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Thread: 50 Year Engagement

  1. #1
    Tonight 50 years ago, CBS aired S05E22 "Engaged To Be Buried".

    One of Chin Ho's kids, Alia (Irene Tsu) has gotten herself entangled with punk Rono Vidalgo (Erik Estrada). Rono is the leader of a three pack to force legitimate business people to buy into the crooked Star Island Company run by Rono's oily father, Shako (Simon Oakland), who is also confined to a wheelchair after a shoot-out with police. Rono's brother Koa (Richard Yniguez) and their friend Bertie (Donald Roessler) are pretty brutal with the businesses blowing up cars to scare the crap out of everyone.

    One target isn't playing. Stan Carson (Charles Quinlivan) is a retired cop from Chicago and a new owner of a bowling alley. Carson immediately calls Five-O because he refuses to be part of a shakedown. He does, however, hire Alia's best friend Pamela (Cris Callow) at the bowling alley. Things don't end well when Bertie sets up another bomb and it runs into Pam's car!

    Rono and Alia fly to Kauai in Rono's plane to meet Father Jack (Bob Turnbull). The couple wants to get married but other first visit, Jack refuses them. Mostly because Rono refuses to stop the criminal activity with his father. However, after the bombing at the bowling alley, things turn. Alia walks out of the hospital in shock and Rono convinces her to go to Kauai to get married. It happens on the second trip.

    Five-O closes in and the honeymoon is literally short-lived when Duke (Herman Wedemeyer) snipes Rono, even though Rono has used Alia as a shield! Jerk!

    Mr. Mike has a fantastic review here:

    Mr. Mike rates this as a 4-star episode and he's right! This is one of my favorite episodes because we get more insight into Chin Ho's family life. As well, we see more team dynamics within Five-O. There is a particularly excellent scene when Alia is picked up by HPD after Chin discovers she's been hanging out with Rono rather than studying with Pamela! Alia knows Danno (no surprise) and he's the one who explains to her who she's really mixed up with including graphic photos of the prior damage.

    There are times Chin is barely hanging on by a thread. He threatens to beat the crap out of Bertie in one instance and McGarrett threatens to take Chin off the case! It's pretty fun to watch.

    This episode also has an interesting connection to S07E01, "The Young Assassins". Erik Estrada guests in this one and his future "CHiPs" partner, Larry Wilcox, is one of the mercenaries in Assassins. They're both pretty young in their guest roles.

    Happy 50th, "Engaged To Be Buried"!!!

  2. #2
    I have Engaged To Be Buried at #1 Greatest HFO 🌊 episode. High praise indeed! It's a brilliant episode where scene after scene is memorable. Credit to the acting and writing in this episode. I think this episode works because Rono is a criminal type in the Star Island Company run by his father. He's in love with Alia who is Chin Ho's daughter. Chin would never allow a criminal like Rono to be with his daughter or step foot in his house. It's fascinating to watch how this will unfold. Carson is a great character the retired Chicago cop now living in Hawaii. Working hard to set up his new bowling alley business. He gives Alia's friend Pam maybe her first job working at the bowling 🎳 alley. Carson invested in this new bowling 🎳 alley and won't be shaken down. Engaged To Be Buried is 1 of the rare TV episodes that makes all the right moves and hits all the right notes. It's a masterpiece episode 4 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐. Rono's true character is revealed shooting Father Jack dead and eventually getting shot and killed himself. He did not handle the situation with maturity. Instead, Rono utilized violence in a no-win situation. There's really no holes in the episode. You think in Hawaii Chin would have learned about Rono-Alia's relationship sooner. Also, it is strange Father Jack would believe Rono this time. That he has changed. 50 years later, I'm glad this masterpiece Engaged To Be Buried was created. This can be enjoyed by future generations. JC

  3. #3
    Thanks to Bobbi for posting these 50-year threads.

    I had forgotten about this episode and hadn't seen it in a long time.

    I feel it's underrated. On IMDB, it gets a 7.8 out of 10, behind a number of other Season 5 episodes. Irene Tsu, who played Chin's daughter Alia, was 26 when it was filmed. She's now 77 years old, and still alive.

    Erik Estrada was over 3 years younger than her, and is also still alive. While he had a lot of notoriety due to CHiPs, his career took a downturn after that series ended, and he has made his living off nostalgia and recognition. He also got involved as the spokesman of some shady operations, of which McGarrett and company wouldn't approve!

    Here is Erik Estrada in 2005, selling near-worthless land at a place called "California Pines", at a tremendous markup, and implying that it's a deal of a lifetime:

    Estrada was just a paid spokesman, so he was not committing any crimes, and he was careful not to promise that he actually lived there, while strongly implying it. I don't know if he realized he was selling a scam, or if he just read a script and didn't understand how shady the whole thing was.

    Anyway, I got distracted. I'll talk about the episode in the next post.

  4. #4
    This really was an excellent episode. While one must wonder how much money there really is in selling vending machines and pool tables to small businesses at a markup, this was your standard '60s/'70s/'80s "paying protection" type organized crime scheme. Business owners were forced to do business with the local organized crime figures, or they would first get a warning of a blown up car nearby, then get their shops wrecked, and then get murdered if they still didn't comply.

    Charles Quinlivan played the role of former cop Stan Carson, who was targeted by the Vidalgo family without realizing he was more than just a new bowling alley owner. It seemed like Carson would have a large part in busting the Vidalgos -- or perhaps get killed himself -- but instead his main role in the whole thing was calling Five-O to alert them to the shakedown attempt, allowing them to surveil the place. This set in motion an unfortunate double-murder when the car bomb ended up rolling and killing both a cop working with Five-O, and Alia's best friend who was sitting in her car. This, in turn, led to the Vidalgo family's downfall.

    I was surprised to see Alia crying when Rono was shot dead. He had been holding her hostage, plus was revealed to be at least somewhat involved with the shakedown that got her best friend killed. She also watched him shoot dead the good-hearted priest who had married them. He was also seconds away from shooting her father Chin Ho dead! She seemed to be still heartbroken to see Rono shot dead. I would have thought she would have been very shaken but relieved!

    This was the second episode to feature Chin Ho's family. The other, season 2's "Cry, Lie" showed more of the family, but Alia was not part of it! Perhaps she supposed to be at college? However, it seemed that she still lived at home, hence her having to make excuses of staying over at a friend's house, when she was really with Rono.

    It was never made clear what Rono's true plans were, regarding his life with Alia. Part of him seemed to want to leave the family business and start over, and part of him seemed incapable of doing so. How did he expect to still conduct his criminal business while married to Chin Ho's daughter? It was fairly obvious that he would get killed by the end of the episode, because the writers were not going to leave Chin's daughter married to a criminal, even an incarcerated one. Modern series might have used this as an ongoing source of drama, but episodic series like Five-O rarely had carryover plots, so they would not have wanted to introduce this wrinkle into the Chin Ho character.

    This episode is not on many people's "top 10" lists, but it probably belongs there. Even I forgot about it.

  5. #5
    Five-O Home Page Author Mr. Mike's Avatar
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    Mar 2019
    Vancouver, B.C.
    Estrada's Wikipedia page has a lot of information about what he has been up to, but this page really needs to be updated. One of the most "recent" things he has been doing is "As of July 1, 2016, he was a reserve police officer in St. Anthony, Idaho. In the course of his duties, Estrada has been filmed patrolling on a police motorcycle."

    Estrada is exactly a month younger than me!

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