The Rockford Files
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The Rockford Files


  • 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.

  • The show debuted on NBC on Sept. 13, 1974, Friday the 13th.

  • James Garner's name in "The Rockford Files" was James Scott Rockford. Garner's full name in real life is James Scott (Baum)Garner

  • 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.

  • 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' ).

  • Three cast members from "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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • James Garner explained in an interview that Jim Rockford's Firebird'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.

  • Angel's brother-in-law Aaron Kiel was the publisher of the newspaper Angel worked for. Aaron later became deputy police chief.

  • Even though Jim didn't have a permit to carry a gun, he did have one that he kept in a cookie jar in his trailer.

  • Jim was a Korean War veteran.

  • Jim's favorite food was tacos. In fact, in many episodes he could be seen having them for breakfast.

  • Gandy's nickname for Jim was "Rockfish".

  • In "The Competitive Edge", a mental patient who thinks he's Doc Holliday ('George Murdock' ) calls Rockford "Wyatt". James Garner played Wyatt Earp in "Hour of the Gun" (1967) and in "Sunset" (1988).

  • James Garner became ill during the final season and was forced to quit the show with ten episodes left to film.

  • 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.

  • The character of Richie Brockelman (played by Dennis Dugan) first appeared on this series. That appearance lead to the short lived series "Richie Brockelman, Private Eye" (1978).

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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 are watching but we can hear the theme to "Rockford" playing clearly.