Thursday, May 30, 2013

This is Jim Rockford...

I know, I know. I'm neglecting "Dr. Who."

But Netflix Instant has "The Rockford Files." And, uh, yeah. The good doctor can wait a day or two.

Well, what gave me the idea was watching a few episodes of "Harry O," the underrated 1970s TV series starring the underrated David Janssen as private detective Harry Orwell. My new friend Tom told me if I liked "The Fugitive" (which you know I do), that I would love "Harry O." Remembered seeing it as a kid, but only could recall that Janssen's character lived on the beach and had to leave the police force because he took a bullet in the back. I'll write a separate post on the show later.

So, anyway, seeing Harry O on the beach made me think of Jim Rockford. Surfed over to Netflix. Sure enough, there he was.

It's good fodder for late night fun, which is where I found the show in the beginning, late night reruns. Used to love it when Rockford would slam his Pontiac Firebird in reverse, floor it, then do a 180-degree turn while chasing the bad guys. I liked Rockford for some of the same reasons I like Thomas Magnum. He tries to talk his way out of sticky wickets and gets beat up a lot. James Garner was born for this role. I like Rockford even better than Maverick.

The pilot episode co-starred Lindsay Wagner and a different guy playing Jim's dad. Noah Beery Jr. showed up in the second show.

Remember the hilarious messages left on Rockford's answering machine? I hear these became a bit of a bother to the writers, as Norm Peterson's entrance lines would be a decade later on "Cheers." Ah, well. It was worth it.

Stephen J. Cannell produced and co-created "Rockford" with Roy Huggins (who created "The Fugitive"). I liked most of Cannell's shows. Yes, that includes "The Greatest American Hero."

But there's just something about these '70s detective shows. Especially the ones with a sense of humor. As much as I love the original "Hawaii Five-O," Steve McGarrett didn't crack many one-liners. "Book 'em, Danno!" hardly brought the house down.

That's OK. Jim Rockford more than made up for it.

Sue me. I'm stuck in the '70s.

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