Part 2 of my Hawaiian adventure is all about Hawaii 50 and my search for filming. Stumbling along some filming (and Alex!) was always going to be a bonus and I was determined not to let my fangirling overshadow our holiday. However, I knew that episode 3.23 was being shot while we were on Oahu and I was really hoping we’d be able to see some filming. And find Alex, of course.
I discovered that it’s not as easy as you might think! It’s a small island, sure, but you have to be in the right place at the right time or just be extremely lucky. I suppose if you dedicated your time to searching for filming, you may have a better chance of success. Or use social media for insider info. That is how we managed to find filming on the third day we were there. By chance I happened to check Instagram in the morning and saw that Larry Teng had posted a picture of day 1 of 3.23 filming in Portlock, of a scene at the Noshimuri house. If he hadn’t said it was Portlock, we never would have found it. We checked out Portlock on Google Maps and discovered it was about a 15 minute drive from where we were staying. Yipppeee!
So here is my first tip. Follow directors, stunt people, fan sites on Twitter and/or Instagram – anyone you can find related to the show – and keep an eye out for information. Second tip: if you are looking for filming, search for these signs:
They often have ‘CBS Eye Productions’ on them but if they don’t and you think you’ve hit H50 pay dirt, they will at least tell you when filming will take place (note date and times for parking restrictions). One of the signs up the road from this one had Eye Productions on it so we knew we were in the right place. Trouble is, these signs are used across the whole island to indicate no parking, and mostly for road works or construction, so false alarms abound! Fortunately for us, we were in the right place as check out what we saw when we entered the Portlock area:
We knew it was Five Oh as we walked past the vans and the tent and we could see signs of Show – how exciting! We also chatted to a local guy out walking his dog. He said the H50 crew set up in the area at least a couple of times per month. It’s rather swish so I imagine it’s used regularly when they need a fancy house for the episode. Anyway, the guy said he had seen Grace Park (OMG!) be driven away just before we arrived so we knew that filming had to be somewhere close.
Basically, we just drove around (OK, we were stalking!) the Portlock area until we stumbled across this:
Cool huh? We could see Kono’s car parked on the street so there was a fair chance both Grace Park and Ian Anthony Dale would be inside. We received confirmation from the crew but were told there’d be no fan pictures as the actors were busy filming. No matter. We saw Kono’s car! (OK, so I was inappropriately excited about a car but that’s what fangirls do, right?)
Apart from sheer luck, catching a glimpse of the actors or having a fan photo taken with them involves lots of waiting around. I tested my family’s patience to the limit as we stood on the street for over two hours. The crew were really friendly and they talked to us (happy to note we were from Australia!) and also a few locals came and went. The locals are a bit ho-hum these days, I think, as they see this kind of thing all the time so it’s no biggie to them. But it certainly was to us, the only fans in for the long haul that morning.
It was quite interesting to see how much time and how many people it takes to film a scene and I now have crazy respect for what it takes to put together 42 minutes of television. I don’t know what was going on inside the house as the ‘caller’ said rolling and then cut about a gazillion times. Anyway, our patience was rewarded when, during a break in filming, Ian Anthony Dale came outside:
So you can see that he came out to chat to someone (top left pic), then saw us and turned (top right pic). And then smiled – zoomed in picture at the bottom. It looks like we were a long way away but we weren’t really, just across the street. We were the only people on the street other than crew and it was clear Ian had seen us and smiled. So it wasn’t Alex but it was pretty awesome nonetheless. I was way too shy to walk over to him to ask for a picture, particularly when the crew had said no fan pics today. So admiring from afar was enough.
Our next reward was when Lesley Boone turned up to visit her husband, Larry, for lunch. I nearly died when I realized it was her:
She walked right by us, up to the top of the road with her kids to get some lunch. I was totally awestruck and just stood there – some fangirl I turned out to be. I wanted to say to her as she walked by, “You were awesome as Madeline in the Aloha Girls ep!” But all I could manage was “Hi, how are you? How’s filming going today?” What a dork. I would have loved a picture with her but I was just too shy to ask and it seemed inappropriate when she was with her children. What Lesley did say was that they’d be at least another couple of hours yet and because we had to meet Sage on the North Shore and my kids were a tad over it, we left. So I was really disappointed that Grace Park didn’t come out but it was still pretty cool to have seen Ian and gained a really good understanding of how much effort it takes to film just one scene.
Over the course of our first week in Hawaii, I couldn’t find any information on where Alex might be filming. However, this fan BTS photo was posted on Twitter by @brokeash the day after we were at Portlock:
Arggghhhh, it wasn’t posted until the evening! We’d been at Pearl Harbour all day and when I got back to the cottage and saw the pic, I realized we’d only been a few miles away from this location. Darn it!
We did get lucky one more time though. On the day we climbed Koko Head, a local guy posted on Twitter that there was filming downtown, near Bishop Place. Despite being exhausted from climbing and swimming (my kids and husband are troupers!), we drove downtown after dinner to see what we could find. This was it. Treat Williams!
The crew told us that “none of the 50 kids were around” but we stayed for about an hour and a half anyway. We were asked not to take pictures of the actual scene and had to be moved out of the way of the shot but we did manage to sneak one in of Treat Williams, as you can see in the bottom right hand picture. It was fascinating to watch this scene – it was just Treat peering around the corner of the building then following the truck inside but it was done over and over again. Cars that you see driving up the street that seem random when you watch the episodes are actually strategically placed – each time this scene was redone, the drivers had to reverse back to their positions and start again. A local guy was watching with us and he told us his friend had seen Alex and Scott filming at HQ and they got out of Danny’s car 15 times before the scene was finished.
I think being 3.23 and near the end of the season, there was an emphasis on privacy and the crew were pretty tight-lipped about where they’d be filming during the week. I actually tweeted Treat and said I’d seen him filming but he said the locations for the rest of the week were ‘a secret’. I guess you just had to be lucky to see anything so I was really grateful that we had.
We did go to Kahala Mall a few times (for dinner, shopping and to see a movie) – Alex lives near there and is often photographed with fans at the mall. We were out of luck though. We even bought food in the Whole Foods Market where I know Alex has been seen before. Mind you, only someone with his income could afford to shop there – lovely food but really expensive! And no, we weren’t really stalking him as the mall was on our way back to the cottage from downtown.
In the second week we were in Hawaii, Treat Williams posted a picture on Twitter and Instagram praising Alex for his hard work so they were obviously filming together early in the week. The picture that was posted looked like it was from earlier in the season, the first episode Treat appeared in as Mick the PI, so even though I figured out where the location was (a house in Kahala), I had no way of knowing whether they were there or not. Then we went to the Big Island when @monimoob tweeted that she was downtown in the wee hours of the morning and managed to catch a glimpse of Alex. I know now he was filming the ‘ninja’ scenes with Christine Lahti then. So I had to be content with views of an active volcano on the Big Island instead of a slim chance I’d get a view of Alex. Sigh.
And then Daniel Dae Kim posted this picture of Alex in between takes, on the last night we were in Hawaii enjoying the fireworks at the Hilton Hawaiian Village:
So, so near and yet so far is the story of my ‘search for Alex experience’. I just have to be content with being on the same island as him at the same time. As I said, if you searched really hard you might find him or if you are just really, really lucky it might happen. I am disappointed that it didn’t happen for us but I’d not swap our amazing experiences in Hawaii for anything.
What I did manage to do though, was find lots of filming locations. I craftily built our holiday activities into my search so it was all completely legitimate. Well, that’s what I told my family anyway!
For example, who could turn down scrumptious Liliha Bakery treats? This one was a winner – freshly cooked malasadas AND a Five Oh experience. (In case you’re wondering, I kept the bakery box!)
Also, the Aloha Tower Marketplace, where we had a picnic lunch of sandwiches and our Liliha treats. It has been featured at least twice in Show – once when the team chased the ‘mechanic’ in the General Pak ep in season 1 and again this season where the art heist took place in 3.2 (the episode that featured August March):
(By the way, they must have brought heaps of extras in to fill up the marketplace as it was pretty dead when we were there, as you can see from the bottom right hand picture I took.)
There’s also the International Marketplace, where a suspect is nabbed in the football ep early in season 1. We went there to look around the markets and to have lunch.
Who could forget the season 2 episode where Lori and McG race up the steps at Koko Head before Lori falls. We only knew about this hike from watching the show and it was always going to be on our list of things to do. I made it to the top. Yay me!
Downtown Honolulu has loads of Five Oh things you can see. A visit to ‘HQ’ is a must. Just so you know, I was crazy excited about seeing these buildings and the surrounding areas even if no Five Oh-ers were in sight. Just being there was enough! And even my kids were excited about being there.
Pearl Harbour was another place we had on our list of things to do that doubled as a Five Oh experience. If you get the chance, make sure you do the USS Missouri tour as it’s such a thrill to be on board the battleship. It was featured in the pilot, when McG talks to the Governor about taking on the task force leadership role:
And also when McG and Danny talk Chin, at the time working in the Missouri gift shop, into joining them on the taskforce:
And of course, most of episode 1.7 was filmed on the Missouri – one of my favourite episodes of the entire series:
In keeping with the WW2 theme, we visited the military cemetery at Punchbowl which has been used in several episodes, including the one where Mary first returns to the island in season 1 and recently, when she visited her father’s grave with Morty:
Mary’s rented house was featured in the episode where she is kidnapped and the Champ Box contents are stolen. I can’t remember which part of the island her house is meant to be located in, but I believe it is inland and obviously not where this picture was taken (also because McG couldn’t get here as quickly as he did in the episode from where Casa McGarrett is actually located).
I think the writers take liberties with lots of locations on the island although as a non-local, I’d never know. In the honeymoon killer episode, I understand from my research that McG and Danny were to have chased the killer up to a part of the island that is not actually where filming took place:
Also, in another of my favourite episodes (3.7), Zach, a teen master hacker, is released into his parents’ care from the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility. In the episode, it seems to be located in a remote part of the island – remember the family is lost on the way back and Zach is kidnapped? This facility is actually on a highway and we passed it everyday on our way from Waimanalo into the city area. How about that?
According to the H50 Undercover website, much of the General Pak episode in season 1 was filmed in Waimanalo Beach where we were staying. So I didn’t find Alex but how cool is this: the store where McG and Kono find a former soldier of the General’s was about a 5 minute walk from where we were staying. We actually bought something in the shop so we stood where Alex stood. Sigh….
The house where a female murder victim was found (in the freezer) in that episode was apparently in Waimanalo somewhere. If you look back at the episode, there’s a bit of footage of the general area which is around where we were staying:
Waimanalo Beach has also been used in at least two other episodes. Check out these pictures, of Jen the paddle boarder from episode 2.2 and of Kono coming out of the surf in the season 2 finale. We took the other two pictures.
As mentioned in my Hawaiian adventure post, we did the movie sets tour at Kualoa Ranch on the North Shore. Kualoa, along with a valley on the western side of the island, is used a lot in Show – it doubles as North Korea and was used in the pilot. Check these out:
And finally, the Wailana Coffee House. It’s in Waikiki, just across the road from the HHV. I convinced my family to eat there on our final night. See, legitimate reason for being there! I actually ate dinner there myself, three years ago when I was in Hawaii for work (stayed in the hotel next door) but that was before H50 and before I knew it meant something 🙂 The décor is right out of the 1950s and the wait staff all wear Hawaiian shirts. It’s adorable and the food is cheap and not too bad. It was featured in episode 2.2, when Lori and McG are on a stake out, trying to get in touch with one of the victims of a cult:
There’s a fair amount you can see just by walking and driving around and you’ll find yourself recognizing scenes from the show as you do so. We saw lots of stuff that I didn’t photograph – we saw the turnoff to Halawa but didn’t go there to find the prison and we took a wrong turn and ended up at the entrance to Hickham Airforce Base. We also drove by the Rainbow Drive In on our final night. There are also iconic places like Diamond Head, Ala Moana Beach Park, Sand Island and the HHV that you can easily find. I must admit to being crazy excited just to be in these places and now we’re all fired up to watch Show from the beginning to look for familiar locations.
So there you have it! My Hawaii 50 tour. If you have the chance to visit Hawaii, there’s lots of fangirling you can do even if you don’t stumble across any filming. For tips on how to find the locations, check out the filming locations section of the H50 Undercover website, the Hawaii 50 locations info on the 3DHawaii.com blog, and Wendie Burbridge’s Five O Redux which has some great tips on how to relive scenes from the show: http://www.honolulupulse.com/movies-tv/five-0-redux-do-it-yourself
(Screen caps from the show thanks to bookemdanno.net, mycoven.com and screencaps at aithine.org)