Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hawaii Five-0, Ed Asner, the Netsukes and the Devon Horse Show

Our favorite TV series is and has been the original Hawaii Five-0. In last night's version of the new series, Ed Asner reprised his role as August March, the sinister and clever murderer, blackmailer, and thief.

During the 30 years since he appeared with Jack Lord, Asner retained every drop of his acting ability and did not try to disguise his age. Interspersed with the current show, clips of the younger Asner reinforced his guile and murderous ways.

During the first show, Hawaii Five-0 characters talked about and showed netsukes. Ed Asner's character tried to discredit Jack Lord's character by planting a valuable, stollen netsuke in Lord's/McGarrett's collection.

That show was our first introduction to the miniature, intricately carved figures. A little research later, and we discovdered that they started in Japan in the 17th century and were functional. Since the kimonos had no pockets, men carried their money, papers, and recreational items in a pouch that attached to a rope around their waists with a netsuke.

Later on, these carved miniatures became valued as collectibles. They were carved out of boxwood, sometimes out of ironwood and rosewood, and even out of ivory and bone. Now, faux ivory is also used.

During one of our 35 trips to Hawaii, we happened upon a charming shop that offered some netsukes for sale. We bought a fish and a horse. I fell in love with the fish because, we had just seen an exhibit of kimonos at the Honolulu Academy of Art and the fish had idealized status on one of the pieces.

The horse reminded us of a very funny experience. One day, one of Edgar's aunts was visiting at the same time as a friend of ours whose daughter rode horses in competition. She had just won a prize at the Devon Horse Show. Edgar's aunt heard the word horses in the conversation and said, "they're more valuable when two feet are off the ground."

Out guest looked puzzled but shrugged off the comment and Edgar's aunt just continued talking. Later, we realized that his aunt had been given a gift of a ceramic horse and the one who gave it to her wanted to toot her own horn.

Back to Hawaii Five-0, the new version. After 30 years in prison, the Ed Asner character had not reformed. He killed one of his henchman and walked off with millions of dollars and stollen diamonds. We look forward to seeing him in future episodes.

And we still have out netsukes.

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