Danno and Dad Follow Famous Footsteps

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Danno’s real-life dad is headed for an episode of Hawaii Five-0. Scott Caan plays Detective Danny (Danno) Williams. He is the son of James Caan, whose acting career spans decades in television and movies. The question of whether the elder Caan would appear in the Hawaii Five-0 reboot has been floated since Caan the younger was cast. The “yes” has come in a Tweet from @CBSTweet: “EXCLUSIVE CASTING ALERT: Aloha to #jamescaan who’ll join son, Scott, on #H50 in February. #tca12”

Scott Caan signs autographs and poses for photos with fans at Sunset on the Beach, September 2011.

It is not the first time the two have acted together, but their on-screen appearances are rare. James appeared in Scott’s movie “Mercy” a couple of years ago. It’s also not the first time the actor playing Danno has been visited by a famous parent. In the first version of Hawaii Five-0, James MacArthur played Danno. He was the adopted son of playwright Charles MacArthur and actress Helen Hayes. MacArthur said one of his favorite Hawaii Five-0 episodes was “Retire in Sunny Hawaii Forever” because it was one of the rare times he worked with his mother. Hayes appeared as his Aunt Clara in that 1975 episode, in which she visited Hawaii and helped the detectives solve a murder.

Hayes was known as The First Lady of the American Theatre for her work on the stage. She was also the first stage actress to win an Oscar, picking up an Academy Award for Best Actress in 1932. She is one of only 10 actors who have won all four entertainment awards: a Tony, Oscar, Emmy and Grammy. Despite her impressive credentials, I remember her best for one of her later roles, that of Ernesta Snoop in the Snoop Sisters. It was a television program that produced only four episodes as part of the NBC Wednesday Mystery Movie from 1972 to 1974, featuring Hayes and fellow film legend Mildred Natwick as two elderly sisters who solved mysteries. Hayes’ role on Hawaii Five-0 played directly off that recently-concluded series.

We don’t know yet what role James Caan will play, but it is fun to see the parent-child connection repeated. Hawaii Five-0 just missed one other Danno connection. James MacArthur had agreed to appear in an episode, but the details had not yet been worked out when he died Oct. 28, 2010, just a month after the premiere of the new Hawaii Five-0. A letter of congratulations from MacArthur was read at the Sunset on the Beach premiere by Al Harrington, who acted in the original series and has appeared in two episodes of the new version.


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