Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: The Rockford Files

  1. #1
    Anyone here a Rockford Files fan?

    "Rockford" has a connection to Hawaii Five-O -- and not a good one. NBC was tired of getting their clock cleaned by Five-O in the ratings. After a promising first season of "Rockford" from 1974-5, they decided to move it to be directly up against Five-O for the 1975-6 season.

    The result? The audience fractured, and both shows suffered.

    There were no VCRs or DVRs in those days, so you had to choose one or the other.

    These were my two favorite 1970s dramas, so I see why the audience was split. I would have been very frustrated having to choose. (I was too young to be watching either of them, being 3-4 years old at the time!)

    Rockford actually holds up pretty well today, despite it being 45 years since premiering. The show didn't last nearly as long as Five-O (only 5 1/2 seasons), but it ended prematurely due to knee problems of star James Garner.

    It was ahead of its time in some ways:

    - Jim Rockford was not a really tough guy, and seemed to be taking beatings more often than he gave them. Rockford succeeded using his mind to outwit his opponents.

    - Jim Rockford was also a flawed hero. He was cranky. He was sometimes selfish. He lived in a beaten up trailer on the beach. He often used his police detective friend Dennis Becker to look up info for him, which irritated Dennis to no end.

    - Beth Davenport, the only regular female character on the show (played by Gretchen Corbett), was an aggressive, competent attorney, and was the antithesis to the "damsel in distress" types you typically saw on TV in those days.

    - Jim Rockford was shown battling small, everyday problems in his life, and didn't simply work on cases -- a forerunner to the character-driven television you see today.

    The show also had a TON of on-location shooting around Los Angeles. This increased production costs big time, but it's one of the factors which makes the show especially endearing today. I grew up in 1970s Los Angeles, so seeing "Rockford" is like traveling back in time to see the world through my eyes as a young child.

    It's a very different show than Five-O, and both appealed to me for different reasons. However, one thing they had in common was the creative plots and the weird criminals we got to meet.

    Also, the "Angel" character was one of the more complex and interesting ones on TV in the '70s. Here was a guy who would sell his own mother down the river for $10, and repeatedly caused hassle for Rockford with his shifty ways, yet he was a character we were supposed to (and did) like. His friendship with Rockford was a complicated one, and the viewer came to understand it better as the series progressed.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Five-O Home Page Author Mr. Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    Vancouver, B.C.
    Posts
    96
    There is another Hawaiian connection with Rockford, S06E08, "The Hawaiian Headache," which aired November 23, 1979. I haven't seen this show in a long time, but the IMDB description says "Jim is tricked into believing he's won a trip to Hawaii, when it really turns out to be doing a favor for an old army pal in the CIA."

    This show stars Elissa Dulce as a waitress. Some screen shots are here.

    There are some other H50 actors in the show as well: Jake Hoopai (Elissa's husband at the time), Danny Kamekona, Carmella Letman and Jimmy Borges, as well as Christopher Cary, who played Michael in season 2 Classic H50 finale, "Kiss the Queen Goodbye."

    There is also a Canadian connection with James Garner, who filmed a movie in Victoria, BC. Here is a Victoria newspaper article from after Garner passed away.
    Last edited by Mr. Mike; 03-06-2019 at 05:53 AM.

  4. #4
    I don't know if it counts as a Hawaii connection, but I watched a Biography on Tom Selleck years ago. One of the things *he* mentioned specifically was his guest turn on "The Rockford Files" and how James Garner nurtured an environment of real teamwork. It impressed Selleck to the point that when he was in the position of having his own show, he wanted to have that kind of environment. He succeeded with "Magnum, P.I." and while I don't know much about "Blue Bloods" (I've seen some episodes but don't regularly follow it), I believe he succeeded in making that type of environment in his second show too.

  5. #5
    Originally Posted by Bobbi View Post
    I don't know if it counts as a Hawaii connection, but I watched a Biography on Tom Selleck years ago. One of the things *he* mentioned specifically was his guest turn on "The Rockford Files" and how James Garner nurtured an environment of real teamwork. It impressed Selleck to the point that when he was in the position of having his own show, he wanted to have that kind of environment. He succeeded with "Magnum, P.I." and while I don't know much about "Blue Bloods" (I've seen some episodes but don't regularly follow it), I believe he succeeded in making that type of environment in his second show too.
    Yes, on "The Rockford Files" he played Lance White, a PI who was much "cleaner" and upbeat than Rockford. I believe he appeared in two episodes.

    It has long been acknowledged by Selleck that the White character was the inspiration for Magnum, and in fact they had a few inside-joke callbacks to "The Rockford Files" during the Magnum run, even though Rockford was already cancelled.

    BTW, due to the second season being directly against Five-O, Rockford was never a ratings hit.

    It would have been mostly forgotten in time, but it was aggressively sold in syndication in the '80s and '90s, thus introducing a new generation of fans to it. The show enjoyed a second life this way (in reruns), enough to where eight TV movies were produced in the 1990s.

    However, the TV movies were of inferior quality, despite being written and produced by most of the same people. It appears that they simply had rust regarding writing properly for Rockford. It also didn't help that James Garner was in his late 60s (and looked it), so the "action" sequences had to be much toned down. Additionally, Noah Beery who played his father died before the TV movies could be made, thus also creating a void. In general, the TV movies were not well received by fans of the show, but people kept watching them because they liked the characters and the original series.

    The syndication also created a big legal dispute, where James Garner felt he was being severely underpaid in royalties. This dispute led to the studio eventually settling in Garner's favor, and this changed the standard for compensating actors for appearing in syndicated reruns. This might actually be the most lasting impact Garner had on Hollywood. While the dispute raged on, he refused to perform the Rockford character, thus delaying the TV movies until 1994. Otherwise, we probably would have seen Rockford back on TV in some form in the '80s.

  6. #6
    Last year, I decided to double-dip on THE ROCKFORD FILES and upgrade my original Universal DVD releases from the mid-00’s to the new Blu-ray Complete Series set from Mill Creek. I have to say that the HD upgrade was worth every penny, as it appears that brand-new transfers struck from the original negatives were used for this release (the old dvd transfers looked good, but definitely weren’t remastered).

    If you’re a fellow ROCKFORD fan, I highly recommend this upgrade! (I also recommend upgrading to the digital HD releases of classic HAWAII FIVE-O and MAGNUM, P.I. on digital sales platforms like Amazon Video, iTunes and VUDU!)

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. My X-Files page
    By Mr. Mike in forum Other TV Shows
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 03-23-2019, 07:51 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •