James Rockford: The Hardboiled Detective That Retired And Moved To The Beach

“A Pale Green Mermaid Blog”


A trailer, the beach, and an answering machine -who would imagine that these elements could produce such a erudite, funky, middle of the road, offbeat, everyman detective.  It was the contradictions in his persona that intrigued, one a taco loving/ limping (later edisodes – the reason for the limp changed every show) football watching/ semi recluse with a huge formal desk and leather chair in a rusting trailer on the edge of a parking lot next to the beach.

He was and is what all great hardboiled detectives are one of a kind – they allow themselves to be themselves.  There tough,smart and live by their own code.

I learned all I know about losing a tail (car following you) from Jim Rockford!

(James Garner played the Jim Rockford character effortlessly, a seamless actor)

Here are some answering machine messages from the first season,  –

from  The Rockford Files Homepage       www.thesandbox.net

First Season
The Kirkoff Case [101] Jim, It’s Norma at the market. It bounced. You want us to tear it up, send it back, or put it with the others?

The Dark And Bloody Ground [102] Hey Jim, this is Louie down at the fish market. You going to pick up these halibut or what?sound1

Exit Prentiss Carr [104] It’s Morrie. Got a call from Davis at the IRS. You were right. They bounced your return. Call me.

 sound1This Case Is Closed [106] Really want Shimbu in the seventh? C’mon, that nag couldn’t go a mile in the back of a pickup truck. Call me.

sound1The Big Ripoff [107] It’s Aundra. Remember last summer at Pat’s? I’ve got a twelve hour layover before I go to Chicago. How about it?

sound1Find Me If You Can [108] This is the blood bank. If you don’t have malaria, hepatitis, or TB, we’d like to have a pint of your blood

.sound1In Pursuit Of Carol Thorne [109] This is the message phone company. I see you’re using our unit, now how about paying for it?sound1The Dexter Crisis [110] I staked out that guy only it didn’t work out like you said. Please call me. Room 234, County Hospital.

sound1Caledonia–It’s Worth A Fortune [111] It’s John Jones. What did you do the hand, son? Three fractured knuckles! You hit somebody?sound1

Tall Woman In Red Wagon [105] It’s Laurie at the trailer park. A space opened up. Do you want me to save it or are the cops going to let you stay where you are?sound1 
Screen Captures and phone messages compilation
The Rockford Files

Title sequence showing the famous answering machine
Format Drama
Created by Roy Huggins
Stephen J. Cannell
Starring James Garner
Noah Beery Jr.
Joe Santos
Gretchen Corbett
Stuart Margolin
Theme music composer Mike Post
Pete Carpenter
Country of origin  United States
No. of seasons 6
No. of episodes 122 plus 8 TV Movies (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Stephen J. Cannell
Running time 60 minutes
Original channel NBC
Original run September 13, 1974 – January 10, 1980


Jimmy, Angel and Rocky

Rockford’s scheming former San Quentin cellmate, Evelyn “Angel” Martin (something of a comic relief character portrayed by character actor Stuart Margolin), would almost always get Rockford in trouble, usually by involving him in hare-brained scams, which as often as not would result in either his arrest or being placed on somebody’s hit list. In spite of this, however, Jim considered Angel as one of his best, if most exasperating, pals.

Images and Text from WIKIPEDIA


Bye,    Watching from behind the bush she saw the mark get in his car and drive away, as she rushed to get into her spitfire – splat, went her taco into the dirt…”Crap.” 


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