Sep. 13, 1974
60 min.
NBC TV Network

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The Rockford Files tv show photo

The Rockford Files

Jim Rockford is a private investigator who lives and works out of his trailer in Malibu, Los Angeles. Convicted of a crime he didn't commit, Jim spent five years in San Quentin before being pardoned and released. Jim is helped by friends and allies, including father Rocky, pal police lieutenant Dennis Becker, his ex-cellmate Evelyn "Angel" Martin, and his defense attorney Beth Davenport.

Trivia Facts | Top Quotes | Goofs/Mistakes
  • James Garner's name in "The Rockford Files" was James Scott Rockford. Garner's full name in real life is James Scott [Bum]Garner.
  • The show debuted on NBC on Sept. 13, 1974, Friday the 13th.
  • The character of Rockford was originally written in an unproduced script for the ABC series Toma. That script was rewritten as the pilot for the "Rockford Files." Both ABC (who initially rejected the script for "Toma") and NBC had problems with the "Rockford" scripts. Executives at both networks thought the dramatic series scripts were too funny. The writers were always ordered to take out the funny lines. The writers and eventually the star refused.
  • Many first season stories were credited to "John Thomas James": that was a pen name for Roy Huggins. The name comes from the first names of Huggins' three sons.
  • Three cast members from the series Magnum, P.I. - Tom Selleck, Roger E. Mosley and Larry Manetti - all did guest spots on "Rockford Files." An episode of "Magnum" features a discussion of a "Rockford Files" episode.
  • David Chase, a writer/producer for "Rockford," went on to create The Sopranos. An episode from "The Sopranos" first season shows a scene in a retirement home where the inhabitants are watching television. We can't see what they're watching but we can hear the theme to "Rockford" playing clearly.
  • The character of Rockford's father was named Joseph; he was named after writer Stephen J. Cannell's father. The name of Rockford was used after Cannell found the name listed in the Universal Studios employee directory.
  • The show was a co-production between the production companies of Roy Huggins and James Garner and Universal. Garner sued Universal claiming he was not being paid his share of the syndication profits. After several years of litigation, Universal settled with Garner. Exact terms are not known.
  • James Garner explained in an interview that Jim Rockford's license plate number, 853-OKG, was created by his agent at the start of the show and stands for August, 1953, when Garner got his first acting job, and OKG which stands for Oklahoma Garner, his home state.
  • The character of Richie Brockelman (played by Dennis Dugan) first appeared on this series. That appearance led to the short lived series Richie Brockelman, Private Eye.
  • Angel's brother-in-law Aaron Kiel was the publisher of the newspaper Angel worked for. Aaron later became deputy police chief.
  • Besides detectives Richie Brockleman and Lance White, other recurring characters on the show were reformed prostitute Rita Kapkovic (played by Rita Moreno), disbarred lawyer John "Coop" Cooper (played by Bo Hopkins), Jim's ex-cellmate Gandolph "Gandy" Fitch (played by Isaac Hayes) and parole officer turned private investigator Marcus "Gabby" Hayes (played by Louis Gossett Jr.).
  • Jim was a Korean War veteran.
  • There were plans to spin the characters of Gandolph "Gandy" Fitch and Marcus "Gabby" Hayes off onto their own series, but they never came to fruition.
  • Rockford's friends had a number of nicknames for him. His father called him "Sonny," the policeman Dennis Becker called him "Jimbo" and Gandolfh Finch's nickname for Jim was "Rockfish".
  • Even though Jim didn't have a permit to carry a gun, he did have one that he kept either in the cookie jar or in the coffee canister in his kitchen. "The coffee keeps it from rusting."
  • James Garner became ill during the final season and was forced to quit the show with ten episodes left to film.
  • Rob Reiner guest starred in an episode as a washed-up football quarterback. To seperate himself from his "All in the Family" (1971) character, Reiner played this part without his hairpiece.
  • The character Joseph "Rocky" Rockford was ranked #45 in TV Guide's list of the "50 Greatest TV Dads of All Time" (20 June 2004 issue).
  • Before becoming a regular as Lt. Doug Chapman in the fall of 1976, James Luisi made guest appearances during the first two seasons, usually as a criminal or other antagonist of Rockford.
  • Jim's favorite food was tacos. In fact, in many episodes he could be seen having them for breakfast.
  • When the show was being developed, actor Robert Blake was considered for the lead. He was cast instead in Baretta, also created by Stephen J. Cannell.
  • Rockford's telephone number is shown to be 555-2368 during the opening credits, as his answering machine message is heard just before the music starts. This was also the phone number shown for the Ghostbusters in their in-movie ad.
  • The address of Jim Rockford's trailer was 29 Cove Road, Malibu.
  • During the first season, Rockford's trailer moved from a parking lot just off Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, CA to another Malibu location in an area known as Paradise Cove. The trailer remained at the Paradise Cove location for the remainder of the series. The first location had an address of 22968 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA - the second had an approximate address of 28128 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA.
  • Rockford drove a Pontiac Firebird Esprit, not a Trans-Am as often thought.
  • Even though Tom Atkins' character is "Alex Diel" early in the series, later episodes have him working out of an office that has "Lt. Thomas Diehl" stenciled on the door.
  • In an early episode from the first season when Jim calls the police station and asks for Dennis he calls him "Lt. Becker." The character became Sgt. Becker for the next several seasons until Dennis got promoted to Lt. later.
  • James Garner accused Glen A. Larson of plagiarizing episodes of the show and using them for his own shows. Garner filed a complaint with the Writers Guild and Larson was fined. Larson then visited the set to make amends with Garner. According to Garner, he punched Larson so hard that he crashed through a trailer.
  • The address of Rockford's trailer was 29 Cove Road, Malibu, but the trailer was actually in a parking lot which was portrayed as either for a public beach or for a restaurant located on the opposite end of the parking lot. Paradise Cove Beach Cafe, an actual restaurant which still (as of 2014) exists, was where Rockford often went for Mexican food. Additionally, in a few episodes, there were references to Paradise Cove, as the part of Malibu where Rockford lived. The address of that restaurant is 28128 Pacific Coast Highway (the address of the actual entry signs for both the restaurant and the development, thereby being the approximate real address for the trailer, with the fictional address of 29 Cove Road not then existing. In the time since the series ended, a "luxury" mobile home park (with prices up to $4 million) has been developed, adjacent to the parking lot for the restaurant, and overlapping the spot where Rockford's trailer was located during the series. It is named Paradise Cove MH Park, and where there is now a Cove Road within the development. As a side note, on the restaurant's website www.paradisecovemalibu.com, there is a picture of the beach (third picture in the slide show), with the distinctive promontory cliff, where Rockford often walked during the series.

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