How James Garner Was Cast in The Rockford Files

Mothers in Law on DVD Johnny Staccato on DVD Thunderbirds on DVD Classic Commercials on DVD Mr Peabody on DVD  Looney Tunes Golden Ed
Bionic Woman on DVD


'TVparty is hands down the best site on the Web for classic TV.'
- Discovery Channel

How James Garner Was Cast in The Rockford Files

How James Garner Was Cast
in The Rockford Files

by Billy Ingram

James Garner in The Rockford Files TV showThe Rockford Files series creator Roy Huggins, who had previously produced The Fugitive, Alias Smith & Jones, and Maverick (among many others) was busy creating TV movies and series for Universal in 1973 when he was offered the opportunity to work with James Garner again.

“Jim Garner had his closest associate, Luis Delgado, who happens to be related to me or was, Luis died a couple years ago.” Delgado was Roy Huggin’s brother-in-law and James Garner’s long-time stand-in. “Luis said, ‘Jim wants to do a series with you, and he's even willing to come back to Universal because he knows that you have autonomy there.’ So he's, you know, changing his mind on some very important things here.”

Huggins and Garner had a big success with Maverick so the producer was agreeable to the idea, “I said, ‘I’ll come up with something and we'll move right away.’ I came up with the story… when I dictate a story and it's typed up, it's longer than the script. So I gave that to Steve [Stephen J. Cannell]. Steve wrote a wonderful pilot.”

What they came up with was basically Maverick as a private eye. “So, to go against all the conventions,” Huggins recalls, “instead of taking a case on faith, he would run credit checks on his clients… he would act cowardly but he wasn't of course, anymore than Maverick was a coward.”

Huggins remembers one potential snag after he sold the series to Universal, “Jim called me up and said, ‘Roy, we I have a problem. I promised Meta Rosenberg that she would be the executive producer of my next series, no matter what, where it was.’ And I said, ‘Jim, I don't care about credit, as you may know, cuz you know, I use pseudonyms constantly. I had 12 pseudonyms at one time. They cut it down, you know, the [Writer’s] Guild says, you can only have three probably cause of me. But I said, ‘Jim, that's not a problem. She can be the executive producer. As long as she understands… she's not executive producing the show, I am.’ He said, ‘Okay, it's alright.’ And so she became the executive producer.”

One of the most beloved classic TV shows of all time, The Rockford Files starring James Garner, Noah Beery Jr., Joe Santos, Stuart Margolin, and Gretchen Corbett, aired on NBC for 6 seasons, from 1974-1980. The aforementioned Luis Delgado played a number of bit parts during the first 2 years before becoming a minor series regular as Officer Todd Billings during season 3.

In an interview with the Television Academy Foundation, James Garner remembers the series’ development quite differently. “I don't know if they had put it [the concept] out to anybody else or not,” Garner stated. “But anyway, it was sent to me, I think, through Meta Rosenberg and she kinda liked it… And Steve Cannell said, ‘I like this character. You think I could write a script for it?’ And he [Huggins] said, ‘Well, go ahead.’ And he did.

"And they sent it to me and I liked it. And I said, ‘But, uh, one thing I want is, I want this writer Steve Cannell as a writer / producer, because I want him there all the time. ‘Cause he knew the character. I wanted him as a writer /producer and that was part of my stipulation. And I also told Roy, I said, ‘Roy, I've got an executive producer and I've got a writer producer. What are you gonna do?’ And he said, ‘Well, I'm good fixing scripts and good in the editing room.’ And I said, ‘Fine. Okay.’ Because I didn't want him putting his hands on it really… not that I didn't like Roy but I knew there'd be terrible conflicts if he did. And I didn't want that.”

At one point during the first season Huggins and Garner butted heads over script changes.“And I read it… the night before,” Garner recalls. “And I said, ‘This doesn't work.’ I said, ‘It's not good. It won't work. I prefer what we had.’

“So I went to set the next day and I started shooting and I said, ‘This is not going to work. This is terrible.’ So, I called Steve Cannell and I said, ‘Steve, the new yellow pages came back through last night… He said, ‘Well, really, I'll be down set in a few minutes. I don't have my script there. I'll be down there in a few minutes.’ He came down, he looked at these yellow pages. He had never seen them. Roy had written them and sent 'em through without letting anybody else know about it. And so we went back to the original shot… I put out a directive Roy Huggins would not have anything to do with the scripts. Well, Roy went through the roof of course, but I had to maintain a company here, you know, and Roy was kind of an outside influence to it.”

In the 1970s, Steven J. Cannell was one of the most prolific television writers in the business. “He could just pour 'em out,” Garner says. “I watched he and David Chase… we needed a script on Monday and this was like a Wednesday and they started talking about a storyline. And David or Steve said, ‘I’ll write the first half. You write the other half,’ they put 'em together on Monday and they worked. That's how good they were. I was very fortunate. I had the three best writers in Steve Cannell, David Chase, and Juanita Bartlet, who used to be our, my secretary. She was mine and Meta Rosenberg's secretary when we were doing, Nichols. And she wrote a couple of scripts for Nichols and then started on Rockford.”

Also a very entertaining series, Nichols was a short-lived western airing on NBC during the 1971-72 season, starring James Garner, Margot Kidder, Neva Patterson, John Beck.

James Rockford returned in a series of 6 TV movies produced from 1994 to 1999, with the private eye living and working out of a newer, larger trailer in the same familiar Paradise Cove location. In 2002, The Rockford Files was ranked No. 39 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.



TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!


Amazon Prime - unlimited streaming
of your fave TV shows and movies!
Get your FREE 30 Day Trial!

PR4 & PR5 Pages for Advertising



Local Kid Shows / Movie Stars on TV / Saturday Morning Shows / Video Vault / TV Goodbyes / Fabulous Fifties / Unseen Scenes / Game Shows / Requested Forgotten TV Shows / The Super Sixties / More Modern TV Shows / The New * * Shows / 1980's Wrestling / TV Blog

TVparty is Classic TV on the internet!
Classic TV on the Internet!

Television's Embarrassing Moments / Action Shows of the Sixties / TVparty Mysteries and Scandals / Variety Shows of the 1970s / The Eighties / The Laugh Track / 1970's Hit Shows / Response to TVparty / Search the Site / Add Your Comments

Hit Shows of the Seventies: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy / Gene Roddenberry in the 1970s / 1977-1978 Superhero & Science Fiction TV Shows / Funniest SNL Skit Ever! / Remembering Suzanne Somers / Prisoner: Cell Block H / Why John Amos Left Good Times / Reviving Match Game / How Betty White's 'Happy Homemaker' Came About / Remembering Cindy Williams / Creating The Rockford Files / TV Dads Talk Sex & Fatherhood / TV Shows We Watched 50 Years Ago / How Maude Came About / Rare Audio of Bette Davis' Broadway Bound Flop 'Miss Moffat' / Interview With Director John Erman / Orson Welles' Last Interview / Remembering Ed Asner / When PBS Got Naked: Steambath / Bruce Vilanch on Writing for Donny & Marie / Writing For Fernwood 2 Night / Kris Kristofferson vs Barbra Streisand on A Star Is Born? Kinda... / Remembering Gavin MacLeod / 20 Funniest SNL Skits of All Time / Cher Reviews Her Iconic Outfits Since 1965 / Best Columbo Episodes / Star Maidens Sci-Fi Series / Sonny Bono's Last Show 1974 / Interview with Cindy Williams (Lavern & Shirley) / One of the Most Controversial Episodes of All In The Family / Outside Chance / Remembering Carol Wayne / The Night Johnny Carson Broke Down / Real People / That's Incredible! / Gavin MacLeod on His MTM Castmates / Norman Mailer & Muhammad Ali / Charles Nelson Reilly Flops on Broadway / Chuck Norris vs Eva Gabor / Dear Detective / Dirty Sally / Peggy Lee & Anthony Newley's Weird Pre-Show Rituals / The Protectors / Chevy Chase Talks Hollywood Cocaine Parties / 1977 Season Show Openings / Love Boat's Oscar Winning Guest Stars / Henry Fonda's 4 Favorite Films / Tom Snyder Interviews Star Trek Cast & Harlan Ellison / The Corner Bar / Tim Conway's 'The Dentist' Sketch / Roy Radin Revue: Drunken Ronnie Spector / Henry Winkler on His Happy Days Audition / Patrick Duffy of Dallas Interview / Time Express / Wonder Woman Leaves Paradise Island / 1972-73 TV Season / George Burns on the Carson Tonight Show in 1989 / Best Season of Dallas Ever? / Cloris Leachman Remembered / Ken Berry Interview / Why Barney Miller Ended / Vivian Vance Almost Joined the Cast of Rhoda / Marilu Henner Talks About Andy Kaufman / Cher on Mike Douglas 1979 / TV Show Book Tie-Ins / 1972 Jackie Robinson Interview / Dr. Strange 1978 TV Movie / Kathy Garver Interview / Space: 1999 / Paint Along with Nancy Kominsky / Mary Kay Place Albums of the 1970s / The Supremes - Mary Wilson vs Diana Ross / When Bruce Dern Killed John Wayne / 1974 Tom Snyder Our Gang Special / Remembering Ken Berry / Bruce / Caitllyn Jenner? / Billy Crash Craddock Interview / Melissa McCarthy Almost Quit Acting Days Before Landing Gilmore Girls / Bar Rescue's Wildest Customers! / Alex Baldwin On His TV and Film Roles / Ray Charles' BIG Problem With TV / Top Ten Sitcoms of the 1970s / James Cameron Made No Money for Titanic / Ed McMahon Drunk on the Air! / Lucy Interviewed by Barbara Walters / Valerie Harper Cancer / Jeff Bridges Breaks Down His Iconic Roles / Dallas vs Eight is Enough / 1974 MAD Magazine TV Special - Never Aired! / Iconic M*A*S*H Restaurant Coming To Kroger? / When Lucy Got Fired / Partridge Family and Brady Bunch at Kings Island theme park 1972-73 / Awkward Talk Show Moments / Allan Blye Interview / Jack Benny's Last Tonight Show 1974 / Patricia Heaton's Audition for Everybody Loves Raymond / Ed Asner Interview / Norm Macdonald vs OJ Simpson / Tony Kornheiser Interview / Freddy's Nightmares TV Series / Emmy Award Multiple Winners / Nathaniel Taylor aka Rollo Lawson / Mary Kay Place Albums of the 1970s / That Girl & TV's Single Working Women / Can You Identify These Stars? / Betty White vs Joan Rivers / Paul Lynde's Greatest Hollywood Squares Zingers / Sonny Comedy Revue / Star Trek Animated / Dark Shadows / Hal Linden Interview / Dark Shadows Movies / Dark Shadows Novels / The Night Stalker / One of the Funniest Carol Burnett Show Skits Ever / Fred 'The Hammer' Williamson / Johnny Carson interviews Lucille Ball / Dawn Wells / Betty White : An Appreciation / Bette Davis' 2 Best Interviews 1971 / Barbara Eden Interview / Gavin McLeod / Spider-Man 77 / The Next Step Beyond / The Music Dark Shadows / 1970 TV Shows / Mike Connors Remembered / Mike Wallace, Virginia Graham & Jim Longworth / Dick Clark / Woody Allen Hosts Tonight Show 1971 / Carson Tonight Show / Alan Alda Interview / Jackie Gleason Show / 1973 TV Shows / Thriller / Post Modern Sitcoms / Elvis in Greensboro / Remembering Dick Van Patten / TV Dating Shows / The Jacksons TV Show / Fall Previews of the 70s / Lance Link, Secret Chimp / Star Wars Holiday Special / Alias Smith and Jones / 1977 Year in Review / Top Ten 1970-76 / The Rockford Files / All in the Family / Sam Hall (Dark Shadows) Interview / Actor Ed Nelson / Death of Archie / Battlestar Galactica / Wonder Woman / Network Jingles / Class of '74 / Happy Days / Good Times / Mr. Bill / Dinah! / Maude / Doris Day Show / Pamelyn Ferdin Interview / The Bicentennial Minute / Jingles & Catch Phrases of the 1970s / Early Cable TV 1970s / TV commercials for Women / TV Moms / Country Music TV Shows of the 1960s & 1970s / Betty White Show / Ron Palillo / Shirley Jones Interview / Tom Bosley / Rodney Dangerfield / How Sanford & Son Ended / Sanford & Son Spin-Off Grady / Great Memoirs / Virginia Graham Show / The "N" Word on TV / 10 Classic Comedy Routines You Have To Laugh At Before You Die / Hollywood Squares / 1970's Teen Idols & The Hudson Brothers / TV Stars with 3 Hit Shows / The Rookies / Unsold Pilots / Jackie Cooper / The Good Guys / Match Game / Make Room For Granddaddy / Mannix & Gail Fisher / Bette Midler in the 1970s / Bonus 1970's Stuff: Silent Star Marion Mack / Biff Burger / 1970s Fast Food Chains / Latin Casino / Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire / 1970's Daytime Talk Shows / The Fess Parker Show / Brady Bunch Sex Dungeon? / Love, Loss & What I Watched

Classic TV Commercials / 1950's TV / 1960's TV / 1970's TV / Groucho vs William F Buckley / / TV Games / Honey Boo Boo / Lucy Shows / Classic Cars / John Wayne / Gene Roddenberry / Rockford Files / Sea Hunt / 1970s Commercial Jingles / Superman on DVD / Toy Gun Ads / Flip Wilson Show / Big Blue Marble / Monty Hall / Carrascolendas / Mr. Dressup / Major Mudd / Chief Halftown / What's In Oprah's Purse? / Baby Daphne / Sheriff John / Winchell & Mahoney / Fireball X-L5 / Mr. Wizard / Captain Noah / Thanksgiving Day Specials / Disney's First Christmas Special / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Amahl & the Night Visitors / Holiday Toy Commercials / Lucy & Desi's Last Christmas Show / Joey Heatherton / Fat Albert / The Virginian / Bewitched / Death of John Wayne / 1974 Saturday Mornings / Chuck McCann / Rudolph Collectables / Shrimpenstein / Local Popeye Shows / New Treasure Hunt / 1966 ABC TV Shows / 1967 TV Shows / 1968 TV Shows / Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll / Fridays / TV Moms / Red Skelton / Star Wars / KISS / Lancelot Link / Saturday Morning Cartoons / The Magic Garden / Wonder Woman / Classic Comic Books / Andy Griffith / Cher / TV Shows on DVD / Outtakes & Bloopers / 1967 TV Shows / Romper Room / ABC Movie of the Week / The Goldbergs / Daws Butler Commercials / Saturday Morning Commercials / Captain Kangaroo / Chicago Local Kiddie Shows / Boston Local TV / Philly Local TV / NYC Local Kid Shows / Amos 'n' Andy / Electric Company / Bette Davis / Judy Garland / Christmas Specials / Redd Foxx / Good Times / Sitcom Houses / What's Happening! / Winky Dink & You / Sonny & Cher / Smothers Brothers / Commercial Icons of the 1960s / Soupy Sales / TV Terrorists / Irwin Allen / The Untouchables / Carol Burnett Show / Batman TV Show / Green Hornet / Today Show History / Our Gang / Doris Day Show / 1970's Commercials For Women / Bill Cosby in the 1970s / The Golddiggers / Lola Falana / 1970s TV Shows / David Bowie on TV / Hudson Brothers / Jackie Gleason / Hollywood Squares / Match Game / Bob Keeshan / Gumby / The Flip Wilson Show / Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour / The Bobby Darin Show / The Richard Pryor Show / George Burns / Celebrity Commercials / Rudolph / Movie Posters & More! 

“The Little Rascals on DVD Soupy Sales Show on DVD Saturday Morning Cartoons 1970s V1 on DVD Patty Duke Show on DVD

Book About Greensboro

Tennessee Tuxedo on DVD
Looking for classic TV on DVD? See below:
you're looking
for is right here:

Save money!