Posted by: Johnny Loftus on July 31, 2007 at 9:56 am

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Okay, here’s the pitch. We take the surfing craze, Bruce Brown’s Endless Summer and the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean and all of that, and we cross it with a cops ‘n’ robbers procedural. Genius! The intro for “Hawaii Five-O” begins like it could be footage from Endless Summer, which had been released just two years before the program premiered. Big waves, the curl, aerials of life on the Big Island. The crazed “Oh man, this Cessna is totally out of control” shot at 15 seconds is fantastic. And who’s watching that plane smash into the side of a Hawaiian hotel? Jack Lord. This is his island, damn it. He’s so cool, he doesn’t even sweat through his navy blue suit.

The editing in the intro gets 1960s whack-job from there. A bit of island flavor in the faces of the locals, including a beauty who you know Jack Lord totally gave a foot massage in his trailer. Then there’s a terrific series of fish-eye lens close-ups on a jumbo jet — remember, air travel was still a big deal in the ’60s. Jetting off to Hawaii? You were a baller. And what do ballers do in their spare time? Go to hula dances, of course. That shot shifts the time of the intro from day…to night, and we know that’s when the Lord stalks the streets of the island for thugs and roustabouts. And if you don’t know that, you have no business looking at that close-up of a siren at 38 seconds. Let’s meet the Lord’s disciples. There’s James MacArthur as “Danny,” and Zulu as “Kono.” No gun needed — he’ll barge into you to death. And don’t forget Kam Fong. If you’re an agitator in Hawaii and you manage to get through Jack Lord, all you’ll get is a hard stare from Fong. And then your surfing days will be over, because you will have turned into stone.

Johnny Loftus


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