“72 HOURS” HOST BRANDON JOHNSON RECAPS EPISODE 3 “Lana’i, Hawaii.”
This was the episode that started the whole thing, our Pilot, loosely titled “Drop Zone.” It would also be my first trip to Hawaii & one that I would never forget. It’s truly hard to encapsulate all that went down back in March of 2012. We understood the complexity we were facing, but the execution of this concept was on a whole other level. Lana’i, Hawaii would serve as the ultimate litmus test for not only the contestants, but also every single person involved.
At the time I was shooting two shows simultaneously: One in Los Angeles (Disney’s, “Shake It Up”) & the other in Florida (HGTV’s, “My Yard Goes Disney”). Ironically, I got the call that I’d booked “Drop Zone” while shooting a Hawaiian themed backyard on MYGD. Seemed like a good omen. Within no time I was flying from the southern East Coast to the land of sunshine & pineapples. To arrive at Lana’i it not only took a plane, but shuttles & ferry’s. The destination is the smallest publicly accessible inhabited island in the chain; a trip in itself to get there. Many of the Lana’i’s landmarks are only attainable by dirt roads that require a four-wheel drive vehicle. Soon I’d be introduced to life inside a helicopter as well-another first.
Our days began somewhere between 4:30/5am and often going to at least midnight. I recall one evening where we decided to check in with the Blue Team. As it was too dark and unsafe to fly helicopters we chose four wheelers as our means of transportation. After shooting into the wee hours it was time to head back and get some sleep. Unfortunately sleep was not on the menu that night. We ended up getting lost trying to navigate the dirt trails in the darkness. Somehow, by the grace of God, we found our way to base camp & piled in the back of a pick-up truck, which lugged us home.
Aside from lack of sleep, dealing with the elements became challenging too. The hot sun scorched our skin as we all trudged the barren landscape. Forty to fifty mile-a-hour winds blasted the crews and teams nonstop. During the final leg of the competition, camera crews assembled in water boats to gain the best vantage point. As if happening in slow motion I watched one of the camera boats launch vertically up in the air emptying all its contents into the ocean. Mother Nature was flexing her muscle and we were scrambling to survive.
More than anything the real champions of the episode were the competitors. From severed thumbs, medical extractions (not all made the edit), equipment malfunctions, complete physical, emotional and mental breakdowns; plus Jason almost getting his head cracked open, I’d say this episode stands a part from the others we shot. These strangers endured more than most and if it weren’t for their incredible effort there would be no “72 Hours.”
Check out our aerial of the Garden of the Gods!
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SEE YOU IN THE SKY!