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The Rockford Files

Posted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 5:03 pm
by Splishak
One of my all-time favorite TV shows is The Rockford Files. There were approximately 125 hours produced (not counting the made for TV movies). Eleven of the shows were two-part episodes. They each consisted of two one-hour parts. They were:
  1. This Case is Closed
  2. Profit and Loss
  3. Gearjammers
  4. The Trees, The Bees and T.T. Flowers
  5. To Protect and Serve
  6. House on Willis Avenue
  7. Black Mirror
  8. Never Send a Boy King to do a Man's Job
  9. Backlash of the Hunter
  10. Lions, Tigers, Monkeys and Dogs
  11. Only Rock & Roll Will Never Die
Favorite Con Game Episodes
1) Never Send a Boy King To Do A Man's Job
2) The Farnsworth Strategem
3) There's One in Every Port
4) Chicken Little is a Little Chicken - fabulous shell game
5) Pastoria Prime Pick


Favorite Romantic Episodes
1) In Pursuit of Carole Thorne
2) Real Easy Red Dog
3) The Hammer of C Block - possibly the best ever episode
4) Rattlers Class of '63


Bad or Strange Episodes

Backlash of the Hunter was a two-part episode that seems like it was stretched from a one-part episode for some reason. It contains several strange driving sequences that have little to do with the plot. It was a very early episode and may well have been the pilot. Perhaps some backroom decision was made to stretch a pilot episode into two parts? In any event, it is worth seeing just to see what you think of the way they "stretched" it out. Here is a website that claims it was the pilot: http://www.thesandbox.net/arm/rockford/reviews/review_001.html

Love is the Word - IMO a terrible episode. Strangely, it was written by David Chase. Towards the end, it contains a long rambling monologue by the lead female that doesn't make much sense. It seemed to me that the two lead characters have a lengthy conversation near the end of the epi where it is really two unrelated soliloquies forced into a dialog. I got the feeling that this may have been a half-hour episode with an extra half-hour added on somehow. There is some action for the first part of the episode. But the second part is just a long rambling dialog that is seemingly unconnected to the first part. Oh well, maybe my opinion is flawed. You should see it and judge for yourself. Perhaps DC was in the throws of a rocky breakup when he wrote this episode? Or perhaps it had something to do with the fact this was very near to the last epi of the show and maybe he wasn't happy with the way things were ending. After all, it is well known the show ended with some very unpleasant lawsuits (James Garner had to sue the suits to get his money).

Re: The Rockford Files

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 6:01 pm
by FlyOnMelfisWall
Splishak, thanks for that info. And, yes, please don't use the forum to communicate about uploading or otherwise publishing or distributing copyrighted material. I don't want to risk ticking anyone off on such matters.

I never watched the Rockford Files. I would someday be interested in watching only the Chase-penned episodes, though. Do you happen to have a listing of the eps he wrote and any recommendations about your favorites among those?

Also, can you elaborate at all about his years on that show? Was he strictly a script writer who wrote to other writers' outlines or was he among the staff writers who might have helped craft the outlines themselves?

Re: The Rockford Files

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 10:35 pm
by Splishak
Here is a link that lists every episode and states who directed and wrote each one:
http://www.thesandbox.net/arm/rockford/episode_guide/season1.shtml

DC has a producer credit on about half of the episodes. Also, he wrote 16.


Following are three of the best ever episodes (IMO):

"Quickie Nirvana" shows a great view of 70s California culture. It may not be very typical of the show but is one of the best episodes ever. I will always love the line, "Forget about the karma and get into the car!" You'll get a laugh from the gas station sign that lists the price of Regular at 61 cents. Chase shows a knack for being able to cut through peoples' bullshit with a mind like a laser beam. The human interactions in this story are an excellent pre-cursor of some of his later writing in The Sopranos.

"Rattlers - Class of 63" (written by DC) and "The Hammer of C Block" (not written by DC) are two other great episodes. To get a good appreciation of the "Rattlers" episode, you should try to see a few episodes in which Angel (Stuart Margolin) appears.


Following are the episodes in which Angel (Stuart Margolin) appears. Most of these were not written by DC:
They are listed in order of my most to least favorite Angel episodes:
Chicken Little is a Little Chicken
Rattlers Class of '63
Drought at Indianhead River
Hotel of Fear
Never Send a Boy King to do a Man's Job
A Material Difference
There's One in Every Port
Joey Blue Eyes
The Farnsworth Strategem
Counter Gambit
The Mayor's Committee from Deer Lick Falls
The Man Who Saw Alligators
To Protect and Serve
The No-Cut Contract
The Fourth Man
Just Another Polish Wedding
Second Chance
The Dog and Pony Show
The Four Pound Brick
The Girl in the Bay City Boy's Club
Paradise Cove
Just by Accident
The Empty Frame
Black Mirror
Lions, Tigers, Monkeys and Dogs
Dirty Money, Black Light
The Hawaiin Headache
The Becker Connection
No Fault Affair
Forced Retirement
The Family Hour
The Big Cheese
So Help Me God


Here are the 16 episodes written by DC (in order of my most to least favorite):
Quickie Nirvana
Rattlers - Class of 63
The Prisoner of Rosemont Hall
Irving the Explainer
The Queen of Peru
The Jersey Bounce
Just a Coupla Guys
To Protect & Serve (two hours)
The Man who saw Alligators
Three Day Affair with 30 Day Escrow
Only Rock & Roll Will Never Die (two hours)
Sticks and Stones may Break your Bones but Waterbury wil Bury You
The Dog & Pony Show
The Oracle Wore a Cashmere Suit
Black Mirror (two hours)
Love is the Word

Re: The Rockford Files

Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 11:22 pm
by Splishak
By an incredible co-incidence, a few minutes after raving about the episode "Quickie Nirvana", I see it is scheduled to play on Friday Aug 4 on one of my cable company's "Super Stations" - WGN Chicago - at 10 a.m.

If any of you subscribe to this "super-station" or live in Chicago and get this station, maybe you could arrange to record itfor Fly?

Do the cable companies in the US offer these so-called "super stations" like they do in Canada (5 or 6 stations including TBS from Atlanta as well as a few from New York, LA, Chicago, and Boston). They are TV stations that show either a lot of good sitcoms or a lot of movies. In Canada we get six of them as part of our subscription to the Pay TV movie channels.

Re: The Rockford Files

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 1:39 am
by FlyOnMelfisWall
Splish, thanks for that thorough reply. Yes, I get WGN, and I believe it is on that channel that I've noticed the Rockford files in reruns in the last year or so. Have had the urge but have not made the time to watch a few eps just to see if I could catch a DC one.

Tell you what. This is a good excuse to use the calendar feature of the board. (You knew we had a calendar, didn't you?? More toys for you to play with.:-)) Anyway, I'll put it on the calendar, and then it will cycle a reminder at the bottom of the forum on August 4th . . . which should help me remember as well as notify others who may be interested.

Re: The Rockford Files

Posted: Sat Jul 29, 2006 3:24 am
by Splishak
OK. As it turns out, two other excellent epis are scheduled for next week. Both were written by DC.

Mon Jul 31 - Irving the Explainer
Tue Aug 01- Prisoner of Rosemont Ave

They all run at 10 a.m. Eastern time. Not sure if that is the same as your time zone.

Irving the Explainer is a comedy and pokes fun of the private eye genre - in particular the complicted plots that can happen.

Prisoner of Rosemont Ave is a kind of romance episode - even though the romance is between the girl and someone else. Strange that many of the best romance episodes involve someone other than Jim and the girl. Rattlers and The Hammer of C Block are two such examples.

Re: The Rockford Files

Posted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 1:13 am
by biker2
This is fascinating and useful info. In London, in 2005 and 06, the BBC was showing re-runs of this show and it was a real pleasure to see the characters in action again. I had watched the original episodes when they first aired. It was a time of several competing detective shows where the car played as much a role as the stars. The culmination was Magnum driving a Ferrari he could not afford or, an extreme of ludicrousness, Hasselhof with a talking car!
Rockford also had several episodes featuring obviously Mafia-type gangsters but the writer was always careful to give them totally non-ethnic names, as far removed as possible from Italian-sounding monikers. I always suspected this was the network lawyers sanitizing the writing to ensure that the firm would not be sued for stereotyping one ethnic group or another.