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I noticed this morning that Amazon has raised their prices on season sets of The Rockford Files from what they were previously. Coincidence? What a bunch of money grubbers.

James Garner, as we all know, sued Universal for creative accounting regarding the money due him for The Rockford Files. Six years later the studio reluctantly settled out of court with him.

 

Garner would be the last person surprised that a corporation would try to make extra money out of his death.

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Don't recall if anyone has yet mentioned that Garner starred in one of the better television movies(HBO) ever made, "Barbarians at the Gate"(1993), a seriocomedy about high-finance and corporate takeovers, and with a teleplay by the great Larry Gelbart.

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Don't recall if anyone has yet mentioned that Garner starred in one of the better television movies(HBO) ever made, "Barbarians at the Gate"(1993), a seriocomedy about high-finance and corporate takeovers, and with a teleplay by the great Larry Gelbart.

Thanks for reminding me, Dargo. It's about time to pull that one out again. I haven't seen it in years.

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James Garner, as we all know, sued Universal for creative accounting regarding the money due him for The Rockford Files. Six years later the studio reluctantly settled out of court with him.

 

Garner would be the last person surprised that a corporation would try to make extra money out of his death.

 

When someone dies the demand for products associated with them goes up.    So what is going on here is just a case of supply and demand.      Ok, I understand the case of, say,  raising the price of bottled water during an emergency.   But that isn't the case here.    

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I'm looking forward to the Garner films they're showing that I haven't seen. I'll have to watch Mr Buddwig now to see for myself if it's as bad as he thought. I often love a movie that I find out later an actor or director hated. Sometimes being on the inside isn't a good thing. Also, sometimes perspective of time helps. Although there are some bad movies I've seen with top notch actors and sometimes even lots of money thrown at it, and I often think, "What a depressing premiere this must have been!"

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I saw 'Mr. Buddwing' when I was an usher in 1966 (watched it on my night off all the way through) and I didn't mind it at all. As I recall it was about a man who was struggling with amnesia as he wandered through the city. I think I'll give it another look on the 28th.

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I've never seen MARLOWE.

I'm looking forward to this one. 

It features Bruce Lee in his first movie role.

 

 

Lee is in it for just a few minutes, but he makes an impression (LOL)........

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I saw 'Mr. Buddwing' when I was an usher in 1966 (watched it on my night off all the way through) and I didn't mind it at all. As I recall it was about a man who was struggling with amnesia as he wandered through the city. I think I'll give it another look on the 28th.

 

Yes, I was surprised to hear Garner speak so negatively about the movie.

I haven't seen it but from the description it sound like it has a bit of a MEMENTO feel to it.

Perhaps it was "before its time" with its use of a non-linear narrative.

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FYI:  Season Six of Rockford Files is really only half a season, even though DVD's cost same as other seasons.

Season Six is supposedly when he quit the series either in a money dispute or because of injuries.

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It would have been nice if TCM could have shown "Murphy's Romance" (1985), the only film for which Garner received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. I haven't seen it in years.

 

Garner was such a good soldier about the nomination. He knew he wouldn't win -- that was William Hurt's year -- but he went through all the motions actors have to go through on such occasions. Perhaps he was genuinely pleased that his peers had acknowleged his work in the film AND his career.

 

By the way, did anyone else notice that Garner was two weeks and a day older than Shirley Temple?

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Yes, I was surprised to hear Garner speak so negatively about the movie.

I haven't seen it but from the description it sound like it has a bit of a MEMENTO feel to it.

Perhaps it was "before its time" with its use of a non-linear narrative.

 

Believe me, it's not in the same league as Memento....

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James Garner remembered by co-star Mariette Hartley

 

Across 250 Polaroid commercials, the 'Rockford Files' star found an ideal sparring partner
 
Michael Phillips Talking Pictures

2:14 p.m. CDT, July 21, 2014

 

James Garner rarely acted outside his comfort zone, but you can say the same of a thousand other familiar actors who never quite inspired the same loyalty and warm feeling. He was his own comfort zone, on the small screen and the large, and as critic Glenn Kenny wrote over the weekend on his blog: “His work in later pictures such as ‘Murphy’s Romance’ provided little object lessons that ‘masculine’ and ‘gentle” need not be mutually exclusive terms.”

 

Garner enjoyed three long-running TV series. First came “Maverick” (1957-1962), which allowed the Oklahoma native a chance to reveal his charm, wit and easygoing way of kidding his material when the material could take it. Then came “The Rockford Files” (1974-1980). And in between?

 

In between, besides a lot of movies, there was a TV series that wasn’t a series in the formal sense. From 1978 to 1985, after doing solo spots for the same sponsor, Garner began a string of

opposite the droll Mariette Hartley, now 74. They are classics of the form, 250 in all. In 15-, 30- and 60-second segments we saw a faux marriage of complementary wiseacres played out, beguilingly. Everybody thought they were really married. They weren’t. But Garner and Hartley became the Benedick and Beatrice of the commercial world, and the rapport they brought to the advertising game was better, looser, more vital than 90 percent of whatever the ads were designed to support.
 

“He taught me so much about comedy,” Hartley told me Sunday, speaking from her home in Los Angeles. The actress recently finished a run of “The Lion in Winter” at the Colony Theatre in Burbank. “We’d shoot the legalese, you know, the first 20 seconds or so, and then we’d ad lib, improvise, our tongues in our cheeks. People got attached to us, and nobody could do that sort of thing with such grace and humor as Jimmy. I just loved working with him.”

 

In the early ‘60s Hartley worked as a young contract player, playing supporting roles in “Ride the High Country” and “Marnie,” at the time Garner was becoming a hot film commodity. His “Maverick” fan base was huge, yet in those days TV stars didn’t cross over to film easily. Garner kept busy, moving from wartime drama (“The Great Escape,” 1963) to romantic comedy (“The Thrill of It All,” 1963) to trenchant Paddy Chayefsky insights on combat and the warrior mentality (“The Americanization of Emily,” 1964).

 

“I guess one of the reasons people loved him,” Hartley told me, “is that there’s such an earthbound quality, a real base to the man. He didn’t push at all. He didn’t have to.” While Clint Eastwood was murdering psychopathic scum with eerie impunity in the “Dirty Harry” movies, Garner -- Eastwood’s contemporary and fellow TV cowboy alum -- teased out a human side to his lawmen, capable of doubt and fear and zingers that didn’t sound like death sentences.

 

From television Garner learned a kind of “domestic intimacy,” in the phrase of David Thomson, who writes beautifully on Garner’s career in “The New Biographical Dictionary of Film.”

 

“Humility is a very tough thing to have,” Hartley said Sunday, “especially when you’re a tough guy. But it’s so appealing. Jimmy never came off as a know-it-all. You know what the key was to Jimmy’s success? He listened. Just like Henry Fonda on screen, like Spencer Tracy, Jimmy really listened. I don’t know how you can act without that. Every film I’ve seen of his, whether he’s a cowboy or a soldier or a detective or an ordinary husband, you never really felt he had secrets. He was just there, listening, working hard, but making it look so damn easy.”

 

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I recently wrote reviews for both Marlowe & Mr. Buddwing

 

Marlowe (1969) A Cool Cat Looking For a Connection

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title sequence

It’s all about cool, cool that aura of quiet intensity along that ever changing cutting edge balancing between conservative and excess, the spark between new and old, you know it when you see it. 

William Powell had it, Noir icons Bogart, Dick Powell, Mitchum, Conte, Andrews, Ford, Holden, and Hayden had it. James Garner as Marlowe displays one of the last vestiges of classic, big city, private eye cool, surfing the counter culture tsunami of the 60s. Yes, other P.I. depictions will follow, the majority on TV, but they will be diluted and tainted by the sea change of the Age of Aquarius, but they will be written quirky, cutesy, and PC. The only other film P.I’s that have the classic cool in contemporary settings are Paul Newman’s Harper films, Armand Assante in I, The Jury, and possibly Elliot Gould’s turn as Marlowe in The Long Goodbye, and Gene Hackman as Mosby in Night Moves.

Marlowe(1969) Director: Paul Bogart, with James Garner as Philip Marlowe, Gayle Hunnicutt as Mavis Wald, Carroll O'Connor as Lt. Christy French, Rita Moreno as stripper Dolores Gonzáles, Sharon Farrell as Orfamay Quest, Corinne Camacho as Julie, William Daniels as Mr. Crowell, H.M. Wynant as gangster Sonny Steelgrave, Jackie Coogan as Grant W. Hicks, Paul Stevens as Dr. Vincent Lagardie, film noir bit part mugs Kenneth Tobey (He Walked by NightThe File on Thelma JordonOne Way StreetKiss Tomorrow GoodbyeAngel FaceDown Three Dark Streets) and George Tyne (Deadline at DawnThey Won't Believe MeBody and SoulCall Northside 777Thieves HighwaySide Street, and Bruce Lee as mod clad enforcer/hit man Winslow Wong. 

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top to bottom: The Infinite Pad, Marlowe with horsehead oil pump, managers apartment


Right out of the chute we are dropped both visually into Marlowe’s current case in the title sequence by the use of a nice dynamic camera aperture motif that reveals multiple candid papparazi/surveillance photos, and audibly by a bubblegum style pop tune from the silly side of the commercial sixties. Titled “Little Sister” (sung by Orpheus) that ties the film to Raymond Chander’s novel “The Little Sister” The tune itself then morphs into a tinny sounding diegetic song blaring from the radio of Marlowe’s top down Dodge convertible. 

The car rolls along, anb only in southern California, horsehead oil pump studded beach, and up to a peace sign and flower power festooned hippy hotel called The Infinite Pad. Jammed into the chrome barred appointments of the dash is a photo of Orin Quest, the wayward missing in action brother from some hicksville Kansas fly speck who blew town down Route 66 in search of kicks. Marlowe wades through the throng of **** out denizens and into the mangers office replete with posters, burning incense, and love beads. Marlowe soon finds out that he’s in deeper **** than the $50 dollar retainer chump change case warranted.

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The Bradbury Building

So how, you may ask, does a knight errant loner like Marlowe survive in a world of full page add, multiple operative, private investigation agencies? Well, he sublets half of his shabby suite of family-hand-me-down furnished offices to a beauty college who’s ex-pat Brit proprietor doubles as an answering service/receptionist. He is good for a few chuckles. 

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noir-ish

Cinematographer William Daniels (Brute ForceLuredThe Naked City) achieves a subdued almost laid back noir-ish style, photographing sleazy late 60s LA in a way that emphasizes the thin veneer of “new” that cosmetically covers the same old decay, its just Day-Glo painted now. Noir archetypes such as the Bradbury Building, and Union Station provide a cinematic memory link to classic film noir, while modern apartments, cloud club panoramic restaurants, the Hotel Alvarado and Sunset Blvd. strip joints anchor us to 1969. The use of split screen both advances the story line and occasionally provides a bit of humor. Another segment at a TV studio juxtaposes a throwaway modern dance routine along side one of the 20 Greta Garbo films that Daniels is famous for. Garner disdains the dance number to a TV exec telling him that the Garo film is the real entertainment.

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top to bottom: Garner & George Tyne, Coogan - O'Connor, Garner O'Connor Tobey

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top to bottom: Steelgrave, split screen, Winslow Wong & Marlowe 

 

1969 contemporary Marlowe is a cool level headed professional, efficient, witty, and generous he even has a sleep over gal pal who works at the DMV who he also pumps for information. He eschews fedora and trench coat for sunglasses but still smokes a pipe and drinks bourbon.

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Marlowe s*t*o*n*e*d on drug laced tar bar

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top to bottom: Corinne Camacho, Gail Hunnicutt, Sharon Farrell far rt., Rita Moreno

The stories catalyst is Orfamay’s search for brother Orin and turns convolutedly into something else. Gayle Hunnicutt is Mavis Wald, a prominent TV star billed as "America's Sweetheart" an almost auguring like reference to Mary Tyler Moore & her show by the same name. Marlowe’s involvement shakes things up enough to get various seemingly un-related individuals getting caught in a vortex with bodies piling up. Watch for Bruce Lee trashing Marlowe’s office. The repartee between Carroll O’Connor and Marlowe. The sequence at Union Station where a woman is caught sitting at a lunch counter between Marlowe and Orfamay where they update all the skulduggery that has taken place the various facial expressions she displays are hilarious. This is a reference to a similar set up in The Dark Corner where Mark Stevens and Lucille Ball are conversing while a ticket booth girl overhears them.

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Club Largo & Dolores (Moreno)

Fellows shines as Orfamay. Jackie Coogan is good as shifty Grant W. Hicks. George Tyne is a hoot as as the Hotel Alvarado house dick. Rita Moreno sizzles as stripper Dolores, doing a very sophisticated striptease routine that’s low on tease and high on strip. It makes you think of what may have been if Hollywood had not been shackled by the Hays Code. Think of the strip routines of Rita Hayworth in Gilda, Adele Jergens in Armored Car Robbery, Anita Ekberg in Screaming Mimi, Robin Raymond in The Glass Wall, Barbara Nichols in Beyond A Reasonable Doubt, even Kim Novak inThe Man With the Golden Arm

The soundtrack after the title sequence reverts into variations of a nice cool jazzy theme. If I have any quibbles it would be for even more LA location shots (especially with the cinematographer of The Naked City). DVD from Warner Archive Collection. 9/10

 

Goodbye Jimmy

 
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I recently reviewed Marlowe & Mister Buddwing here is Mister Buddwing

 

Mister Buddwing (1966) Jazz Noir

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Oscar-winning film director Delbert Mann ( The Outsider (1961), Marty (1955) - TV, Playhouse 90, Goodyear Playhouse, Omnibus, roducers Showcase, Playwrights ‘56, Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse, Schlitz Playhouse, Masterpiece Playhouse) adapts Evan Hunter’s novel “Buddwing” and with the cinematography of Ellsworth Fredericks (Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Seven Days in May (1964)) and a great original jazzy score by Kenyon Hopkins (composer for Baby Doll (1956), 12 Angry Men (1957), The Fugitive Kind (1959), The Hustler (1961), to create a stylized “Jazz Noir”. 


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Filming in 1965, Mister Buddwing is one of those lost films that are on the cusp between Film Noir and Neo Noir. Sort of a psychological noir rather than a “crime” noir. A melancholy film that plays with time, space and your mind as the various vignettes overlap it's eerie and noirishly suspenseful, but at times darkly comic. It requires multiple viewings to fully comprehend.


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The film stars James Garner in a role that really displays his acting chops in a performance far removed from his wisecracking Bret Maverick (disregard his contention that this is his worst film, he sells himself way too short). Garner plays one of Film Noir’s touchstone tropes the amnesiac. The film opens with an unfocused shot of the sky sliced diced and fragmented by bare branches . As the frame focuses and our view pans we see the branches are trees, we see buildings, and Central Park at the corner of 59th and 5th. In an homage to Robert Montgomery‘s “The Lady In The Lake” and the beginning of “Dark Passage”, the film displays an intriguing POV sequence that begins when hands “rub” the eye of the camera, it also begins a faint jazz heartbeat increasing in tempo and volume as “we” the character sitting on a park bench search frantically through out suit pockets (for identification) combing out a train timetable, a scrap of paper with a phone number and some pills. A ring on his finger has an inscription “from G.V.”. The POV sequence continues until we stumble into a mirror at the Plaza Hotel when Garner is revealed. He has neither money or ID but he does remember the name of a woman, a woman named Grace.


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Gloria 

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Using a lobby phone and giving a fictitious room number he calls Gloria (Angela Lansbury) to try and discover his identity. Gloria a divorced floozy with a heart of gold, takes pity on him and gives him money so that he can find himself. So begins his jazz odyssey through the streets of New York. 


Janet

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In his quest for Grace, Garner meets three women, Janet (Katherine Ross), Fiddle (Susanne Pleshette), and The Blonde (Jean Simmons), each of the women he at first mistakens for Grace. So at first we see Garner interact with each woman in their true identities and at some point they become a vivid flashback to his relationship with Grace at different stages of his life with Grace, the starry eyed young love stage, the struggle with real life, and the consequences of wrong decisions made. All this makes the viewer a little disoriented, a little lost, exactly how James Garner's character feels throughout the movie.


Fiddle

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The film features the neighborhoods of midtown Manhattan, Times Square, and the Queensboro Bridge as its backdrop creating a cinematic memory link to classic Noirs, The Sweet Smell Of Success, Kiss Of Death, Killers Kiss, The Unsuspected, it also seamlessly fuses with the occasional studio backlot segments. Wonderful melancholy jazz compositions accompany Garner as he wanders the streets.








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The Blond

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All the three actresses are outstanding in their dual rolls.


 


Watch for Joe Mantell’s cab driver character’s hilarious monolog then pay attention for its echo with the 2nd cab driver Billy Halop, the original leader of the Dead End Kids. Watch for Nichelle Nichols appearance as a dice player, Raymond St. Jacques as the tout for the crap game, and Jack Gilford‘s interaction with Garner in a lunch counter.


Nichelle Nichols 

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The cinematography during the crap game sequence is excellent, I don't recall a crap game segment, as well done for is length, taking time to visually introduce each of the participants. It does recall the boxing sequence and the ringside vignettes from Rboert Wise's
The Set Up
 (1949).


Available on DVD from the Warner Brothers Archive Collection. 9/10

 
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another Doris Day's leading man has passed away...now only Kirk Douglas and Rod Taylor are left

correction: now only Kirk Douglas, Rod Taylor and Louis Jourdan are left

 

TCM gave THE THRILL OF IT ALL a good time slot

 

MONDAY JULY, 28 2014 AT 08:00 PM

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I've been moping around the past few days, my thoughts frequently returning to James Garner. I can't quite recall the last time that an actor's death has taken the wind out of my sails quite like this one has.

 

The man had a good life, from what I understand, and after all, he did make it to 86, not exactly a youngster. Still, here I am back on this thread again trying to express my feelings about what he meant to me.

 

The first time I ever saw Garner was when I came home from school as a kid and saw episodes of Maverick, then in their early rounds in syndication. And I was entranced with the "tall dark stranger there," as the show's lyrics went, appreciating his striking good looks, effortless charm and, above all, ability to bring a sly humourous touch to a scene, often with the most subtle of facial gestures.

 

Probably my favourite episodes in Maverick were whenever Garner as Brett (sometimes accompanied by Jack Kelly's Brother Bart) would attempt a flim flam on some rich corrupt thief that deserved it. But I also remember loving the way that Brett tried his darndest to avoid a fight, if he could, to the extent that some might regard him as being a downright un-he-man-like westerner by his attitude. Maverick pulled a refreshing reversal on the accepted western archetypes celebrated on the big and small screen until then, and I loved the wit of the show (at its best), almost as much as I did Garner's performances in it.

 

Then I sort of lost track of Garner for a while as he went into the movies, and I only saw the occasional one over the years.

 

Then came The Rockford Files, and he was Brett Maverick once again, this time in modern detective guise. Garner was still an enormously attractive guy, but the seasoning that he had had over the years as an actor had only sharpened his skills. There was none of the Bogart mystique about Garner's Jim Rockford.

 

The man lived in a trailer on the beach, for gosh sakes, and was always scrouging for whatever money he could make. He had a father who called him "Sonny" and encouraged him to get a "real" job, like a truck driver, or something, and a friend named Angel who looked and acted like he had craweled out of a sewer. (And would take full advantage of Rockford whenever the opportunity presented itself to that sewer rat, played by Stuart Margolin in a characterization that was a marvellous combination of sleaze and comedy).

 

Garner as Rockford was an everyman. And Garner as an actor had by now perfected his ability at portraying the exasperations in life that we all feel at times and he could do it with just the slightest facial gesture, often for humourous effect.

 

And what an actor he had become. Such a natural reactor to what others were saying on screen. Garner was one of the great listeners, nothing seemed forced or obvious. Every nuance he displayed on screen seemed like a genuine life-like response to whatever situation was at hand.

 

It was around the same time as Rockford that television audiences were also treated to some of the most beloved commercials that that medium had ever produced. That was when that effortless Garner charm was coupled with actress Mariette Hartley for about 250 Polaroid commercials. When had a "married" couple's bickering ever been so delightful? Who didn't want to have Garner and Hartley as their next door neighbours, to share a joke, a story, a burger at a barbecue?

 

James Garner would continue to have a distinguished film and television career afterwards, as well, with some celebrated performances as he aged. He was part of the sophisticated fun of Blake Edwards' wonderful Victor Victoria. He would get his sole Oscar nomination as a middle aged charmer who dispelled common sense wisdom, along with a little grumpiness, in Murphy's Romance. All reports are that when Garner went to the Oscar ceremonies he knew fully well that he wasn't go to win, but he was honoured to have been nominated and was the incarnation of graciousness in defeat. Would we have believed that it could have been any other way with James Garner?

 

Afterward he had a few revivals of Rockford in TV movies, clearly older now, but with that charm still intact. He was also highly effective in Barbarians at the Gate, a TV movie shot at corporation takeovers, and still later had a hit as a man dealing with the realities of a wife suffering from dementia in The Notebook.

 

Through it all Garner maintained an honesty and integrity in his performances, both of which, according to friends, were a reflection of the man himself.

 

And now he's gone, and I'm eulogizing him.

 

But I think that I am also mourning the loss of a part of my own youth, and the time I sat enthralled before the television as Garner's Brett Maverick would smile, sit back and say with that good ol' boy charm of his, "Son, I can remember the time my Pappy told me . . .."

 

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Tom, when I read this part of your tribute here...

 and a friend named Angel who looked and acted like he had craweled out of a sewer. (And would take full advantage of Rockford whenever the opportunity presented itself to that sewer rat, played by Stuart Margolin in a characterization that was a marvellous combination of sleaze and comedy).

 

 

...it reminded me of one of the scenes in that series that always brought me a big laugh.

 

Jim and Angel are being held in some warehouse by a bunch of bad guys, and the leader of those bad guys is telling his captives that he HAS to kill them both because if word got out about how he had been snookered by them his reputation on the street would be ruined.

 

THIS is when Angel says to the guy somethin' along the lines of, "Hey, tell ya what! Just do Jimmy and then let ME go and spread the word that you don't mess with Big Ralph!"

 

Well, eventually of course Rockford and Angel escape, but as they escape Jim turns to Angel and says in a mocking manner, "What the hell was THAT 'just kill Jimmy' thing all about?!"

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Tom, when I read this part of your tribute here...

...it reminded me of one of the scenes in that series that always brought me a big laugh.

 

Jim and Angel are being held in some warehouse by a bunch of bad guys, and the leader of those bad guys is telling his captives that he HAS to kill them both because if word got out about how he had been snookered by them his reputation on the street would be ruined.

 

THIS is when Angel says to the guy somethin' along the lines of, "Hey, tell ya what! Just do Jimmy and then let ME go and spread the word that you don't mess with Big Ralph!"

 

Well, eventually of course Rockford and Angel escape, but as they escape Jim turns to Angel and says in a mocking manner, "What the hell was THAT 'just kill Jimmy' thing all about?!"

 

Angel, whose real name was Evelyn Martin, also was responsible for some of the best answering machine messages during the opening credits. My favorite: "Jimmy, this is Angel. You know how they allow you one phone call? Well, this is it."

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Growing up in the 60s and 70s my first conscious knowledge of Garner was "The Rockford Files."  Someone somewhere quoted a line from the show where he had been beaten by a thug and Rockford asked "Does your mother know what you do for a living?" Even acknowledging a thug had a mother is funny. Now, it is still fun to watch. The stories are mostly okay but they are a fine time capsule of cars and every time you want to make a call you have to stop at a phone booth.

 

But learning Garner had a film legacy was interesting too. It was fun to watch "Support Your Local Sheriff" but then see him play in "Dual At Diablo" there was another facet that was worth discovering. "Hour of The Gun" and "Marlowe" had their own dark sides. 

 

An affable cynic who could be as charming and funny when angry as he could when being pleasant still carried him to a wide audience.

 

A tough guy and a comedian all rolled into one. All that leaves plenty to watch. 

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Tom, when I read this part of your tribute here...

...it reminded me of one of the scenes in that series that always brought me a big laugh.

 

Jim and Angel are being held in some warehouse by a bunch of bad guys, and the leader of those bad guys is telling his captives that he HAS to kill them both because if word got out about how he had been snookered by them his reputation on the street would be ruined.

 

THIS is when Angel says to the guy somethin' along the lines of, "Hey, tell ya what! Just do Jimmy and then let ME go and spread the word that you don't mess with Big Ralph!"

 

Well, eventually of course Rockford and Angel escape, but as they escape Jim turns to Angel and says in a mocking manner, "What the hell was THAT 'just kill Jimmy' thing all about?!"

Yep, that sounds like Angel alright.

 

Outside of Garner, Margolin brought me more pleasure than anyone else on Rockford. A wonderfully rich comic characterization of a weasley, cringing, completely reprehensible, cowardly, conniving, zero-integrity, do-ANYTHING-to-survive con artist and all round moral maggot who was, curiously, somehow endearing.

 

Garner and Margolin had previously worked together in another series, Nichols, which only lasted a season. Garner called the character of Nichols one of the favourites of his career, and he obviously enjoyed working with Margolin since he brought him back for Rockford. Margolin won two Emmies playing Angel, and I'm not certain if even Garner did that well with the series when it came to awards.

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"The Rockford Files" had its sober moments, too. Case in point: The 1976 episode "So Help Me God," which really brought home the old saying that a good prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich.

Rockford is summoned to appear before a grand jury to testify in a case he knows nothing about. William Daniels -- at his supercilious best --  guest stars as federal prosecutor Gary Bevins, who pulls Rockford through a legal wringer because he doesn't believe the private investigator's testimony.

I can't remember if this was the season that James Garner and the series won Emmy Awards, but they certainly were on their way to plaudits from the television industry.

 

http://www.imdb.com/video/hulu/vi2820276249/

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