Central Dispatch

THE HAWAII FIVE-0 NEWSLETTER

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  Volume 2    January, 2005    Issue 1

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FIVE-0'er from The Friendly Isle

by Jerry Pickard, UH '72, uhalum@yahoo.com

That would be Moloka'i-born-and-raised Melveen Leed, best known as prominent local musician lady and pre-eminent singer of Hawaiian-country songs. Sharing her vocal talents began at age three, she said. Now she has a daughter who's 26. It's a long, long road!

Your stumblebum reporter, who'd caught TheBus from Honolulu over the Pali to Kane'ohe to meet with Melveen in May '04, wasn't even visible in folksy Zippy's Restaurant when Melveen was shown to the table. But moments later, with reporter's composure regained, the interview began while Melveen awaited her early lunch of 'all the things I'm not supposed to eat,' she confided. Merriam Olds (see July 2004 Central Dispatch), who'd assisted the early on-location producers in the series, had suggested that good friend Melveen might have some 'neat stuff' to share about the show. She appeared in three episodes, all toward the end of the series.

The reason she was cast, she explained, was to try to buff up sliding ratings. Show brass had seen her perform at Duke's in Waikiki. So, she was pegged to play the throaty, vamp-like 'Sally,' whose role was a strong element in the two-parter, 'Number One With A Bullet.' (She recalled the filming of this production on seedy Hotel Street downtown, and how, when traversing from one set to another in full costume & make-up, she was the focus of blatant accostings from economically/socially-challenged inhabitants of the area. It was concluded that on any given day, she'd instead much prefer curtain-calls to cat-calls!)

Melveen pointed out that she enjoyed a very close friendship with Jack and Marie Lord. She speculated that the one-time Stoney Burke identified with her country & western vocalizations with a Hawaiian blend, and in this way, was predisposed to welcoming her as a Five-0 guest performer after being cleared by Margaret Doversola.

The Lords often invited her (and Zulu as well, she stated, of whom Jack never spoke unkindly after the former's dismissal from the show), to dine with them at their condominium. She looks back on these as very special, quality occasions. Somewhat ahead of current times with respect to nutritional concerns, the Lords however always asked about the freshness of the food if they were eating away from home. Favorite dining-out spots included The Top of the I (at the Ilikai), and the Summit at the Ala Moana Hotel.

Consistent with most other local folks who made it onto the Five-0 set, Melveen was full of praise for Jack in his unfailing willingness to assist neophyte acting hopefuls like herself in developing talents and delivering strategies on stage. Yes, he wanted everything to be absolutely perfect, and so he was a 'stickler' during rehearsals, going over scenes, take after take after take. But with her, at least, he was very patient, 'maybe because I'm a woman,' she offered. Thus, her Five-0 memories are virtually all positive. And, she cherishes the Five-0 badge with which Jack presented her toward the show's final wrap. He was, she said, the epitome of being a 'gentleman's gentleman,' and most classy always.

A rather intriguing technique taught to her by Jack, she described, was that of drinking distilled water in a cup, upside-down, allowing the water to escape through one's nostrils. Supposed to be an excellent means of clearing any sinus blockage. (As would be most likely to result, it's presumed, if the possible asphyxiation were staved off!) She noted that when visiting the Lords' home, it contained copies of every film Jack had been in. He told her that he would watch them repeatedly, and self-critique constantly. And what a philanthropist he was, she pointed out; appearing at any charity event she attended. In particular, she recalled Jack's graciousness at Tripler Army Hospital, speaking with all who approached him and supplying seemingly endless autographs.

Melveen mentioned she'd lost contact with Marie, in part because of the former's extended time away spent in Tahiti where she continues to hold property. Chuckling, she said Marie treated Jack as though he were on a real pedestal, and ensured he dressed in keeping with her own exceptionally high standards. Theirs was a relationship of totally mutual and inseparable adoration, she asserted.

At the time of our get-together, Melveen admitted that she was quite tired as she'd just launched another CD recorded in Nashville, and the promotion of it was very demanding. As well, she had been called to try out for one of the several TV productions then being shot on O'ahu...but had not yet pursued this possibility. She said she generally enjoys all the hype and glitz of her show-business life, which has given her a wonderful career. But, for sure she treasures her quiet moments, few and far between when they do crop up.

Melveen was a very sparkly, spontaneous, animated and yes, hungry subject when we met that May morning by the Windward Mall. A few weeks later, her picture was in the Honolulu papers, as she strummed her ukulele and sang at Zulu's Waikiki memorial service. Shortly after that, she herself was stricken by serious illness when on the Mainland; thankfully, recovery followed.

'Sally' is indeed a strong 'ohana member. Mahalo, 'tita!

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A BEACHBOY'S B.S. (BEST STORIES)

by Jerry Pickard, UH '72 uhalum@yahoo.com

Talk about one cool dude! Didn't have as long a time with Kimo Kahoano as would have been preferable, but am very grateful for the time he took from his busy schedule (including the golf course, perhaps?) to have a sit-down at Wailana Coffee Shop in May '04. The quick bio relating to his current and original Hawaii Stars co-hosting duties with fellow occasional Five-0'er Carole Kai, lists some of the things he's done. Hadn't realized he hosted big football bowl games at Aloha Stadium, or emceed at large automotive conventions in Honolulu. He has been an on-air personality for the solid KINE 105-FM Hawaiian Music station, too. Definitely, a guy with lots of credits in his multi-faceted portfolio, this Kimo. (Of course, being dedicated Five-0 appreciators and aspiring to learn even a little of the unique lingo of Hawai'i, most of us know that his English name would be James, right??)

Kimo appeared in about a dozen episodes, beginning in the second season, skipping the third and then one or two times each on average from Seasons Four to Eleven. Assistant to the Casting Director Charlotte Simmons, who was with us when we talked-story, mentioned that it was CBS policy at that time, for the network itself to have to give specific consent for anyone who appeared more than two times in a season. So, in a number of cases, this is why an actor limited his exposures, preferring not to have to endure (and perhaps miss) a rigorous approval process. He has had roles in One West Waikiki, Magnum PI, Barnaby Jones, The Jeffersons, West Wind Hawaii, Blue Crush and more. On Five-0, an episode selection would include Skinhead, 6,000 Deadly Tickets, The Case Against McGarrett, Man in a Steel Frame, and Friends of Joey Kalima, to name just a few.

Kimo, who could easily be described as having the "look" of the quintessential Hawaiian beachboy, was working on the Danny Kaleikini Show at the Kahala Hilton in '69 when he was recruited by Location Casting Director, Ted Thorpe. First part was rather minimal...and uncredited (it involved a screaming girl finding a body on the beach). Before he received more active character missions, he endured four disappointing auditions. On the fifth, with Bob Busch and Allen Reisner, he decided to do away with trying to come across as too neat and nice. He relaxed, read naturally for the part with tousled hair, clad in shorts, tank-top and puka shells. Success!

When we met, only a few days after Zulu's passing had gone by. Kimo had known Zulu well, having performed as the knife-dancer in his show at the Pagoda Hotel's C'Est Si Bon nightclub. He suggested that because of the strong Kono Kalakaua role, very affable Zulu gained considerable fame, leading to the relocation of his show to the more prominent and lucrative Duke Kahanamoku's venue in the heart of Waikiki. Kimo felt that those days represented Zulu's "busy, best times."

Even the legendary Don Ho, when putting together an album featuring beachboy songs, included a comical number dedicated to Zulu, with lines like "Co-eds here, co-eds there, co-eds running round everywhere." Zulu's innate exuberance carried over to the Five-0 set where his presence was synonymous with constant, mainly good-natured bantering (not always viewed positively by Jack Lord however, as Kimo recalled). It was recounted that, unlike Kam Fong for example, Zulu was taken on as a major performer on the show without acting training or experience, being a beachboy-turned-professional local entertainer. But, like Kam (and Kimo for that matter), Zulu landed his role largely because of the gut instinct which Leonard Freeman and others experienced when first seeing them.

But, back to Kimo himself. It's worth noting that he had also been part of Al Harrington's show at the original Tapa Room of the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. Ironically, from where we sat for this interview, we could look directly across bustling Ala Moana Boulevard at that site. Kimo had some gigs in Las Vegas, too. In '77 he went to Los Angeles, following his appearances in several Five-0 episodes, and tried out for The Gong Show. But it was not to be, as he was recalled to the Islands for further Five-0's. This was notwithstanding what he felt had been "terrible auditions," because of a propensity to overplay roles through excessive emotions. Thus, he said, he ended up mainly with "anger management" parts like being a surfer framed for a murder he didn't commit.

One characterization he especially enjoyed, involved being a pro-environmentalist, as he was attending the University of Hawai'i at the time, and was involved with the very first Earth Day. (Re the auditions, Kimo laughingly recalled how Seth Sakai once confided to him how Seth had a strategy for landing parts: Seth would get the script, take it home, tape the lines of the character he was playing opposite, and then practice and practice till he felt he'd gotten the best delivery possible for him. When there'd be a casting call, often it involved pretty much the same bunch of people from the local talent pool, and the entire process became a mostly friendly, howzit competition.)

But the role which is perhaps most memorable for him, was in Tall On The Wave, directed by Ron Satlof, who had particular expertise when it came to ocean-oriented filming. Kimo portrayed a surfer who in the original script was to have been blond and blue-eyed. It was a major part, and he recalled doing a crying scene with Lisa Eilbacher. She had a memory lapse with her lines when she was on-camera while he was off. So Kimo improvised on the spot to salvage the shot, and the director glowingly accepted the unplanned revision. Kimo's initial sighting of Jack Lord in Hawai'i struck this writer as highly amusing. It was at the very beginning, probably pre-production.

Kimo was with his fiancée in the popular McCully Chop Suey restaurant not far from the U. H. He noticed a tall man wearing a neckerchief and looking very 'western' coming in with his wife. Kimo figured he recognized him, and said so to his date: "I think that's Stoney Burke!" But the air-conditioning was on full-blast, so Jack asked if it could be turned down to keep Marie from being too chilled. The waitress let fly with a barrage of mixed Chinese/local pidgin (Kimo mimicked this very with great animation), ending with something like "must keep damn place cold." She obviously didn't know who 'Stoney' was, and likely cared even less!

In Man In A Steel Frame, directed by Reisner, Kimo played a tennis pro. He described this role as having particularly high emotional overtones. Jack instructed him not to look directly at McGarrett, but over the camera, which resulted in what was judged to be a perfect take.

Kimo defined Jack as a very tough individual, strict about everything, a consummate professional (of course!), but fair. For sure, he said, you could never "get in his face." For example, in this episode Jack needed a detail clarification from one of the script people. This guy, rather than just admitting he didn't have the answer and would have to do some checking, simply "answered back" perhaps facetiously but regardless, in such a way that Jack had him fired at once.

Kimo pointed out that all the scene filmings in Five-0's day were unbelievably laborious and painstaking, which often led to frayed tempers. As well, no one really quite knew how any one episode would turn out until it was telecast-unlike today, he offered, when directors can do a rapid check of the digital output and ensure the angles are as desired, making corrections at once if needed. Yet, Kimo believes that while Five-0 may not have been technically "correct" in all ways, it worked well for its time and has withstood the test of long-term durability.

More recollections from his days at this series, "where it all began for him": - James MacArthur was just fantastic, totally knowledgeable but balanced, and able & willing to help the less-skilled local performers redirect their focus on the set when needed, aware of what the directors wanted to have happen to accomplish their goals.

He said this talent of Jim's was particularly evident during a challenging prison filming sequence. - he recalled himself and Danny Kamekona plus Jimmy Borges working with John Rubinstein (in Friends Of Joey Kalima), and how terrific it had been to "rub shoulders" with such a notable figure in this business - Kimo similarly felt very privileged to have appeared with Tab Hunter (in Horoscope for Murder, which was Kimo's final Five-0) describing him this way: "the bigger the star, the more wonderful".

While they were being driven to the North Shore for a scene, Mr. Hunter remarked that he wished he'd bought property up there years before "when it was a lot less expensive." (!!) - Jack's likely slow deterioration likely began to manifest itself toward the end of the series' run, when he caved in and began using cue cards. Such had previously been a no-no for virtually everyone; Jack insisted that lines must be memorized for the best possible delivery.

Kimo remembered Harry Endo requesting his script copy at the earliest time he could get it, knowing that he'd have to master many technical terms in a dialogue in order to meet Jack's expectations, for instance.

Kimo spoke of being instructed by Jack in '75 not to read from the script when he was off-camera, pointing out the advantage for the show's quality if true emotions could be conveyed while looking at McGarrett. While Jack's terms of reference changed slightly in the latter going, Kimo said he's never forgotten such well-sourced tips.

Once again, it was a true privilege to "talk-story" and shake hands with another exceptional, distinguished alumnus of the Five-0 experience. Mahalo, brah!

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A word from our sponsors:

Anyone interested in copies of Hawaii Five-0 episodes (mostly all full versions) can contact Barbara Brindle at 105 Warren Road, Sparta, NJ 07871. Unfortunately, Barbara does not have an email address so you’ll need to phone her at 973-729-923. Her rates are reasonable and she’s very reliable.

Ron Evans, owner of e/p Partners,http:www.networksplus.net/caseyguy/epPartners.htm also offer VCR tapes of Hawaii Five-0, Jack Lord and James MacArthur, among others. His email iscaseyguy@networksplus.net.  

Hard copies of the newsletter are available.

The Hawaii Five-0 Newsletter is available in print form. Membership is $10 per year for four issues (foreign subscriptions are $14.00 US funds). Checks for membership may be made out to Annette Nixon/H50FC. Since you are reading this off line, you can mail your membership dues to Annette Nixon, 300 Park Avenue, Watseka, IL 60970. Any additional financial contributions are always welcome. The newsletter will be available on the 15th of January, April, July and October.

Submissions, which are always welcomed, to the newsletter can be mailed to me at Terri Whitman, 9130 Kiefer Blvd, Apt. 120, Sacramento, CA 95826. Deadlines are one month before each issue. Currently, the Central Dispatch has a new home. You can access it through The Jack Lord Connection located at http://www.thejacklordconnection.com. If you do have access to the internet and wish to email either Annette or I, you can reach us currently atSpinkick@colint.com or TW1151@Comcast.Net.

2005 Calendars are now available.

Debbie has put together two different 2005 calendars for anyone wishing to buy one. One is of Jack Lord (this is not the 4th season, but a collection of pictures of Jack Lord) and one is of Hawaii Five-0. Calendars are $10 each ($14 for outside the US-payable in USD). Make out checks or US money orders and mail to Debbie Fitzgerald/HFOFC, 682 Durham Road, Adams, TN 37010 or pay using Paypal (momh50@aol.com).

Memorial Contributions

You can still contribute to the Memorial. Just sent it to: 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.

 

 

Pictures of the Memorial

Doug Mossman and Lynn Liverton

Annette Nixon and Ennis Dudley

Jack Lord’s Bust

 

 

See you in April 2005

Be There! Aloha!