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Hawaii Film Studio


Back in the day, 1968, to be precise, there was no film studio. There was no equipment. There was no film crew. There were no trained actors. Just a beautiful island, a governor who wanted to put Hawai'i on the map, and a television producer who was willing to take the gamble. Governor John A. Burns, who served twelve years (1962-1974), based the idea for Five-0 on a similar organization in military law enforcement. He handed the ball off to Leonard Freeman, who ran it to the fifty yard line before handing it off to Jack Lord, who carried it over the goal line.

Hawaii Five-0 was filmed in a Quonset hut rented from the Navy. The old hut was so hot that Jack is reputed to have changed shirts four times a day during filming. Between the noise from aircraft taking off from HNL and the mongooses that chewed through the electrical cables, it was a miracle the series got off the ground. 


Through the generosity of the real-life Yamamoto San and Takahashi San (see "Pray Love Remember, Pray Love Remember," Season 1), production was moved to a new facility at Fort Ruger, near Diamond Head, where a viable sound stage was constructed. The neighbors began to protest. After all, who wants a warehouse sitting in the middle of their neighborhood? The battle grew so fierce that the first few episodes of Season 9 were filmed in the Territorial Office Building. Finally, through the hard work of Jack and others, the legal battles were resolved, and the Hawaii Film Studio was constructed on its present site.  

Over the past ten years, most work to the studio has been related to repairs and reconstructions. The redwood-stained bungalows that held the production offices(1) fell victim to exposure to the elements and termites. They largely have been replaced by new structures(2).

After Hawaii Five-0 ended production, the Hawaii Film Studio was used in the production of Magnum, PI. Since Magnum drove off in the red Ferrari for the last time in 1988, the studio has hosted an untold number of television productions and feature films. It is easy to see how the Hawaii Film Studio has matured through the years to become the respectable facility that it is today.



(1)  The following link will take you to pictures of the Hawaii Film Studio as it appears today:

(2)  The following link will take you to an article about the renovations and replacements of studio buildings:

The Five 0 Stage 01-edited.jpg

Both photographs were donated by Terri Whitman. The photograher(s) is/are unknown.

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