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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 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/

 

Yep, I remember that episode well, James. In fact, a couple of years ago I used the premise of that episode in order to get out of Grand Jury duty, telling the presiding judge of the Grand jury selection process that I could not in good conscience sit on ANY jury where I'm primarily hearing ONLY one side of an argument and then asked to make a judgement.

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I remember the night The Rockford Files won the Emmy for "Best Dramatic Series".  Who were they kidding?  This was the funniest show on the air not because of the forced laughs of the sitcoms but the way that the situations and dialogue ebbed and flowed to make almost any one of them humorous.  A case in point was when Rockford's father, Rocky, saw something he shouldn't have and was being chased by the perps who wanted to kill him.  It was fun watching Rockford worrying about him and trying to get him to lay low which was what Rocky was forever doing to him to no avail.  Unlike Maverick, where "Pappy" was only seen once and known only by his quotes, we got to see father and son work out their loving if testy relationship each week.  This reality is what made the show so watchable.

 

I've heard  that the grand jury episode-one of my favorites-led to some changes in how they operated in California.  If so this is a real lasting legacy that Garner must have loved.  

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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

 

He may have said that. I do know he called it his favorite TV series. I recently watch some Nichols episodes. It's entertaining, with a young Margot Kidder and -- believe it or not -- a funny performance by John Beck as Nichols' rival, the spoiled son of the town boss. Beck was pretty much a stiff through most of his leading man career -- talk about not fulfilling your promise.

 

Like I said, Nichols is an entertaining show. But there's a certain early '70s shaggy dog vibe that stifles dramatic momentum and keeps it from the heights of Maverick or Rockford.

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.

 

Garner won one Emmy for Rockford.

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A lot of the story lines of The Rockford Files are fairly humdrum. It's easy to mix a lot of the episodes together.

 

But it had some great car chases, often marvelous dialogue exchanges, and a charming everyman private eye as the central character with whom the audience could identity. The rapport of the regular cast members, of course, was also a joy.

 

And just what other private eye in show biz history ever devoted screen time to his relationship with his father?

 

What makes it a particularly special television series, in my opinion, was that it was such a wonderful showcase for James Garner's talents, coming at a time, in retrospect, when he was really at the peak of his career as an actor.

 

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Here is a list of eight memorable James Garner movies by film critic Carrie Rickey. (I had forgotten all about "Skin Game"):

 

 

https://www.yahoo.com/movies/james-garners-8-most-memorable-movies-92344234032.html

Skin Game is good up until the final denouement, then it misfires badly with the contrived ending it does have.

 

Garner is channeling his Maverick character, and Gossett is great, I wish the film had shown Gossett & Garner's other various cons and how they stumbled upon the "Skin Game" con.

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Skin Game is good up until the final denouement, then it misfires badly with the contrived ending it does have.

Please don't blurt out that ending. I've never seen Skin Game and had only just ordered the DVD yesterday. It's my understanding that the film shows off Garner's subtle comedy technique well.

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A lot of the story lines of The Rockford Files are fairly humdrum. It's easy to mix a lot of the episodes together.

 

But it had some great car chases, often marvelous dialogue exchanges, and a charming everyman private eye as the central character with whom the audience could identity. The rapport of the regular cast members, of course, was also a joy.

 

If I have any criticism of Rockford it would be that it had way too many car chases (the car chase seemed almost a given) it was practically an ad for Pontiac Firebird.

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Please don't blurt out that ending. I've never seen Skin Game and had only just ordered the DVD yesterday. It's my understanding that the film shows off Garner's subtle comedy technique well.

I won't, you'll find out for yourself. Enjoy it.

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I remember seeing Nichols on it's first run, I enjoyed it but don't remember much. The images that linger are the old motorcycle and the pit bull.

All the episodes of Nichols were on You Tube a couple of months ago, and they were very good looking images (possibly taken off the DVD release of the series).

 

I can't find them on You Tube now, though. Perhaps they will come back.

 

I didn't actually watch any of the episodes but remember being pleasantly surprised at seeing that Stuart Margolin was in the show.

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If I have any criticism of Rockford it would be that it had way too many car chases (the car chase seemed almost a given) it was practically an add for Pontiac Firebird.

 

Rockford seemed to take an awful lot of punches to the belly. Could almost make a drinking game of it.

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All the episodes of Nichols were on You Tube a couple of months ago, and they were very good looking images (possibly taken off the DVD release of the series).

 

I can't find them on You Tube now, though. Perhaps they will come back.

 

I didn't actually watch any of the episodes but remember being pleasantly surprised at seeing that Stuart Margolin was in the show.

 

They were taken down within the last month or so. As I wrote, I managed to watch a few. 

 

Even those who are not big Garner fans should watch the final episode. If you're unfamiliar with it, it's something of a jaw dropper.

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Skin Game is good up until the final denouement, then it misfires badly with the contrived ending it does have.

 

IMHO the problem with Skin Game is that it, like Garner's other Paul Bogart film Marlowe, is not very well directed. And while I am a big Peter Stone fan, the last act of the script has some problems of its own.

 

Garner is channeling his Maverick character, and Gossett is great, I wish the film had shown Gossett & Garner's other various cons and how they stumbled upon the "Skin Game" con.

 

 

The original version may have. Remember how we see cut-ins of how Garner and Gossett met? I doubt they shot those scenes for quick cut-ins. It probably started as a flashback that was cut down for time.

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THE SKIN GAME was in the middle of the period Garner was doing his SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHERRIF/ SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL GUNFIGHTER period.  Pre-Rockford.  Understand he suffered some life long injuries from that show.  I often wonder which would make the better drinking game:

 

Rockford getting punched in the gut, or MANNIX getting hit over  the head?

 

Anyway, I like all three movies mentioned above.

 

Sepiatone

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Cash McCall is one of the Garner movies being shown.   It is more dramatic than others he did about the same time.  It is good, but don't expect anything like Boys Night Out, Wheeler Dealers, the Doris Day ones, etc.

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0Captvvvbure.jpg

 

This is a shot of Mariette Hartley in the "Paradise Cove" episode of Rockford Files in which she had a guest appearance. This was spurred by the popularity of her Polaroid commercials with Garner which were currently being seen by television audiences.

 

Get the impression that these two got along?

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I had my weekly phone conversation with my mom today.  She's 83 and still "with it."  Anyway, she adored James Garner.  I had to apologize for not sending her flowers and sympathy card after Jim's passing.  Anyway, she recalled an anecdote that she had heard Julie Andrews share in an interview about the extended kissing scene in The Americanization of Emily.  Apparently, Andrews had approached the scene as a professional and figured, this is just acting.  But when the scene was over, she said she was so weak in the knees she could barely stand up! 

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Encore Westerns is doing an all-day tribute to James Garner.  Starting with Maverick series and then later in day changes to westerns he was in.  Began before 9:00 AM EST, Saturday, July 26.

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After James Garner finally settled out of court with Universal over Rockford accounting discrepancies (an extended period of stress for a few years that was, apparently, fairly brutal on the actor's marriage), he appeared in eight made-for-TV 90 minute Rockford File movies. 

 

The first four have been released as a set in a DVD called The Rockford Files Movie Collection Vol. 1.

Unfortunately, to the best of my knowledge, the latter quartet of Rockfords never were released. They are, however, currently available for viewing on You Tube:

 

Friends and Foul Play

Punishment and Crime

Murder and Misdemeanors

If It Bleeds . . . It Leads

 

The first two are, in my opinion, okay but minor efforts, both relying heavily on Garner's laid back charm. The third and, particularly, fourth of the films, though, have much stronger writing.

 

If It Bleeds . . . It Leads is particularly impressive to me, and a great swan song for Jim Rockford. It's a strong condemnation of trial-by-media in which a school teacher is hounded by the media and turned into a pariah because he bears a strong resemblance to a police sketch of a child r a p i s t currently terrorizing LA. Garner is rock solid as Rockford, of course, and the TV movie also has a return of Rita Moreno to the series as a former call girl. The film is also blessed with a particularly strong performance from Hal Linden as the school teacher. The climax of If It Bleeds . . . It Leads can only be described as powerful.

 

Stuart Margolin appears intermittently in it as Angel, but he also directs the film. Angel is a character that is most effective, I feel, if seen in small doses. Otherwise, he's such a strong character that he could prove to be a distraction, especially to a serious film such as this with its message blasting the ruthlessness of the media.

 

There are still a few moments of levity to be found, however, courtsey Angel. At one point Angel, mistakenly believing that Rockford is going away on vacation, scams some money out of a mark by telling him he will rent Rockford's trailer to him (without Rockford knowing, of course). Rockford shows up just as the mark is handing a cheque to Angel, just in time to expose and spoil Angel's con.

 

The mark responds by grabbing Angel by the throat as Rockford casually goes into his trailer to answer the phone. As Rockford is talking on the phone the audience can see behind him outside clouds of sand kicked up in the air from the beating being administered to a most deserving Angel.

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I had my weekly phone conversation with my mom today.  She's 83 and still "with it."  Anyway, she adored James Garner.  I had to apologize for not sending her flowers and sympathy card after Jim's passing.  Anyway, she recalled an anecdote that she had heard Julie Andrews share in an interview about the extended kissing scene in The Americanization of Emily.  Apparently, Andrews had approached the scene as a professional and figured, this is just acting.  But when the scene was over, she said she was so weak in the knees she could barely stand up! 

I wonder whether she told Blake Edwards about it after the scene.

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Were Edwards and Andrews married at the time?

 

No. Andrews was married at the time to her first husband, art designer/costume designer Tony Walton. Their daughter Emma is an author of several children's books. Andrews married Edwards five years after "The Americanization of Emily" was released.

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I only heard about the TCM tribute today, and I must say how annoyed that the Ingmar Bergman tribute has been cancelled.  Who knows if TCM will ever show Through a Glass Darkly or The Silence again.  Why choose this over the Lee Grant tribute on the 30th, which doesn't even include Shampoo?

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I only heard about the TCM tribute today, and I must say how annoyed that the Ingmar Bergman tribute has been cancelled.  Who knows if TCM will ever show Through a Glass Darkly or The Silence again.  Why choose this over the Lee Grant tribute on the 30th, which doesn't even include Shampoo?

 

Lee Grant is very hot at the moment because she's written the autobiography "I Said Yes to Everything: A Memoir" (Blue Rider Press). It covers everything from her unfortunate blacklisting for 12 years (mostly because of a funeral eulogy she delivered) to her triumphant comeback in the 1960s and early 1970s. I feel your pain about the bumping of the Bergman films, but we can hope they'll be rescheduled down the line.

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I only heard about the TCM tribute today, and I must say how annoyed that the Ingmar Bergman tribute has been cancelled.  Who knows if TCM will ever show Through a Glass Darkly or The Silence again.  Why choose this over the Lee Grant tribute on the 30th, which doesn't even include Shampoo?

As I have said many times before and repeatedly contacted TCM, these tributes should be done AFTER the movies are listed in Now Playing.  This will give people plenty of time to know they are coming and will not pre-empt other shows.

Would also give TCM more time to actually find the best movies they can to feature.

BTW, Charter Communications is still listing the original TCM schedule for the 28th and showing that on their information data.  Which means if someone stumbles onto the Garner tribute, they won't know what it is about or the name of the movie being shown.

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