Central Dispatch


Volume 5           October, 2008            Issue 4




The Iron Brain

By Terri Whitman


Computer crashes!!! I hate them. Having suffered yet another computer crash, I thought this article might be fun to write. Itís to compare the computer systems of today to those used during the time of Hawaii Five-0. Now mind you, a lot of creative thinking went into creating both types of systems and Iím not computer genius.


My first experience with a computer was back in the early 70ís with a game called Pong. It was strictly a TV computer type of game. My next computer was a Honeywell, a monster of a machine, with 2 large metal reels containing a magnetic tape in it. I donít remember if there was a monitor, but I do remember it had a typewriter type of keyboard. I also remember those reels were cumbersome and a PIA to load.


I know Iím aging myself, but Iíve also operated one of those computers where you dealt with those punch cards. I donít remember the brand name of the computer I used, but it was kept in an extremely COLD room because the system didnít have the means to keep itself cool. Brrrr!!!


These are only 2 of the many types of computers Iíve used in my life and I mention them because of the types of computer systems I saw used in the show. In several episodes, they refer to their computer system as ĎThe iron brain.í But what caught my eye was when an HPD officer used a keyboard to show some photos of various people, places and items. I know over-head projectors and slide machines were in existence back then, but it was interesting to see it used as a computer. The people in charge of the props were very creative and did a lot to help keep the plots and actions moving in the show.


The episode Iím talking about is the one seen in Season 5ís ĎDeath is a Company Policyí where Duke Lukela is implicated in the slaying of an underworld figure's "business associate." (Thanks Mike for your description of this episode.) In this episode an HPD officer is sitting in front of a large computer looking console where heís using a keyboard. Each time McGarrett would ask him for the next bit of information you can see the officer typing prior to the photo being shown.


With this in mind, I did a bit of research on computers. Searching the web I found various answers. In one site claimed the Ďabacusí, which was invented by the Chinese between 2600 BC and 300 BC, to be the first computer. The only thing is, the Ďabacusí required the human brain in order to work, so I donít actually count it as being a computer.


Another site said the first computer or "modern computer" was invented in World War II by a German engineer, Konrad Zuse somewhere between 1939 and 1941. The computer was called the Z3. It used binary numbers and floating point arithmetic, utilized a punched film for program input, used 2,600 telephone relays and could convert decimal to binary and back again. Unfortunately the Z3 was destroyed during WWII but was reconstructed some time in the 1960ís.


The largest computer system Iíve ever seen is the one in my fatherís insurance office. It was a GIANT mainframe computer which filled one entire floor in that building.


Iím not going to go on with more computer history here. But Iím not surprised at how the computer has shrunk in size.


In my own office, I frequently hear people saying they refuse to learn how to use the computer. I sort of compare them with McGarrett. He gave me the feeling he didnít quite want to get into using one. Instead he relied on Danny Williams and the others to give him the information he needed. Maybe he didnít totally trust them. I donít know, but I do know once he had the information in front of him, he could quickly recall this data on his own.


The H50 and HPD cars never had a computer in them, not that I saw anyway. While they did have radios, they didnít have any other way of getting information about a case except through the radio. Pictures of suspects or missing people were done by photostats sent to their offices via a teletype machine.


Now compare that with todayís police cars, which are loaded with the most up to date computer systems. The internet is a huge part of our lives today and itís not surprising they have also incorporated its use in their search for their criminals.


Imagine, if you can, how it would have been back then for McGarrett and his team to have an ĎIron Brainí in their cars with internet capabilities? I donít think it would have taken Five-0 very long to catch the likes of Tony Alika or 12 years to catch Wo Fat. But then, Wo Fat would probably have his own computer and would probably try to penetrate the H50 computer systems or flood them with SPAM emails.






Here is an article I thought everyone would enjoy, thank you Mike for sharing this with us.




From Sept. 17, 1973


LOS ANGELES (AP) - Imagine trying to make a weekly television show for which every major performer, every script, even the simplest prop or costume must be produced here and then shipped 2,500 miles to the filming site.


And every night the film from that day's shooting has to be rushed to the airport and flown to Los Angeles for processing and viewing.


That's the case with Hawaii Five-0. It's filmed entirely in Hawaii, but the production office is here.


After four years on CBS the biggest problems have been ironed out. But with that long a lifeline something can always go wrong. Like the film ending up in New York or Chicago or Rangoon, as has happened.


"A production line that long is a constant battle," said Leonard Freeman, the creator and executive producer. "If you don't whip it, it'll whip you."


Besides Freeman, Bob Sweeney is supervising producer here and Bill Finnegan is the line producer in Hawaii. They are linked by Telex and direct-wire telephone.


When Hawaii Five-0 went into production in 1969 there was no studio, no pool of performers to draw on and the attitude of most of the islanders was cool.


It wasn't until the show's second year and $1.5 million later - that a studio was built in Honolulu. Thirty to 40 families - the nucleus of a production crew - had to be moved to Hawaii. A one-hour show like Hawaii Five-0 calls for 25 to 30 speaking roles. "But I could afford the luxury of sending only five to six people to Hawaii. So the rest of the people had to be local," Freeman said. "Most of the times we were working with actors who'd never seen a movie camera before."


Most of the problems have been smoothed out, and Freeman, who used to fly to Honolulu once or twice a week, now only makes monthly trips. But the economies of transportation, housing and getting the film back add at least 10 per cent to the cost of production, Freeman estimates.


The show originally tried to fly writers over to Honolulu so they could become familiar with the islands before doing a script. But now it is done only for special projects.


Freeman said he got a cold reception when he first proposed making the series there. The visitors bureau wasn't too happy about having the vacation paradise associated with a crime-of-the-week. The police didn't want to co-operate. Only Governor John Burns saw a value in it, Freeman said.


But the show, which is seen around the world, has become a free commercial for the islands. Freeman said research has shown that one out of three visitors said they got the idea from seeing the scenery on Hawaii Five-0.


"We get co-operation now you can't believe," Freeman said.



A word from our sponsors:

2008 Hawaii Five-0 calendars are now available

The 2008 Calendars will be ready for mailing by November 1, 2007. Once again, we have two to chose from. Hawaii Five-0, the seventh season has screen captures from 12 different episodes from that season. The Jack Lord calendar has pictures of Jack from magazines, photos and screen captures. The cost for each calendar is $11.00 in US funds. The cost for non-US residents is $15.00 for each calendar. Payment can be made through Paypal momh50@aol.com or by sending a check or money order to Debbie Fitzgerald, 682 Durham Road, Adams, TN 37010. As in the past, all proceeds will be sent to charity.


Anyone interested in copies of Hawaii Five-0 episodes (mostly all full versions) can contact Barbara Brindle at 105 Warren Road, Sparta, NJ 07871. Barbara does not have an email address so youíll need to phone her at 973-729-9232. Her rates are reasonable and sheís very reliable.


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


Karen Rhodes, author of Booking Hawaii Five-0, would like contact from anyone who has purchased the unauthorized DVD set being sold on the internet by dvdavenue.tv or anyone else. She says she is specifically interested in getting a look at the episode guide they advertise to go with the DVD set, to check for possible copyright infringement. Contact Karen at bitbucket001@comcast.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 contact Annette at Spinkick@colint.net and ask her for her mailing address. 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 emailed to me at tw1151@comcast.net. Deadlines are one month before each issue. You can find the Central Dispatch on Terriís Jack Lord Connection located at www.thejacklordconnection.com.

See you in January, 2009

Be There! Aloha!