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Hawaii Five-0: what's real & what's TV?

A frequently asked question is whether Hawaii Five-0 is real! Sadly, it isn't, though Jack Lord did live in the islands until his death a few years ago, and local residents appeared on the show, which was filmed almost entirely in Hawaii.

The 50th State doesn't have a police department, relying on the municipal police departments run by each of the four counties. Therefore, the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) is the closest we have to the TV show. Officer Pueo (pueo is the short-eared brown owl, native to Hawaii) provides lots of information about our police department for visitors of the HPD Web Site.

Most fans of the show know that Hawaii Five-0 headquarters was 'Iolani Palace. The palace wasn't actually used as the set for filming, but exterior and interior shots were used. Viewers may have thought McGarrett's "office" was the penthouse of the Ilikai Hotel in Waikiki, providing stunning views of the beach and Honolulu's #1 landmark, Diamond Head, but several miles from the palace, in fact. The wave at the beginning of the opening sequence is real, however, and is believed to have been filmed in the mid '60s at Banzai Pipeline for a surf film, "Blue Surf-Ari". More: The title sequence of Hawaii Five-O from the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. There are dozens of Hawaii Five-O fan sites on the Web. Hawaii Five-O Home Page is one of the best and most complete, so you can find most of the others from this.

Hawaii Five-O was the longest continuous-running police series in U.S. television history, airing from September 1968 to April 1980. With few exceptions, it was filmed entirely on location in Hawaii. The authenticity and beauty of the scenery is listed by its fans as the number one draw; second come the actors and the characters they portrayed.

Why does Aunty Kat have a TV show in the Hawaii Economy section? Because film-making represents major business in the islands and is among our most important industries.

The first benefit to our economy comes when the crews spend weeks and even months in the islands filming "on location" and spending money at our hotels, restaurants and stores. They often have to build sets, too, and this can help out local businesses who provide materials and labor. Local actors and musicians may also get work.

The second benefit is one that's hard to measure, but equally important. When the snow flies and the winter winds blow in the colder climates of the world, scenes of Hawaii may just be tempting enough to book a trip to the islands for a week or so! So, any movies or TV shows that feature Hawaii serve to help our number one industry, Tourism.

For more on Hawaii's film industry, see: Kauai Film (don't skip the intro - how many movies can you identify?); Honolulu Film Office; Maui County Film Office; and Big Island Film Office.

Aunty's planning more pages about Hawaii's economy and industry, so check back if you're interested!

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