Why I Love Jack Lord
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My love affair with Jack Lord started very early. 1968. The premiere episode of a new show, Hawaii Five-O. I was 5. He was a grown man. I think he was married to the woman who styled him so superbly. That wasn’t an obstacle or a distraction. I was determined to make it work, whatever the cost—whatever that meant. I wanted to marry him. The perfect tan, outrageous high hair, tailored, impractical suiting in the sand combined with those fearless tag lines he uttered as Steve McGarrett—“Book ’em, Danno!”— made me giddy. And he had a rockin’ theme song that followed him everywhere. There was something so appealing about these late ’60s, early ’70s guys.
I was allowed to stay up late (8 p.m.!) and watch this program because I think the first time I saw him I could not be torn away. The eyes got me first ... then the tan ... probably the suits after. I would watch this show religiously. By the time the 1970s rolled around, I had developed a crush so deep I was begging my parents to get me to Hawaii. We waited patiently, once a week, to see what he was going to do next. If I’d had a poster of him, I would have kissed him goodnight every night. Other girls were crushing on Davy Jones, the Bay City Rollers ... not me. I wanted the hot cop. Of course, I didn’t expect to meet my after–8 p.m. guy. I was using my celebrity crush as a way to find out what it might feel like to be in love. You know, very advanced thoughts for a blossoming post-toddler … What if?
So it came to pass that, coming from an acting family, my godfather was actually booked to act on the show. I was elated. I thought as a mini maniac I would get the chance to travel 5,000 miles to meet Jack. But this was all work and no dice. The episode, “Thanks for the Honeymoon,” starred Patty Duke and my godfather, Larry Kert, as a couple who get busted and want to get married before testifying against a mobster who wants to knock them both off. The mobster figures out how to do that by releasing gas into their honeymoon suite, which McGarrett arranges for them. As Larry was lying there choking, I believed it was real. He—Sorry! Spoiler!—doesn’t survive.
I was inconsolable. McGarrett tried to save him, of course not breaking a bead of sweat, but my world was shattered. My parents took a while trying to explain that Larry was fine. I was kind of torn apart that the love of my life wasn’t all I had built him up to be. I tried to move on to other legendary defenders ... Sam McCloud, Jim Rockford, Frank Columbo, Stewart McMillan, Jonathan Hart, Theo Kojak ... none of them had that je ne sais quoi. It wasn’t until pop star Andy Gibb that I said “Jack Lord who?” and started writing Sasha Gibb on a daily basis.
When Paramount+ started re-airing all the original Hawaii Five-Os, I was magically transported back to a time when I believed I had found my soul mate and the love of my life. Though I was never given a shot to run my baby-sized hands through that magical mane, I am fine with the memories I have. And watching all these vividly bold-colored episodes reminds me of a time in the past that I miss. The ultimate throwback. Most don’t get to live out their insane romantic fantasies. I certainly didn’t. But I came pretty close.
— Sasha Charnin Morrison
Want another Love Letter from our contributors? Try Love Letter: In Characters