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: The Rockford Files (1974-1980)  ( 5301 )
cigar joe
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« : June 02, 2011, 04:29:45 AM »

Ah the beauty of Netflix, anyway I'd always catch an episode of this here and there during the time period it was on, but never caught the complete series, its available on Netflix.  So last night I watched the pilot episode to see how it all started.

Rockford is an ex-con-turned-private-investigator who claims that he was framed. He did 5 years with Angel (his sleazy former cellmate) who is working for an LA Newspaper and has access to the story archives. Rockford would rather avoid a  fight and would rather go fishing than work. In contrast to other TV PI's he his office is  a beat up trailer on the beach where he also lives with his father "Rocky" a semi retired truck driver (in the initial pilot this is part is not played by Noah Beery). Also Rockford has a friend Dennis Becker, on the police department.

The pilot introduces us to the trailer, sets up the low life, down but not quite out, nature of Rockford's clientel, sets up the running joke of Rockford's eating habits and of Rockford always trying to bill his clients $200 dollars a day plus extra for incidental expenses and 7 cents a mile, and the clients likewise writing him bad checks or trying to stiff him,  lol.  As a pilot it wasn't bad but the plot was a bit lacking in plausibility and had some awfully convenient plot devises.  All this will be forgiven if the next episode I view is a bit tighter, I can excuse the pilots excesses as devises to sell the concept to NBC.


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« #1 : June 02, 2011, 05:41:38 AM »

My fave 70s series. The first season has some good episodes but overall is kind of weak. The series really didn't hit its stride until season 2. My memory is that seasons 2,3,4 are particularly strong.



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« #2 : June 02, 2011, 05:45:14 AM »

Yea, I'll give it a go and see how it shakes out,  O0


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« #3 : June 02, 2011, 01:22:39 PM »

The only 70s series I still can watch. I have just started buying me the DVDs.

The directing is not bad, but overall not the reason to watch Rockford. But the acting, the stories and the dialogues are often very witty, very clever, very imaginative.
Generally those episodes are the best in which the case is less important than the characters, and the way they bring Rockford into trouble. Especially if there are "old friends" who call him Jimbo or Rockfish and beg him for a "small" favour.
In the best episodes, and there are really a lot of them (next to some routine stuff), The Rockford files are prety far away from the usual detective stuff.

And indeed, the pilot is one of the weaker episodes I have watched so far. The best thing about it were Lindsay Wagner `s looks and her acting.

I agree that the 1st season is probably not the best, or at least that in later seasons there was even more of the unusul stuff. I have watched so far episodes 1 - 11 of the first season, and at least episodes 5 (TALL WOMAN IN RED WAGON ), 10 (IN PURSUIT OF CAROL THORNE) and 11 (THE DEXTER CRISIS) are excellent. As is the 1st episode of the 4th season which is called BEAMER'S LAST CASE.


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« #4 : June 02, 2011, 04:14:05 PM »

The only 70s series I still can watch. I have just started buying me the DVDs.

The directing is not bad, but overall not the reason to watch Rockford. But the acting, the stories and the dialogues are often very witty, very clever, very imaginative.
Generally those episodes are the best in which the case is less important than the characters, and the way they bring Rockford into trouble. Especially if there are "old friends" who call him Jimbo or Rockfish and beg him for a "small" favour.
In the best episodes, and there are really a lot of them (next to some routine stuff), The Rockford files are prety far away from the usual detective stuff.

And indeed, the pilot is one of the weaker episodes I have watched so far. The best thing about it were Lindsay Wagner `s looks and her acting.

I agree that the 1st season is probably not the best, or at least that in later seasons there was even more of the unusul stuff. I have watched so far episodes 1 - 11 of the first season, and at least episodes 5 (TALL WOMAN IN RED WAGON ), 10 (IN PURSUIT OF CAROL THORNE) and 11 (THE DEXTER CRISIS) are excellent. As is the 1st episode of the 4th season which is called BEAMER'S LAST CASE.

Good we can compare notes then  O0


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« #5 : June 15, 2011, 11:09:33 AM »

The Rockford files, now that brings back memories loved it and also that other
gem Cannon.
I read someplace that Rockford was supposed to be based on  retired Dirty Harry?


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« #6 : June 15, 2011, 12:07:24 PM »


I read someplace that Rockford was supposed to be based on  retired Dirty Harry?

Uhh, no, not really. Rockford avoids shooting, and has his gun mostly in an empty sugar box in his trailer.

It is based on the old Maverick series and some of his own film roles like in Support Your Local Sheriff (Which seems to be based on Glenn Ford in The Sheepman).


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« #7 : June 16, 2011, 12:30:21 PM »

Generally those episodes are the best in which the case is less important than the characters, and the way they bring Rockford into trouble. Especially if there are "old friends" who call him Jimbo or Rockfish and beg him for a "small" favour.
If "generally" is the operative word, then I agree. There are exceptions, when plot and characters are equally interesting, such as my fave episode from season 1, "Counter Gambit." That one allows Rockford to go into con-man mode, always a treat, and it includes the best Rockford supporting character, Angel Martin. As the title suggests, the story involves any number of twists, and is pretty funny. The female talent for the episode was provided by the very handsome Mary Fran.



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« #8 : June 16, 2011, 12:58:30 PM »

If "generally" is the operative word, then I agree. There are exceptions, when plot and characters are equally interesting, such as my fave episode from season 1, "Counter Gambit." That one allows Rockford to go into con-man mode, always a treat, and it includes the best Rockford supporting character, Angel Martin. As the title suggests, the story involves any number of twists, and is pretty funny. The female talent for the episode was provided by the very handsome Mary Fran.

Yes, of course. I haven't re-watched this one so far, but Angel is exactly this kind of friends which bring him always into trouble.
But there are indeed several more "conventional" episodes, which have also a good and diversified crime story with interesting characters. Much better than the usual routine TV stuff mostly.

Rockford rocks


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« #9 : July 13, 2011, 06:19:02 AM »

Well finished Season 1, there were a few good-uns among the average.  Some of the car chases with Rockford's Pontiac Trans Am get redundant, its as if there was a clause in the production contract that said  they had to be included. The last episode of season one had Rockford in Vegas trying to deliver an insurance check and at one point he has to drive a Volkswagen getting chased by a limo,  lol, that was a refreshing change, of course the VW could out maneuver the limo. 

All in all the main thing I miss in these updated PI flicks is the lack of any focus on squalor, or decadent locations, or the sleazy characters, the grime and grittiness, everyone seems way too manicured even the crooks and the locations all seem too upscale and polished like California postcards, with the exception of Rockford's trailer. The story lines aren't bad just too truncated to go into much detail and when they write in a 10 minute care chase you get even less development.

Started Season 2 and the first episode featured mob guys chasing Rockford from his trailer, he can't get to the Trans Am so he hops into a Pizza Delivery VW and takes off with the mob limo behind, its another hilarious chase with Rockford finally running across a beach with the limo getting bogged down in the sand.

He shows up to pick up Rocky who is dressed in a suit in  the VW with large round pizza sign on top, lol.


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« #10 : July 13, 2011, 07:56:33 AM »

All in all the main thing I miss in these updated PI flicks is the lack of any focus on squalor, or decadent locations, or the sleazy characters, the grime and grittiness, everyone seems way too manicured even the crooks and the locations all seem too upscale and polished like California postcards, with the exception of Rockford's trailer.

This series was televised over here but I never saw a single episode exactly for that reason. Actually I was repulsed from the pervasive sunniness. You can have the sun, but the world of the P.I. novels is mainly the night. Hollywood seems to forget this, just because so  many PI's live in LA or SF. 


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« #11 : July 13, 2011, 10:18:57 AM »

I'll keep you posted if things get darker.


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« #12 : July 13, 2011, 02:28:53 PM »

Well, Rockford isn't noir. You'll note that he never carries a gun, and he goes out of his way to avoid conflicts. He never gets tough. He always tries talking his way out of situations. He goes into con-man mode on numerous occasions, and he's just as likely to beat the bad guys through trickery as anything else. The whole point of the show about a PI who lives in a trailer at the beach is that the cases are going to be, for the most part, light and sunny. That's the concept of the show. You're welcome to not like such a concept--but it's a bit silly to sign on and then start complaining that the show isn't dark enough.



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« #13 : July 13, 2011, 05:02:22 PM »

I'm not complaining about so much about the light and sunny, I'm a big fan of the Travis McGee series, I'm just observing that the Rockford clientele seem just a tad too BLAND, for the most part.


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« #14 : July 14, 2011, 01:08:28 AM »

Well, Rockford isn't noir. You'll note that he never carries a gun, and he goes out of his way to avoid conflicts. He never gets tough. He always tries talking his way out of situations. He goes into con-man mode on numerous occasions, and he's just as likely to beat the bad guys through trickery as anything else. The whole point of the show about a PI who lives in a trailer at the beach is that the cases are going to be, for the most part, light and sunny. That's the concept of the show. You're welcome to not like such a concept--but it's a bit silly to sign on and then start complaining that the show isn't dark enough.

Yep


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