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This Morning with Richard and Judy (October 1997)

Appearing as Himself

In London to promote the re-launch of Hawaii Five-O in British syndication, James MacArthur spent a few minutes chatting with Richard Madeley on ITV's popular This Morning with Richard and Judy. A transcript of the segment follows:

Richard Madeley: And if you ever saw Hawaii Five-O, and anyone over 20 must have done, then you know the words that will close this little sequence ...

<montage of Five-O scenes is played, closing with McGarrett saying “Book ‘em, Danno. Murder one.”>

RM: Book ‘em, Danno -- a catchphrase for our times. And we have booked him, because he’s here now. James MacArthur. James, good morning.

James MacArthur: Good morning.

RM: Did you know when you started ... I mean, you know, you must have done the first episode, not knowing that it was going to turn into what it did, but did you have an inkling that it was going to become a global sort of phenomenon.

JM: No, no, no. It was 13 weeks in Hawaii.

RM: That was it?

JM: It turned into 12 years, well 20 years, I’ve never left.

RM: And in a sense, you haven’t, because it’s constantly playing.

JM: Yeah, but I mean, I keep my place there.

RM: You have a home in Hawaii?

JM: Yes. And I go back and forth a lot. The show ... no, nobody ever had any idea that this was going to happen, that it would have the kind of legs that it had. But look at me sitting here now. I look like Snow White, you know. <laughter> And the show is going on. It’s wonderful.

RM: And they’re saying they might be remaking it.

JM: Well, we did a pilot, and it’s not clear whether it will be picked up. And I played the Governor. Can you believe that?

RM: You mean the Governor of the island?

JM: Yes, the Governor of Hawaii.

RM: You’ve really been promoted, haven’t you?

JM: Yeah, I’ve gotten wily and political.

RM: And what about Jack Lord?

JM: Well, Jack is ... I produced a documentary last year on the show, in the state of Hawaii, and even then there was some question about his health. But there’s no answers. So, you just don’t know. You can’t see him, though.

RM: You mean he’s kind of become a recluse?

JM: Yeah. His wife, Marie, who I see whenever I’m over there, says Jack’s home and he’s fine, and I don’t know if that’s ... but, there we are.

RM: But, you’re a bit younger.

JM: I’m 59 and Jack’s ... I don’t know what he is ... that’s never been exactly establishable, you know? But, let’s say 70-odd.

RM: I don’t know, maybe you have to have a really large ego to handle that kind of success. You know, that bit in the credits, when he goes <mimes Jack turning around to face the camera in the show’s opening credits>, like that. Did he think that was funny? Because we all laughed at that here. We all thought that part was really funny.

JM: Um, no, Jack didn’t think that was funny.

RM: <laughing> I want to show the clip we showed before, again, one more time. Because I want to ask you, and anyone at home, what is wrong with these scenes? One scene here, it’s all wrong.

<montage is replayed>

RM: In fact, there were two wrong scenes there.

JM: What?

RM: There were two scenes where you got the girl.

JM: <laughing> I got to kiss her, but that’s all. Then somebody would strangle her in the next half hour. I never got the girl. We always got the guy... But I’m looking at that and, you know, thinking how much fun it was to do that show. I mean, it was hard, hard work, but God, it was fun.

RM: I’ll bet it was.

JM: Doing it week after week, and then to have it turn into the success that it did was ... just unbelievable.

RM: And what about the ‘Book ‘em, Danno’ catchphrase. I mean, actually, that must have been a mixed blessing. Because I don’t know if it’s this way in America, but here, I mean, the British public are very forward. They will come up and say things to people, especially if there’s a catchphrase around them and, I mean, you must have been approached a lot in this country with “Book ‘em, Danno!” Eh?

JM: Well, I don’t look like Danno so much any more. At home, people say that, and, you know, the phrase ... it came about kind of like, one day we were shooting a scene and Jack said to me, we were going to catch somebody, and he said, “Over there, Danno.” I said, “Danno? Who’s Danno?” “Well,” he said, “I have a friend, when I was a kid, his name was Dan, and we used to call him Danno.” And so, then Danno was born.

RM: That’s it?

JM: Yeah. And then the “book ‘em,” I don’t know, the phrase when it was said together, it just hit.

RM: It seems to me that a lot of American cop programs have come out, things like Miami Vice, for example, I mean, in the opening sequence of Miami Vice, the helicopter skimming above the water, that’s pure Hawaii Five-O.

JM: I think it is, and I think that, you know, Reza Badiyi was the director, and he did the titles, and Lenny Freeman was a wonderful writer, and that’s why I think the show had the legs to keep going and going, because we had some dang good stories.

RM: You mentioned your graying thatch. That indicates to me that you’re quite happy to grow older -- not old, but grow older gracefully. You’re not dyeing your hair. I mean, there are just so many American actors, I can’t tell you, with the Grecian 2000 and all that.

JM: Well, you know, my chief joy in life at the moment is being baseball coach to my son’s baseball team. My 12-year-old. And his soccer matches, too. I do a lot of that.

RM: What, English soccer?

JM: Yes. I mean, I go out and help the boys.

RM: What’s the baseball team called?

JM: Well, let’s see, we changed. We’re The Mariners this year.

RM: The Mariners.

JM: My son’s an all-star pitcher <grins proudly>.

RM: How old were you when he was born? I mean, if he’s 12 now...

JM: Um, 47.

RM: Well, that’s quite late, isn’t it?

JM: I have three other children grown. And I have three grandchildren.

RM: Everybody says that if you go into another marriage, or have a very, very late child, it’s a very different experience, because you’ve made all your mistakes the first time around.

JM: <grinning> I hope so! I mean, no, but I’ve got time with my son now, and I never had time with my others because of doing Five-O and that.

RM: And you’re doing it again. It’s being repeated on Grenada Plus.

JM: Three times a day.

RM: From October 1st.

JM: Yes.

RM: Good. It’s great to see you.

JM: Thank you very much.

James MacArthur, Richard Madeley

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