Star-Bulletin Features

Friday, September 28, 2001

Joe Moore, who plays Oscar Madison in "The Odd Couple,"
has had roles in a number of plays and is shown above,
right, in a scene from the locally produced film "Moonglow."

Anchor of action

By Tim Ryan

Joe Moore is no Oscar Madison, except like "The Odd Couple" character, Moore pretty much makes his own rules, isn't shy about expressing opinions, and does what he wants on and off the air from his KHON-TV anchor post.

The 54-year-old father, who has been Hawaii's top news dog for more than a dozen years, has made some enemies confounded as much by Moore's top of the heap positioning as his off-the-air theatrical activities, which he sometimes publicizes at the end of the two nightly newscasts.

Moore has appeared in dozens of episodes of "Hawaii Five-0" and "Magnum, P.I.," as well as his own theatrical productions about famous men like Billy Mitchell, John Wayne, Will Rogers, and Mozart, and his well-received film "Moonglow."

"I do the acting and writing and producing as a hobby," Moore said. "I don't play golf, I'm not a gambler or a bowler. Acting is a passion."

It all started in 1988 when the Hawaii Opera Theatre asked Moore to appear in a major non-singing part in a Mozart production.

"I hadn't done anything on live stage since college, but it started the juices flowing again," he said.

But with his work time constraints he had to focus on productions that required fewer performances than the usual community theater groups demanded.

Moore had enlisted in the U.S. Army during the height of the Vietnam conflict when he was a sophomore at the University of Maryland because he was fed up with demonstrations against the government including flag burning and returning soldiers being spat on. He stars in "The Odd Couple" with his Army buddy Pat Sajak.

"The Odd Couple"

Starring Pat Sajak and Joe Moore; directed by Jim Hutchison

Where: Hawaii Theatre, 1130 Bethel St.

When: 7:30 tonight and tomorrow, and 4 p.m. Sunday

Tickets: $17.50 to $37

Call: 528-0506

In his role as slovenly New York sportswriter Oscar Madison, Moore studied a New York accent with dialect instructor David Alan Stern in six long-distance telephone sessions.

Ask Moore if he could reinvent his life by choosing acting over television news and he hesitates.

"I made a decision early on when I was in the Army," he says. "After basic training I applied for journalism and broadcasting thinking I would go over there to cover the war, if not fight it."

For a year he worked in the Information Office as journalist-broadcaster, which is where he and Sajak hooked up. Then he came back to Hawaii to begin a career in broadcast journalism as a sportscaster with smattering of acting stints.

"Sometimes your life falls into place for you," he said.

Moore says his acting "hobby" hasn't had any negative effect on the viewer audience or his ratings.

"The few people I know who have a problem with me acting ... and being a newscaster are either snobs or petty and jealous people," he said. "In the days when I was doing 'Five-0' and 'Magnum' I would hear more complaints from within the journalist community saying I was blurring the line between entertainment and news.

"What were they talking about? When I'm on the air I'm doing news. When I'm on a stage I'm acting. Do they think people are so stupid they don't know which is which?"

Acting gives Moore perspective and "keeps me humble," he said.

"Being on stage alone or with other actors can be a very frightening experience," he said. "I think I have the news things down pretty well. But everytime I step on stage I realize that in life there is always so much to learn and appreciate."

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