They arrived like law enforcement royalty, with blue flashing police lights, a motorcycle escort and blaring music. The stars of the new "Hawaii Five-0" knew how to make an entrance as they stepped onto a red carpet last night for a Sunset on the Beach premiere of the CBS crime series.
Before them, a packed beach of 5,000 fans screamed their names as they waited for CBS to screen the series pilot a full week ahead of its network premiere.
Forget the network’s massive marketing campaign of recent weeks, the billboard-sized images of the stars, the social media blitz and the free "Five-0" theme ringtones — this night in Waikiki was the show’s biggest screen test.
This was the crowd the cast and creators of "Five-0" wanted to win over. The sea of faces included former stars of the original series, relatives of its creator, and scores of local fans who fondly remembered the series despite the fact that it went off the air 30 years ago.
But if last night’s audience is any indication — the pilot drew enthusiastic applause — CBS and Hawaii have a new hit.
"Wow, this is amazing and I was awestruck," said Audrey Manasterski of Ontario, Canada, as the credits rolled up the screen.
Janet Barkow of Petaluma, Calif., heartily agreed.
WHEN TO WATCH
The new "Hawaii Five-O" will be shown on CBS at 9 p.m. Monday on the 42nd anni-
"It was a nice blend of comedy and action," she said. "The entire episode flowed and it didn’t disappoint. I look forward to seeing it weekly."
Alex O’Loughlin, the Australian actor tasked with the role of the iconic Steve McGarrett, was blown away by the reception when he first arrived. He was actually a trifle nervous.
"I’m humbled," he said as he walked the red carpet. "I’m deeply overwhelmed. It’s amazing. I feel like I’m a part of the community."
Series co-stars Scott Caan as Danny "Danno" Williams, Daniel Dae Kim as Chin Ho Kelly, Grace Park as Kono and Taryn Manning as Mary Ann McGarrett all greeted fans along the red carpet, posing for photos and signing autographs.
"There’s a lot of aloha here," Caan said. "I’ve never been to a premiere on the beach before. It’s beautiful. It’s warm."
Fans got there as early as 10 a.m. to snag a good spot on Queen’s Surf Beach.
The invited guests included some of the surviving stars of the show: Al Harrington, who played Ben Kokua in 64 episodes, and Jimmy Borges, who played several different parts.
"I’m so excited," Harrington said before the screening. "I’m hoping people will have the energy to love the new ‘Hawaii Five-0’ like they loved us."
Before the screening, Harrington read a statement to the audience from James MacArthur, who played the original Danno but could not attend the premiere. MacArthur wanted the crowd to know he was excited about the new version.
And he gave them a teaser, too.
"I’m looking forward to making an appearance in the new show when the time is right," MacArthur told the crowd through Harrington. "I can’t wait to see what the writers have in store for me. In the meantime, I’ll be watching every week eagerly anticipating the further adventures of the new ‘Five-0’ team."
Borges, who had already been to an advance screening of the pilot and liked it, said the old series was "morphing" into the new version. "I don’t know how much local flavor will be in the new show, but I hope they will use more local actors and not just the local scenery."
Also in the audience were the three daughters of Leonard Freeman, the original show’s creator: Robin Freeman Bernstein, Lisa Freeman and Susan Freeman Mann. Freeman died in 1974. His 82-year-old widow, Rose, lives in Los Angeles.
"It’s an honor to be invited," Bernstein said. "It’s so fantastic. It’s so exciting. We’ve seen it and we love it. Us, our mother, our father, we all give it our blessings."