the NBC network between September 13, 1974 and January 10, 1980. It has remained in
regular syndication to the present day. The show stars James Garner as Los Angeles-based private
investigator Jim Rockford and features Noah Beery,
Jr. as his father, a retired truck driver.
Cannell. Huggins had created the television show Maverick (1957–1962), which had also starred Garner, and he wanted to try to recapture that magic in a "modern day" detective
setting. He teamed with Cannell, who had written for Jack Webb productions such as Adam-12 and Chase (1973–1974, NBC), to create Rockford.
The show was credited as "A Public Arts/Roy Huggins Production" along with Universal Studios and in association with Cherokee Productions. Cherokee was the name of Garner's company, which he ran with partners Meta Rosenberg and Juanita Bartlett, who doubled as story editor during most of Rockford's run.
In 2002, The Rockford Files was ranked #39 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.
Producers Roy Huggins and Stephen J. Cannell devised the main character to be a rather significant departure from typical television detectives of the time, essentially Maverick as a modern detective. Rockford had served time in California's San Quentin Prison in the 1960s due to a wrongful conviction. After five years, he received a pardon. His infrequent jobs as a private investigator barely allow him to maintain his dilapidated mobile home (which doubles as his office) in a parking lot on the beaches of Malibu, California.
The show's title sequence began with someone leaving a message on Rockford's answering machine, which were still novel in 1974. A different message was heard in each episode. These frequently had to do with creditors to whom Rockford owed money, or deadbeat clients who owed money to him. They were usually unrelated to the rest of the plot. As the series went on, this gimmick became a burden for the show's writers, who had to come up with a different joke every week. Suggestions from staffers and crew were often used.
trailer is at Paradise Cove (address 29 Cove Road), adjacent to a pier and a restaurant ("The Sand Castle", now known as the "Paradise Cove Beach Cafe").
In an interesting piece of homage, the trailer serving
as a home for Mel Gibson's "Martin Riggs" character and his
girlfriend, shown near the beginning of Lethal Weapon IV, appears to be located
at nearly the exact same spot.
car chases. Because of his excruciating physical pain, Garner eventually opted not to continue with the show a number of months later, and NBC cancelled the program in mid-season. It was also alleged that Rockford became extremely expensive to produce, mainly due to the extensive location filming and frequent use of high-end actors as guest stars. According to some sources, NBC and Universal claimed the show was generating a deficit of several million dollars, a staggering amount for a nighttime show in those days, although Garner and his production team Cherokee Productions claimed the show always turned a profit.
March 30, 1994