Live Chat with James MacArthur (18 May 2002)
his appearance at the Gaithersburg Antiques and Collectibles Extravaganza
in Gaithersburg, Maryland, James MacArthur graciously spent a couple of
hours in this sites chatroom with some of his fans. What follows
is a transcript of that evenings chat session:
Hello! Its so nice to see you all here! Where is everyone from?
Carol: New York.
Mandy: Greenville, South Carolina.
Terri: Sacramento, California.
Deana: Rhode Island.
Annette: 100 miles south of Chicago.
Betty: New Jersey.
Jim: Wow! Im so glad were all here together. I cant
believe there are so many people here ... and from so many places, too!
Terri: From all over the world.
Jim: Daisy, I was just in Ireland last summer.
Daisy: Geez, I dont remember having a summer last year. It never
Jim: Not where I was, Daisy ... it doesnt rain in pubs <g>.
Jim: So, lets start the questioning. Lets have Emilys
Emily: What is your next project?
Jim: My next project ... is understanding Einsteins therapy. Betty,
youre next in line. What is your question?
Betty: Nothing much ... other than thanks for the autograph a couple of
weekends ago when you were in East Rutherford.
Jim: Betty, it was very nice meeting you and I look forward to seeing
Jim: Oh, Id like you all to say hello to Phil, who is my oldest
and dearest friend, and also my bag man this weekend.
<general greetings from the rooms participants>
Jim: Daisy, Phil would like me to tell you that his great-grandfather
was from County Cork <that was in the 15th century, in case youre
Daisy: Ah. A little before my time then ...
Terri: My first question is: In developing the character Dan Williams,
did you have prior training in weapons and such or did a technical assistant
Jim: Terri, I was, from an early age, versed in firearms and the proper
use of such, so going on Hawaii Five-O was not a big departure for me.
Terri: Did that include the fight scenes?
Jim: Well, the fight scenes were never very hard for me as I have always
been handy athletically.
Dotty: How hard was it to work with Jack Lord? I understand he was hard
to work with at times because of his tendency to a be a perfectionist.
Jim: Actually, Jack was not hard to work with at all because he was very
well prepared at all times and so was I. Therefore, if there was any problem,
it wasnt between us; it was between Jack and the people who didnt
know their lines.
Carol: When you were in Third Man on the Mountain, I read that you went
mountain climbing while you werent filming. Didnt the powers
that be have a fit over this? I cant imagine that theyd let
you do that without a fight.
Jim: Carol, youre quite right <g>. And I climbed The Matterhorn
on my day off, unbeknownst to the Disney people! They were thrilled and
horrified at the same time <g>. But, in any case, I did it!
Daisy: Thats quite a climb.
Jim: Actually, climbing The Matterhorn was easier than the work we were
doing on the glaciers near the crevasses. That was *really* dangerous.
In fact, a body washed out of the mountain that had been lost in the 1920s.
It had taken 40 years to get through the ice and came down the stream,
through town. The townspeople were able to identify the body because they
knew everyone who had been lost while climbing, and the body was so perfectly
preserved, it was easily identified. They were finally able to give him
a proper resting place.
Carla: How much of James MacArthur is in the character of Danny Williams?
Jim: When youre cast for a role like that on a television series,
they dont cast you to act as much as they cast you to
be. So, there was quite a bit of me in Dan Williams.
Terri: So, your feelings on things in the show is similar to what you
Jim: Not necessarily, Terri. I am, after all, an actor and, like a lawyer,
I can take both sides of any argument, or any character quirk that is
thrown at me. You can justify most anything in terms of what a character
will do because human behavior is extremely erratic and amusing and fascinating,
which makes drama interesting.
Bill: Do you like professional basketball? If you do, what is your favorite
Jim: I love pro basketball, but Im not a terribly partisan fan.
I guess, living in Hawaii for so many years with no team made me just
a general basketball fan. I do think the Lakers will go all the way again
this year, though.
Terri: Do you think you will be making any appearances in the Sacramento
area any time soon?
Jim: As I have only been to Sacramento once in my life, I doubt I will
be back soon ... unless elected Governor of California <g>!
Terri: Id vote for you!
Jim: Okay, thats one. Only 32,999,999 to go <g>.
Teresa: Id vote for you, and Im not even American!
Terri: Id even volunteer my time to work on your campaign!
Jim: Atta girl, Terri! If elected, all streets will thereafter run downhill!
Annette: Do you ever hear from Al Eben?
Jim: Annette, I wish I would hear from Al, but I dont know where
he is or what hes doing. Hes a wonderful guy and great to
Helene: Have you ever been to Montreal?
Jim: No, Helene, I have never been to Montreal, and as someone who has
travelled the world and lived all over the place, it is shocking that
I have not been there and I have been meaning to go there for the last
Barbara: What is your favorite Hawaii Five-O episode?
Jim: I thought Three Dead Cows at Makapuu was one of the best episodes
of the entire series. It wasnt necessarily the best show for me,
but it was the best for the series. For me, for my character, I would
say Pig in a Blanket was my favorite.
Terri: Do you ever watch yourself on television?
Jim: Oh, yes. Its very depressing <g>. Except for the wonderful
Cowboy montage Debi put together, it was so nice I felt like singing,
but dont worry, I will not destroy my life by trying that!
Betty: Ive heard actors dont like to watch themselves.
Jim: Betty, thats apocryphal.
Teresa: Ahem. Jim, I have both your records!
Mandy: You also sang in Hang Em High.
Jim: Yes, Mandy, and all those guys were happy to be hanged after listening
Mandy: Thats cute. Well, that movie led to your being on Hawaii
Jim: Yes, Mandy, youre quite right.
Kathy: When you look back at your work on Hawaii Five-O, are you pleased
with your association with it for all those years?
Jim: I had the most marvelous time doing Hawaii Five-O, and as I look
back on it, I am still thrilled with the experience. I am also awed and
gratified by the devotion the show still garners from its fans. Thank
Katie: I read in a recent interview that you have five grandchildren.
If its not too personal, what is your favorite grandchild story.
Jim: I am so enamored with all my grandchildren that I dont really
have a single story. I am, like you, just in awe of these beautiful little
Katie: My husband wants to know if you have an interest in the new Five-O
movie and if you might be in it?
Jim: I talked last week with Rose Freeman, Leonards widow, and she
told me that the movie is still being negotiated and she hopes it will
be successfully concluded, but as to my being involved, she had no idea
and nor do I.
Teresa: Jim, you have a huge body of work. What, out of all of that, was
the most satisfying thing for you and why?
Jim: On reflection <a good title for a book, BTW>, I think that
suddenly turning around and realizing that 40-50 years have gone by while
you have pursued something you love with success is the most satisfying
thing of all.
Teresa: Nicely put! Oh, and when are you coming back to Australia?
Jim: My son Charlie is madly in love with a lovely lady from Sydney, whom
I hope he will marry, and if that happens, I hope the wedding is in Sydney,
and you will be invited!
Teresa: Careful! I just might take you up on that <g>!
Jim: I hope you do, Teresa.
Teresa: I will! Well, I hate to leave early, but its Sunday noon
here in Australia and I must go. Thank you for coming tonight, Jim.
Jim: Warmest aloha, Teresa. Im glad you were here tonight. I enjoyed
talking with you. Thank you, thank you.
Mandy: For the Fantasy Island episode where you played a mild-mannered
man who wanted to be a martial-arts expert, how much martial-arts training
did you actually undergo in preparation for the role?
Jim: None whatsoever, Mandy. I know nothing of the martial arts except
for what Chuck Norris, a friend of mine, told me. However, in the Fantasy
Island episode, all the martial arts moves were performed by a stuntman.
Mandy: I thought that might have been the case, but I still enjoyed the
episode. I bet it was still pretty scary facing Master Quong.
Jim: Ah, Mandy, Master Quong was no problem with a good script behind
Deana: Have you ever read any of the Five-O fanfiction stories, Jim?
Jim: Unfortunately, Deana, I have never had the opportunity to read any
fanfiction whatsoever. As you know, Im quite busy and just dont
spend that much time on the internet. Perhaps someday when I *really*
retire, Ill find the time.
Deana: Oh, true <g>. My mom wants to know what your favorite food
Jim: I love to cook. So, my favorite food is good food, and I am also
what could be called a two-legged garbage can. I like *everything*!
Deana: Ive heard that. What is one of your favorite dishes?
Jim: Oh, a Caesars Salad ... made the classic way, of course.
Daisy: Why did you quit Five-O before the series ended?
Jim: As I said in my last visit to chat here, Daisy, I left out of boredom,
really. After Lenny Freeman died, the show began to stagnate. They told
and retold the same stories. They didnt keep it as cutting
edge as it had been when Lenny was alive.
Daisy: What do you think would have happened if Mr. Freeman had not died
when he did?
Jim: He would have adapted it to the changing times in that the show was
started during the Viet Nam war, when everything in the country was upside
down, and he wanted Hawaii Five-O to represent only two colors:
black and white/good and evil. As we changed into the 1970s after the
war, and we had newer and different issues, which would have had an effect
on the type of criminals that would have been operating in Hawaii, and
the Five-O unit would have had to adjust to defeat the new types of criminal
Terri: I do have one favor to ask of you, Jim: May we have your email
address so we might contact you that way? Please, please, please <g>.
Betty: Or let us know how to contact you more directly <g>.
Jim: Terri and Betty, I would prefer to have any and all emails or other
communications directed to me through this site. I promise to answer them
Jim: Thank you all once again for coming tonight. I have really enjoyed
meeting and talking with all of you and, once again, thank you so very
much for all your devotion to both the show and to me. I am truly honored!