Apr 07

Day 7 of Positive Impacts – Fictional Detective James Rockford

So far, all my influences have been actual people, with whom I interacted. James Rockford is the first fictional influence.

Wrongly convicted of a crime, then pardoned by the governor, Jim Rockford worked as a private detective solving convoluted, unlikely crimes for 200 dollars a day plus expenses from his trailer parked on the beach in what I always assumed was Malibu. He drove a Pontiac Firebird, had a famous answering machine, and had a printing press that let him print up business cards for any purpose he needed.  Played by veteran movie actor James Garner, he had a harried yet confident panache.


James Garner’s autograph, a gift from my buddy, Russell.

The show Rockford files came on Friday Nights starting in the mid-1970s. It was one of the few shows that my father and I could enjoy together. He like the crimes, while I preferred his interpersonal dealings, co-stars, and human failings.

Rockford had a lot of failings, for all his tough guy, “I have seen it all” swagger, he always tried to do the right thing, and often paid the price. He frequently was stiffed on his payment, landed in jail, was beaten, was shot at, and threatened with death.  He would shrug and smile and keep going on.  I always shipped him and his lawyer, Beth Davenport. In the end he never got the girl. He kept going and kept trying to figure things out.

And, that is what I learned from him: you can a be a cool and interesting guy, even if things don’t always work out the way you planned.

Also, I assumed, I would end up being broke and living a trailer in Malibu, but I would still be there to help people out and I would smile even if didn’t get paid.


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