who was in some dozen Five-0's, was KCCN's morning man at the time. Another occasional Five-0 player, also involved significantly with KCCN, was Bob Basso. He works in the area of motivational speaking on the Mainland now, but remains a very close personal friend to Bill.
Not long into our chat, for which Bill had driven to the very pleasant Queen Kapi'olani Hotel one late February 2002 afternoon, he offered a forceful observation. The timing of Five-0's debut onto the airwaves, combined with the introduction of mainly wide-bodied jets to Honolulu, meant an incredible infusion of visitors to Hawai'i. Bill suggested that the affordability of mass travel-oriented airfares plus the superbly scenic attractions of O'ahu highlighted on the show, led to tourism's explosive growth in the State. He has done, in his 40+ years in Hawai'i, considerable work in public relations and marketing for the hotel industry, so he speaks with
How did Bill (and Bob) come to Five-0? In the fall of '68, they were performing in the play The Odd Couple at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Jack Lord happened to catch it, and the next day invited them both to audition for the show. It wasn't long before they were in front of the cameras in various capacities. Bill remembered the difficulty in getting scenes completed in those early days, however. The makeshift quonset hut which served as a studio, near where Pearlridge Shopping Center stands today in Pearl
City, was directly under the flight path of arriving aircraft. Each time a plane's final approach engine noise could be heard, the director had to cut the shoot. It was an entirely primitive set-up, complete with scurrying mongoose distractions as well. When the filming did eventually become based in the original studios adjacent to Diamond Head, things improved dramatically. Permanent sets, including McGarrett's office and the analytical laboratory, etc., made the operation considerably more effective.
Bill described a scene from 'Paniolo,' in which he portrayed a sinister realtor who dies and has to be disposed of. His character, a mannequin of Bill's likeness, is slumped over a car's steering wheel, and the car gets pushed over a cliff. This episode was largely shot on Maui, with the cliff that was used situated just past a tunnel on the way to Lahaina from Kahului. What made this action interval remarkable in Bill's eyes, was that the prop crew actually obtained two identical green Fords. The second one was strictly a back-up in case the first shooting of the scene did not go right. As it cost some $6,000 just to get all the materiel transported from Honolulu, it was important to gear up for as many contingencies possible.
Other memorable roles for Bill included playing a Hawaii Kai Marina yacht skipper who is blown up, and in 'Air Cargo-Dial For Murder,' a crooked Pan Am freight handler. He encountered difficulty, as a UH entomologist in 'Sweet Terror,' while trying to convincingly pronounce a number of lengthy and tedious technical terms. He recalls special encouragement, when Jack Lord suggested he try to think only of how an actual scientist would say these words rather than trying to get them across an actor. Same guidance was offered when he was cast as a judge, and had to render a decision with certain decorum. The message was that there is far more to being successful in acting, than just knowing one's lines. And Bill said he has used Jack's tips and directions ever since, in a number of venues.
In Bill's recollection, Jack Lord was always a gentleman to everyone, provided things were going according to his standards of expectation. If crew were felt to be slacking off, for example, they found out about that impression rather quickly and often the hard way, usually from Jack himself who had one-third ownership in the series. CBS and Leonard Freeman were the other major stakeholders, of course. But apart from perceived work ethic breaches on the part of some, Jack Lord considered all the cast equally important and, Bill added, he tried to make them feel that way.
Does Bill ever view the show nowadays? Yes, but since it airs in Honolulu at 6 PM, his priority as a veteran newsman is almost always to catch at least the first half of the evening newscast, which starts at the same time. Then he tunes in to Five-0, but he
pointed out that those with smaller roles, like himself, usually are often not seen after the first couple of acts. Nonetheless, he considers the show still highly watchable, after all these years because of the striking quality that was put into it at all levels. The scripts and themes were and are believable, he noted, addressing virtually all the issues that a police force would have to contend with in the 1970's in Hawai'i. He also heaped a lot of praise on make-up master craftsman Keester Sweeney's unique talents..."perfectly able to make anyone be anything they never thought they could," is how he put it.
Bill told the writer of a
Five-0-related incident on the Mainland. His father had to be hospitalized
for several months many years ago. He was an inveterate pipe smoker,
however, and was not at all happy when his smoking materials were taken from him
at the start of his stay. A while afterwards, he and some of the staff were in the lounge one evening when the Five-0 theme came thundering on the TV. Mr. Bigelow Senior mentioned to his caregivers that shortly, he'd be seeing his son in that show. There
was immediate incredulity, which Bill's dad countered with "Look, if I'm right then can I have my pipes back?" They said fine, Bill did appear in this particular episode, and soon his father was puffing away contentedly once again.
William F. Bigelow II continues, at age 64 when this chat took place, to ply his not-insignificant skills in "media/communications/public relations" (according to the business card he provided). His voice is as powerfully listenable as ever. He said he has been working on implementing a weekly topic-specific radio talk show which he hoped would air soon. And his voice-over narratives are in many places: a couple days after our meeting, the writer was in a store on Kaua'i where a demo travelogue video featuring Garden Isle helicopter tours, was being played. Guess who the unmistakable commentator was!!
He did bowl me over, incidentally, by loaning me two unsolicited, original photos including himself as part of a scene being shot at what appeared to be the Ilikai. He also included an original memo signed by Jack Lord and dated June 1969, praising Bill for his Five-0 performance. These were returned, of course.
Getting together with Bill led to a most enjoyable hour of Five-0 and other reminiscences. He remains an ardent booster of the show, and was pleasantly surprised to learn of Karen Rhodes' book, a copy of which he indicated he would try to obtain. His astonishment at the possibility of the Litto movie, and the in-progress "wave" sculpture planned for Kahala Mall, was genuine as well. It was 'shaka' to make his acquaintance again after such a long time had passed. Once again, I am most grateful to have had
(Jerry can be reached at email@example.com)
Being in the right place at the right time got Reggie Foote a part in the episode 'The Year of the Horse'
Today, I am 60 years old and
have been retired for the last four years.
While in my mid 30’s, I had the unique opportunity to live and work in
Singapore. I was employed with an aviation company that manufactures jet
engines, Pratt & Whitney. Not
knowing at the time, Singapore would be the first of many overseas assignments
that would last well over 22 years of my 35 years of service with this fine
company. Following five years in
Singapore, there were two years in Bombay, India followed by eight years in
Seoul, Korea with the highlight being nearly eight years in Stockholm, Sweden.
Let me return to Singapore in the late 1970’s.
I’m still rather “fuzzy” on the exact time and date of this
adventure, but here goes!
One day, our daughter Linel came
home from the American High School with a unique opportunity.
Linel had been taking a modeling course and she was asked to show up at
an audition at the Mandarin Hotel on Orchard Road with her entire family.
If all went well, the ultimate result would mean the opportunity to be an
extra of walk-on in a 2-hour Hawaii Five-0 television special that was going to
be filmed entirely in Singapore. The
episode was to be called ‘The Year of the Horse’.
So, the five of us, wife Judy, son Kit, daughters Linel and Deb and I
marched off to the Mandarin. We
were all chosen and were asked to show up on the first day of filming at the
Chinese Gardens. As we were so excited, all five of us brought our cameras in
the hope of meeting and photographing the stars of the show.
Little did we know that some of the players would end up becoming more
recognized in the television and movie industry in later years.
There was Barry Bostwick, Victoria Principal and George Lazenby along
with Five-0 regulars Jack Lord, James MacArthur and others.
No, I can’t remember if George Lazenby became James Bond before or
after this show, but I do remember him well in the Bond flick ‘On Her
Majesty’s Secret Service’. His
career as James Bond was rather short lived and Roger Moore became the secret
agent in the next Bond movie. Victoria
Principal became Pam Ewing on ‘Dallas’ and Barry Bostwick appeared on so
many shows and movies and in one series with Michael J. Fox.
The only thing I remember was Barry berating Victoria for her acting!
My impression, at the time, was that he was not a nice person and had a
big ego. I felt like it was my
‘duty’ to come to the defense of this beautiful star, but played it cool and
kept out of it because it didn’t involve me directly.
Recollections of the day were
the opportunities to interface with Jack Lord who, without a doubt, was the
nicest person and would bend over backwards to all his fans who were watching
the filming and allowed us to take photographs in a more causal atmosphere
rather than just snapping away from afar. Jack
would even suggest hot to get the best photo, of himself!
Anyway, we all got to do a
little bit of “walking on” but
no actual talking part. Of the
family, I was luckier to get a part that had me on screen for a few seconds as I
was able to see later after the show was put together and televised.
I was given this dark brown Friars robe to put on.
It was bad enough that the afternoon temperature reached more than 90
degrees and I was sweating under this costume, but later, and humorously, as I
reflected on being a Friar. The
funny part being that there are no Friars in that part of the world (probably
still aren’t!) and I guess they just had the costume lying around and decided
to use it. The fact that I was starting to bald in the back, cinched the
Friar part for me.
Some time later, when I returned
to the States for a vacation, I found that my dear Mother had actually notified
the local newspaper that I was appearing on the show.
I guess this must have disappointed many family and friends when after
the show was edited, all I got was a few seconds of fame!
To this day, our family, just regular folks, have the opportunity to reflect on that bit of uniqueness and the rare opportunity to see and meet such big TV stars. The photographs are discolored and faded some now, but the memories are there in full focus and color. Hawaii Five-0, at least in my mind and heart, will forever remain one of the brightest and most unique highlights of my life as well as my family’s. I was paid the sum of 60 Singapore dollars for the day for my one shot at being an actor. I never became rich at being an actor, as this was my one gig, but was enriched at the opportunity, for a fleeting moment to rub elbows with the stars!
As always, thank you to Jerry Pickard, Tom Boie and Reggie Foote for sharing their special memories of Hawaii Five-0 with us!
There's more to come in April, 2003