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The Rockford Files

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... can you imagine how crazy his wedding must have been?  You know, in a "Rockford Files episode" kind of way... I shudder to think what Angel's role was...)

 

I would have loved to see the camera panning through the wedding guests. One shady looking P.I. and con artist type after another (like in the funeral scenes in one or two episodes).

 

As to Jim and all the young beautiful women, and him with no money and living in the dumpiest trailer imaginable. I guess we were supposed suspend disbelief. After all, this was James Garner for Pete's sake!! And so getting any woman he wanted just by the force of his looks and personality was to be assumed!

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OK, I've had to put my watching of the movies on hold for a bit because (a) I want to go in order, since they seem to be meant to be sequential and (b) I actually teared up when I saw Rocky's headstone.  Clearly I'm not ready.

 

I got through part of the one where Beth comes back, with her perm and her married name and her bestselling books.  (I'm sorry, but there was no way Gretchen Corbett was really straightening her hair all those years, right?)  Unfortunately the presence of Dyan Cannon is just a distraction from the Jim and Beth reunion. 

 

Sadly the movies do really suffer from a lack of the show's usual action; it's all walking and talking, understandable because everyone is old.  Also I miss the squealing tires, really I do.  The only cast member who seems to have most of the old spark is Stuart Margolin.  (Although James Luisi as Chapman is still pretty great.)  James Garner isn't "phoning it in" so much as he is not using his movie-star voice any more.  After the Rockford Files ended, he went in a more relaxed, naturalistic direction with his parts (and I think, became an even better actor), but a lot of the Rockford Files appeal was him running around, driving sharp and punching and getting punched.  There's a lack of energy to the movies overall (music, casting, direction) that doesn't do enough to compensate for that.

 

My understanding is that some of the movies were much better than others, so does anyone have any suggestions?

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As to Jim and all the young beautiful women, and him with no money and living in the dumpiest trailer imaginable. I guess we were supposed suspend disbelief. After all, this was James Garner for Pete's sake!! And so getting any woman he wanted just by the force of his looks and personality was to be assumed!

 

Keep in mind that the Rockford Files ended not too much before the infamous single woman study, which made a bunch of seriously dicey assumptions to draw the conclusion that women who were foolish enough to be unmarried at thirty had a better statistical likelihood of getting hit by lightning than they did of finding someone to marry. And that came after a few decades of cultural conservatives bemoaning the plague of independent women (particularly the ones who were taking "men's jobs").

 

It's a document of its time. Rockford was clean, reasonably intelligent, self-supporting and gorgeous. That was better than the women in their late twenties and early thirties he dated were supposed to expect.

Edited by Julia

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I didn't get that vibe at all from the show (not sure if I misunderstood what you were saying, though).  It should also be pointed out that Jim wasn't the marrying kind :-) so maybe that's as "good" as those gals could do...  But no... I thought The Rockford Files always portrayed women as smart and independent - those were the sort of women Jim liked to date (and remain friends with, or date again  as the case may be...)  Especially, women were also shown as competent business owners (there was even a female used car showroom owner, very unusual).  If there was a social stigma on unmarried career women, The Rockford Files certainly didn't buy into it.

 

I always saw Jim as a character who had suffered a setback in life (going to prison) and who was not upwardly mobile, although he had his competency and good looks to make up for it.  Although he didn't care about living the high life himself, he "dated up."  He dated women who were educated and upwardly mobile (or just wealthy, or well-off scammers).  For him, women being older, more educated and more independent was "not a bug, but a feature."

 

One more thing: Jim seemed to also have warm friendships with several older women - never really explained in most cases.  There wasn't an ex-lover vibe for these either.  There was an episode near the end of the series (I think it was the "Battle Ax" one) where the chick of the week was an older woman, not a beautiful potential love interest but it was clear at the end of the episode that Jim had esteem for her.

 

In fact, there were very few women that Jim *didn't* like, but I can think of two who he didn't have much patience for - Sky the hippie, and LeeAnne the police groupie.  These were both women who weren't very honest with themselves and he didn't treat them with kid gloves.

Edited by Jipijapa
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Last episode of Rockford was 35 years ago today.  "Deadlock in Parma."  I still haven't been able to bring myself to actually watch it.

 

(Dammit, it's my obsession and I'll cry if I want to!)

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Last episode of Rockford was 35 years ago today.  "Deadlock in Parma."  I still haven't been able to bring myself to actually watch it.

 

(Dammit, it's my obsession and I'll cry if I want to!)

 

Something about the Rockford episodes ... I have a hard time remembering the plots for more than about a year. So I don't fret about seeing the final episode. In year or two I'll rewatch the whole series again, and enjoy it almost as if new.

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I'm rewatching Season 6 right now, so maybe I will.  Maybe.

 

Season 6 may have had its problems, but "Paradise Cove" was a great season premiere.  Christmas Eve gunfire!  Buried gold under the trailer!  And Mr. & Mrs. Polaroid, snarking and kissing!  

 

I weep that Garner and Hartley never had an actual TV series together. It would have been so awesome.

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I weep that Garner and Hartley never had an actual TV series together. It would have been so awesome.

I suspect that it was the wishes of those two actors (Hartley most especially?) that kept such a thing from happening. There were enough assumptions from casual TV viewers at the time that they were married in real life, they wouldn't have wanted to make it worse.

 

But yes, it would have been awesome. 

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"Paradise Cove" and "Nice Guys Finish Dead" (The Goodhues) are some of the best episodes of the whole series. Paradise Cove really got real about the way neighbors would take someone like Rockford -- I always wondered why he wasn't considered a problem. Horrible, ugly trailer, cheapening the neighborhood's appearance. Frequent gunfire around the trailer. Frequent suspicious guys lurking around the area because of Jim. Frequent fights. Kidnappings. Bombing of the trailer. Frequent visits by the police. Paradise Cove gets into that neighborhood reality - an interesting departure from previous seasons.

Edited by riverclown

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The sad thing is that the real Paradise Cove is now super-exclusive, and in fact the locals even got in trouble recently for trying to strongarm ordinary citizens off the beach (which is against California state law; beachfront is all for all citizens to enjoy).  I understand it costs $40 to park in the parking lot where Rockford's trailer once was set up.  (though, the actual spot where it was, is now covered with sand and is part of an outdoor cafe).

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Too bad about Paradise Cove. All this because Jim wreaked such havoc! Seriously, it is distressing to see what was once mostly a situation of great freedom and tolerance turn into something like that. But, right on the ocean like that, it was bound to happen.

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Jim Rockford Warned Us About Google and Facebook Back in 1978

 

Discussion of "The House on Willis Avenue."

 

To me the most unique/prescient things about the episode were that 1) it proposed that private companies, not the government, would be at the forefront of data gathering on citizens; 2) the government would be interested in obtaining this information and 3) the required data servers - the ones in the desert - would be massive and possibly bad for the environment. 

 

The episode also showed Rockford using this computer system for his own investigative purposes, a wee premonition of normal modern-day Internet usage.  (And it also showed Richie Brockleman "Googling" Rockford!)

 

It would have been a much more conventional 70s line of thinking if it had been "the gubmint" that was doing the surveillance and data gathering.  Yet the episode didn't go that route, possibly because the show was never really paranoid about the power of the government (just disdainful of government bureaucracy).

Edited by Jipijapa
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 What was this show's fascination with Jersey jerks trying to make their bones with the mob?  There was that God awful episode set in Jersey that barely had Rockford in it.  And today there's another pair of Jersey boys (or are they supposed to be the same ones?   At least one of them is played by the same actor) who murder someone trying to make their bones with the mob and framing Rockford for it.  At least Jim's in this one, but with Matthew Blaisdale from Dynasty and Boss Hogg, making it equally surreal and God awful.

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Which episode?

 

Jim had stashed the woman the mob goons were after at a horse ranch. Somehow the goons found the place, and Jim spooked the horses towards them to cover his&her escape.

 

But I can't recall the episode title or the name of the stunning actresss... HELP

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The rest of the unreleased Rockford TV-movies will finally be coming out on DVD, both as a single edition, and bundled with a 34-DVD complete set of all seasons and all movies.

http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Rockford-Files-MovieCollectionVol2-and-CompleteCollection/20877

Just got the movie collection (and I'm almost done). It was good to see so many returning characters, but I was wondering about "Murders & Misdemeanors." Was Booker originally supposed to Gandolph Fitch? Was Isaac Hayes busy, or too expensive? Edited by revbfc

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I got Netflix a couple of weeks ago. I love James Garner in every incarnation and I love Rockford. I watched this show on it's first run, have seen a few episodes here and there throughout the past 40 years. I started binge-watched about 4 days ago, I'm nearly finished with season 3. Yes, the plots are all the same, the fights, the car chases, the tire squeals, but through it all James Garner is the best. The regular supporting cast worked together so well, but some times the "chick of the week" was weak, the actresses were not that great, I realize that many of these women were just getting started and they weren't good and improved as time went on, but for some, they were never good, Stephanie Powers was one I was thinking of. Pretty big star, beautiful, not great actress. I'm also impressed by the lack of stick with boobs, they were beautiful young women, but little surgical alteration.

 

Editing to add that I have been watching for close to four days, it's an easy show to use as background while being on the internet, playing games, chatting on FB, I even have been going to sleep to it, then the next day, start back with whatever show I fell asleep to. Sometimes I pause, sometimes I just let it run.

 

And further, it's interesting how many social issues are addressed in this show that are bigger today: water shortages, corruption, greed, land grabs, oil rights, racism, bigotry. Women's equality was downplayed, but I remember the 70s quite well, it was the norm.

 

Season 6, love Tom Selleck as Lance White! The Hop-A-Long Cassidy Suite of the Gene Autry Motel! With Larry Manetti guest starring with Tom Selleck.

 

I keep editing because I'm still watching. Just watched the two parts, Black Mirror. I was glued. I never watch watch tv, I mostly listen while I do other things. But that was two of the best episodes. Just wow! Loved the relationship with Megan.

 

More, love how the scenery and streets in this show are so different than today. In the street chases, there are no cars on the road, not even the freeways. And the station that Dennis works in is so small especially in comparison to what shows like Major Crimes has. I guess it could be a substation, but it is so dated, the colors of the walls, the interrogations are done in someone's office instead of an interrogation room with the mirror. 

 

The writers did a great job with their dialogue on Rockford's cons, and Mr. Garner does a fantastic job with it, but when there was a story with "mob connections", the dialogue is so clunky and out of date even for the 70s. I didn't realize until I saw an episode with Coop that it was Bo Hopkins! Love Bo Hopkins as much as James Garner. It has been so many years, I just don't remember the shows, it's like a whole new show to me.

 

Season 6, the Gene Autry Suite at the Hop-A-Long Cassidy Hotel! Tom Selleck as Lance White - so perfect, funny and so gorgeous!

Edited by friendperidot

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"The House on Willis Avenue" aka "The Richie Brockelman Backdoor Pilot." ...

 

I understand the Richie Brockelman character had been in an unsold pilot previously to this episode and they gave it another go on the Rockford Files.  I actually really liked this character and loved seeing Jim have a partner who was actually competent, for a change.  And, again, this is an episode I have heard fans complaining about, and now that I've watched it, I wonder if this show was better than some of its fans deserved?  Because this was a pretty good two-parter.   Dennis Dugan was a very likable screen presence and, having Wikipedia'd him, I'm glad to see he went on to a nice career in directing.

 

This was another "socially relevant" episode that had a Point to Make about the legal system/these modern times... this time, surveillance.  But, in a twist for the 1970s, it wasn't about government surveillance - it was about data falling into the hands of private concerns.  RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES!  Er, today's headlines, that is.  How sad that 35 years later we still haven't gotten the message, and in fact, are contentedly living with these very same implications for our privacy and freedom.  Jim, where are you when we need you??  (Well, at least we have Person of Interest nowadays to address these questions... and precious little else on TV...)

 

One interesting thing about this episode was how very clear it was on just how many physical resources computer servers consume.  Jim and Richie investigate innocuous looking homes that are really storing huge generators and A/C equipment to run the servers.  This is an ongoing fact of life, yet nobody really cares about it today.  Everyone fixates on the miniaturization of personal computing, yet in reality, the Internet lives in giant, energy-hogging server complexes that destroy the environment (another point this episode made when they went down to the canyon complex).

 

Sigh, this show was really too good, and perhaps, unappreciated even by some of its own viewers...

 

 

Jim Rockford Warned Us About Google and Facebook Back in 1978

 

Discussion of "The House on Willis Avenue."

 

To me the most unique/prescient things about the episode were that 1) it proposed that private companies, not the government, would be at the forefront of data gathering on citizens; 2) the government would be interested in obtaining this information and 3) the required data servers - the ones in the desert - would be massive and possibly bad for the environment. 

 

The episode also showed Rockford using this computer system for his own investigative purposes, a wee premonition of normal modern-day Internet usage.  (And it also showed Richie Brockleman "Googling" Rockford!)

 

It would have been a much more conventional 70s line of thinking if it had been "the gubmint" that was doing the surveillance and data gathering.  Yet the episode didn't go that route, possibly because the show was never really paranoid about the power of the government (just disdainful of government bureaucracy).

While I can't remember if I saw it live or a summer rerun as a teen in 1978 but throughout the 80s when Rockford was in constant syndication the Richie Brockleman crossovers were the jewel in the entire Rockford Files run for me. And as the years passed this one holds up where the long con episode Never Send a Boy King to Do a Man's Job doesn't hold up as well.

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On the topic from the previous page, about the repeated re-use of the same guest star in different roles:

 

A favorite website of mine, Classic TV, has an interview section with character actors who did a lot of TV. The interview with Robert Pine has some information on the subject, specifically the following:

The great thing about Quinn Martin, he had a lot of shows on the air and once you’d done something for him, you never had to go in and read.  Your agent’d call to say, “They have a part on so-and-so.  It’s worth this much.  Do you want to do it?”  And, you could work every year, not like today, where in a series like House, if you’ve done one House you [can’t] work that show again for the eight years it’s on.  Cannon, I’d do every year.  You could do one every year.

 

I did an NCIS the first year – they called and said, “Would you do us a favor?  A guy dropped out, it’s a very small part.”  I said sure, and because of that I’ve never been able to work that show again, and that’s been on a long time.

 

Edited by Rinaldo

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So, been binging out on the Rockford Files on Netflix lately.  I've been noticing a very cool 1950? Ford pick up hot rod in a number of the episodes, in street scenes and on location kind of stuff.  Must belong to cast or crew?  Can be seen a lot in the episode with the stewardess and the coin shop owner/hit man.  Has anybody else noticed or know anything about this?

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I bought the new blu ray set and have been watching it sequentially. Just finished "Only Rock 'n' Roll Will Never Die", which had never been a favorite, but I watched more closely and think it is one of the best. The writing is execellent, but I just always found the rock episodes rather cliche (the other was "Dwarf in a Helium Hat"). Keep Google close for this one - writer, David Chase, throws out one obscure or semi-obsure reference after another: Molly Pitcher, Irene Rich, Rondo Hutton, Cisco Kid, Heathcliff, John Donne, to name a few.

What I really like about it is that more than just about any other episode it has a highly relevant, interesting theme running through it: falling in love with someone you don't know isn't a good idea and should be avoided. As Jim says, it's a matter of giving a lot of power to someone you don't know. And he gives his friend, Eddie, the most right on, accurate, helpful advice you can give to someone as smitten with a stranger as Eddie: "this is going to sound a little weird, but Whitney is an idea in your own head." Perfect advice and should have been an "a-ha!!" moment for Eddie, but he just doesn't even think about it.

The ending continues the theme where Whitney says she tried things with several people, but they just weren't Tim Ritchie. Then she says she tried with Tim Ritchie, but, you guessed it --- it wasn't Tim Ritchie! As Rockford said -- he was just an idea inside her own head! Great writing by Chase.

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On 8/3/2017 at 0:27 PM, riverclown said:

I bought the new blu ray set and have been watching it sequentially. Just finished "Only Rock 'n' Roll Will Never Die", which had never been a favorite, but I watched more closely and think it is one of the best. The writing is execellent, but I just always found the rock episodes rather cliche (the other was "Dwarf in a Helium Hat"). Keep Google close for this one - writer, David Chase, throws out one obscure or semi-obsure reference after another: Molly Pitcher, Irene Rich, Rondo Hutton, Cisco Kid, Heathcliff, John Donne, to name a few.

What I really like about it is that more than just about any other episode it has a highly relevant, interesting theme running through it: falling in love with someone you don't know isn't a good idea and should be avoided. As Jim says, it's a matter of giving a lot of power to someone you don't know. And he gives his friend, Eddie, the most right on, accurate, helpful advice you can give to someone as smitten with a stranger as Eddie: "this is going to sound a little weird, but Whitney is an idea in your own head." Perfect advice and should have been an "a-ha!!" moment for Eddie, but he just doesn't even think about it.

The ending continues the theme where Whitney says she tried things with several people, but they just weren't Tim Ritchie. Then she says she tried with Tim Ritchie, but, you guessed it --- it wasn't Tim Ritchie! As Rockford said -- he was just an idea inside her own head! Great writing by Chase.

I just watched both episodes last night -- and had the same reaction:  a lot better than I remembered.  Dialogue was very good....particularly the exchanges you mentioned and those between Rockford and Tim Richie (the rock star).   I thought all of the actors were excellent...although the character George Loros played was annoying at times.  Then again, I suppose that was the intended result for Eddie's moping, etc.  Tim Richie was hardly perfect....but he certainly was being used by most of the people around him.  

 

I've found that quite a few of the episodes I thought were OK but not remarkable -- on rewatching, turned out to be top notch.

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Re-watching some of the episodes are even more fun if you are on the lookout for things that wouldn't happen today.

Searching for a payphone is a recurring theme, and the younger viewers wouldn't even understand what a big deal that used to be.

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