THE HAWAII FIVE-0 NEWSLETTER
MAHALO CON REVISITED, TEN YEARS
By Jerry Pickard, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Note: in the fall of 1996, the first 'formal'
get-together of Five-0 performers or other principals, and fans, took place in
both California and Hawai'i. Some highlights are remembered below, along with
perspectives on the event's significance.)
This look-back is being written for those who were
there - and those who were not but who would have liked to attend. It is
largely my personal reminiscence, dedicated to everyone with a Five-0
connection, big or little. There is very special but sad recall of the too many
who have passed away since. May their unique personalities and wonderful
talents, which touched numerous people all over, always live on.
And aloha nui loa to those we're still lucky to have
around...including frequent episode writer Jerome Cooper-Smith. He had sent
along a very nice letter, which was included in the
packets received by attendees ten years ago. A call to him in September 2006
during a visit to New York, confirmed he is still well and busy, with recent radio-play works
completed. He ask me to convey his best wishes to all,
recalling with affection his Five-0 contributions.
No mention of this truly epic event can be made
without giving heartfelt credit to those who followed up on the convention idea
and turned it into reality.
An off-hand remark by James MacArthur
in the mid-90's got it all underway. He commented how great it'd be if the
series' cast and crew could somehow reunite once more, almost 15 years after
the show's first run was done. Rita Ractliffe picked
up the ball, so to speak, and ran hard with it. Her superb efforts and
tremendous hard work for this cause deserve very grateful recognition. Without
her, it would not likely have taken place. It is hoped she may send along her
own good memories of the event for us all to enjoy, too. Other key players
include Karen Rhodes, Luis Reyes, Sylvia Stoddard, Kathy Harter and Doug
Mossman. My apology to anyone else inadvertently overlooked, but somehow,
with great kokua
(help) yet amid very imposing hurdles - and plenty of uncertainties both pre-
and post-, Mahalo Con magnificently happened.
Before proceeding, some thoughts from a couple of
folks who were much involved:
Karen Rhodes, who heroically came to the Con's rescue
just as the event could have collapsed administratively, and whose in-depth
series account (Booking Hawaii Five-0: An Episode Guide and Critical History) would
be published the following year, had this to say recently when asked what she
most recalled about the event:
"Just the wonderful memories of the great Five-0
cast and guests. I loved the telegram from Bill Edwards, written in character
as Jonathan Kaye. That was great! Doug Mossman 'talking
story.' Kam Fong - he and his son Dennis were
personally wonderful to me in their support. I remember Kam
fondly, and think often of him. What a privilege that I got to know him. I also
had a chance to meet Marie Lord and ask her to tell her husband 'thank you' on
behalf of Five-0 fans the world over.
"There were four of us - Chip Copper, Debbie
Coley, Tammy Jordan, and I - who made a tour of Oahu in Chip's rented car. We went all over the place:
found Sunhala (Honore
Vashon's estate) in Kahala, ate Spam musubi bought at a minute market, and ate box lunch at a
"Oh yes, and my ride in
Steve McGarrett's car, thanks to John Boley Nordlum.
"And one of the most fun moments was in Burbank, in the film room. Chip Copper, bless his heart, ran
the room, and when I went up there, he was running 'The Box.' Only...it was in
FRENCH! We started making jokes during the scene where "Big Chicken"
is being his usual smarmy self, talking about wanting a steak and all. Someone
- Chip, I think - said something about le hamburger. I said, 'Avec fromage,' and he pointed at McGarrett
on the screen and said, 'Le Grand Fromage! So to us,
for the rest of the time, Steve was Le Grand Fromage."
Dennis Chun offered these meaningful insights for all
"It is hard to believe that a decade has passed
since we all gathered together for Mahalo Con. Yet as
one reflects on the passage of those ten years, one cannot help but be moved by
how many we have lost during that short passage of time. Jack, Zulu, Herman Wedeymer, Moe Keale, Richard
Denning, Buck Henshaw, Dad and others have left us.
That sobering and sad fact only makes those moments we shared that much more
"Your love and aloha let each of them know how
much their work and efforts meant to you. I know that for my father, that fact
was of great comfort to him in his last days. I shall always be grateful for
the time we shared together both in Burbank and in Hawaii.
"But as we remember those moments we also need
to focus on the future. With this in mind, I pray that the winds of Hawaii will guide all of you to safe shores, that the
gentle mist of Manoa will ease your cares and that
the rainbow will always lead you to the fulfillment of your dreams. Again thank
you for sharing those moments; your aloha will always be deeply
Your writer first heard of the possibility of Mahalo Con some eight months before it occurred. Intrigued
by a chance article in The Vancouver Sun, about local BC guy Mike Quigley and his
pioneering Internet coverage of numerous aspects of Five-0, I met with him
mainly out of sheer curiosity. Some background: coincidentally, during the same
month that the series debuted, I had just begun four years of study at the University of Hawai'i's then fledgling School of Travel Industry Management. But apart from passing exposure to occasional
criticisms by some Hawai'i residents that the episodes
were often far too violent and that the show portrayed the still very new State
quite unfavourably, I gave it all little thought.
Later, i.e. in the early 1990's when I started to develop a renewed and deep
interest in the Islands (which I'd left in '72 but had returned to visit for
vacation often), I caught Five-0 reruns from time to time. It was great fun
seeing old scenery again as I'd known it and "re-living" some times
In any case, the odd notion of being a casual
observer at something like Mahalo Con, took hold. A
deposit was dispatched, and in due course, the time came to fly down to Los Angeles for the first part of the Convention. I'd never done
anything like this "fanning" stuff before and mused to myself, what
if it's just a big flop?
That was the last thing it was, as things turned out,
thanks again in large measure to the organizers, especially Rita who saw it
through from start to finish. Arriving at the Burbank Airport Hilton on the second day, Saturday, October 26th, I
at once got caught up in the spirit of the phenomenon. There were screenings of
selected episodes, like The Box and Bored She Hung Herself
(yes, that rarity!), on antiquated 16 mm equipment-which added a certain dated
quaintness. And there were continuations of audience participation panel
discussions from the previous day, which involved beloved performers such as
James MacArthur, Kam Fong, Zoulou, Sharon Farrell, etc. Statuesque Ron Feinberg, whom
I well recalled from the zany Mary Hartman Mary Hartman soap spoof of the
mid-70's, also took part, recalling his various guest roles in the series. (Who among us devotees can ever forget, for example, his portrayal
of 'Benny' in Pray Love Remember Pray Love Remember? Classic!)
The repartee was fascinatingly absorbing, and before
long it dawned on me that something absolutely extraordinary was "comin' down" this day. Too, displays of Five-0
memorabilia, lovingly amassed over a good number of years, along with autograph
sessions with the "stars," interspersed with show-centered
interaction among fellow-fans, all added immensely to the excitement of the
experience. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin was there capturing it all as well, with Tim Ryan's
presence and knowledgeable input.
But what really capped it all in Burbank for me at least, was the gala banquet that evening.
By some super-humanly fortuitous circumstance, I found myself seated at a table
with many of the Leonard Freeman family, including graciously effervescent
Rose. She was radiantly ecstatic about the entire event, and offered several sharings. What is perhaps best recalled, though, was her
observation about how important the Mahalo Con would
be regarded by her children and grandchildren, in terms of Mr. Freeman's
benchmark work in TV drama history.
Besides the inherent charm of my table-partners at
this feast, there was hearing the reading of the Hawai'i
Governor's Proclamation, honoring Five-0. And, speeches by the dignitaries
present (amid plenty of good-natured jibing among the featured performers, such
as must been a mainstay when the show was in production). An auction of some
series-related items (scripts, etc.) rounded out the evening, with proceeds to
benefit children's charity-work in Hawai'i. To this day, I cherish my copies of the final
drafts of the scripts "Six Kilos" and "Legacy of Terror!"
I returned to Vancouver the next day, head buzzing from all the positive
vibes of the Con's first part. But more was still to come.
A few days later, it was on to Honolulu where Doug Mossman, Margaret Doversola
and other able souls presented Mahalo Con's second
installment. It began with breakfast at the Ilikai on
the Thursday, which coincided with Halloween (and Leonard Freeman's birthday).
Once more, show personalities and others with Five-0 affiliation demonstrated
their support by coming out, mingling with the fans and from all indications,
having a good-fun time themselves. Again, local media were on-hand to capture
the uniqueness of the occasion. Herman Wedemeyer,
Harry Endo, Moe Keale, Margaret Doversola
and Doug Mossman of course (from whom I bought a Mahalo
Con t-shirt which I still prize), joined James MacArthur,
Kam Fong, Zoulou, Dennis
Chun and others; many also participated in the all-day motor coach ride to
series-related locales and sites.
This bus trip was just awesome. I don't know who was
driving the larger of the two Polynesian Adventure Tours vehicles, but the smaller one where I rode was being
chauffeured by the hilarious Dick Kindelon who had
had major casting responsibilities during Five-0's run. We went many places,
including - but not limited to - I'olani Palace, the
State Capitol, by the restaurant called Wo Fat,
Punchbowl Cemetery, the Pali Lookout, Byodo-In Temple, Makapu'u, Hana'uma Bay, and the Lords' condominium complex. I met up
with a local lady on the tour, Joyce, and quite by happenstance we discovered
we have a mutual friend, a fellow with whom I once worked at Honolulu Airport. All three of us are still buds, and at this
writing, I'm planning to attend her niece's wedding in Honolulu in October 2006!
The fan group split off in various directions over
the next day or so, with organizers invited to take in the Five-0 Sound Stage
dedication ceremony at the Diamond Head
Film Studios. Others prowled Waikiki and environs, looking for familiar
settings. And some were fortunate to ride in "McGarrett's
Merc," still roadworthy at that time, thanks to
Jack Lord's double John Nordlum to whom this car had
been given when the show was pau.
On Saturday afternoon, November 2, there was the
opportunity to visit the beautiful penthouse atop the Ilikai,
where the opening shot of Jack Lord doing his famous twirl was filmed. The
view, needless to say, was just spectacular. It became quite a photo-op session,
with many of us seemingly replicating that spin til
dizziness was imminent.
Not long after, the action shifted next door to the
venerable Tahitian Lanai dining establishment, which adjoined the rustic Waikikian Hotel where I was staying. (Both were demolished
not long after Mahalo Con, sadly.) Here, tables had
been set up near the lagoon water's edge for a commemorative luau. Five-0'ers
once more graced the event, with folks like Tom Fujiwara and Jimmy Borges
joining the throng. It was a fully superb way to bring the excitement of the
past week to a suitable close, with plenty of Island cuisine, talk-story, mele, hula and speeches. Moe's prowess with the ukulele and
vocally, were truly "cheecken-skin"
goose-bump inducing; the abilities of the cast, we all learned, went well
beyond what was conveyed in the episodes. James MacArthur
perhaps best of all, put the entire experience in perspective, when he conveyed
that Five-0 was not just a TV series but a lasting creation perpetuated by 'ohana
(family, both blood and kindred spirit), and that with luck, this was only the
first Mahalo Con - there would be further such
For sure there were, sort of, but this initial
get-together and how it was organized/how it evolved, remain unsurpassed. Big mahalo to everyone, and most
certainly to Rita Ractliffe.
Word from the Editor
In order to keep this issue going out on time, I was
unable to add some pictures for the MahaloCon and
anything that Rita might have sent. When I get Rita’s comments and ‘finally’
find the pictures I do have of the MahaloCon, I’ll
probably be putting out a December issue.
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. 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
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 email@example.com.
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. I'm 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hard copies of the newsletter are
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 email@example.com. Deadlines are one month
before each issue. You can find the Central Dispatch on Terri’s Jack Lord
Connection located at www.thejacklordconnection.com
See you in January, 2007
Be There! Aloha!