James MacArthur passed away this week at age 72, the last surviving cast member of the original “Hawaii 5-0” TV series. He was the guy that would stand there, as Jack Lord, the head detective, had just made the arrest and would always say, “Book him, Danno!”
James was “Danno”. He was that actor with the boyish face that had also been the young 20-something in the Disney version of “Swiss Family Robinson”. Yeah, THAT guy.
But that was all in the era of TV that I soaked up like a sponge, that scarred my brain with such phrases as “Sorry about that, Chief” or “You should have thought about that before you married her!” I also picked up quite a bit of trivia along the way. Like the fact that James’ first wife was Melody Patterson, who’s only claim to fame was her role as “Wrangler Jane” on the TV series F-Troop.
F-Troop was that silly show ABC put out for a couple of years, with a great cast of characters and downright stupid humor, paired with a laugh track. No wonder Melody caught my eye in the show, because I was in junior high and she started the show at age 16. She was the pretty blonde, who was tough as nails, given the name Jane Angelica Thrift, but known to everyone as Wrangler. She even has a website set up with some fun photos, although it hasn’t been updated in years. Click here to see it.
The marriage between James and Melody, like most Hollywood marriages, didn’t last. James’ obit cites his wife of 25 years as his survivor, so that chapter of his life has been long gone. At least, to him. As recently as yesterday, when I heard the name James MacArthur, my first thought was, “Oh, the guy who was married to Wrangler Jane”.
The strangest part about the whole aging thing is how so many years can seem like an instant. I’m thinking to myself, “Oh, that was just ten….no wait, fifteen…..hold on….oh my God, it’s over FORTY years ago!”
Well, as I like to say, if it weren’t for our memories, what else would we remember?