Skip to comments.Hawaii 5-0 crew disgraceful to WWII Pearl Harbor survivors
Posted on 12/15/2011 8:47:02 PM PST by Méabh
(NATIONAL CEMETERY OF THE PACIFIC HONOLULU)
It looked strange from the moment we pulled up to the Punchbowl, a sacred Hawaiian site once the location for human sacrifice before Cook's arrival to the islands. Our tour bus, filled with 23 WWII Pearl Harbor survivors as part of The Greatest Generations Foundation came to the beautiful location in an old crater above downtown Honolulu for a closing ceremony and presentation. The National Cemetery of the Pacific pays tribute to those veterans of all faiths who served their country, many who lost their lives during WWII.
I admit I was not happy two days earlier on the morning of December 7 at the Pearl Harbor Memorial service. Thousands of people in attendance, yet President Barack Obama born just a few miles from the USS Arizona memorial was not only a no-show, but did not bother to send a written or videotaped greeting of thanks to these men. And then there was no-show Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, his bio and picture listed in the program and scheduled to deliver remarks in person. The president I can slightly understand, but the former Colorado senator? What was going on that was so important he couldn't make it on a private government jet to attend the last and final major Pearl Harbor survivors gathering? I am not aware of the circumstances, and perhaps there was a truly legitimate reason for Salazar's absence, but I have yet to hear it. Instead, the National Park representative on site read a bizarre partial statement from the Secretary and then stopped mid-sentence, paused awkwardly, and said, "Thank you."
As we drove in to the Punchbowl site with thousands of graves, large U-Haul-type trucks were lined along the boulevard as people with headsets scurried about acting busier than they really were. It took me just a few seconds to realize this was a production crew from the CBS series Hawaii Five-O. Their scene had something to do with lead character McGarrett visiting his father's grave, which in reality was surrounded by the real graves of WWII heroes. It didn't seem right. But I let it go.
Within 30 minutes of our arrival, we conducted a small ceremony that began with the presentation of the Colors by the University of Hawaii Army ROTC. The National Anthem followed. I emceed the event and looked out on men who had been injured December 7, 1941 they represented the USS Arizona, Tennessee, St. Louis, Pennsylvania, Lexington, Medusa, Sacramento, Antares, Maryland, West Virginia, Stoddard, Tanney, Vestal and Pyro. This group of men also represented Ft. Kamahameha, Kanehoe Naval Air Station, Hickam Field, Schofield Barracks, Fort Shafter and Ford Island. At least eight were in wheelchairs. Average age: 91. The others sat in plastic chairs underneath a large, temporary tent. The cemetery representatives could not have been more respectful and there to assist.
Three hundred yards away and clearly visible to them, no one on the CBS production stopped for the anthem or any part of our program. This included the ending of our presentation Taps and the moment of silence. I was perturbed, but because our veterans faced me, they couldn't see the disrespect. The ceremony ended and several men hopped on golf carts to visit their fallen comrades buried in other parts of the cemetery.
I decided to take a closer look at the production area from the public thoroughfare and walked closer to see catering trucks, grips, associate directors, production assistants, lighting workers, countless minions and the lead director a Hollywood-looking middle-aged man wearing a black "AD/HD" t-shirt, a play off the rock band "AC/DC." I stopped well behind the cameras and out of view when a local production assistant politely told me to keep moving. I was not happy and told her we had WWII vets who would likely be in the area. I was told, "Sorry, sir. We rented this part of the cemetery today." My blood started to boil, but I remained calm and moved on. As I stood behind the tent, the director yelled at everyone to: "Get out of the line of sight! If you don't belong here, clear out!"
I made sure to go where I was basically invisible, 40 yards from the nearest camera when the director heatedly walked to me. He was not happy.
"Can you please move?" he said sternly.
"OK," I said. "Where would you like me to go? I have Pearl survivors who are here visiting their fallen comrades at a public cemetery."
He couldn't have cared less and told me that if we stood behind a tent, that would be fine. He walked away completely frustrated and yelled at a local assistant: "I am doing YOUR job! You wanna come back here again? Do your job!" I felt sorry for her. It wasn't her fault a group of vets actually came back for a real reason to this cemetery. Having been around a few movie sets, I knew this was how they were especially if the scene was behind schedule, etc. Keep in mind at this point I was alone. It wasn't as if our entire entourage was milling about. There was only one veteran anywhere near me and was walking toward me from up the road.
Walter Maciejowski, 90, from Massachusetts soon caught up and I quickly tried to run interference so he wouldn't get yelled at as he stood there in his cream-colored Pearl Harbor Survivors cap. Walter was clueless and was just amazed at the technology. He whispered in my ear as the scene was about to begin 75 yards away. We both stood exactly where the director had told me to stand.
Two minutes later, another guy with an earpiece came up and simply asked us to leave. Period. He was polite, and I politely retorted: "This is a public place and its Pearl Harbor week. These men have made it possible for you to shoot here today. Plus, this is where your director placed us."
He told me he agreed but to please leave with Walter. Oh, he did offer to get us a water or soda to enjoy as we left. We declined.
I told Walter we had to go, and we started to walk away as lead actor Alex O'Laughlin and Terry O'Quinn from Lost did their scene. As we moved out, yet another woman came up to us and with a fake smile told us Walter couldn't take any pictures.
"Our actors get very skittish around still cameras, sir."
"Funny, and yet they act in front of them," I said, ticked off because we were already leaving.
I wish he hadnt done it, but Walter asked if they by chance had a hat for him. To his face, she said, "I doubt it but I will try." She never did.
We continued to walk down the road and now 300 yards from where we had stopped previously. At that moment, yet another production assistant, this one in his 20s and with frizzy blonde hair, told us we couldn't stand near the graves because we were in "the line of sight" of the actors. This was physically impossible. We were back near the podium where our ceremony had been held, and oh, we were behind a tree. I let this kid have it with a few select, powerful adult words and basically told him what he could tell his director. I give you my word we were NEVER in the way, NEVER loud and followed every instruction.
It gets worse.
The TGGF program had brought 24 red roses to place at the gravesites on the opposite side of the Punchbowl. The program crew actually had one of their men wearing a backpack and earplug walk through infiltrate our rose-laying ceremony hushing everyone.
It was a disgrace.
He ruined the somber mood and my blood was now beyond boiling. Thankfully most of our vets were so focused on placing their roses they didn't catch what was going on. This moron laughed as he communicated with some other crewmember on the other side of the cemetery via his cell phone headset. About this time, a caterer walked over grass and flat headstones, through our vets gathering, with a plate of blackberries and salmon for the actors to snack on.
We loaded our bus after the roses were placed and the vets climbed on and took their seats. Our oldest Pearl veteran 96, youngest 88. One of our crew guys asked the production guy in the backpack if, as we left, one of the actors could take two minutes to hop aboard during a break in shooting to say hello to our veterans as we drove past. Word came about three minutes later via an earpiece, "No."
That didnt surprise me.
I stayed at the front of the bus with Tim Davis, president and founder of TGGF. He told me to let the vets know what had happened, but I'd already made up my mind I most certainly would. I took the bus microphone and informed the vets in a nutshell what happened. Many of them booed, and then I told them as we drove by, if they felt the urge, to give the CBS crew a one-fingered military salute.
We rolled past and about half our veterans flipped everyone off as we rolled out of the Punchbowl. We all had a good laugh and most agreed we should write CBS and boycott the show and its sponsors.
Having been in the news business nearly 22 years, I understand how the crew was just doing a job and there's big money involved. Shows have to be shot, actors coddled and issues down to rain and daylight come into play. And then, there's common sense and respect.
It would have been an issue if all 24 veterans and 10 staff had come near their "set" (again, on tops of graves of fallen soldiers) and were loud and in the way. Instead, it was just one or two that went to see the on-location production. They didnt speak, and of course were much friendlier than I was. However, I know many of them were upset. I also thought about the tax incentives this production much receive from taxpayers!
Perhaps you side with the production team, simply trying to film a scene at an historic location. Regardless, I hope I've conveyed how this is just how it is at the end of 2011: people, often consistently, do not show their elders the proper respect they deserve. Of all the weeks of the year Pearl Harbor week where fewer than 200 arrived on Oahu for their final goodbye, this was the time for CBS, Hawaii Five-O and the average American to rise up and go the extra mile to accommodate these men. To show respect. To say thank you.
Production on such a grand scale isn't free. To that I say: neither is freedom.
In honor of these men and to show your support, I urge you to share this on Facebook, Twitter, at church, at your poker game, at schools, at work. This shouldn't be a quiet little island secret. Let people know via social networking. Stealing a line from a colleague: Hawaii Five-No!
Steffan Tubbs Newsradio 850 KOA, Denver. Colorado's Morning News co-host Board member, The Greatest Generations Foundation (www.tggf.us) firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @tubbskoa
Read more: http://www.850koa.com/pages/cmn.html?article=9501489#ixzz1gfWnzbsN
Walking on, and working on the graves of the fallen and intruding on the Rose Ceremony? So totally disrespectful of these CBS fungi.
“Outta the way, we’re from Hollywood...”
All things considered, they were treated pretty well- I work in this ridiculous industry. There is so much money at stake by not meeting schedules and timelines. People are really afraid of losing their jobs which is very easy if you don’t stay on shooting schedule.
Too bad but kind of much ado about typical TV production crap.
I’m from Colorado and also a film producer who started in tv series such as these. They need to write letters to the state offices of tourism, and the permitting offices. Letters to all state and fed parks, giving an account and warning of this behavior should also be filed with those respective officers of interpretation. After that, send letters to the first advertisers in the first commercial spot breaks. Somebody’s head will roll, I assure you! That will also likely have long lasting effects and impact. There are too many little narcissistic punks in my industry.
This is not “typical TV production crap”. This is about Pearl Harbor Survivors honoring their fallen comrades for the last time. I hope this show is cancelled and everyone connected with it never finds another “Hollywood” job.
KOA/Denver host Steffan Tubbs accompanied a group of World War II veterans who traveled to Honolulu to mark the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the American fleet at Pearl Harbor in 1941. Thats Tubbs on the left with 96-year old Pearl Harbor survivor Archie Gregory of Huntington Beach, CA. He was on the deck of the USS Arizona when the attack began, Tubbs said. He was blown into the water. A really amazing man.
Somebody should clue in Bill O’Reilly about this outrage. O’reilly has a loud mouth and a tiny brain, is usually clueless about current events unless they involve the Catholic church or some sleazy sex scandal, but grinding on this insult to American veterans day after day on his TV show is right up his alley. He could give new meaning to the term “usefull idiot” by taking CBS to task for this atrocity.
Maybe send it to his buddy, Dennis Miller. I don’t think he would take too kindly to it either.
Seems to me honoring the dead and allowing family and friends to visit the gravesites is the man purpose of those places.
Of course everyone will blame Hollywood, but guess what? I don’t. I blame the people in charge of the Pearl Harbor Memorial. The H5O folks rented the area and had every right to use it. It was the Pearl Harbor Memorial people who did not look at the date and recognize that it might not be a great day to do this.
Ridiculous. They rented the space. Perhaps these guys should not have rented the area to the show that day. I blame the Pearl Harbor Memorial. Oh by the way, don’t hold your breath about it getting cancelled anytime soon. It will be on at least another 4 or 5 years until it has 7 years because the ratings are pretty good. It has a great spot after NCIS LA so it is doing well. Why blame these folks? I know it is Hollywood but they are just doing their job. Sorry. Go cry somewhere.
“There was a guy with an ear piece walking among the vets, hushing them, in essence, hurrying them along and telling them to be quiet, he recalls. I think I was so stunned I didnt know what to say.
One of the veterans tried to take a picture of the actors from the program at one point, but a crew representative nixed the plan, saying the actors were skittish around still cameras.
The coup de grace for Tubbs came when a caterer for the show walked across the graves and the veterans laying roses atop them to bring salmon and blackberries to actors on the set.
Im feeling like [the veterans were] shown the ultimate disrespect, “
Who are these people?
No names except for two actors, and the show’s producer Peter M. Lenkov, who sure comes across as an elitist arrogant Hollywood asshat.
Don’t give a damn about this show in the first place, but when they arrogantly crap all over 90 year old Pearl Harbor vets, they need to be called out.
Don’t care if they rented the space or whatever.
They had no business being anywhere near there on December 7th.
The crew claims they ‘paid for’ use of that part of the cemetery. Makes you wonder what genius in the cemetery management decided to let the shoot take place on what has to be the busiest week of the year there, especially on the 70th anniversary.
Hawaii-50 is one show you can be I’ll never watch.
“..the veterans took action and issued a mass one-fingered
The obscene gesture was delivered in unison from a bus as they were leaving, and left them all in stitches of laughter.
Mr Tubbs said: ‘This was immature of me, but I said, “Gentlemen, if you so choose, how about we give them one big one-fingered military salute?’’’
The last thing the production crew saw, he said, was a bunch of 90-year-old men flipping the bird at them.
‘It was one of the priceless moments of my life.’”
GOOD FOR THEM!
It’s pretty easy to see which side your bread’s buttered on. You take the side of some low level showbiz scum over elderly American veterans and then tell me to “go cry somewhere”? FU!
Well get used to Hawaii 5-0, they will be around for at least another five years if not more. If you don’t think it was a scheduling problem than you have bigger problems than I can help you with.
Well, in another 5 years, all the Pearl Harbor vets will probably be dead, so you and your jerk Hollywood friends will have to find somebody else to crap on. If you think some pissant TV show is more important than American veterans, then you’re the one who needs help, no matter what your “scheduling” excuse is. Hopefully, nobody will even remember this cheap ripoff of an old TV show in 5 years.