Q & A: Alternate Opening Credits to Hawaii Five-O?

I get a lot of e-mails from people asking me about television shows, made-for-TV movies or miniseries they remember from years or decades past. I try to answer each question as best I can. Every now and then I like to dig through my inbox and pull out a few choice e-mails to answer here at Television Obscurities for everyone to read. Keep reading for today’s questions and answers.

I am wondering if you can help me find access to the beginning theme of Hawaii Five-O filmed during the summer of 1971 for the 1971-1972 season because my family and I are on it. They filmed the episode [“Wednesday, Ladies Free”] at the Royal Aloha Hotel where we were staying then. I was only 7 years old at the time. The theme showed my family and I on the balcony of our 8th floor hotel room. My mother is holding my little sister (who is not so little anymore), and I am barely peering over the edge of the balcony.

I am not sure why they decided to present a different beginning theme to the public; but, I am certainly appreciative – especially if you can help me locate this magical film clip which has special meaning to me. I have purchased Hawaii Five-O Season 4, but this unusual beginning theme is not on it. I remember that they used our version of the beginning theme for a number of episodes that year, and then reverted to the usual beginning theme for all subsequent the Hawaii Five-O shows.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to confirm whether any Hawaii Five-O episodes featured an alternate opening credits during the 1971-1972 season (the show’s fourth). I do know that the September 1968 pilot telefilm featured an extended version of the now iconic opening credit sequence. As far as I know, during the rest of the show’s run the opening credits were only altered to reflect cast changes.

Anecdotal evidence suggests some of the DVD season sets utilized the opening credits from earlier seasons–for example the fourth season may have used the credits from the third season. Does anyone remember seeing an alternate opening credit sequence back in 1971 like the one Melanie describes?

For the record, “Wednesday, Ladies Free” aired September 28th, 1971 as the third episode of the fourth season of Hawaii Five-O.

4 Replies to “Q & A: Alternate Opening Credits to Hawaii Five-O?”

  1. I don’t recall ever seeing (or hearing of) a different version of the opening credits during all 12 years of HF0. As you said, the only differences were the shots of the cast (or what I call everything between the two blue lights). It is true the DVDs use the same video of the first season through the fourth season. The only difference was that James MacArthur was credited as “Danny” in the first season and as “Dan Williams” for the second through eleventh seasons, but on DVDs it is “Danny” through the fourth season until the video of the cast was changed for the fifth season. The music, which changed at the beginning of most seasons, was kept on the DVDs but I have heard that on some episodes the first season music was mistakenly kept with the first season video.

    1. The changes in the Five-O opening credits started with the fifth season. They changed the scenes for James MacArthur (from him running down a hallway to one of him peering through the window of McGarrett’s overturned car) and Kam Fong (from him rapidly turning toward the camera to one of him doing surveillance from the roof of a building), and since Zulu was no longer on the show and Al Harrington was, they obviously needed a shot of Harrington in action, and that was placed in the opening.

  2. The magic of the internet is that, without warning, uber-obscure and dated material is brought forward to the present day.

    To wit: for as long as I had noticed, whenever I ran the opening credits clip — to rock out, natch — I was reminded of my absolute conviction that there was a different version out there somewhere. Possibly the music was just slightly different, possibly not, but 1,000% for sure, a *scene* was different, wherein Danny is not pictured running down a hallway or whatever, but instead briefly and animatedly looks back at the camera through some shattered glass.

    And here — just eight years after this thread’s original post, and approaching four years after Mark’s reply — I uncover the first-ever independent confirmation of my belief. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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