Rockford Files Pilot episode

Discussion in 'TV Show Talk' started by AntAltMike, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    3,985
    130
    Nov 20, 2004
    College...
    The Rockford Files pilot episode, Backlash of the Hunter, part 2 guest starring Lindsay Wagner is on 13.2 Decades. Parts 1 will be rebroadcast at 9:00 PM, followed by part 2 at 10:00 PM

    Noah Beery is not Rocky. I don't recognize the guy who is. A Robert Donley.

    The six hour block begins with James Garner's Dick Cavett interview and his pilot is followed by three of his appearances on Cheyenne, including the 1955 pilot of that show, which was Garner's first credited TV appearance.
     
  2. bmetelsky

    bmetelsky Cool Member

    245
    30
    Feb 28, 2009
    I always liked James on Maverick.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N920A using Tapatalk
     
  3. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    3,985
    130
    Nov 20, 2004
    College...
    Everyone did. That's why Garner was cast to keep playing the same guy over and over.
     
  4. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

    4,153
    101
    Aug 31, 2002
    Imagine anone else landing that role...it would not be nearly as good. Plus Rocky, Angel, Beth, the casting was brilliant. TRF was why I bought a Trans Am and wore a sport jacket without a tie 40 years ago. TRF is probably why the private eye genre is my favorite.

    TRF was the best show by a mile on TV for a very long time, until St. Elsewhere, Hill St. Blues, and Law and Order (which was much better before dilution) came on the scene. The TV movies afterward held up until Rocky was gone, and James lost that iconic pompadour.

    JG as a performer was as charismatic and likable as is possible. Ironic, as he hated people, did not get along with anyone, and turned into a bitter old man. I could not bear to watch him on that show where he replaced John Ritter, because I wanted to remember him as JR. But even so, my mother has said more than once, that 'he could park his shoes under my bed anytime'.

    And the writing was really brilliant, and it held up through every episode. I even learned interesting things like you lose your 5th amendment rights (at least in a federal grand jury case) the second you open your mouth and fail to invoke them. You say 'uh' and it's too late.

    He kept his gun in a cookie jar. Not sure if that is a commentary on gun control in the 21st century, but it just shows how brilliant the thinking must have been in that writer's room.
     
  5. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    3,985
    130
    Nov 20, 2004
    College...
    The first record I ever bought was the Maverick theme song. "Natches to New Orleans"? I had never heard of a place called Natches, and figured the word was "matches", like two of the same card, which is normally called a "pair".


    Like Jack Kelly. Or, perish the thought, Roger Moore, who I didn't, until recently, discover had been Beau Maverick, even though I did remembered their having been such a character.


    I didn't realize that Noah Beery had been in a slew of old westerns until they got carried on the new, re-run channels. Ditto, of course, for Deforest Kelly.

    Garner always spoke highly of Stuart Margolin. The role of a hustler/con man friend gave the writers a lot of opportunities for plot variations, like with Kingfish on Amos and Andy.


    I got sick of hearing Jim Rockford wannabes saying, "muh", instead of "my".


    I don't even think of it as a private eye show. I thought of it as a con man show. Peter Gunn and Joe Mannix were private eyes. So was Paul Drake.


    Could be worse. Have you seen Art Garfunkel lately? Actually, worse than Art Garfunkel lately was Art Garfunkel a few years ago, when he tried out some ridiculous Art Garfunkel, Halloween-like wigs,


    I hadn't heard or noticed that. I do remember that he was pissed at the studios for screwing him out of royalties, and for canceling Nichols, which he loved but which I find boring in rerun.


    I never saw Eight Simple Rules, but as far as I am concerned, anyone replacing John Ritter in anything would be an improvement.


    I've noticed that the writing hasn't held up well in NYPD Blue. Those detectives kept using the same, lame interrogation tactics over and over, and they kept working, even though they shouldn't have worked the first time. "There's going to be one deal here"... "We want to help you, but first you have to...", and, "Write it all down on this pad of paper, and put a lot of 'remorse' in it".

    One frequent element of many Rockford episode premises I didn't buy was that there was some unspecified, hush-hush, big brother type government conspiracy that was at the root of a lot of things that were going wrong.


    "I even learned interesting things like you lose your 5th amendment rights (at least in a federal grand jury case) the second you open your mouth and fail to invoke them. You say 'uh' and it's too late."

    Everything I know about the Statute of Limitations, I learned from the Superman episodes, “Jimmy Olsen, Boy Editor,” (Season 2, Episode 22) and, "The Mysterious Cube" (season 6, Episode 4).


    "He kept his gun in a cookie jar. Not sure if that is a commentary on gun control in the 21st century, but it just shows how brilliant the thinking must have been in that writer's room."

    That's where I'll keep mine, if I ever get one. A cookie jar, that is!
     
  6. Drucifer

    Drucifer Well-Known Member

    9,488
    248
    Feb 12, 2009
    NY Hudson...
    I miss the good old gumshoe shows.
     
  7. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

    4,153
    101
    Aug 31, 2002
    Was that even a thing? JG grew up in Oklahoma, I think, and maybe that's a speech pattern from there. But I never picked up on that. You can hear a little southern drawl in there occasionally, and I think that is JG rather than JR.

    I was never a 'wannabe', other than I sure wished I could be half as cool as JR. Ironically, what made JR cool was that he had an exciting life and could talk his way out of trouble, even though he pathologically sought trouble out. Also cool is that he never would even begin to think he was cool, and no one he dealt with thought he was cool at all. His biggest asset was his gift of gab.

    He lived in a trailer. On the beach. A lonely loner. He made $200 a day plus expenses, when he could find work. Dangerous work. No health insurance, no 401k. That's not very cool at all. His buddy the cop was annoyed by him constantly. He drove a cool car that is now considered a joke. His father, who loved him dearly, was a pest (too much garlic in the chili). No, I would never choose that life. Once he left a ladder outside, and some nimrod put it up and crawled up on his trailer, fell and hurt himself, an sued JR over it. His life was not one to be desired.

    I don't understand 'con man' show. JR was a licensed PI, and never was involved in confidence games other than if a client was being screwed by one, which was rare. He would impersonate people, even had a little printing press in his car to print up phony business cards on the fly. That was about the extent of it.

    But the PI genre is the best. A person working alone with nothing but their wits as resources, trying to solve mysteries and right wrongs. No bosses, no safety net. No income very often, meaning you have to have the bug, be born for it. Go watch Chinatown, and then tell me what genre is better than that.

    TRF was the springboard for Tom Selleck as Magnum, P.I. (a horrible show with an unlikable cast, which people liked more, ran longer, and was nominated for more awards). TS played Lance White in two classic episodes of TRF, a competing PI who stepped in $#!+ and came up smelling like a rose constantly, which irked JR to no end. If you are going to go back and sample old TRF episodes, find those first. But you can't really go wrong with any of them.

    I would ask for a reboot, but really, who could follow JG?
     
  8. Delroy E Walleye

    Delroy E Walleye AllStar

    1,210
    120
    Jun 9, 2012
    Back when we were teens we used to practice doing "Rockfords" in the wintertime on the frozen lake with our big old heavy cars. Of course, we couldn't do 'em in the street.

    (A Rockford was the "J" turn he often performed, starting in reverse and flinging the front end around to go forward in the same direction.)

    Later on there was one of our group able to perform a "reverse Rockford" with a smaller front-wheel drive and get into a parallel parking spot on a dime. Those were the days...

    Nowadays they'll bust ya for even messin' around on the lake!
     
  9. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

    4,153
    101
    Aug 31, 2002
    And they should. You cheated death. :righton:

    We used to love doing them in empty snowy parking lots at night, in my little red Karmann Ghia.

    IIRC, and you probably know this, the J turn was made possible by having two sets of brakes in the stunt car, one for the front wheels and one for the back. Something Hal Needham came up with, I think. You turn slightly and tap the rear brakes which makes the front end come around.

    If you watch TRF closely, you can see the back wheels lock and skid first.
     
  10. Delroy E Walleye

    Delroy E Walleye AllStar

    1,210
    120
    Jun 9, 2012
    I believe the front wheel drive parking spot version was accomplished with correct application of the hand brake (rear wheels).

    Yeah, cheated death for sure, but not anything to do with whipping cars around on the lake! Nothing to hit out there. (Just other dumb "stunts" performed in said old cars, and we'll leave it at that.)

    Ah, the stupidity of being a teen.
     
  11. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

    4,153
    101
    Aug 31, 2002
    Other than the bottom of the lake. :rolleyes:
     
  12. Delroy E Walleye

    Delroy E Walleye AllStar

    1,210
    120
    Jun 9, 2012
    No, once you get away from the river inlet (and we actually knew to stay well-enough away from there) the ice was several feet thick. In the height of winter where temps of -20F highs and -30 to -40 lows could be sustained for weeks, there was absolutely no worries of falling through. The lake ice could probably hold up anything short of a freight train during that part of the winter season.

    Not to say there isn't a history of vehicles going through the ice (too early/late in the season, milder winters or too much snow cover). As "stupid" as we could be at times, somehow we were always cautious when it came to the lake ice and would only venture onto it during that "dead of winter" peak.

    To get a little back on topic, for some reason I can't seem to get the Rockford Files theme song (Mike Post jukebox version) out of my head these days.
     
  13. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

    4,153
    101
    Aug 31, 2002
    Well, it was pretty annoying. Synthesizers were new, and people didn't know how to use them quite yet, so there was a lot of music, even up through the 90's based on 'I got a cool sound no one's heard before' instead of 'this actually sounds pleasing and musical'. Just because you can make a sound that sounds different, that doesn't make it a good idea. Probably what killed smooth jazz.

    Nostalgia is a cool thing, but in 20 years no one will be saying "remember that show with the cool theme song?" because that would be like saying "remember when that blacksmith shop opened?"

    If I were to watch the show today, I would be quickly winding through the answering machine shot to prevent that earwig.

    The only way to prove or test your 'theory' would be to drive out onto the lake and hold your breath. SCUBA gear not included. No offense meant, we all do stupid things, but driving on the ice might be considered risky, if not stupid.
     
  14. Delroy E Walleye

    Delroy E Walleye AllStar

    1,210
    120
    Jun 9, 2012
    Not a "theory!" You've obviously never been to the cold North.

    The lakes can be home to entire "villages," mostly for winter fishing. Fish house shacks (nowadays more and more "luxury" trailers), pickup trucks, ATVs and plenty of standard cars/mini vans, etc. And the largest of 4WD trucks to get those luxury rigs located at the favorite fishing spots.

    There are plenty of Winter carnivals, fishing tournaments and so on to while away the season. Yes, people actually live on the lakes!

    Guess it has to be seen in person in order to be believed. If being careless, though, one is much more likely to suffer hypothermia than drowning in the water falling into a large-enough fishing hole.

    Some of those Winter tournaments actually have people jumping into the water on purpose (usually to raise money for charity) from a large hole cut into the ice. (Usually in these situations, there are properly-outfitted "lifeguards" in the water ready to assist.)

    If one ever gets up there during coldest part of the season, a single breath of the bitter air, one glimpse of the ice village and the whiskey in the bottle slushing up on the front porch will make the "theory" a quickly believable fact.

    Edit to add: BTT, now to find something to take care of that "earwig."
     
  15. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

    4,153
    101
    Aug 31, 2002
    Grew up in South Dakota. Next to the lake.

    We've hijacked. Best to drop it. You are right about everything. Peace, Del.
     
  16. Delroy E Walleye

    Delroy E Walleye AllStar

    1,210
    120
    Jun 9, 2012
    Agreed.

    Only wish I could readily receive more of those nostalgia-type channels. The cable ones more or less ruined with added commercials and time compression or downright snipping of content. Suffice to say TRF could be entertaining.
     
  17. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

    4,153
    101
    Aug 31, 2002
    I expect access to more legacy content as things progress. Streaming will proliferate like algae on the lake, eventually, and they will be screaming for content to stream. Also, the upsampling of SD and lower quality and problems with aspect ratio framing issues will become simple problems to overcome, whereas today they are difficult problems.

    So in another decade, i would not be surprised to have a pristine copy of every show we grew up with available, in some form or another.

    TRF entertaining? It might be a little dated in some ways, but now it is dated enough to be a period piece, like Raymond Chandler noir. It's a little quaint when JR has a printing press in his trunk. But endearing.

    And imagine a TRF universe where everyone has a cell phone. It wouldn't be half as entertaining. Cell phones and the internet have ruined many aspects of drama in the last few years.

    I don't think there is much question about whether it is entertaining or not. If I discovered a season I had missed somehow (hardly, seen them all a dozen times) I would pop the popcorn and devour that season before watching anything else. Aspect ratio be damned. If anyone questions whether the show was good, just watch any single episode. That will answer the question.
     

Share This Page

spam firewall