HONOLULU, Hawaii (NEA) -- By now, after nine years here, Jack Lord knows Hawaii as well as anybody.
"I want to show you something," he said. "Get in this car."
We drove up a steep hill, past a military guard, up and up. Finally we pulled off to the side and began walking. When we got to the top, we were in a clearing and below us was Hawaii -- the islands of Molokai and Maui in the distance, Oahu right below.
And there were a couple of hang-glider teams, assembling their fragile craft, pipes with sails and a harness. We watched as they fitted the pieces together, tested the harnesses, then casually stepped off a wooden platform and soared out into the sky.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" Lord said. "I could watch them all day, but I've got to get back to work."
They were shooting parts of two shows that day. One should have been finished the day before, but one of the crew had accidentally opened a can of film that had been shot, thereby ruining it. So several scenes had to be reshot on the last show, and they had already scheduled the next show to start.
They were lucky at that. Generally, when a show is finished, the director and guest stars hop the first plane back to California. But, in this case, the director and the actors were still there. So they quickly rounded them up and re-shot the sequences.
Then they headed back to Hawaii Five-O's new studio, on Diamond Head Road. It was built on govemment land and it took many months of dealing to get the necessary permits to build the studio. And $500,000.
Lord explained that part of the deal was that the show would have the use of the studio for five years, and. after that, it would revert back to the government. The plans are now to use it for a film department at the University of Hawaii, which currently has no such facility.
It is, of course, debatable whether or not Hawaii Five-0 will last for another five years.
"My contract is up after next season," Lord said. "That will finish ten years. Who knows what will happen after that."
He does say that, if the network (CBS) wants him to go beyond 1977, he might do it -- "but I'll never again sign another five-year contract." There will be nothing but one year pacts for him from now on.
And, if CBS elects to drop the show after next season?
"I might look for new fields of endeavor," Lord says. "Perhaps I'd try my hand at directing. I've directed one episode of the show each season for the past four years. And I'm looking now for a property to direct, something that could be made here in Hawaii."
The show's ratings are still hanging in there, and Lord believes that's because the quality of the show has remained constant and good. And he's right -- of all the cop shows, this one manages to be inventive more often than it is trite.
"But," he says, "I've paid the price for the quality of the show. I have to watch everything that happens, and I have to speak my mind on everything. That's why I've acquired the reputation I have. but it's necessary to keep the quality up."