Mayor Fasi 1, Hawaii 5-0 Zip.
The original Hawaii 5-0 was a popular show in Hawaii as well as being a big hit on the mainland and in many parts of the rest of the world, too. When Honolulu’s mayor, Frank Fasi, traveled abroad, he got a kick out of telling people he was “Steve McGarrett’s boss”. It almost never failed to generate excitement.
Locals in Hawaii watched the show and enjoyed it on two levels–for the entertainment itself and for finding little inconsequential details that we knew were wrong, but which would be unnoticed by mainland audiences–a car chase, for example, that began when robbers ran out of a bank and ended several minutes later in front of a building we all knew was right next door to the bank.
On one occasion, the mayor found himself caught in a much-worse-than-usual late afternoon traffic snarl on Kapiolani Boulevard. Frank pulled his car off the road and marched up to the beginning of the mess to see what the problem was. It turned out to be Hawaii 5-0. In order to get just the right shot of a storefront, the director had moved the camera across the sidewalk and several feet out into the street, effectively blocking one whole lane. Two off-duty Honolulu police officers had been hired for crowd control and they were doing their best to direct traffic around the obstruction.
Frank immediately realized what was happening and he marched up to the director and demanded that the camera be removed from the street immediately. I’ve forgotten his name, but the director had been brought in from Los Angeles to direct two or three episodes and of course had no idea who this angry man was. Imperiously, he pointed to the two off-duty cops and said, “Do you see those police officers? They’re working for me and if you don’t leave my set immediately, I’ll have them arrest you!”
The two cops had recognized the mayor, of course, and both were sweating profusely.
Frank drew himself up and went nose to nose with the director. “They ain’t working’ for you, buddy”, he snapped, “I’m the mayor of this town and they work for me! And if that camera isn’t moved in one minute, they’ll throw your ass in jail.” And without looking at the two officers, he barked, “RIGHT?”
The two cops snapped to attention and, in unison, blurted, “Yes SIR!”
Sixty seconds later, traffic was once again flowing on Kapiolani Boulevard and yet another tale was added to the legend of Mayor Frank Fasi. There was some additional fallout from that incident: the director returned to Los Angeles earlier than planned and, a week later, the Hawaii 5-0 casting director called my office asking if the mayor and I would be interested in small parts in an upcoming episode.
But that’s another story …
Monday, 11:00 a.m. HST — Shutting down, heading for airport. Next post from Chicago tomorrow.