Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

James_Garner_Bret_MaverickI was saddened to learn today of James Garner’s passing. He seemed like a truly nice guy.

I grew up watching him on TV and in the movies. Although I was only five when Maverick began airing, I have vivid memories of being entranced by Bret and Bart’s (Jack Kelly) escapades every week. And the photo at the left is one of the ways I’ll remember him.

It took another twelve years (1974) for Garner to come back James_Garner_Jim_Rockfordwith a new series, The Rockford Files. Who can forget Jim Rockford and the great ensemble cast of Noah Beery and Stuart Margolin…and don’t forget that Camaro he drove. The show was created by Stephen Cannell and Roy Huggins. Huggins created¬†Maverick and he wanted to recapture that magic in a “modern day” detective setting.

[Huggins is an interesting character, by the way. He also created The Fugitive and 77 Sunset Strip, two outstanding TV shows that were also a part of my weekly viewing. A member of the Communist Party USA until the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 1939, Huggins appeared before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1952, where he named 19 former comrades who had already been named before the Committee. But we digress.]RockfordsCamaro

It’s hard to picture what my life was like from 1974-1980, but I do remember the weekly routine.

Surprisingly enough, one of my favorite James Garner movies is Murphy’s Romance with Sally Field (yes, I do have the VHS tape…don’t judge me!) Quite an unlikely pair they are, but there’s something about them together. It’s just a fun movie. MurphysRomance

Sure, Garner starred in other great movies, such as The Great Escape, The Americanization of Emily, Victor Victoria, and yes, even Space Cowboys. But when I think of James Garner, I think of his smile, hat tilted back, easy going manner.

James_Garner_Great_EscapeOf all the actor biographies that have been written recently, his is one of the few that I’ve wanted to read (but shame on me, I haven’t yet.) The Kirkus review of his book, The Garner Files, stated “….Garner comes across as likable on the page as he does on screen” and the Publishers Weekly review concluded “…it still resembles a conversation with an old friend who loves to tell colorful stories.” That’s kinda how I see James Garner. You’ll be missed.

P.S. Just started The Garner Files. It’s quite engaging. I recommend it.

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