COURTESY ANGELA GERSTNER
Munich fan Angela Gerstner with “Hawaii Five-0” series star Alex O’Loughlin.
COURTESY DENNIS CHUN
Angela Gerstner with “Hawaii Five-0” actors Dennis Chun and Laura Mellow.
We are one week away from two big “Hawaii Five-0” events — the season seven red carpet gala event “Sunset on the Beach” and the broadcast television premiere on CBS. For the first time, both events will happen on the same night. Some fans have voiced their multi-layered opinions about the fact that episode 701, “Mākaukau ʻoe e Pāʻani” (“Ready to Play”), will air on the East Coast hours before the “Sunset on the Beach” premiere. And the episode will play on Waikīkī Beach only about 30 minutes before it airs on television in Hawaiʻi.
So the big question is — why would anyone trek all the way to Hawaiʻi for the event?
I suppose I could ask the hundreds of fans who save their vacation days and dollars to plan their yearly visit to Hawaiʻi around the dates of “Sunset on the Beach.” And I supposed I could ask the thousands of fans who jam into Waikīkī after work to catch a glimpse of the stars and watch the newest episode. Of course, the best fans to ask are the ones who camp out on the beach the day before just to be some of the first folks to talk to Alex O’Loughlin, Scott Caan, Daniel Dae Kim, Grace Park, Chi McBride, and the rest of the Five-0 crew.
For the most part, fans of “Hawaii Five-0” will travel from all parts of the globe to attend “Sunset on the Beach.” Last year, I talked to a fan who flew in just for a couple of days to attend the event. I tried to give her the best plan in order to not only enjoy “Sunset on the Beach,” but also to experience as much of Hawaiʻi as she could in 48 hours. While I know there are fans flying in from all over the United States, from Australia, Canada, Germany, and England, I’m pretty sure there will be many other fans headed to Oʻahu this week, specifically to see the actors, and to watch the season premiere on the beach.
It seems as if fans that come for “Sunset on the Beach” want to attend the event because there is a high probability that they will get to shake hands with their favorite stars, get a selfie, or a signed body part, as well as to get a chance to see the premiere on the big screen. Fans also come because they get to hang out with fellow Five-0 fanatics and enjoy the company of some really amazing people. I’m not alone in being one of the many who have met special friends during a “Sunset on the Beach” weekend — friends who I am still very close to and count among my nearest and dearest.
But sometimes, it’s not an event that calls the Five-0 fandom to Hawaiʻi. Sometimes it’s a dream fulfilled that gets a fan to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to our island paradise. A dream to see the place where your favorite show is filmed. Or a dream to meet your favorite actors. For Munich fan, Angela Gerstner, it was a dream to see Hawaiʻi and a treat for her 50th birthday. She planned her trip in March of this year in order to see the last week of season six “Hawaii Five-0” filming, and in hopes that she would have a chance to meet series star Alex O’Loughlin.
Gerstner is well-known among Five-0 fans, as she is known for her own Alex O’Loughlin website, and for her great photo collages. She is an Administrator for several fan pages on Facebook, including the English and German AOL Fans for Donate Life page, the German AOL Fan Club page, as well as the Five-0 Redux page. Gerstner’s ability to speak and write in several languages, as well as her positive and sunny attitude, makes her a favorite amongst the Five-0 fandom.
So we were all rooting for her to get a chance to see and meet the stars of her favorite show — and to meet and talk to O’Loughlin. In her two week stay, Gerstner circled the island, visited the Arizona Memorial, Five-0 headquarters, the North Shore, the South Shore, and Waikīkī Beach. She did get to see shooting on a couple of days — tipped off by Hawaiʻi friends eager for her to see and experience “Hawaii Five-0” filming.
Close to the end of her trip, Gerstner was a little disappointed that she had not seen her series favorite. She met up with Dennis Chun and Laura Mellow for lunch one day, and Gerstner was thrilled that Chun treated her like family. “I felt honored that these two took the time to meet with me and welcomed me to their ʻohana,” said Gerstner via email. The trio met for lunch and took pictures by the Jack Lord statue in Kahala. Chun, who is known for his wonderful aloha for fans, often thanks Gerstner for her collages and posts featuring Chun and his character Sgt. Duke Lukela on his own fan page.
On the last day of Gerstner’s trip, we were all a little worried that her dream would not come true and that she would miss meeting O’Loughlin. But she finally was in the right place at the right time and caught O’Loughlin while the crew was filming at the Hawaiʻi Theatre for the season six finale. “The perfect ending of my vacation was, of course, meeting my favorite actor Alex and to get two photos with him, taken by the professional photographer Scotty!” said Gerstner of her experience meeting O’Loughlin and having actor Scott Caan take their picture together.
Gerstner also took a picture with season five actress Délys Hulalimaikalanimai Kanemura Recca at the King’s Village after a hula show. And she took a photo with one of the Pearl Harbor veterans “who smiled very brightly and held my hand very tightly when he saw the “Hawaii Five-0” season four crew shirt I was wearing on the day of my Pearl Harbor tour. He might have been in the opening scene of the Pearl Harbor episode,” said Gerstner.
While Gerstner may not have planned her trip for the annual “Sunset on the Beach” event, it was still amazing and super special for her — and for the rest of the fandom to experience through her pictures and posts. I’m sure the many fans who are scheduled to arrive in Honolulu within the next week will have as memorable of a time as Gerstner did last March. I just hope every fan fulfills some kind of Five-0 dream in the next week — that would make their visit to Hawaiʻi that much sweeter
REDUX SIDE NOTE
So where did we leave off?
CBS replayed “ʻO ke aliʻi wale no kaʻu makemake” (“My Desire Is Only For The Chief”) Friday, Sept. 16 — just a week before the official season seven premiere airs on television. The episode helped to remind us just where the Five-0 team wrapped up season six. The biggest question is going to be about the health of our favorite duo, McGarrett and Danno. Both men are recovering from surgery — McG from a liver transplant, and Danno from donating part of his liver. We’ll have to see how well the two are up to fighting crime this season.
It looks like Chin is on his way to adopting his niece, Sara Nalani (Londyn Silzer) and that Kono will soon be reunited with her husband, Adam (Ian Anthony Dale). Max (Masi Oka) headed out on his medical mission with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) soon after McGarrett and Danno’s surgeries.
The team’s main nemesis Gabriel Waincroft (Christopher Sean) is dead, and their new enemy, Michelle Shioma (Michelle Krusiec), is in the wind. One thing is for sure — there is a new villain on the horizon, and after being super spoiled by two amazingly cool bad guys — Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos) and Gabriel — there are some extra-large shoes to fill.
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.