Classic Television: The Rockford Files


The Rockford Files was first seen on national network television on September 13, 1974 and the last show aired on January 10, 1980.

James Garner was born in Norman, Oklahoma on April 27, 1928 and is now 85 years old.

Garner had only been appearing in movies and on television, for only one year when he captured one of the lead roles in Maverick as Bret Maverick in 1957.

Maverick was shown for the last time in 1962 and his next starring role is in the television series Nichols, which ran from 1971-1972.

The Rockford Files began its run on NBC television in 1974 and Garner appeared in all 122 episodes of the show.

I hadn’t seen a Rockford Files episode for many years, until this last week when I watched some of the very first episodes of the show.

Garner was seen in some short-lived series like Bret Maverick, 18 episodes, Man of the People, 10 episodes, Chicago Hope, 4 episodes, God, the Devil and Bob, 13 episodes and First Monday, 13 episodes.

He would return in 45 episodes of 8 Simple Rules, which was 14 more episodes, than John Ritter had appeared in, before his untimely death. 8 Simple Rules ended its run on network television in 2006 and it was Garner’s last appearance on a regular television show, although his voice has been used for some short videos.

The last movie appearance for Garner was in 2006, when he appeared in The Ultimate Gift, which didn’t fare well at the box office making only $3.4 million in about 9 weeks of being shown in theaters.

Rockford Files was ranked  39th in the list of the 50 All-Time Greatest TV Shows by TV Guide in 2002.

The Museum of Broadcasting has an interesting article, which states that The Rockford Files was one of the best private eye shows of the 1970’s.

James Garner as seen on Maverick television series.

Jim Rockford was portrayed by James Garner and his father “Rocky” Rockford was played by Noah Beery, Jr. who had already been acting in movies and television for 54 years, when The  Rockford Files debuted on the NBC television network.

Noah Beery, Jr. who portrayed “Rocky” on the Rockford Files.

It is fun watching Jim Rockford tell his clients he demands $200 a day for his detective services, but then taking less in some cases.

The best thing about The Rockford Files is that it commands your attention, from start to finish and the casting director does an excellent job of casting the roles.

Anyone who receives Netflix can watch this series, at their leisure and most private eye fans won’t be disappointed, after giving the show a test spin, if they have never seen it before.


Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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