The celebration without the main honoree didn't stop nearly 100 "Hawaii Five-0" fans from gathering yesterday with the show's regulars for breakfast and a tour of the favorite Oahu film locations.
"Essentially I moved here because of 'Hawaii Five-0,' " said Pearl City's Jim Bunch, 32, serving in the Air Force at Hickam. "I wasn't allowed to watch the show as a kid because it came on at 9 p.m., so I would sneak in the room to see it. Then I started decorating my room with posters of Hawaii and told everyone that one day I'm going to live there."
Welcome to Hawaii's edition of "Mahalo Con: The Hawaii Five-0 Reunion/Convention" that has landed here after three celebratory days in Los Angeles.
"It's deja vu for me," said Rita Ractliffe, "Mahalo Con" organizer. "I see these locations and I feel like I've been here before after seeing all the TV shows. All of us feel like...we have come home."
There was Kam Fong, who played Chin Ho, teasing James "Book 'em, Danno" MacArthur. Nearby was Moe Keale, who started with the show as a crew member, reminiscing with Doug Mossman, Herman Wedemeyer and Harry Endo.
The show's star, Jack Lord, is reportedly too ill to attend, sources said. His absence was noticed but didn't spoil the fun.
"This is a true-life ball being here with these folks," said the white-haired MacArthur who posed with dozens of fans and smiled through hundreds of "Book 'em, Danno" comments.
Wedemeyer said after spending more than 11 years on the show he owed it to the cast, crew and fans to attend.
" 'Hawaii Five-0' is a major part of Hawaii's film industry and legacy; it's what made Hawaii so much more recognizable and as outstanding as it is," he said. "I am very proud to be a part of the show and this reunion."
Maxi Maxwell, 48, of Kaneohe, who drove a limousine when the show filmed here, wore an original "Five-0" badge that MacArthur gave him nearly two decades ago.
"What a memory! The guy remembered me," Maxwell said.
James MacArthur, right, and Herman Wedemeyer?
at Mahalo Con kick-off yesterday.?
By Ken Sakamoto, Star-Bulletin
Keale's early acting roles on "Five-0" were as a "bad guy." The last two years, he was promoted to the "Five-0" law enforcement team. He said Lord's perfectionism, producer Leonard Freeman's creativity and Hawaii's beauty were keys to the show's success.
"Jack made us be good; we had no other choice. We were taught not to waste time. With Jack, you got two chances to make mistakes then he yelled at you."
Tom and Dorothy Pattie, who live in a chilly village north of London, said the show's scenic beauty and images of sunshine "kept us warm through many cold nights."
"And oh, that opening sequence and that big wave, I just love it," Dorothy said.
The opening sequence, Tom said, is "brilliant, a legend."
Ann Fourt took the day off from work at Straub Hospital to take the convention bus tour. "I wanted to see the actors first hand and be around other fans," she said.
At Iolani Palace, where Steve McGarrett's office TV office was located, three women from Australia stood, pointing to the top floor room. Marie Saxon, Madge Hymes and Nell McClairen giggled and joked about the show and how they loved the "beautiful people of Hawaii" on it.
"I really l-o-v-e-d McGarrett, he was so great," Hymes said. "Do you have to ask me why?"
Fans clamored onto the palace steps for picture taking. Mike Quigley of Vancouver, B.C., recognized all the spaces where McGarrett and company parked their cars.
Rose Freeman, wife of the show's creator and producer, photographed fans taking pictures of each other.
"I think Lenny would have loved this. It's a real love fest. People are here honoring his dream and their own."