Hawaii Five-O (1968-80) -- Pilot Movie Review


Copyright 1994-2017 by Mike Quigley. No reproduction of any kind without permission.


CLASSIC FIVE-O (1968-1980):
| 1st Season (Episodes 1-23) | 2nd Season (Episodes 24-48) | 3rd Season (Episodes 49-72) | 4th Season (Episodes 73-96) | 5th Season (Episodes 97-120) | 6th Season (Episodes 121-144) | 7th Season (Episodes 145-168) | 8th Season (Episodes 169-191) | 9th Season (Episodes 192-214) | 10th Season (Episodes 215-238) | 11th Season (Episodes 239-259) | 12th Season (Episodes 260-278) | 13th Season |

NEW FIVE-0 (2010-?):
| 1st Season | 2nd Season | 3rd Season | 4th Season | 5th Season | 6th Season | 7th Season | 8th Season | "Next" Season |


★★★★ = One of the very best episodes, a must-see.
★★★ = Better than average, worthy of attention.
★★ = Average, perhaps with a few moments of interest.
= Below average, a show to avoid.
0. (S01E0) Pilot Movie ("Cocoon") ★★★★

The Hawaii Five-O pilot, known as "Cocoon," premiered on TV on September 20, 1968, 6 days before the series itself began. It had previously been seen in a Honolulu movie theater on February 19 of that year. Most fans regard the pilot as "Episode Zero." Following a creepy sequence with Wo Fat engaging in behavior modification on the American intelligence officer Hennessy, the show starts with McGarrett running to his car in front of the Iolani Palace as tourists climb the steps, a sequence which will become a stock shot, as will some of the following scenes where he drives through Honolulu, including one going past the Dillingham Fountain. McGarrett's first words on the radio in his car are "Five-O ... go ahead..." Some interesting photographic techniques are in evidence (the director of photography is Richard Rawlings) ... as Hennessy's room (Apartment 204 -- 26 Kilea Road) is being cased by one of Wo Fat's minions, the camera turns upside down. McGarrett talks to himself, saying "cocoon" as he finds scraps of paper in the room. Andrew Duggan is U.S. intelligence bigshot Miller and his boss, Brent, is Leslie Nielsen. Both smoke pipes, and there is some interesting overlapping dialogue between them. Miller says, "Everybody knows that Steve McGarrett only takes orders from the governor and God, and occasionally even they have trouble." McGarrett says "lots of chicks" visited Hennessy. Another interesting camera shot in Hennessy's grave at his funeral. Zulu as Kono Kalakaua seems rather subservient to McGarrett. When McGarrett tells him to "find the Quong girl" who knew Hennessy, Kono says, "Yes, sir." Later on when Kono arrives at the Five-O office, he has to be "buzzed" into the office by the receptionist and McGarrett says "Send him in." Kono is later seen stuffing his face. Danno is played by the forgettable Tim O'Kelly (he smokes, a habit which is followed up by James MacArthur in the first season), and Mitzi Hoag is McGarrett's secretary May. As McGarrett rushes out of the office eating, May says, "That man's eating habits will kill a billy goat!" Kam Fong arrives in the office, exclaiming, "Chin Ho Kelly strikes again!" McGarrett takes some tourists' picture as he goes to meet Miller after Hennessy's funeral. This meeting takes place on some viewpoint overlooking downtown Honolulu, which is odd, because after the funeral, McGarrett is seen climbing the steps in front of the female statue on the far wall at the National Cemetery of the Pacific seen in the main title. The viewpoint at the cemetery is actually near the other end of the cemetery, quite a long ways away from the statue. Later one of the feds tails McGarrett, which pisses him off to the extent of laying a trap, and giving him the first opportunity to utter the immortal phrase, "Book him!" (McGarrett also says the stock phrase "Whaddya got?" to the coroner earlier on.) McGarrett finally meets Rosemary Quong, who is played by the babely Nancy Kwan, supposedly a university student who seems about half McGarrett's age. He calls her "a pain in the ... neck," and she calls him "Mr. Fuzz." After McGarrett gets her to reveal that among Hennessey's last words to her was "the pier," he calls the Five-O crew into the office and plays back a tape of her saying this ... why doesn't he just get her to repeat the phrase since she is sitting right there? As McGarrett and Rosemary sip champagne on the beach (a rarity for the teetotaler McGarrett), she says, "I wish I could psych you out." She goes on, "Why did you become a cop?" and he asks, "Why did you become a hippie?" He gives her a deep kiss. McGarrett goes undercover to check out the ship where Wo Fat's deprivation chamber is located. A foreman trying to fix the ship with McGarrett says "We'll bust this bugger loose after lunch." McGarrett goes off on his own, snooping around, and is extremely noisy when doing so! He later reports to the Governor, played by Lew Ayres, and James Gregory as Jonathan Kaye, who is "Chief of Pacific Operations, Counterintelligence." During their discussion, Kaye says that McGarrett has two presidential citations. Later McGarrett and Rosemary go to a restaurant featuring the hula girl of the show's main title (Helen Kuoha-Torco, who was later a professor of business technology at Windward Community College). The Outrigger Canoe Club is dressed to resemble the notorious Barefoot Bar, which was too small to accommodate both patrons and a camera crew. Sterling Mossman's Barefoot Bar Gang performs the Tahitian number behind Kuoha-Torco as well as "Ain't no big thing," to be heard a few more times during the series. McGarrett gives Rosemary his key as he departs after more kissing. Alas, McGarrett falls into the clutches of Wo Fat and his assistant, played by Soon-Teck Oh. The camera angles during a fight with Miller are unusual, and McGarrett denounces him as a "dirty double-dealing fink." Wo Fat is oily: "As we clever Chinese say, 'the plot thickens'." Wo promises not to engage in any "medieval Chinese torture." As McGarrett begins to unwind during Wo Fat's deprogramming, he calls Wo Fat "Fatso." Fortunately, McGarrett has been "pre-programmed" by Jonathan Kaye's ace hypnotist and is able to save the day in the best James Bond fashion. The shot with Kono running on to the ship Arcturus with a rifle is featured in the main titles. Wo Fat departs on Pan American (not United, the series' airline of choice). The final altercation between McGarrett and Miller seems sped up at times. Wright Esser, who plays the evil Captain Schroeder (neatly blasted by Kono), will later appear as Interpol boss Karl Albrecht.


The original pilot episode is included in the first season DVD box set and the Columbia House VHS tapes. There are several major differences between this and a two-part version of the pilot which was later shown at the end of the first season (you can download this from sites with streaming video which offer the original show, along with the original pilot).


Production number is 1310-5246-2669. DVD total time is 1:36:58; the Columbia House VHS tape time is 1:35:19. I have no explanation for the difference here. These are supposed to be the same thing. The DVD has a blab at the beginning, approximately 21 seconds long, explaining that the two-hour pilot was broadcast a week before the show began. (This 21 seconds is not included in the above figure for the DVD.)

The scene corresponding to the end of Part 1 in the two-part version is at approximately 55:08. In the two-part version, it ends with a freeze-frame of McGarrett's face as he is lifting up the entrance to the mysterious chamber known as the "cocoon." In the pilot, he closes this entrance (this brief sequence appears at the beginning of Part 2). The extra time here can presumably be accounted for the stuff at the beginning of the show like the tour bus scene with Yankee Chang, etc. which does not appear in the two-part version.

The end credits for the DVD/CH version are superimposed over the champagne glasses that McGarrett and Rosemary have clicked together at the end. The type used for these credits doesn't look right to me; it is too white and too clean). Instead, it looks like something that someone manufactured for the Columbia House tape which was used as the basis of the pilot on the DVD.


This consists of the original pilot edited into two 1-hour episodes which were shown at the end of season one. My version came from KICU in San Jose.

The production number is 1310-1729-1383 for each of both parts. According to some CBS episode listing I have, the production numbers for parts one and two as separate episodes are supposedly 1331/6824 and 1331/6825 respectively. These two numbers (the last part of each) are the same as in the CBS syndication bible. This information is for "international syndication only." There is nothing about the original pilot in this listing at all; the CBS bible (see my WWW site) explains how the two-hour shows are numbered.

Part one is approximately 51:18, part two is approximately 51:12 (I put a bit of "blue leader" between the acts and also between the two parts on the dub I made of these two shows). The total of these two is 1:42:30. There is a lengthy "previously on" segment at the beginning of part two which is about 6:54 in length (includes main titles which are 0:57 long). If you remove this, the total time is 1:35:26.

The end credits for this two-part version are in the usual font used for the first season on, superimposed over the blue light on the back of the motorcycle. The actors' credits reflect who is in the part, i.e., Leslie Nielsen is only in the first part, James Gregory and Lew Ayres are only in the second part. The production credits like music, editor, etc. are the same for both parts.


Does this exist? A version made up of the two part-version with the "previously on" segment removed? I used to have a version of the pilot in French, but I cannot find it any more. I never watched it anyway, so I actually don't know if it was a one-part version!


CLASSIC FIVE-O (1968-1980):
| 1st Season (Episodes 1-23) | 2nd Season (Episodes 24-48) | 3rd Season (Episodes 49-72) | 4th Season (Episodes 73-96) | 5th Season (Episodes 97-120) | 6th Season (Episodes 121-144) | 7th Season (Episodes 145-168) | 8th Season (Episodes 169-191) | 9th Season (Episodes 192-214) | 10th Season (Episodes 215-238) | 11th Season (Episodes 239-259) | 12th Season (Episodes 260-278) | 13th Season |

NEW FIVE-0 (2010-?):
| 1st Season | 2nd Season | 3rd Season | 4th Season | 5th Season | 6th Season | 7th Season | 8th Season | "Next" Season |