THE HAWAII FIVE-0 NEWSLETTER
Volume 4 October, 2002 Issue 16
A CHAT WITH DENNIS CHUN
REGARDING HIS DAD KAM FONG,
FIVE-0, ET AL.
by Jerry Pickard (U. of Hawai'i, 1972)
opportunity to meet with Dennis occurred in mid-September 2002. Our get-together
took place at the Ala Moana Center. Then, Kam at age 84 was still hanging on but
in an increasingly weakened condition, struggling with cancer. Dennis spoke
quite openly about some of the many facets of his father's up-and-down life,
including the impact of Hawaii Five-0.
From an early age, this delightful man whom many of us have grown to know and love as Chin Ho Kelly, knew tremendous adversity. His parents divorced when their children were still quite young. A fire in their home located in the "have-not" Honolulu district of Kalihi, took the life of one of his brothers. His mother was deeply affected, and afterwards, the upbringing of his siblings became mainly Kam's responsibility. In the pre-war environment, he often had to risk life and limb, foraging for food for his family on military bases some distance away.
Eventually, he became an apprentice welder at the Pearl Harbor shipyards. When news of the attack by the Japanese first broke, Kam immediately drove to Pearl and reported for duty. The story of his remarkable achievements -- and further horrific disasters during the war years -- is well documented by Dennis and can be found by keying in http://www.hawaiifive0.org and then clicking on the Pearl Harbor link.
A further career took place as an officer of the Honolulu Police Department, where he worked for some 17 years. He quickly earned the nickname "A&B Chun," for his deft and brave handling of assault & battery cases. Responding to all types of calls -- and in those days advance knowledge of what might be expected was minimal -- Kam's skills were rapidly honed. In one instance, he intuitively picked up a chair before entering the room of a crime scene, and then found a large knife being thrown at him; fortunately, it bounced away harmlessly. On another occasion in the midst of a training session, which he was giving to junior officers, Kam heard an APB (all points broadcast) stating that an in-mate had escaped from prison. Kam went off in his patrol vehicle toward the institution, noticed a man running rapidly, caught, subdued, handcuffed and confined the hapless escapee in the police automobile. As he was leaving, slower-arriving officers came up and excitedly told him there was somebody out on the loose. "Not any more," Kam pointed out calmly, "I've got him in the back seat."
A stint in radio led to this unique story: A listener named Joy called every night to request a song; on the air she told everyone she pretended to dance with Kam when it played. One day it was revealed that Joy was a beautiful 19-year old with terminal cancer, and she had to move to Boston. However, she still wrote to Kam often. So, he continued to record the music and the dedications, and sent the tapes to her. In her last hours, she listened to the songs, imagined the dances and then left final word about how much she appreciated Kam and all those who enjoyed his show. Her correspondence - full of spiritual love - has never been discarded and has been a source of special strength to this day.
Kam's endearing abilities as a performer were really only hinted at during his decade run on Five-0. Prior to it, he was entertaining on the radio, doing the local dialects with great acumen and to the thankful amusement of many. He also hosted the "Night in Cathay" cabaret show, which offered a positive portrayal of Asian cultures in a Hawai'i context. (Note: the writer remembers mention of this optional outing, during his first visit to Waikiki in November '66, but, sadly, did not take it in. Someone who was far more astute, however, was Jacqueline Kennedy, and a private performance was staged for her!) Dennis suggested that it has been his Dad's exceptional love for people which led to his unbounded joy in performing, far outshining any natural talent.
But that good old guy's years on the Five-0 set will always stand out in any biography of this uniquely precious curmudgeon of a one-time cop. Kam's original idea was that he would be auditioning, at the urging of a fellow-realtor (another of his many vocations), for the role of Wo Fat. That thought vanished when he was spotted by the show's creator, Leonard Freeman. At that moment Mr. Freeman fingered Kam as the definitive Chin Ho Kelly. Kam was not too sure about this prospect, pointing out that he was keen to act in a major way and was willing to go to Los Angeles and try his luck there, even being a restaurant busboy while awaiting a better opportunity, if the part as Chin was insignificant. Mr. Freeman gave ready assurances that if Five-0 went ahead, Kam would have few spare moments...clearing tables in Southern California was not a likelihood!
It's important to highlight his respect for Leonard Freeman's taking great pains, specifically, to ensure the people of Hawai'i were well presented in the series. Other productions had tended to relegate the local folks to lower social and occupational rungs. Five-0, however, offered an integrated portrayal of attorneys, medical professionals, senators and visible descendants of the royal Ali'i. The result was a far more realistic picture of modern, cosmopolitan Hawai'i with its inhabitants achieving equal and capable status in prominent, leadership roles. Five-0, in Dennis' view, thus captured with extraordinary respect the true essence of the 50th State's citizens.
And it did so right from the beginning of the series, as illustrated for example, by Kono's prophetic, insightful observations expressed in Strangers In Our Own Land.
The special relationship between James MacArthur and Kam Fong is legendary and endearing. (Those who were fortunate to attend the 1996 MahaloCon in Burbank and Honolulu can attest to that.) The two did many, many scenes together and share a common sense of humor. Dennis told of one chase scene, in which Danny and Chin were to emerge from their car and join Steve on foot in tracking down the bad guys. Somehow, Jimmy rigged the other door so that Kam had great difficulty in getting out. Steve ended up hollering "where's Chin?" who was still trying to extricate himself from the vehicle. This must have lightened up the set a lot that day! (And, as will be brought forward in a future article involving another memorable personality, it seemed the set was often deficient in the lightening-up department!) Pranks aside, the Chin we've witnessed, with his quiet confidence and stoic demeanor, does reflect so much of what Kam Fong encountered and dealt with admirably, during much of his life.
Kam has shown a keen propensity to absorb the positive influences of other Five-0 notables. Khigh Dhiegh projected an almost mystical aura, Dennis mentioned, and Kam learned much from Mr. Dhiegh's philosophical sharings. Likewise, Zoulou has touched Kam deeply, especially in recent years, through the formers unfailingly optimistic attitude in meeting tremendous adversities head-on. There is considerable respect for Zoulou and his brand of happiness, on Kam's part. And it's certain that if there'd been more time for our get-together, additional examples of Kam's mentoring/being mentored by, others would have been brought out. The original cast in particular, enjoyed a truly unique chemistry that remained unbeatable. That was likely a large contributor to Five-0's phenomenal success.
The mandatory question arose regarding Jack Lord and what it meant to interact with him. Kam early on, like almost everyone else, recognized Jack's strong tendencies toward perfectionism. But, and Kam would pass this along to others -- if you were doing a scene with Jack, it was paramount that "you know your stuff, your lines and your mark" because Jack knew precisely what was supposed to happen when and how, and would not accept anything less. The best thing was to watch Jack, and learn from him as he would teach the right way to those who were receptive, according to Kam. This led to other Five-0 performers being able to extend their careers in other shows, based on what they had learned from such a consummate professional. In Kam's view, Jack Lord made him a better actor, because he came to Hawai'i and to the set, "ready to work" and in so doing, made others lift their talent level.
(Side note: Dennis said that in retrospect, it must have been extremely challenging for Jack Lord to move to Hawai'i from Hollywood and try to adapt to and deal with the distinct differences manifested in Island work ethics, standards, priorities etc. Yet, he persevered, inevitable conflicts notwithstanding, knowing better than others what would be accepted (or rejected) beyond Hawaiian shores, and what needed to be done to succeed.)
Kam's favorite episode, not too surprisingly perhaps, was 'Cry, Lie' which showcased a number of not readily known aspects of Chin's background and personality. A close second, 'Engaged To Be Buried' also provided an opportunity to demonstrate new range to his character. But he doesn't watch the show any more, finding it a somewhat unpleasant reminder of so many dear associates who are no longer around.
After a decade as Chin, in any event, Kam in his early 60's felt there was little more he was able to do with his role and so he decided it was time to move on. He had suggested that Kelly simply be retired, in case there would be a later need to bring him back. However, as most of us know, the venerable detective was ruthlessly killed off. When the motions of the series remake were gone through in '97, Kam did ask the producers how Chin could be part of the force again, but he was merely told not to worry about it.
At present, Kam rests a lot, using the time to reassess what he has done in his varied and multi-hued life in relation to the medical gravity of his current situation. He is still in his own home at this writing, under care; the physical pain of the last four years has indeed been onerous.
understandably, he mourns the August 2002 loss of his beloved partner, Gladys.
She was a remarkable woman, Dennis pointed out; she willingly gave Kam the
freedom to take risks to do what he felt needed to be done in all respects.
Together, they were an inspiring team. Kam's faith seems to be constantly tested
by all the incredible events he has endured, yet he speaks assuredly of his wife
and himself getting their wings in another realm.
The generations carry on, and Kam can be very proud of his son Dennis in many ways. Mainly through his mother's genealogy, he was able to attend and then graduate from the renowned Kamehameha Schools in Honolulu. Dennis worked as a security guard at the Hawaii Film Studios, which, apart from being a very lively and also occasionally ethereal -- place to be much of the time, exposed him to the chance for some minor-role parts in Five-0. He has also done other acting work, including local commercials, and is hopeful of additional future opportunities to display his first occupational love. Currently he works in the court system as an Operations Specialist. We spoke briefly of the Film Studios; how terrific it would be, he thought, if a preservation of this high-profile aspect of Hawai'i's cultural heritage could be attained. e.g.., representative sets of Five-0, Magnum, Baywatch, and other shows; even possibly some of the costumes used in 'From Here To Eternity' would certainly be of historical significance. There is, however, no such plan in the works to the writer's knowledge.
Both Kam and Dennis made it over to Burbank for the first part of the MahaloCon in 1996, which was wonderful. Kam has never taken lightly the role of the fan component in Five-0's continuing accolades. He has always been very grateful for their support, and has considered it a great honor to be allowed into their homes via television.
A most sincere mahalo, Dennis, for so graciously agreeing to meet with me in September 2002 during all your own turmoil. The final words which you asked me to convey follow:
is most appreciative to all the fans over the years, and especially wants those
who have taken the time to write to him in recent months, to know how much their
prayers and encouragement have meant. He is not able to write back, because of
his low energy level, but from the bottom of his heart, many many thanks and
please tell everyone Dad feels so blessed and does not really understand why an
old Chinese guy has been so fortunate."
I think all who read this, will agree that it continues to be a genuinely satisfying mutual relationship.
write to Kam at the following address:
c/o 2120 Waiola St, Suite 203
Honolulu, HI 96826
Wow - A Second Meeting with
by Cindy Kimura
As I waited outside the restaurant in the blistering desert heat, I found it hard to believe that Jim had agreed to a last minute interview during the long Fourth of July weekend. I was supposed to meet him at noon and I kept looking for a familiar figure and finding none. It looked like Jim was late. When I finally meet up with him, we will continue with the rest of my questions.
Fifteen minutes later, I gave up looking at my watch and finally went in the restaurant. That's where I found Jim, at the bar ordering a drink. We quickly got a table and started the interview.
Jim informed me he is a voracious reader, often reading four books at a time. The books he was reading at this time were: Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, Hotel Honolulu by Paul Theroux, Stolen Valor by B. G. Burkett and finally a book on Gettysburg by Michael Shaara.
Although he appeared on television for many years, he really doesn't watch much TV. I'm a newshound," he says, "I subscribe to Chronicles, American Spectator and Time magazine. Unfortunately I think Time is out of touch." He no longer belongs to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. "I think they are a very political." However, he is still a member of the Screen Actors Guild and regularly votes for the Oscars. "I have about 800 videos I've received from the various movie studios and enjoy watching them."
He has plenty of hobbies to keep him busy, as if he isn't busy enough. Jim has a collection of dictionaries and signed books his mother, Helen Hayes, started for him. His collection includes Aldous Huxley, Agatha Christy, John Steinbeck, Louis Armstrong, John Kennedy, and Ernest Hemmingway, just to name a few. He related a story on coming home one day from boarding school to find his father talking to John Steinbeck. "I was studying THE PEARL in class and needed to write an essay. There he (Steinbeck) was sitting in the same room with my father. I screwed up my courage and asked him if he could help me with my essay."
Another new hobby of sorts is building his collection of his work and his father's work. Jim has located three movie scripts his father, Charles MacArthur, did, and is trying to add them to his collection. He also has all his movie posters and his trying to keep them and pass it on to his children, eventually. In addition to that, the MacArthur's are having an addition added to their house, to display all of his wonderful memorabilia. He plans to hang up his movie posters on the walls of his ten-foot high ceiling of the new TV/Entertainment room. An ironic twist, which Jim is well aware of, since he doesn't watch much TV.
Jim also has an eclectic collection of music. However, the only thing he refuses to listen to is rap. "I hate it. It's not played in my house or car. Jamie turns to it and I zap it." His vast collection covers Flamingo guitar to Classical Music. His current favorite is Phil Coutler, an Irish musician. He collections include records and CD's.
Jim also has a small sports memorabilia collection, which includes two signed Joe DiMaggio baseballs along with the complete roster of the 1951 Cleveland Indians. He also admits being shameless whenever he is invited to any Pro-Am Charity golf event. "I bring baseballs, footballs and ask for autographs right on the golf course." Jim recalled when his mother, Helen Hayes, took him to Yankee Stadium in 1945. "In the second inning the crowd was going wild, we didn't know what was going on, and then found that Babe Ruth had just entered the stadium he was there for three innings then left."
Jim still has his Crested Butte, Colorado property since it is a 3-hour drive from his children in Aspen, Colorado and he steadfastly refuses to sell his Honolulu condominium. "It has a 32 foot wide opening of the ocean from Diamond Head. I don't use it as much as I would like but instead of renting it out, I give it to my friends to use. I recently gave it to my manicurist, my pastor is going, and them my good friend Michael Dante is going to use it. A lot of my friends sold their Hawaiian property, I mean how could they not, when prices were skyrocketing but I refuse to sell it."
Jim enjoys that he has two official websites on the Internet. He met Debi Smolinske at the Chiller Convention in New Jersey. "She asked if her site could be official and I said yes. Then Teresa Fogarty asked and I said she should call hers the International site. I don't want any exclusivity." He enjoyed both of the online chats on the www.jmdigitalscrapbook.com site and plans on doing more. He answers the fan email personally. "The only thing I won't do is send autographed photos. I really like it since it cuts down on my mail at home." He found Smolinske "bright and nice." He felt bad about calling Fogarty at two a.m. in the morning. "I forgot about the time change entirely." Jim was surprised about the information Smolinske has found out about him. "She goes to libraries and finds stuff even I forgot about. She is persistent and her site is very professional."
Jim told me about the newly released DVD of Disney's Swiss Family Robinson. He and other cast members, as well as director Ken Annakin did the narration for the making of Swiss Family Robinson. In addition, there is an interview with him. "I think it's wonderful what they did with my narration, interviews and linked them all together." Disney filmed Jim's interview on the Burbank lot and Jim didn't see the finished product until after the release.
Family is very important to Jim. In fact, his calls his son, Charlie, the "original mountain man" and is very proud of him. Charlie is rated one of the top fifteen ski instructors in the country. Charlie also kayaks and can be seen in the top rated video, Paddlemania. Jim's done the Eco-Challenge three times. Jim's daughter, Mary, also lives in Aspen and is busy taking care of two children. "Isn't that enough?" He remarked. Jim also sees his daughter, Juilette who lives Beverly Hills and was going to see her for her birthday shortly after this interview. Of course, there is Jamie, Jim's namesake, who will be starting to drive shortly.
Many of you wondered how Jim met his wife H.B. Duntz. Jim belongs to the Waialae Country Club on Oahu. At the time a friend of his asked if he had met the new golf instructor, H.B., "I don't need golf lessons I told her," Jim related. "And then I was crossing the parking lot and met H.B. I quickly decided I needed lessons from her." H.B. had taken a year off the tour (LPGA) and was the golf pro at Waialae.*"
He has two favorite golf courses, Ironwood in Palm Springs and Waialae, of course. "I like Ironwood because it's the only golf course that doesn't have houses on it. I like Waialae because it has a beautiful layout of the ocean." Waialae is where the Hawaiian Open is played.
Although Jim has no plans to write his own biography, he is featured in Ken Annakin's So You Wanna Be A Director? book. He bought twenty-five copies as gifts and distributed them to friends and family. "Not that I'm featured that prominently. I just recently had dinner with him and was thrilled that the Queen of England had bestowed the Order of The British Empire on him."
Charity is important to Jim. Although not a board member, he attends a few events for the Helen Hayes Hospital, named after his mother, in Nyack, New York. He also contributes to his church and other favorite charities.
Jim goes to Washington D.C. every May to participate in the Annual Helen Hayes Theatre Awards, which are held at the Kennedy Center. "I'm a non-voting member since I can't get to the Washington area to see all the plays." Jim gives out the Charles MacArthur Award for playwriting. He enjoys continuing his family's legacy. In fact, he wants to go back to Tobago where Disney filmed the movie, Swiss Family Robinson. "I have a few more trips still left in me. I want to go back there because that is where Charlie was conceived. " Jim has traveled around the world. He traveled the African Continent in a Land Rover with a friend. However, this time around he wants to travel a bit more comfortably.
Honors for Moe Keale
(From the Honolulu Star Bulletin - September 15, 2002)
The late Moe Keale will be Sheraton Waikiki's first inductee into its Music Hall of Fame. Moe, who died April 15 at 62, is a fine choice. The singer-actor-musician had a 40-year career and was one of the really nice guys in the entertainment industry. The induction ceremony will be held September 26, 11 a.m. in the hotel lobby, where his portrait will be unveiled. The Honolulu Skylark will emcee a program that will include Sheraton Waikiki boss William Hurley and Moe's widow, Carol, Moe's son, Nalana, Bill Kaiwa, Naloni Olds and Moe's musicians Mel Amina, Analu Aina and Kalani Kapau will perform.
watch on TV-Land for COPS ON CAMERA. I was contacted by one of the people
putting the show together asking some questions about Jack Lord and Hawaii
Five-0 so I'm sure it's going to be included. It is tentatively scheduled for
Sunday, November 10, 2002 at 9 p.m. EST and again on Sunday, November 24 at the
same time. It also might be a good idea to call the TV-Land Hotline about
getting Five-0 put into their line-up. The episodes would, of course, be edited
but any Five-0 is better than no Five-0!! The number is 212-258-7579.
The November/December issue of Hawaii Magazine did a "12 Days of Christmas" which included Eight Movie Viewings. In addition to listing Hawaii-based movies like Pearl Harbor and Lilo and Stitch, was this bit of information:
"Finally, we take a peek at two movies (the second being Kamehameha the Great) of the future. Would you believe Hawaii Five-0: The Movie is headed for the big screen? George Litto, executive producer, had not named a director
or star at press time, but filming should begin next year."
Jack Lord Memorial Update
received the following from the Memorial Committee:
On behalf of the Jack Lord Memorial Committee, I would like to express our gratitude to all of you who have made a donation towards the memorial to Jack Lord. At present we are still a bit short of about $2000 but with a bit of luck we hope to raise this amount in the next few months.
Sean Brown has already started working on the sculpture which, providing we raise the extra cash, we hope will be completed in April next year. Having reached this target, we would most likely set a date for the work to be unveiled probably towards the end of May. We will of course let you all know well in advance so that you have enough time to make arrangements to come to Honolulu for the ceremony.
Lord, as you well know, was not only a great actor but a wonderful human being.
He truly deserves this memorial we are all helping to build. I know it has taken
a bit of time to come to this stage, but your patience will finally be rewarded.
Thank you once again for your generosity and support.
(On behalf of the Jack Lord Memorial Committee.)
Anyone wishing to make a donation directly to the Memorial Fund may do so by sending a check or money order to: The Jack Lord Memorial Fund, 95-1503 Ainamauka Drive No. 78, Honolulu, HI, 96789 where vice chairman Doug Mossman will see they are properly recorded. Please include your name, address and telephone number with the donation.
For more information on the memorial, check out the website at www.jacklord.co.uk
again, both Jack Lord and Hawaii Five-0 (the third season) calendars will be
ready for mailing the first week in November. As before, all proceeds will go to
the Jack Lord Memorial Fund. Please send checks or money orders to: Debbie
Fitzgerald, 682 Durham Road, Adams, TN 37010. The cost per calendar, including
postage is $10 each ($14 US funds for foreign mailings).
tuned for the next issue! We will continue with Jerry Pickard's interviews -
this time with the before promised interview with Bill Bigelow and Jimmy Borges
and perhaps a word from Zoulou!. We also have more remembrances on trips to
Hawaii and hopefully more updates on the Jack Lord Memorial. As space permits,
we will continue with episode reviews and Marty Coopers files.
I would also like to thank everyone who has contributed to the newsletter over the past year. It is with your help that this newsletter has been so easy and fun to send to you. I may not always have room to put in everything everyone has sent or even get it in the next issue, but I really do appreciate everything you have all done to help and support me during the past 4 years.
it is only October, but I would like to wish all of our Five-0 fans a safe and
happy upcoming holiday season.
Happy Holidays and I look forward to being with you all again in January, 2003!!!
And now 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. (phone 973-729-9232 - she does not have email) Barbara's rates are very reasonable and she's very reliable.
You may also find works by Jack Lord and James MacArthur and lots of other actors by contacting Ron Evans at http:www.networksplus.net/caseyguy/epPartners.htm or email requests at email@example.com. They have over 15,000 episodes of 50s and 60s TV. At e/p Partners, it's the 50s and 60s forever!!!
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 Debbie Fitzgerald/H50FC, c/o 682 Durham Road, Adams, TN 37010. The newsletter will be available on the 15th of January, April, July and October yearly. Contributions to the newsletter are always welcome. They can be sent to the same Adams, TN address or to our email address at Jlord5@aol.com. Deadlines are one month before each issue. The newsletter will also be available through the Internet and can be accessed at the Hawaii Five-0 Fan club (www.hawaiifive0.org) or The Jack Lord Homepage (www.jacklord.net)
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 us 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 Lordís to benefit their favorite charities. We have been assured that while personal responses are not possible, Mrs. Lord is made aware of all contributions.
See you in
Be There, Aloha """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""