Hawaii Based Detective Series 1968 - 1980
Leonard Freeman created and produced the show and originally called it "The Man". He then decided that a better name would be "Hawaii Five-O" as a recognition of the 50th state of Hawaii, the exclusive location for the series. The famous theme tune was penned by Morton Stevens.
Steve McGarrett, played by Jack Lord, is the head of a special investigative unit of the Hawaii State Government (there is no equivalent unit in real life). He reports directly to the Governor. This special unit is charged with investigating major crime and involves spies, gang bosses, mad scientists, terrorists and subversives are intent on doing evil deeds that threaten the state.
Jack Lord - who nearly got the job as Captain Kirk on Star Trek - played the cool and highly moral Steve McGarrett. He was born in 1920 in Brooklyn as John Joseph Patrick Ryan. After leaving high school he soon became an accomplished painter and had his works exhibited in The Corcoran Galley, Washington. He won a football scholarship at New York University where he majored in art. He then worked as a seaman on merchant ships followed by a stint in Persia with the U.S. Engineers, helping to build roads and bridges.
On his return he became a car salesman. He also decided that he wanted to pursue an acting career and spent three years at the Neighbourhood Playhouse, NY learning his craft. He then moved to the Actor's Studio and appeared on Broadway in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and The Travelling Lady. He appeared in small parts in a number of movies starting with "Project X" from 1949. His most notable movie appearance was the title role in "Dr. No".
He apparently received offers to act in a number of tv shows, including Star Trek, but turned most of them down as they weren't right for him. Then in 1962 he accepted the lead role in "Stoney Burke", a God-fearing rodeo rider. The show lasted just one season.
Around this time, Leonard Freeman was looking for the lead actor for the Hawaii-based cop show called "The Man". This propelled Lord to stardom as Steve McGarrett in the renamed Hawaii Five-O. After the show stopped in 1980, Lord stayed on in Hawaii in retirement with his wife, Marie.
Jack Lord, who had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease, died of heart failure in 1998.
The Return of Five-O:
There has been much talk of a Hawaii Five-O mark II coming to the small screen (a pilot was actually made) and of a possible new cinema version.