“Danno” from Hawaii 5-0 books no more

October 29, 2010

James MacArthur (L) and Jack Lord

James MacArthur, who played Danny “Danno” Williams in the long-running TV series “Hawaii 5-0,” died Thursday in Florida of natural causes. He was 72. [LA Times]

MacArthur, the adopted son of stage legends Helen Hayes and Charles MacArthur, enjoyed a long career in television, film, and stage performances.

However,  MacArthur is perhaps best remembered by many of the TV generation for the classic catch-phrase, “Book ’em, Danno” used regularly on the series, which originally aired on CBS from 1968 to 1980.

Episodes often ended with detective Steve McGarrett, the lead character, played by Jack Lord, ordering his police sidekick to “Book ’em, Danno” in dealing with that week’s particular criminal.

Lord died in 1998.

Television viewers loved “Hawaii 5-0 because of the authentic Hawaiian locations and classic opening theme song.

But MacArthur left the series with one season left to go because  “he was bored” and wanted different acting challenges.

However, die-hard H-50 fans know that MacArthur eventually returned to the role of Danny Williams in a little-seen television episode. In 1997, CBS commissioned a pilot episode for a possible new series — starring Gary Busey(!). In the opening scene of the pilot, MacArthur returns to his role, but now “Danno” Williams has been elected governor of Hawaii and is attacked during a police awards ceremony.

That version of H-50 was turned down by CBS.

But the network has successfully rebooted the original series this season with an all-new cast and strong ratings. Check out the new opening.

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From back in the days of good programing.