Over the years after WWII, the State (only since 1959) of Hawaii acquired more and more of Ft. Ruger. The need for a military base in the middle of Honolulu was a little extreme especially since this area had become the most expensive part of town. A large portion became a cemetery, the military housing area became Kapiolani Community College, the old base theatre became Diamond Head Theatre (where I spent over 8 years designing), and so on.
"Hawaii 5-0" began filming in 1968 in a mosquito infested warehouse near Pearl Harbor. It quickly became a hit show (for 12 years!) and was able to move to an unused Ft. Ruger portion on 21st Avenue on the back side of Diamond Head. I believe the current studio site on 18th Ave. was being used by the National Guard. For reasons unknown to me, the studio and the National Guard switched locations at the end of 5-0's 1976 season and moved into a new studio facility built by the State on 18th Avenue and Diamond Head Road. There were small bungalows for offices (still there--barely), a large "Butler Building" sound stage on a concrete slab (now used for storage by "LOST"), and the paint, construction, and set dressing storage area located in a long, old, tin roofed structure (torn down and replaced with a new building). There was also a large parking lot and huge back lot. Thus began the Hawaii Film Studio facility. You can google this location and see for yourself.
Hawaii 5-0 aired its last episode in 1980. I actually had worked on the last episode of 5-o as a very low (and VERY young - lol) set dresser. Jack Lord tried another series called "M-Station, Hawaii" about a submarine--both sank very quickly. Glenn Larson pitched a story about a private-eye investigator. Did you know that Tom Selleck was on the "Dating Game" TV show and was rejected BOTH times??!! Shows you what a mustache and short shorts can do for your career! Anyway, they did a pilot and waited to see if it was picked up. The story goes that Tom painted his landlady's house since he was basically out of money. As you all know, the show was picked up and off it went into television history.
The pilot was shot at different locations around Honolulu. You usually don't build many sets for a pilot because you don't know if the studio (in this case Universal Studios) or network will get the go for a series. One of the locations included a famous old estate called the Marx Estate which was owned by the State of Hawaii in Nuuanu Valley (which could be another blog in itself). Higgin's den was filmed there in the pilot. The Anderson house on Kalanianeole Highway (aka "Robin Master's Estate) was becoming off limits for interior filming because the Spanish tiles on the staircase had been damaged during 5-0. Ironically the very last episode of 5-0 (the one I worked on) was filmed at the Anderson Estate--am I making TV trivia history or what??!! So the influence and style of the sets that were ultimately used for the show were based on these 2 locations. The Spanish Colonial style of architecture, rough plaster walls,dark trim and windows, all came from the Anderson Estate and the brick and French doors of Higgin's den came from the Marx Estate based on the look of the pilot. In actuality, Tom's guest house entrance was actually the old boat house of the Anderson Estate which was pretty much in ruins. It was very rare that you ever saw him enter his guest house from the outside--he usually just headed off in that direction and then they cut to him entering onstage.
Anderson's also had a large servants quarters near her cheesy chain link fence so the show added the gates. Eve was fond of animals and later it was not unusual to see calves, large dogs, and other animals inside her house. My crew and I were the only ones actually allowed inside her house so we could place plants and furniture on her upper lanai (balcony). She inherited her house from her grandparents and it was truly a magnificent estate--and I do mean was. She was paid extremely well for its use as a location whether we used it or not. Later, it became a nightmare for her since people thought either Tom Selleck, Higgins or maybe even the illusive Robin Masters actually lived there. She still has old shade cloth and other barriers to keep the view private. I always thought that was strange since she would rent out the grounds for parties and weddings and certainly could have made a lot more money letting people on the grounds like the "real" Southfork Ranch did on the TV show "Dallas" after the show ended.
As you must know, all permanent interior sets (Higgins's den, entry hall, living room, Tom's guest house, bedroom, Rick's interior office, and even the interior of the helicopter) were all filmed inside on the 18th Avenue soundstage. Ironically it's been named the "Five-O Stage" even though 5-0 only filmed there 3 years and Magnum did all 8 there. More trivia!
Ok, I'm having way too much fun with this. As your reward for reading all of entry, I'll have some photos of a very rare set (that almost killed my crew--literally) coming up soon--Robin Master's Library. Aloha