Central Dispatch


Volume 2           January, 2006            Issue 1


A new year is here and with it a chance at many new beginnings. After a year of changes, many of them violent and destructive, I hope this year will be better for everyone. This year I hope to find additional former members and old time fans of the show. In doing so, I’m going to try to encourage them to share with us some of their memories about the show we all love. Sometimes these connections arrive by purest accident and in this issue I have two such items. The first is from Jerry Coopersmith, a former writer for the show, and the last is from a long time fan who was lucky enough to watch Al Harrington perform at one of his shows in Hawaii. My thanks for Jerry Coopersmith and to Marty Goras for their emails to us about the show.

Jerry Coopersmith – Hawaii Five-0 writer

Here is a chapter of 5-0 lore that is perhaps not widely known.

In 1985 I was hired by CBS to write a Hawaii 5-0 reunion show. Jack Lord wanted it shot in Hong Kong, rather than Hawaii. He had become enamored of the then-British colony’s exotic locations when he shot my 2-hour episode “Nine Dragons” there during the series’ regular run.

For research, the network sent me to Hong Kong where I met up with Jack. Doug Green, who was to be the director of the revival movie, was also there. Jack had specific ideas about what the general story line should be: something about modern-day pirates operating in the China Seas. In that, he was prophetic of things going on today.

The British colonial officials rolled out the red carpet for Jack, and as part of the project I enjoyed the VIP treatment too. They took us on a Royal Navy cutter to small picturesque islands lying off a part of China called the New Territories. Imagine crushingly narrow streets lined with pagoda-like buildings, chickens squawking as you dodge them, and throngs of Chinese in coolie dress haggling with vendors over open-air stalls. The islands were living museums of a 19th Century world.

On another day, Jack and I took a ferry to the island of Macao, a gambling mecca under Portuguese rule, not far from Hong Kong. In buildings that were virtual airplane hangars, Asian men in half-sleeve shirts - only men - shouted their bets in the game of fantan. It was hot and sweaty - a far cry from a James Bond glamorous casino. Not one tuxedo in the place.

On the ferry ride to Macao I saw the intellectual side of Jack. He was a virtual encyclopedia of literature (his favorite author being William Faulkner.) He explained to me that his father placed great value on reading, and enforced a reward-and-punishment system to ensure that his children read great books and could memorize passages from them.

After coming home, I wrote the script for a 2-hour TV movie entitled "The Return of Hawaii 5-0," using many of the locations I had seen. But the movie was never made. I'm not sure why. There were rumors of disagreement between Jack and CBS over who would have final control of the film's content. The script which belongs to CBS now sits in my files.

My wife and I enjoyed Hong Kong despite the oppressive heat that prevailed in June. We even had some clothing made there.

My best wishes to you for the holidays, and of course, Aloha.

A Fan’s Memories of Hawaii Five-0

By Mitch Goras

Mitch Goras and Al Harrington

It was just about the time Hawaii Five-0 began airing when my older sister received a small portable color television set as a gift. This being new to our family, I can remember my Dad trying to adjust the color and being so proud of himself. Yes, he had made the ocean green. We eventually learned to adjust the color properly and Hawaii had become my favorite place. I was 11 years old when McGarrett came on the scene and I became an instant fan. From that point on, it was my dream to go to Honolulu someday. As the years passed, I never missed an episode.

I was a high school senior in 1975 and still an avid Five-0 fan. With the school year almost over, word had spread about a class trip to Hawaii. It was a one-week stay but that seemed ideal to me. With great appreciation, I remember how generous and sacrificing my parents were when they agreed to make that my graduation present. The cost was somewhere in the area of $530 which was an enormous amount of money to us. Nonetheless, off I was to Honolulu with plans to search out the Five-0 team.

More than half the trip was over and I still was unsuccessful in learning where Five-0 may be shooting. A twist of fate would aid in my mission. As we sat waiting for a luau show to begin, the lights slowly rose to a dim, red fiery glow. The drum beat and out walks the emcee, Al Harrington. What a great surprise! The show was fantastic and I was going to make a point of meeting this man afterwards, no matter what.

Al Harrington

The show ended and Mr. Harrington was very accessible to all who wished to take pictures and talk. I had waited for the crowd to thin to approach him. I introduced myself and told him what a fan I was. He had told me how he was a teacher and began acting and eventually after playing other roles on the show, was cast as Ben. He was glad to sign a small piece of paper I was able to scrounge up and I have kept it to this day. We talked for only a short time but during those few minutes I was able to convince him to give me some much needed information. I remember him saying that he shouldn’t be telling me, but if I would go to the airport the next day, it was there that the show would be filming. 

The next day, accompanied by a friend, I made my way to the airport. After looking around for a while, I finally came upon the trucks and vans and trailers from the show. I watched for sometime as crewmembers came and went. The filming was apparently somewhere inside and I wasn’t able to get in. I sat and thought about how I had written Jack Lord as a youngster and months later, shortly before Christmas, I received a short note from him wishing me a joyous noel. Eventually my patience paid off when I happened to turn and saw a cameraman with his equipment exiting. I kept a keen eye on that door and 20 steps behind was Jack Lord. Taller then I had expected, a large smile on his face, some papers in his hand, he looked right at me while I shot a short amount of footage with my Dad’s old 16mm film camera. There he was not more than 10 feet from me. He crossed the street to where the trailers and equipment were staged, turned, and waited. Although he gave a wave hello, my excitement at the time and the fear that someone would turn me away, stopped me from approaching him. I am sure now that he would have been more than willing to greet me and talk for a while. Not going over to him is a moment that I regret now, yet I was thrilled to death at that time. My mission had been completed and the rest of my trip was a blast!

Jack Lord on the set

The images are a bit fuzzy because the film was old.

Later that year, I had joined the Air Force and many joked that I would now lose my claim to never having missed an episode. What was I going to do while in basic training? To make a long story short, I quickly became aware that each night, volunteers were recruited for CQ (charge of quarters) duty. What was that I wondered? To my surprise, those who volunteered were to watch the phones in the office in case of emergencies. The added bonus was that as a perk, you were allowed to smoke and had access to a television. Bingo! Guess who was on CQ duty on a certain night every week? 

Since that time I have been back to Hawaii twice. From Oahu, Hawaii, Maui, and Lanai, It is still my favorite place on the planet. My last trip was in 2004 and I was aware that the Jack Lord memorial was scheduled to be dedicated in January. We planned our trip for June and had planned to take our youngest son there for his high school graduation. As June was nearing and I was making some last minute changes to the itinerary, I learned that the dedication had been changed to June 19th for whatever reason. How great was this! We were arriving on June 18th and would be able to make the dedication. It was as if it was delayed for my arrival. The dedication was interesting. There were stories from the cast and crew, music and news crews. Later that evening, while watching the newscasts about the dedication, we spotted something very interesting. It was a clean, clear shot of me in the background watching the ceremony. How fitting that I will be historically a part of what went on that day. Not only in spirit but in image also. I will be back! Aloha.


As I said before, when I can I’ll try to include pieces from the original Iolani Palace Irregulars newsletters. As I searched the disks given to me by Theresa Ramseyer, who I wish to thank again, I came across these two submissions and thought everyone would enjoy reading for the first time or thinking back to when they read it the first time.

If anyone else with copies of the old newsletter like to submit them so that others could enjoy, please contact me at TW1151@comcast.net.

The Iolani Palace Irregulars

Issue Number 11 - September 1992

Two members have recently submitted similar commentaries on James MacArthur, after seeing him with his mother as co-host of the syndicated movie package "Canterbury Cinema Classics."

JIMMY - 1992

by Maryann GaIIant

Recently I viewed a segment of Canterbury Cinema Classics. For those with no idea what Canterbury Cinema Classics is, it's a weekly syndicated television show featuring old movie classics and hosted by Jams (officer Dan Williams) MacArthur and his mother, actress Helen Hayes.

These programs are up to date and this is the first my eyes have set upon the Hawaii Five‑0 star in close to ten years. Thoughts and impressions passed through my mind as I viewed the 1992 James MacArthur.

My initial reaction: He lost the fight. I'm referring to an article I had read years ago, in which he spoke of the constant battle he fought keeping his weight in check and raved about a new diet called the Sweet and Sour Diet. Alas poor James, as so many of us, lost the battle.

My second response was disbelief of his snow-white hair. My son Lee reacted to MacArthur's glasses: "Aren't those what you call Coke bottle glasses?" He never was a Danny fan but I had to admit the glasses did look kind of thick.

On the other hand, friend and fellow member Helen Volk had a different opinion. "They're wire‑rimmed glasses! They always tend to look thicker than they are! "I’ll accept that, I think to myself as I push my wire‑rimmed glasses back in place.

The voice remains the same. Close your eyes and you see officer Dan Williams romancing Anne Archer (Jane Michaels in "Beautiful Screamer"). The biggest thrill was when he let out a "Danny giggle." I'd recognize that giggle if I heard it while standing in the middle of a Guns 'N' Roses concert wearing plugs in my ears!

The one thing that came through loud and clear to me is, I was watching a man who was obviously comfortable being himself. That's tough for most people. Even I admit to self-induced hair color to cover the gray. However, for James MacArthur to be comfortable with himself is somewhat astonishing to me. Growing up the son of famous actress Helen Hayes and well‑known playwright Charles MacArthur, our Jimmy had to be hobnobbing and elbow‑rubbing with some of the world's most famous people. Not on legendary film stars, but great statesmen and politicians from around the world. A day hardly goes by that you don't pick up a newspaper and read about the offspring of a famous star getting into some sort of trouble or act irrationally. Even those who are famous in their own right seem to be fighting or running from something they themselves can't explain. Not our Jimmy.

It's a wonder to me, for it would seem he has had to put up with happenings that would send the rest of us screaming for sanity. For instance, at least once a year, every television station in the country runs some sort of Helen Hayes tribute. How would any of us react to having our bare‑butt baby pictures splashed across the screen? For our Jimmy, it isn't only a matter of baby pictures but home movies of him in the buff as a small child.

I 'm glad I had the opportunity to observe the updated Jams MacArthur. To view one of your favorite stars after many years have passed is usually disappointing, for we expect them to be eternally young. I can honestly say I was not disappointed. As a matter of fact, I am as comfortable with the up-to-date James MacArthur as he seems to be with himself.


By Helen D. Volk

In watching a television program originally aired in the late 1960s and 1970s, I often find it difficult here in the early 90s to remember that the actors, the people, have aged a few decades. Places wrinkle. Hair color changes. Bodies grow fuller. I still see Dan and Steve - Jim and Jack - as in their 30s and 40s. How could it be any other way? With over 200 Hawaii Five-0 episodes on tape, my mind and heart see them as they were and I want them to stay that way.

Life moves on, and reality crept into my temple a few weeks ago when I saw the 1991 James MacArthur with his mom, Helen Hayes, as hosts of the series Canterbury Cinema Classics. The taped segments were oh, too short. The conversation too brief. The scene too limited. But the effect was wonderful.

I had been warned his hair was white, he wore glasses and his war with his weight was partially lost. But James MacArthur was still the Danno of old. His looks were me thing, but his manner and voice were the same.

As soon as that man on the screen opened his mouth, he was Danno, the Danno in hundreds of episodes, thousands of scenes of Five-0. The voice is the same And the giggle. Remember the Danno giggle? The moment he laughed at one of his mom's comments, Jim gave himself away. While the camera focused on Helen Hayes this time, I could see the bright, boyish eyes and big smile that went with that giggle, time after time, when Danno giggled.

The ease with which Jim sat and talked with his mom reminded me instantly of that me special episode of Hawaii Five-0 with Jim and his mom, Dan Williams and his Aunt Clara - "Retire to Sunny Hawaii - Forever." The scenes between the two of them flash before me - first at the airport, then in the car, then in Steve's office, and later with Duke and the artist and lastly, at the end at the retirement home. The ease, the love between them then in 1975 were there in 1991. Mother and son, Jim; aunt and nephew, Dan. One and the same. The years have changed the bodies, but Jim is still Jim and Danno lives on!


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 973-729-9232. Her rates are reasonable and she’s very reliable.

Ron Evans, owner of e/p Partners, also offer VCR tapes of Hawaii Five-0, Jack Lord and James MacArthur, among others. His email is caseyguy@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. You can email her for her address at Spinkick@colint.net. 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 TW1151@Comcast.net. Deadlines are one month before each issue. Currently, the Central Dispatch has a new home.

2006 Calendars are now available.

Debbie has put together two different 2006 calendars for anyone wishing to buy one. She’s created one of just Jack Lord and one of Hawaii Five-0 5th season. They will be ready to mail the first of November. Unfortunately, those from the previous years are no longer available. Calendars are still only $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). The proceeds will still go to charity and when you order one, please indicate which charity. The charity with the most votes wins. In the past years, the check have gone to Jack and Marie Lord’s Trust and to the Jack Lord Memorial. She is also suggesting maybe sending the money to the Hurricane Relief Fund. But if no one suggest something, she’ll just pick one.

See you in April 2006

Be There! Aloha!