Peak Rockford Files

Posted On: Thursday - December 30th 2021 9:36PM MST
In Topics: 
  TV, aka Gov't Media  Movies  Curmudgeonry

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There I was, trying to watch a movie at home, and I get to this one part ... OK, I'm not going to beat this dead horse here. Peak Stupidity readers could have already read at least twice our complaints of how much of a bear it is to obtain a decent non-PC/woke movie to watch*. This post will be about curmudgeonry and nostalgia rather than relating another saga about having to bail out on one.

I will mention it though. Nights in Rodanthe, from 2008, looked liked a chick flick from the box. Well, they're "free" from the library, see, and I did have some back-ups, as I'm very careful to have nowadays. Yeah, strangers Richard Gere and this decent-looking but not nearly 1990s Cameron Diaz-level chick ended up sharing a large beach house in Rodanthe, NC (a real town on the outer banks north of Hatteras), a hurricane was coming, they were both divorced or separated, and man, I really think LarvaeMan, prequel to Spiderman, would have a more creative plot.

I gave these people the benefit of the doubt ... for a while. I noted that early in the movie, the owner of the nice piece of property was a black lady who had her act together like, sorry, no black lady of that look that I've ever seen or heard of in my life. She had to go off though (hence the main actress taking care of the beach house and the one guest), so I knew I'd be free from hard-core wokeness. Yea! Ahh, but you know what's going to happen, and then the hurricane came with high winds but no storm surge (really?). That additional suspension-of-belief along with the typical modern behavior of our leading lady who could do no wrong as a single Mom** had me realizing that I'd rather watch The Rockford Files.

After a conversation in the comments about it, I checked and saw I could watch my favorite old detective show off library DVDs. Season 1 had 21 to 23 episodes (depending on how you count doubles, I think), and there were 6 seasons, so this will hold me for a while. I had watched some of the original episodes on the TV back in the day, but I remember more watching re-runs nightly a decade later.

I guess this show's having the ex-con private detective showing up the cops, and its not showing the cops as someone we must all look up to, is what got me liking it. Yeah, and there was the 2nd generation Pontiac Firebird. I like the Jim Rockford J-turns***, the chases, and the LA scenery of the 1970s is great. There's the great Mike Post/Pete Carpenter theme song. There are running jokes, such as Jim Rockford seemingly never ever getting paid any of his $200 a day plus expenses, the funny phone answering machine (newest thing around in '74) messages, and then, Angel is hilarious.

I had never seen this first, 2-part, episode - maybe I've never seen the 1st season - we'll see. Lindsey Wagner was Mr. Rockford's first client, and, no, she didn't pay him, though there was some deal in which she was going to pay $25/week on the installment plan. Yeah, right, she was pretty hot back then, and it was assumed they did get it on... by me anyway.

This nostalgia here does have me noticing action in the show that is not as believable to me as it was many years ago. This first episode had a car chase scene out in the desert (per the show, out of Las Vegas). Well, it wasn't quite a car chase scene. The bad guys took off in a single-engine Cessna, N9487M****, and used it to strafe Jim Rockford and Lindsey Wagner in that Firebird about 4 or 5 passes with a full-auto rifle of some sort. OK, that's not so easy. Of course they didn't hurt Jim or the girl, but the Firebird, sorry, blown to bits, on the first show, no less!

Well, Jim Rockford, doing his best George-Patton-taking-charge-after-Kasserine-Pass imitation, used his Colt revolver to shoot at this Cessna. After his Firebird bought the farm, he took more shots as the plane was hauling ass directly away from him and somehow managed to punch 2 holes in the middle of the right side of the cowling, upon which oil started pouring out, from exactly where (not the oil pan) I can't tell you. At least, the plane didn't blow up (wait!), and, seeing as this was flat desert, the pilot came around, put the gear down, and landed it.

Then, the 2 bad guys got out and ran like hell. I first thought they were running after Jim, but I guess their familiarity with Hollywood saved their butts, as they knew this plane was going to blow to smithereens. It did. Why it did is another thing I can't explain, seeing as they had accomplished a decent forced landing.

That was fun, but yeah, not too realistic in the action scenes. The point of this post is to analyze whether these old TV shows are actually better than the modern stuff. This brings me back to Peak Stupidity's very first post Am I a curmudgeon?. Is the problem just that I don't want anything new anymore, or is the new stuff truly crappier. I have to say the latter again here, but it has nothing to do with cool unrealistic chase scenes and great Los Angeles scenery (I forgot to mention all the great cars just in the real-life background).

It may have been right at this time of Season 1 of The Rockford Files when Archie and Edith started off their show with a song with the lyrics "... goils were goils, and men were men."***** That was in nostalgia of the time of Herbert Hoover - going back almost 100 years now, but only 50 then. In The Rockford Files, I would say it was still that way. Contrary to what his Dad Rocky****** wanted, Jim didn't ever settle down, but at least the relationships were more natural per natural sex roles. He's not the sensitive guy, as it was really insensitive of him to keep bugging his first client multiple times about his fee! (Well, in fairness, she would have bounced her first check.)

I can compare that now to the movie that I watched half of, Nights in Rodanthe. In the movie, the guy has to be the sensitive one to have a chance with the always-in-control single Mom. It's just a movie, but there are guys who will think what works in the movies (and TV) is what works in real life, and this kind of crap will steer them wrong.

Yeah, enough of the modern cultural crap - it's Peak Rockford Files time for me.

PS: I've featured the musical artist Ben Folds and his 3-man band The Ben Folds Five before, but I'll put in one out of many cynical songs with some really great lyrics, saying "you think the Rockford Files is cool". The song is called Whatever and Ever, Amen.

* See our recent post Nine Days to Patton - movie non-review and the much older post Tried to watch a movie - here's 3 reviews in one!.

** The Dad had only been gone from the family a few months, yet he failed to give his 12 y/o (estimated) son his inhaler as a bumbling TV/movie Dad is wont to do, etc ...

*** Ha, upon looking up something, on wiki, I see that I'd independently come up with the same term for this turn (makes sense anyway). James Garner did lots of the driving for the show.

**** It's no longer in the FAA database. I can't imagine why, after seeing the end of the airplane/car chase scene. ;-} I did want to make sure it was a Cessna 210, because it looked a bit sleeker, though the windscreen still wasn't as sloped as in a Cardinal (177). Maybe it was a Cutlass (172 rectractable). Nope, duh, it can't be a 172RG, as this one had no wing struts.

***** That'd be All in the Family, and "goils" is my interpretation of how the Queens (Brooklyn?) resident Archie Bunker pronounced "girls".

****** This first episode had a difference actor as Rocky.

Monday - January 3rd 2022 10:27AM MST

Mr. Anon, "Pray for the Wildcats" IS the movie I was thinking about, thanks!
Mr. Anon
Sunday - January 2nd 2022 7:04PM MST


"Mr. Anon, isn’t Shatner in “Savages”, too?"

That was another TV movie "Pray for the Wildcats", which had William Shatner, Andy Griffith, Robert Reed, and Marjoe Gortner. I never saw that one, but it seems like it would be entertainingly cheesy and tawdry.
Sunday - January 2nd 2022 2:40PM MST

Just checked- no Shatner in “Savages”
Sunday - January 2nd 2022 7:35AM MST

Mr. Anon, isn’t Shatner in “Savages”, too?

One more ‘Rockford’ note:

When my wife and I got married in ‘85 we had an index card file with a card for everyone we invited. One of the cards was James Scott Rockford, 29 Cove Rd Malibu, CA

My mother in law, about a week before the wedding said to me “can you call this Rockford guy.? He hasn’t RSVPed …
Mr. Anon
Saturday - January 1st 2022 10:42PM MST

I was a Rockford Files fan as a kid. The plots were suitably interesting and the writing above average. Looking back on it now, they still hold up pretty good, and they're full of lots of 70s grooviness. And I really liked Gretchen Corbett (Beth).

On the subject of retro TV, during the peak lockdown insanity last year, when I was working at home, I took to spending my late lunches watching Adam 12, which I had also watched and enjoyed as a kid. They were also pretty good.

I also liked Banachek (with George Peppard), a recurring NBC mystery movie, in which he played an insurance investigator. It was different than most of the other offerings on that show (like Columbo, also good) in that rather than investigating a murder, he investigated a heist.

There were lots of good made-for-TV movies back then. A few recommendations:

Kolchak: The Night Stalker

Kolchak: The Night Strangler

Assault on the Wayne (Leonard Nimoy playing a sub captain)

The Legend of Lizzie Borden (you'll never look at Elizabeth Montgomery the same way again)

The Groundstar Conpsiracy (an interesting spy thriller starring George Peppard)

Savages (A Most-Dangerous-Game sort of thriller with Andy Griffith playing a really, really bad guy).

Bad Ronald (a really sleezy, creepy stalker movie which became kind of a cult classic)

And, yes, I guess I am a curmudgeon.
Saturday - January 1st 2022 4:54PM MST
PS: Thanks for clicking and reading, Anti-Gnostic. I, for one, would be glad to hear from you here in addition to on the iSteve threads. I think the guy would like the show, BTW, as loves the TV/movie world lots more than I do. I can't remember when he said he moved to LA - maybe only a decade after the end of this show??
Saturday - January 1st 2022 4:51PM MST
PS: Mr. Blanc, you're just a decade and a half behind on this. Not bad, you're catching up! ;-} (I did have to look up "Bret Maverick".)

BTW, because you live in the area, you reminded me of this post

on the "Mass Stupidity" sign that Mr. Ganderson tried to tell me I was totally wrong about. I apologize, Mr. Ganderson. I was going through some emails and I see that a friend with a friend in Chicago sent me that picture. Geeze, I've been traveling a lot, so I thought I'd gotten this off my phone from a 2nd location. Again, sorry for doubting you in the least.
Saturday - January 1st 2022 2:50PM MST

Mr. Anderson: Rockford had his own weekly time slot.

Thanks for that. I like to say: You learn something every day.

Well, I've done that now, and it didn't even hurt. Now I can relax.
Saturday - January 1st 2022 12:09PM MST
PS Achmed, thanks for noticing a really great TV show (as great as such things get, any way) from my yoof. Never could get Sailer on this for some reason. 1970s California was truly a different country.

I've bookmarked you and hope to stop by a lot in 2022.
Saturday - January 1st 2022 11:09AM MST

Robert- Rockford had his own weekly time slot. You're thinking of NBC Mystery Movie , which included Columbo (a great show) and MacMillan and Wife.

Mr. Moderator, you're correct about "The Rockford Files". It may have stretched credulity from time to time, and the plots were a tad predictable, but the dialogue was great- Steven J Cannell and David Chase, (later of Sporanos fame) wrote a lot of the episodes. The supporting characters, Angel, Rocky, Dennis, Beth, Lieutenants Diehl and Chapman were all excellent, as were the recurring characters Gandolph Fitch (Issac Hayes), Lance White, the perfect detective (Tom Selleck) Beamer (James Whitmore Jr) Coop (Bo Hopkins) and my favorite, Richie Brockelman (Dennis Dugan)

My two favorite episodes are "Drought at Indianhead River"; in which Angel gets himself in peril with some mobsters, the head mafioso played by Robert Loggia; as well as a two-part homage to "the Sting" featuring Richie Brockelman, "Never Send a Boy King to do a Man's Job" ; guest starring Robert Webber and Harold Gould.

Happy New Year everyone. The panickers are still going great guns here in the moonbat infested northeast- Two UMASS hockey games against Union were postponed over the weekend,( I'm laying 50-50 odds that next weekend's series against Michigan in Ann Arbor will wind up cancelled- bad news for me as I have air and game tix for those games) and the World Junior Tournament, which was not played around here, but rather in frozen Alberta, and which occupies most of us hockey geeks between Christmas and Twelfth Night was cancelled about a third of the way through because of positive covid tests- no illness just tests. Oh and the NHL has decided not to let its players play in the Olympics- Covid disruptions. Note that the NHL players' union is pissed that the NHL won't let the players go play for their countries on their own dimes. Wacky

At least the Winter Classic from Minneapolis is on (I assume, haven't checked)- game time temp is expected to be a relatively balmy - 1.

Happy New Year! GT Strong said it best in his diary on 12/31/1861:

Poor old 1861 just going. It has been a gloomy year of trouble and disaster. I should be glad of its departure, were in not that 1862 is likely to be no better....
Saturday - January 1st 2022 9:07AM MST
PS Why is there a picture of Bret Maverick next to a car?
The Alarmist
Friday - December 31st 2021 8:52PM MST

It must have been that same magic bullet that hit Gov. Connally and killed President Kennedy ... it’s been roving the world wreaking havoc ever since. It kills at least 30 every weekend in Chicago. I’m surprised Steve Sailer hasn’t mentioned it as the real reason he still hides in his closet.
Friday - December 31st 2021 5:18PM MST
PS: I saw that one, Robert. The name of the movie was ... drumroll ... "Tank".
Friday - December 31st 2021 4:28PM MST
PS: I liked The Rockford Files when they were first on TV. (I still do.) If I remember right, they alternated with Columbo; and there were enough episodes of each so you didn't have to watch re-runs --- but, if you missed one, you missed it.

One more thing. James Garner made a fun movie where he uses a tank to break his son out of jail.
Friday - December 31st 2021 11:00AM MST
PS: Yeah, hitting the oil cooler lines below or above the block would have been a lucky shot. Then again, the engine wouldn't have shown a problem for a little while, whatever time it takes to drain that 10 quarts (plus a little bit more!)

The silliest part was just that he was shooting from behind (and the plane was already a quarter of a mile away, so just hitting it with his snub-nosed revolver would be a miracle of sorts), yet the 2 holes were nice and square in the side. Oil came leaking out.

Thanks for the story about the near-disaster with that engine/generator set up. If that Cessna turned over, even if the oil was squirting all over the exhaust starting a fire, I still think it would take a while to get to the fuel. I dunno, the fuel might be pouring out of the wing onto the ground, the plane being perfectly inverted. A perfect storm, for the perfect crash scene!

BTW, thank you very much for finding the video! I have it on still right now, as I gotta go, but yeah, probably a 210 now that I have a great view of it.
Adam Smith
Friday - December 31st 2021 12:50AM MST
PS: Good morning Mr. Moderator,

Happy New Year's Eve!

“After his Firebird bought the farm, he took more shots as the plane was hauling ass directly away from him and somehow managed to punch 2 holes in the middle of the right side of the cowling, upon which oil started pouring out, from exactly where (not the oil pan) I can't tell you...”

Oil cooler? Oil cooler lines?

While unlikely to cause a Hollywood style explosion, it will cause a fire if hot aerosolized oil hits a hot exhaust manifold... (I saw this sort of fire happen live, up close and in real time when an old dried out rubber oil cooler line popped on a 1970ish 75KW Winco generator powered by a Chrysler Industrial 318 V8 running at 3600rpm...)(The exhaust manifolds glow red when this beast runs...)(Fortunately, we were there to put out the fire when this happened...)

This problem can be fixed with conductive PTFE aerospace hose and some fire sleeve.

PTFE hose intended for use in fuel or oil system applications should have a small amount of carbon impregnated into the tube bore. Low-conductivity liquid fuels such as oil, gasoline, and diesel have the potential to create an electrostatic discharge due to external environmental factors like high temperatures and humidity. Without the carbon to act as a grounding agent, there is the likelihood of spark-inducing electrostatic discharge. This will degrade the PTFE hose prematurely and it too is a fire hazard. Carbon-impregnated PTFE hose can be identified by its gray-black internal core instead of the usual pure white found in industrial-grade PTFE hose. But I digress...

Nice shot grouping on that cowling but, yeah, not too realistic...

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