FIVE-O'er from The Friendly Isle
by Jerry Pickard, UH '72, firstname.lastname@example.org
That would be Moloka'i-born-and-raised Melveen Leed, best known as prominent local musician lady and pre-eminent singer of Hawaiian-country songs. Sharing her vocal talents began at age three, she said. Now she has a daughter who's 26. It's a long, long road!
Your stumblebum reporter, who'd caught TheBus from
The reason she was cast, she explained, was to try to
buff up sliding ratings. Show brass had seen her perform at Duke's in
Melveen pointed out that she enjoyed a very close friendship with Jack and Marie Lord. She speculated that the one-time Stoney Burke identified with her country & western vocalizations with a Hawaiian blend, and in this way, was predisposed to welcoming her as a Five-0 guest performer after being cleared by Margaret Doversola.
The Lords often invited her (and Zulu as well, she
stated, of whom Jack never spoke unkindly after the former's
dismissal from the show), to dine with them at their condominium. She looks
back on these as very special, quality occasions. Somewhat ahead of current
times with respect to nutritional concerns, the Lords however always asked
about the freshness of the food if they were eating away from home. Favorite
dining-out spots included The Top of the I (at the Ilikai), and the
Consistent with most other local folks who made it onto the Five-0 set, Melveen was full of praise for Jack in his unfailing willingness to assist neophyte acting hopefuls like herself in developing talents and delivering strategies on stage. Yes, he wanted everything to be absolutely perfect, and so he was a 'stickler' during rehearsals, going over scenes, take after take after take. But with her, at least, he was very patient, 'maybe because I'm a woman,' she offered. Thus, her Five-0 memories are virtually all positive. And, she cherishes the Five-0 badge with which Jack presented her toward the show's final wrap. He was, she said, the epitome of being a 'gentleman's gentleman,' and most classy always.
A rather intriguing technique taught to her by Jack,
she described, was that of drinking distilled water in a cup, upside-down,
allowing the water to escape through one's nostrils. Supposed
to be an excellent means of clearing any sinus blockage. (As would be
most likely to result, it's presumed, if the possible asphyxiation were staved
off!) She noted that when visiting the Lords' home, it contained copies of
every film Jack had been in. He told her that he would watch them repeatedly,
and self-critique constantly. And what a philanthropist he was, she pointed
out; appearing at any charity event she attended. In particular, she recalled
Jack's graciousness at
Melveen mentioned she'd lost contact with Marie, in part
because of the former's extended time away spent in
At the time of our get-together, Melveen
admitted that she was quite tired as she'd just launched another CD recorded in
Melveen was a very sparkly, spontaneous, animated and yes,
hungry subject when we met that May morning by the Windward Mall. A few weeks
later, her picture was in the
'Sally' is indeed a strong 'ohana member. Mahalo, 'tita!
A BEACHBOY'S B.S. (BEST STORIES)
by Jerry Pickard, UH '72 email@example.com
Talk about one cool dude! Didn't have as long a time
with Kimo Kahoano as would
have been preferable, but am very grateful for the time he took from his busy
schedule (including the golf course, perhaps?) to have a sit-down at Wailana Coffee Shop in May '04. The quick bio relating to his
current and original
Kimo appeared in about a dozen episodes, beginning in the
second season, skipping the third and then one or two times each on average
from Seasons Four to Eleven. Assistant to the Casting Director Charlotte
Simmons, who was with us when we talked-story, mentioned that it was CBS policy
at that time, for the network itself to have to give specific consent for
anyone who appeared more than two times in a season. So, in a number of cases,
this is why an actor limited his exposures, preferring not to have to endure
(and perhaps miss) a rigorous approval process. He has had roles in One
Kimo, who could easily be described as having the "look" of the quintessential Hawaiian beachboy, was working on the Danny Kaleikini Show at the Kahala Hilton in '69 when he was recruited by Location Casting Director, Ted Thorpe. First part was rather minimal...and uncredited (it involved a screaming girl finding a body on the beach). Before he received more active character missions, he endured four disappointing auditions. On the fifth, with Bob Busch and Allen Reisner, he decided to do away with trying to come across as too neat and nice. He relaxed, read naturally for the part with tousled hair, clad in shorts, tank-top and puka shells. Success!
When we met, only a few days after Zulu's passing had
gone by. Kimo had known Zulu well, having performed
as the knife-dancer in his show at the Pagoda Hotel's C'Est
Si Bon nightclub. He suggested that because of the
strong Kono Kalakaua role,
very affable Zulu gained considerable fame, leading to the relocation of his
show to the more prominent and lucrative Duke Kahanamoku's
venue in the heart of
Even the legendary Don Ho, when putting together an album featuring beachboy songs, included a comical number dedicated to Zulu, with lines like "Co-eds here, co-eds there, co-eds running round everywhere." Zulu's innate exuberance carried over to the Five-0 set where his presence was synonymous with constant, mainly good-natured bantering (not always viewed positively by Jack Lord however, as Kimo recalled). It was recounted that, unlike Kam Fong for example, Zulu was taken on as a major performer on the show without acting training or experience, being a beachboy-turned-professional local entertainer. But, like Kam (and Kimo for that matter), Zulu landed his role largely because of the gut instinct which Leonard Freeman and others experienced when first seeing them.
But, back to Kimo
himself. It's worth noting
that he had also been part of Al Harrington's show at the original Tapa Room of the
One characterization he especially enjoyed, involved
being a pro-environmentalist, as he was attending the
But the role which is perhaps most memorable for him,
was in Tall On The Wave, directed by Ron Satlof, who had particular expertise when it came to
ocean-oriented filming. Kimo portrayed a surfer who
in the original script was to have been blond and blue-eyed. It was a major
part, and he recalled doing a crying scene with Lisa Eilbacher.
She had a memory lapse with her lines when she was on-camera while he was off.
So Kimo improvised on the spot to salvage the shot,
and the director glowingly accepted the unplanned revision. Kimo's
initial sighting of Jack Lord in
Kimo was with his fiancée in the popular McCully Chop Suey restaurant not far from the U. H. He noticed a tall man wearing a neckerchief and looking very 'western' coming in with his wife. Kimo figured he recognized him, and said so to his date: "I think that's Stoney Burke!" But the air-conditioning was on full-blast, so Jack asked if it could be turned down to keep Marie from being too chilled. The waitress let fly with a barrage of mixed Chinese/local pidgin (Kimo mimicked this very with great animation), ending with something like "must keep damn place cold." She obviously didn't know who 'Stoney' was, and likely cared even less!
In Man In A Steel Frame, directed by Reisner, Kimo played a tennis pro. He described this role as having particularly high emotional overtones. Jack instructed him not to look directly at McGarrett, but over the camera, which resulted in what was judged to be a perfect take.
Kimo defined Jack as a very tough individual, strict about everything, a consummate professional (of course!), but fair. For sure, he said, you could never "get in his face." For example, in this episode Jack needed a detail clarification from one of the script people. This guy, rather than just admitting he didn't have the answer and would have to do some checking, simply "answered back" perhaps facetiously but regardless, in such a way that Jack had him fired at once.
Kimo pointed out that all the scene filmings in Five-0's day were unbelievably laborious and painstaking, which often led to frayed tempers. As well, no one really quite knew how any one episode would turn out until it was telecast-unlike today, he offered, when directors can do a rapid check of the digital output and ensure the angles are as desired, making corrections at once if needed. Yet, Kimo believes that while Five-0 may not have been technically "correct" in all ways, it worked well for its time and has withstood the test of long-term durability.
More recollections from his days at this series, "where it all began for him": - James MacArthur was just fantastic, totally knowledgeable but balanced, and able & willing to help the less-skilled local performers redirect their focus on the set when needed, aware of what the directors wanted to have happen to accomplish their goals.
He said this talent of Jim's was particularly evident during a challenging prison filming sequence. - he recalled himself and Danny Kamekona plus Jimmy Borges working with John Rubinstein (in Friends Of Joey Kalima), and how terrific it had been to "rub shoulders" with such a notable figure in this business - Kimo similarly felt very privileged to have appeared with Tab Hunter (in Horoscope for Murder, which was Kimo's final Five-0) describing him this way: "the bigger the star, the more wonderful".
While they were being driven to the
Kimo remembered Harry Endo requesting his script copy at the earliest time he could get it, knowing that he'd have to master many technical terms in a dialogue in order to meet Jack's expectations, for instance.
Kimo spoke of being instructed by Jack in '75 not to read from the script when he was off-camera, pointing out the advantage for the show's quality if true emotions could be conveyed while looking at McGarrett. While Jack's terms of reference changed slightly in the latter going, Kimo said he's never forgotten such well-sourced tips.
Once again, it was a true privilege to "talk-story" and shake hands with another exceptional, distinguished alumnus of the Five-0 experience. Mahalo, brah!
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Submissions, which are always welcomed, to the newsletter can be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadlines are one month before each issue. You can find the Central Dispatch on Terri’s Jack Lord Connection located at www.thejacklordconnection.com
2005 Calendars are now available
Debbie has put together two different 2005 calendars for anyone wishing to buy one. One is of Jack Lord (this is not the 4th season, but a collection of pictures of Jack Lord) and one is of Hawaii Five-0. Calendars are $10 each ($14 for outside the US-payable in USD). Make out checks or US money orders and mail to Debbie Fitzgerald/HFOFC, 682 Durham Road, Adams, TN 37010 or pay using Paypal (email@example.com).
You can still contribute to the Memorial. Just sent it to: Jack and Marie Lord Trust c/o
See you in April, 2005
Be There! Aloha!
Pictures of the Memorial
Doug Mossman and Lynn Liverton, the artist who created the bust.
Annette Nixon and Ennis Dudley placing their leis on the bust.
The Jack Lord Bust