The "Outta Leftfield" Weblog

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

End of the original 'Book 'em' era

I was saddened to learn of the recent death of James MacArthur, who played Detective Danny “Danno” Williams, the right-hand man of Jack Lord’s character Steve McGarrett on the television show “Hawaii Five-0.”
The original television series, which ran from 1968 through 1980, was one of my favorites as a kid and the attraction lasted into my college years. No matter what was going on with my schedule of toga parties, I always tried to find time to catch the show. At the very least, I tried to get in on the last few minutes of the episode, just to hear McGarrett say to Williams, “Book ’em Danno, murder one.”
Although I never got to meet MacArthur, I did get the opportunity to meet another “Hawaii Five-0" regular before the end of the original show’s run.
In 1979, our college baseball team’s spring trip was to Hawaii. (It was a good time to be a baseball player in Iowa in 1979.) We were there for 10 days and were scheduled to play 10 games against the University of Hawaii.
Many of those games were played during the day, which left us the evenings to explore as much of Hawaii as we could with our limited free time.
My folks went along on the trip, and one evening we attended a nightclub act by Al Harrington, who played Detective Ben Kokua, another cop in McGarrett’s crew, for several years on the show. (On rare occasions, McGarrett would ask Ben to “Book ’em.”)
In addition to his television gig, Harrington was a singer and dancer in Waikiki, and along with Don Ho, helped define Hawaii’s entertainment industry in the 1970s and 1980s.
I got to meet Harrington after his show and asked him to sign my program, which he did. He signed it, “Book ’em Mike.” Given that I was such a big fan of the show, I got a kick out of that. Unfortunately, I haven’t been back to Hawaii since.
All the main actors on the original “Hawaii Five-0” are gone now. I’ve watched the new version of the show Monday nights on CBS and it’s OK. Hawaii is still Hawaii, so the scenery is still fabulous. And the McGarrett character still says “Book ’em Danno” to the Williams character.
As with a lot of things, in this instance though, the original still outshines the remake.

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Location: Fort Washington, Pennsylvania

Mike Morsch has been executive editor of Montgomery Newspapers since 2003. His award-winning humor column "Outta Leftfield" has been recognized by the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association, the Suburban Newspapers of America and the Philadelphia Press Association.

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