I Thought I'd Stumbled onto Something
I came across an article that pointed out that the original Five-0 featured many local actors. The numbers prove it, so I decided to take a fresh look at some of our Beloved Semi-Regulars. Here are just a few:
I suppose the best-known are those who served on the Five-0 Team: Kam Fong (Chin Ho), Zulu (Kono), Al Harrington (Ben Kokua), Herman Wedemeyer (Duke Lukela), and Moe Keale (Truck Kealoha).
Of course, we'll never forget Jimmy Borges, who appeared in twelve episodes, portrayed criminals and even himself. In "A Capitol Crime" (Season 9), the crime occurred at a Jimmy Borges concert. We lost Jimmy in 2016.
I'll never forget David "Lippy" Espinda, who was known as the “King of Pidgin” and the originator of the “shaka” sign and the greeting “Shaka, Brah.” He owned a gas station and used-car lot but was best known as the emcee of “Lippy’s Lanai Theater,” as a benefit auctioneer, and as a banquet speaker. We know Lippy best as the taxi driver in “The Guarnerius Caper” (Season 3) and as the informer who called dollar bills “crispies” in “‘V’ for Vashon: The Patriarch.” In all, Lippy Espinda appeared in eleven episodes of Five-0 between 1970 and 1975. His last appearance was as pawn shop owner Kaneho in “The Waterfront Steal” (Season 8), filmed shortly before his death.
Of course, I have to include Hilo Hattie, who appeared in two episodes of Hawaii Five-0: as Tommy Kapali’s mother in “Strangers in Our Own Land” (Season 1) and as next-door neighbor, Mrs. Pruitt, in “The Late John Louisiana” (Season 3). In 1971, at the Merrie Monarch festival in Hilo, she was approached by a couple, who wanted to design and sell Hawaiian clothing under the name of Hilo Hattie. She thus lent her name to the shop of aloha attire and souvenirs.
Nephi Hanneman, the tall, strapping brother of Honolulu's former mayor, Mufi Hannemann, was first seen on Five-0 as AWOL sailor John Mala in “Run, Johnny. Run” (Season 2). Similarly, in “Is This Any Way to Run a Paradise?” (Season 4), he acted in the name of the Hawaiian god Kahili break the law in protest against ecological wrongs. In all, he appeared in eleven episodes between 1969 and 1979.
Remi Abellira was a child actor, who grew up on the Five-0 set. He began as Poto, who washed windshields and helped Five-0 identify the man who planted the dynamite in McGarrett’s car in “Blind Tiger” (Season 2). Although he went on to appear in seven other episodes, he will always be Poto in my eyes. I like Poto.
There are many others for whom no background information seems to be available. Read more about these highly talented Island actors on the Guest Stars page.