Remembering Jack Lord

In the News

The Tragedy Surrounding the USS Indianapolis

The other night, I watched USS Indianapolis : Men of Courage (2016) on Netflix. It is based on the true story of the sinking of the large cruiser that carried the components for the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. The parts had been delivered, and the Indianapolis was on its way to Leyte, The Philippines, when it was sunk by two Japanese torpedoes. Of nearly 1200 men aboard, only 317 survived.

The court-martial of the ship’s captain, Captain Charles B. McVay, III, was the only incident of a ship’s captain being court-martialed following a sinking during World War II. Most sources feel that he was made a scapegoat by the Washington powers, who needed someone to blame for their not knowing the ship was missing for three days. Its being found was happenstance when PBYs on reconnaissance sorties happened to see the survivors on life rafts. 

Only in 2000 was Captain McVay cleared of all charges by Congress and by President William J. Clinton. A year later, the  Secretary of the Navy ordered Captain McVay’s records to be purged of all wrongdoing. Of course, that all came about 42 years too late. In 1968, Captain McVay took his own life after struggling with guilt and depression for more than 20 years.

Recently, explorers managed to locate the wreckage of the “Indianapolis” on the ocean floor, 18000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.

Read more about it in this CNN article:

Watch a documentary about it on PBS tomorrow (Wednesday) night at 10:00 ET / 9:00 CT (

This sounds like a lesson that Jack might teach:

A preacher told a story about a farm family in Kentucky. They had lived on their farm for six generations when a terrible storm blew through and took down an old pear tree. That pear tree had been important to the owner. He had grown up, climbing in that tree and eating the pears from it. Now, it lay on the ground.

A neighbor stopped by and told the owner, "I'm so sorry that your tree has fallen. What will you do now?"

The owner replied, "I'm going to pick the fruit that is still good, and I'm going to burn the rest."

The lesson, of course, was that we should keep what was good about the past -- lessons learned, good memories, etc. -- but let go of the rest. Otherwise, we will be so busy stewing over the past that we can't move forward and live today.

Source: Rev. Brady Whitton, Senior Pastor, First United Methodist Church, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in his sermon on Sunday, 30 June 2013.


...Jack Lord of the original Hawaii 5-0 ...will live forever in the... shops of Waikiki.

Source: Mackie, Dan Mackie. “Luaus in Vermont; We Could Step Up Our Game In the Tourism Chase” West Lebanon, New Hampshire Valley News. June 1, 2013.


Jack's Art to Benefit Charity

This just in from Steve's Girl (February 16, 2013): A large number of Jack's lithographs are listed on Ebay. The seller acquired them in December and is reselling them marked "Listed for Charity." Steve's Girl writes, "Now I found a remark that 10% of the final sales will support Save a Child's Heart Foundation. And the seller added that it would be very appropriate considering that Jack loved children so much." We agree. Jack would feel deeply honored to see his work continue to benefit others. If you're in the market for Jack's art, stop by Ebay and make a bid to benefit children with heart disease.


Honolulu Theatre for Youth

Daniel Dae Kim, who portrays Chin Ho Kelly on the H50 remake, is following in the very big footsteps of our own Jack Lord. He is producing a play, "Hold These Truths," with the Honolulu Theatre for Youth. The play will be presented between February 21st and March 2nd at the Tenney Theatre in Honolulu. Jack was very active with the Honolulu Theatre for Youth. No doubt, he would be very proud of Kim for doing his bit to give back to Hawai'i. Bravo, Chin Ho! 

Read about it:



Hawaii Five-0 episode "Hookman" was reprised by the producers of the series recreation and aired on the CBS television network on Monday, February 4, 2013. The original, which was the Season 6 premiere episode, aired on September 11, 1973.

The episode centers on a man, Kurt Stoner (J. J. Armes), who lost his arms when the sticks of dynamite he was holding exploded when his attempt to rob a bank was thwarted by three HPD officers and Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord). Now out of prison, he exacts his revenge by killing the HPD officers. He is going after McGarrett when Five-0 shoots and kills him. In a manner of speaking the hookman committed suicide by cop. The original production of "Hookman" received an Emmy Award for the episodic theme song, which was composed by Morton Stevens.

Watch the CBS promotional video, which features scenes from the original and remade episode:


Johnny and Jack : Two Birds of a Feather

Last night, I watched a two-hour documentary about the life of Johnny Carson, who for thirty years, hosted The Tonight Show, a late-night talk show on NBC-TV. The report began with Mr. Carson’s birth in Nebraska in 1925 and continued until his death of emphysema in 2005.

The man who came to light was a quiet, shy man, who used magic tricks learned from a book to pull himself out of that shyness. Even at the height of his success, he came to life only before the cameras. Then, he retreated into a highly valued private life, away from the public eye. Even when he went to parties, he took a deck of cards with which to entertain the other guests.

Does Johnny sound like someone else we know? I think so. Jack's prop, of course, was poetry. Both were very shy throughout their lives, yet they coped quite differently and achieved remarkable success in a very public industry. Johnny coped with comedy; Jack coped with what can only be described as academics. Here, they differed, for everybody loves a clown, and people did love Johnny Carson. Jack, on the other hand, was misunderstood when he recited poetry and looked at matters from an academic perspective. In today's jargon, Jack was a nerd.

Here’s another thing Johnny and Jack had in common: Neither was close to his family. Johnny had three sons but not enough time for them until one of his sons was killed in a traffic accident. Those who knew Johnny best say he never overcame the heartache of losing his son. Jack, of course, lost his son at the age of 13. His sadness seemed apparent whenever he was filmed with children.

About his retirement, Johnny said, “You’ve got to know when to get the hell off the stage, and the timing was right for me.” It seems to me that Jack knew it was time to get off the stage when Five-0 ended and M Station was not picked up. Both left the entertainment industry far behind and moved forward, giving generously to philanthropic causes, both in life and posthumously.

Read about it and watch clips from the documentary: “Johnny Carson: King of Late Night” on American Masters. Public Broadcasting System, 2012.


Aloha From Hawaii Concert

It's the 40th Anniversary of Elvis Presley's 1973 "Aloha From Hawaii" Concert. You remember it. Elvis barged in on Jack and Marie and invited them to the concert. By the time the week was over, Jack had given Elvis a banjo, and he and Elvis had become good friends.

Back in 1961, Elvis gave another concert in Hawai'i, one that raised more than $60,000 to build the USS Arizona Memorial. Funds from this weekend's festivities will be used to restore the memorial.

Needless to say, a whole weekend (January 11-14, 2013) of special events have been planned to commemorate the anniversary, including a screening of the concert at Blaisdell Center. Wish we could be there! Aloha! 

Read about it:

Watch a video about Elvis' cape:

Our own TSedinger attended the rebroadcast and said, "I...was gratified by the applause that Jack received from the current audience when Elvis mentioned [on film] that he was in the audience."


Sent in by Vrinda

The public feeds more on our shortcomings than it does on our virtues. The public disowns us, we still live with our problems, so let's approach things from the proper angle - ourselves.

Guess what: Jack did not say this. Peter Lawford did. That is, a character he portrayed said it. Something tells me he was talking about a lot of people in the limelight. It's too easy to find fault, so let's don't.


The Lee Randolph Story

Me-TV showed a mini-marathon of The Millionaire on October 7, 2012. Jack's episode, "The Lee Randolph Story," aired. Here is Me-TV's synopsis of the episode:

Michael Anthony brings a check for one million dollars to Lee Randolph, who is in the hospital, recovering from a serious brain injury. After Randolph returns home, a series of strange events occur that cause him to doubt his sanity.

It truly showed how talented Jack was as an actor. He portrayed a wide range of emotions, including fear, perplexity, and anger, and stole the show. Way to go, Jack! This was first aired in 1958, a scant five years after Jack first began winning television roles. Thanks, Vrinda!



Friday, October 5, 2012, marked the 50th anniversary since the release of Dr. No, featuring our boy Jack as CIA agent Felix Leiter. It was the first James Bond movie. 

Across the pond, festivities geared up to celebrate the movie's golden anniversary. The theme song enjoyed renewed popularity. Anniversary issues of DVDs and books sold well. Even Bond's Aston Martin DB5 went up for sale.

With all that going on, the series probably didn't need a second lead who was already a polished product, albeit of the American variety, in Jack Lord's CIA officer Felix Leiter. Leiter continued, but with much more drab figures playing the role -- recast in every film until Jeffrey Wright's Leiter of the last two pictures -- figures who were usually no competition whatsoever for the shining light of Bond. And Jack Lord? He went on to become his own sort of iconic figure in a little show called Hawaii Five-O. "Book 'em, Danno."  

Source: Bradley, William. “Bond at 50: Dr. No Is a Time Capsule From the Early Mad Men Era” in Huffingtion Post. October 4, 2012.


In the Webmaster's Opinion

In Mike Quigley's guestbook, Five-0 fan Big Chicken made a most telling appraisal of the final scene of "No Bottles… No Cans… No People" (Season 4). To refresh your memory, McGarrett had just informed a mobster from Detroit that he would be leaving on the next plane and that organized crime would not be coming to Hawai’i. Then, he turns and walks toward the exit. A crowd is standing behind a railing, clearly in awe of what they have just seen.

He pointed out that, not only did McGarrett’s strong stand against organized crime speak to them. So did the experience of watching Jack’s complete embodiment of the character of Steve McGarrett. He described the scene as “a rare moment that actually captures Steve McGarrett becoming part of the popular culture, transforming into that 70s-TV, law-enforcement icon that’s still casting a long shadow till this day. Definitely an all-time classic ending and an iconic moment for our man Steve-O, Five-O.”

In the same discussion, Vrinda said, “They were seeing a famous actor portraying a character with so much realism, that they believed that what they were watching was real. That's the effect Jack has when you watch him. He steps into the character and makes it come alive.”

That is known as good acting. The actor isn’t just reciting lines. He isn’t just striking a pose. He literally ceases to be himself and becomes the character he is portraying.

Interestingly, some actors are faulted when they manage to achieve this level of acting. They appear so natural that they are accused of simply being themselves. In reality, they’re simply being the character they portray. No wonder we Five-0 fans feel that we know Jack Lord. As far as we are concerned, he and Steve McGarrett are one and the same. And, yes, Jack is faulted for that. After all, if Steve McGarrett is as tough as nails, then (they reason),  Jack must be, too. Yes, he could be as tough as nails, but there were other facets of his personality, facets that never were explored in Steve McGarrett. His hobbies, love interests, even what his apartment looked like were not within the scope of a police procedural produced between 1968 and 1980.

Today, such facets are explored. Danny Reagan on Blue Bloods, is every bit as tough as Steve McGarrett, but he has a wife, two sons, three siblings, and a father and grandfather. When not on duty, he drives a Jeep Cherokee and lives in a half-house on Staten Island. All but the house appear in each and every episode. His father's house does appear in every episode. He chaffs when his relationship to the police commissioner and an assistant district attorney get in the way. He blows his stack when a criminal injures or kills the innocent. Will Danny Reagan become the iconic character that Steve McGarrett is? Probably not, because the actor who portrays Danny Reagan (Donny Wahlberg) is not the star of the show, but a member of an ensemble cast. In fact, I just had to do a Google search to see what his name is. 

Stardom does count in these matters, although one is hard pressed to say which comes first, the stardom or the larger-than-life image. Jack Lord arguably became a star with Stoney Burke, although some would insist that it happened with Cat On a Hot Tin Roof or Man of the West. In both, he gave very strong performances that the audiences remembered for a long time. Even his quieter performance in Dr. No left the producers afraid that he would outshine star Sean Connery, if he were brought back in future James Bond movies. 

In my opinion, Jack became a star while he was in Sanford Meisner's acting class. It was the day Meisner told him he could not act into a tape recorder and he "slung [his] overcoat around [himself] like a cloak, and burst through that door like a banshee."(1) It sorta makes you think of McGarrett grabbing Joe Fletcher by his shoulders and slamming him against the door for daring to record their conversation with the intention of editing it to ruin the top cop.(2)

As the old saw goes, "You either have it or you don't." Jack had it. It showed, even in a send-off at the airport with a few dozen tourists looking on.


(1)  Gill, Alan. "Big, Big, Big!" TV Guide. 1962.

(2)  Yates, William Robert. "All the King's Horses."Hawaii Five-0. CBS/Paramount, 1969.


In the News

It seems researchers at MIT plotted travel routes in an effort to identify the airports where disease is most likely to spread. Tops on the list are JFK and LAX. Guess what's #3: HNL. The author of the blog wrote,

How in the name of Jack Lord did Honolulu get on the list?

The answer, of course, is that Honolulu is the Grand Central Station of air travel between Asia and North America.

Source: Romano, Richard. "Friendly Skies. Unfriendly Airports." What They Think. August 3, 2012.



A seller from California offered books and lithographs from Jack and Marie's estate on Ebay. Most, if not all, of the books had been autographed by their authors. The lithographs were some of the most desirable; e.g., "Kona Coast" and "Pulelehua." The items sold for astronomical amounts. See the results for August 1-15, 2012, in Jack's Art on Ebay.


In the News

At a televised PBS fund-raising entitled 60s Pop, Rock & Soul, which aired on December 3, 2011, the theme from Hawaii Five-0 was played by The Ventures and the program’s orchestra. During the song, scenes from the opening sequence were shown. Whenever  an image of Jack appeared, the audience stood up in ovation, cheering and applauding with great gusto. It was a wonderful salute to the star of Hawaii Five-0, a man who was a generation older than most of the artists featured on the program... a man who is dearly beloved even 44 years after Five-0 first aired, 32 years after it ended, and 14 years after his death. Kudos to you, Jack. We're so very proud of you.