Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

HAWAIIAN EYE

HAWAIIAN EYE (1959 - 1964).

This popular private detective show set in the Hawaiian islands lasted for four seasons. The agency did security for the Honolulu Village Hotel, among many other cases, and the partners were Tom Lopaka (Robert Conrad), who was half Hawaiian, and Tracy Steele (Anthony Eisley). Later on they had another operative, Greg Mackenzie (Grant Williams), and Troy Donahue joined the cast as the hotel's social director, Philip Barton. The hotel's lounge -- featuring the "exotic sounds of Arthur Lyman" and his rather talented trio --  employed cutesy singer Cricket Blake (Connie Stevens), and a cab driver named Kim (Poncie Ponce) sometimes figured in the action. Hawaiian Eye also had a handsome security man, Moke (Douglas Mossman), and the gang frequently worked with Lt. Danny Quon (Mel Prestidge), who was actually a real-life police officer. Tina Cole appeared in a few episodes as "Sunny." filling in for Cricket.

Among the more memorable episodes: "Two for the Money" guest-stars Mary Tyler Moore in a story about a once-missing daughter who may be an impostor. "Payoff" investigates the possibility that a prosecutor may be on the take. "Echo of Honor" features an excellent Philip Reed in a story of murder and jewel thefts at the hotel. In "Pretty Pigeon" a pretty gal (Diane McBain) goes undercover to help Tom catch a murderer. In "Two Too Many" a man gets a love letter from a woman he claims he has never met. "Passport," features an outstanding performance from Randy Stuart [who co-starred with Williams in The Incredible Shrinking Man] in a story about a hunt for an embezzler (Gerald Mohr) with an estranged wife and daughter; Stuart and Mohr have an especially well-acted scene together. Andrew Duggan guest-stars in "Maybe Menehunes," in which a movie star (Mala Powers) fears her life is in danger. In "Pursuit of a Lady" Greg proposes to a woman (Diane McBain again) who is promptly murdered. "Concert in Hawaii" stars Faith Domergue as the teacher of a young prodigy who is subjected to murder attempts. Finally "V for Victim" features Nancy Kulp in a "Ten Little Indians" type story where tourists are beset by a murderer on an isolated island during -- you guessed it -- a storm that cuts off phones, power, and access to the mainland.

The acting was generally quite good. Eisley [The Mighty Gorga] could come off like an obnoxious bully at times, with Williams heading in that direction, but Conrad was generally pleasant, as was Donahue. Stevens was not bad as either singer or actress but she could be a trifle cloying at times, as could the self-consciously cute Ponce. Other guest-stars included George Takei (wonderful as an operative in Formosa), Jack Nicholson, Tom Drake, Richard Crane, Jeanne Cooper, Chad Everett, Grace Lee Whitney, Dyan Cannon, Biff Elliott, Fay Wray, and Joan Marshall, among others. This was also produced by William Orr, who did Surfside 6, Bourbon Street Beat, and 77 Sunset Strip.

Verdict: Maybe not a really great show, but a good and entertaining one. ***.

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