Life often imitates art. So it is with the birth of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
For some four decades, before the debut today of Hawaii’s newest metropolitan daily newspaper, the Star-Advertiser existed in the fictional world of the original "Hawaii Five-0" television series, which starred Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett, the tough, no-nonsense chief of the imaginary state police agency.
In the "Five-0" series, broadcast by CBS from 1968 to 1980, Honolulu was apparently a three-newspaper town. The real-life Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Advertiser — which merged today to create the Star-Advertiser — were regularly used as props.
The fictional Star-Advertiser was apparently a third Honolulu newspaper. Or perhaps it was artistic shorthand for the Star-Bulletin and Advertiser’s combined Sunday newspaper, a result of the federally approved joint operating agreement that existed at that time to keep the Advertiser — then a failing newspaper — alive.
In any case, the Star-Advertiser was shown in only "several" "Five-0" episodes, according to an Internet posting several weeks ago by a "Five-0" fan, who noted that a real Star-Advertiser was about to be born.
In that e-message, the fan, who identified himself as Ben Masters of Fountain Inn, S.C., remembered seeing the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in two shows specifically: "Cry, Lie" and "Hookman."
"Cry, Lie" was first broadcast on Feb. 4, 1970, as part of the second season of "Five-0." In that episode, detective Chin Ho Kelly is wrongly accused of being a bad cop who lined his pockets with bribes.
"Hookman" originally aired on Sept. 11, 1973, kicking off the sixth season. With the show now in syndication, "Hookman" was rerun locally on KWHE-TV on March 15, and a number of viewers took note of the Star-Advertiser prop and the impending birth of the real Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
"Hookman" was about bad guy Curt Stoner’s revenge-murder plot against McGarrett and three other lawmen whom he blamed for foiling his attempted bank heist in which he lost both hands when dynamite he was holding exploded.
When he is freed from prison where he had learned how to use prosthetic hands, Stoner succeeds in killing the three other law enforcement officers. McGarrett traces Stoner to a low-rent Chinatown hotel, kicks in the door and sees banner headlines cut from the Star-Advertiser and Advertiser about Stoner’s crime spree plastered on the wall.
McGarrett’s No. 1 sidekick, Danny Williams, saves McGarrett’s life by killing Stoner.
In the world of the original "Hawaii Five-0," apparently, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser was a must-read for characters of every stripe.