Written by / 12/13/2016 / No comments / , , , , , , ,

SMITH MINUS DANNO: HAWAII FIVE-0 FINAL SEASON TRIPLE

Gary Lockwood stealthily breaks into work on Hawaii 5-0's final season
"Book 'em, Danno" is one of the most famous lines in not only cop-television but pop culture history, and that character, referenced by in-charge detective James McGarrett played by Jack Lord, was not originally uttered to James Mcarthur...

If you've ever had the pleasure of experiencing Peter Bogdanovich's first real feature length film, TARGETS, another Irishman, Tim O'Kelly, was the bookie, or rather, booker named Danno, but just in the pilot episode... The rest of season one had Mcarthur and Lord perfectly suited together until, right before what turned out being the final season, the second banana peeled out, and was replaced by tough guy actor William Smith, usually prone to villainous thug roles (peaking with his Falconetti character in RICH MAN POOR MAN). Perhaps he was an odd decision as the new guy who'd be told, "Book 'em... Kimo," although he wound up fitting like a glove as opposed to Sharon Farrell, an otherwise good actress, as Detective Lori Wilson....

Smith on RICH MAN, POOR MAN
Like Smith, her roles were usually of the offbeat and frantic, desperate nature ranging from the scream queen mother in Larry Cohen's IT'S ALIVE to Dennis Hopper's put-upon, party-hardened wife in OUT OF THE BLUE, which was being filmed around the same time she was asked to depart, mid-season, from 5-0, only appearing randomly wherein Smith stuck around for around 98% of the Twelfth Season's screen-time: So now we'll quickly cover three standout episodes, including our personal favorite starring cult actor Gary Lockwood, playing the heavy in SCHOOL FOR ASSASSINS along with THOUGH THE HEAVENS FALL, yet another version of "The Most Dangerous Game" with guest stars Robert Reed and Elyssa Davalos... But let's begin with the episode that introduced Sharon Farrell and co-starred — as the head of a gun-blasting gang of Hawaiian Shirt clad thugs — friend, acquaintance and former interviewee, Darrell Fetty, best known as "Waxer" from BIG WEDNESDAY...

Darrell Fetty and his HawaWild Bunch blasting off and away
And in WHO SAYS COPS DON'T CRY?, he's back on the beach, and winds up — with his eclectic Wild Bunch gang and during an interrupted heist — killing a cop who's tacked-into the episode like any unknown actor on STAR TREK who beams down to a mysterious planet and gets...

Weeping Sharon
Well the poor handsome fella's death is all Farrell needs to cry her head off, and as an actress she does it well, probably better than anyone in the business at that time (if Hollywood had a Bible, "Sharon Wept" would be a verse). And she always stands out. Despite being fourth banana in the psycho ward melodrama THE FIFTH FLOOR, it's not buried lead Dianne Lund's pretty face but Sharon's frantic tear-stained one that adorns a memorably tortured poster (above) that, according to Sharon, hangs in irony on the 5th floor of The Playboy Mansion (fact check, anyone?)... While Sharon tries her best to fit in, especially as William Smith helps her out on the shooting range —  despite being sympathetic and genuine, she's stands out as an Edsel to Smith's hot rod Mustang...

Fudge with Fetty on the beach
Meanwhile, this is the second time following William Shatner's quirky one-season comedy-western, BARBARY COAST, that Darrell Fetty played a younger "gunslinger" brother to Alan Fudge, who, on HAWAII 5-0, is a bar owner and mentor to his shaggy-haired, loose cannon sibling, trying to keep him safe but, like all villains stuck inside a 45-minute story, he quickly makes a bad decision for the tables to turn promptly: Once Farrell meets Fetty in the same bar for a Q&A, she knows full-well, since he's crippled — having been shot in the raid that killed her man, "Kevin!!!" — who the guilty party is...

More mystery would have helped this introductory episode that succeeds more in connecting Farrell with Smith than Farrell to the show itself...

Word has it that Smith's Kimo was supposed to possibly replace Jack Lord, who, resting on his laurels, takes a peripheral backseat during much of the season. If handing off the torch to Smith was in fact a reality, it sure does seem that way... Despite the fact William Smith looks more villainous than heroic, and sure doesn't resemble a "sidekick" for anyone, his acting skills trumps his formidable countenance: After all, throughout the man's career, no matter what side of the law he'd play on, you could always trust he meant it...

Gary Lockwood in surreptitious training with steady precision
Leading to an episode that remains intriguing the whole way through, and has two stories going on — although the one centering more on the pulpy title, SCHOOL FOR ASSASSINS, is front and center, beginning with Gary Lockwood, who's far from the perfect looking, magazine model astronaut laying scantly clad in the spaceship while speaking down (while facing up) to a computerized grim reaper...

Herein, Gary looks pretty weathered and slightly out of shape, and yet is still confident, wearing his shirt open, slightly exposing a gut that fits his graying, parted hair strapped in by whitish sideburns, strapped upon his handsome yet noticeably aged mug. So, like Smith as an unlikely hero, Gary sells the professional hit man who's goal is to kill an affable billionaire played by Monte Markum, who's having a flirtatious non-fling b-story romance with the woman initially hired as a distraction...

School For Assassins: **** Who Says Cops Don't Cry: ***1/2
Enter cult starlet Pamela Susan Shoop, who, like Sharon but a few years younger, had been a cinematic scream queen: running frantically from giant insects in EMPIRE OF THE ANTS before, and after, getting naked for who she thinks is Leo Rossi but winds up being serial killer wraith Michael Myers in the underrated HALLOWEEN II...

While Markum, who always classes up the joint with smooth blue eyes and a way of pronouncing each word like a game show host where everybody wins, is further pulled in by the reluctant siren, who begins having real feelings for the man targeted by Lockwood's boss, Lloyd Bochner... The plotline is a bit confusing, and there's a point where dialogue trumps action, even by Lockwood, who, born to kill, holds back way too much in the action department... But still, SCHOOL FOR ASSASSINS has a tight, contained rhythm, mostly taking place inside and outside two neighboring mansions: one where the assassins train and the other as they sneak over walls, as Jack Lord's McGarrett knows all, and, like a football coach in the locker room through most of the series, he really gets to play ball. At this point, Farrell was long gone due to... working for Dennis Hopper, so, of the white men, it's William Smith who matters most under his Lord (and Savior)... In one scene — if that wasn't Smith doing an intrepid cliff leaping swan dive, they cheated it well: He's one of those actors that looks like he needn't no stinking stuntman! Leading to one of the most entertaining, and extremely familiar, episodes of the final season...

William Smith teaches Elyssa Davalos how to hit a bulls eye
THOUGH THE HEAVENS FALL is pretty darn great but far from original: In 1924, Richard Connell wrote THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME, an intense short story about man hunting the sport of... man, and from that point many films and TV episodes were based on it. The best known version kept the title and was produced and directed by the makers of KING KONG, featuring none other than Fay Wray and Robert Armstrong (with Leslie Banks as the baddie)...

Many decades later, an INCREDIBLE HULK episode starred Bradford Dillman as an initially charming recluse snaring wandering loner Bill Bixby onto his private island: And during that very same year, 1979, HAWAII FIVE-0 used the premise for a group of high-class vigilantes residing within a posh country club, and in a surprisingly effective, cold-hearted performance, BRADY BUNCH dad Robert Reed heads the group: Who all sit around a long meeting room table, dropping a black or white marble into a dish — and the verdict is always the same, for those illegal avengers to, you know, "Save the taxpayers' money."

Though The Heavens Fall: ****
This fast-paced, body-count thriller co-stars Elyssa Davalos as the daughter of one of the club member's (not part of the vigilantes), buying the ruse that Smith's Kimo is an archery ace to help her game: Both eventually risk their lives to attempt thwarting the lethal league of gentleman...

One suspenseful scene, when Smith and Farrell's Kimo & Lori guard a seemingly guilty man accused of murdering his wife, the club-members kidnap the perp in a very creative fashion, but, at the same time... and for the first and last time... for the sake of the plot, both detectives make like dumb cops in an unconvincing manner: Sitting in the patrol car, having a banal conversation while munching on an idiotic bagful of sloppy grub, they seem like your typical dimwitted blue boys (it's a shock they didn't have donuts and coffee) instead of, especially in Smith's case, highly trained professionals. So the bad guys are able to snag the next possible victim right out from under them, leading to another rare, and even more outrageous moment as Jack Lord chews out Smith's Kimo. And so, it's Lord lording over with gusto, acting more the cranky desk-seated chief than what he'd been the other eleven seasons, while Robert Reed's unapologetic killer makes the A-story intriguing while Smith, who's not completely vapid, takes the helm of the romantic b-story with ease. But it’s dream girl Elyssa Davalos, with a vulnerable damsel quality matching a tough tomboy persistence, who really makes this one shine.
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