Show and Tell Hawai'i

Lei, munchies, aloha at ‘Danno’ MacArthur's funeral

November 21st, 2010

There were Island leis, a lot of aloha and local-style snacks at the funeral services for actor James MacArthur — the “Danno” of “Book’em, Danno” on “Hawaii Five-0” — Sunday (Nov. 21) in Palm Desert, CA, where he resided after the original 12-year run of the beloved set-in-Hawaii CBS crime drama.
Hawaii-based actor Al Harrington and TV producer-host Emme Tomimbang, who were intending to be at the rites, had to cancel, because Harrington, the lone surviving regular of the original show, is in the midst of filming an episode for the rebooted “Five-0.” He and Tomimbang, who has produced shows on “Five-0” folks including MacArthur, called off their trip at the last minute.
But they sent a double maile lei entwined with ilima for a portrait of “Danno,” along with strands of orchid leis, for the funeral. Plus Malolo syrup to make Hawaiian fruit punch and munchables such as macadamia nut shortbread cookies for those assembled at the services.
Harrington, who played Ben Kokua from 1972 to 1975 on the Jack Lord-as-Steve McGarrett original, is completing an episode for the first season. The reboot stars Alex O’Loughlin as McGarrett.
“He (Harrington) said MacArthur would have wanted him to go to film instead — being the actor trouper that he is,” said Tomimbang, emphasizing the customary show biz mantra, “the show must go on.”
Harrington and Tomimbang represented MacArthur when the new crew of “Five-0” —O’Loughlin and colleagues Scott Caan as Danny Williams, Daniel Dae Kim as Chin Ho Kelly and Grace Park as Kono Kalakaua — appeared at the world premiere of the new show in a Sunset on the Beach screening in Waikiki in September. MacArthur couldn't make the trip because of health issues.
More than 1,000, including a coterie of Hollywood celebrities, were expected at the Palm Desert rites.
MacArthur resided in Palm Desert after the 12-year run of the original “Five-0,” but maintained an Island apartment for his frequent visits here.
A Hawaii memorial also will be held later, at the Hawaii Theatre, where MacArthur was a donor, funding a seat bearing his name. The date has not yet been set by the MacArthur family or local sources.
MacArthur died Oct. 28 at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., at age 72. His publicist said that the actor died of “internal complications,” updating his statement as “natural causes,” but local pals indicated that he had a failing liver, among other problems.
The producers of the reboot had hoped to tap MacArthur for a featured guest role in the premiere season, but could not connect the dots, compounded by the actor’s health issues.
MacArthur prevailed as an iconic actor of procedural drama, thanks to the “Book ’em, Danno” quotable that is part of television history.
At the Waikiki premiere, he sent a message to the new cast and producers, which Harrington read, with intermittent tears, to the audience. Among MacArthur's comments: “I can remember back to when (“Five-0” creator) Lenny Freeman called to invite me to participate in the original version. My first thought was, ‘Great! If I’m lucky, this is my free ticket to 13 weeks in Hawaii. Count me in!’ Little did I know that 40 years later, people would still be calling out to me to ‘Book ‘em, Danno’ wherever I go.”

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