Rockford Files - cars, smart-ass remarks, etc.

Posted On: Saturday - May 21st 2022 6:43PM MST
In Topics: 
  TV, aka Gov't Media  Humor  Cars

Brand New AMC Pacer:

My favorite episode of The Rockford Files since I started watching semi-nightly is from Season 2, called The Italian Bird Fiasco. It was especially a welcome change from the one I saw previous to it, called Joey Blue Eyes. In that one, there were financial dealings that I just couldn't understand from the get-go. It wasn't fancy Wall Street stuff either. It involved mob guys and simple round sums, but I couldn't follow each step (tried to look up the plot afterwards - no luck).

Rather than featuring mob guys who weren't really very fun, The Italian Bird Fiasco has multiple shady but fun characters of the art world. It's 1976 now, the time of the producing of this show, and so, about the cars: The pretty lady from the Royal Gallery involved in the auctions that Jim Rockford was participating in, no, wait, she said so, but she actually wasn't from the Royal Gallery .. drove up in her rented brand-new-looking white Ford Pinto*! If that wasn't neat, early on in the show there was a shiny bright green AMC Pacer!

The Pacer was billed as a new way to make a fuel-efficient small car, short, but then wide to make up for it. I'm not at all sure I see what the benefit of that was to be, but it'd be a rolling greenhouse there in LA. This Pacer wasn't involved in any chase scenes, unfortunately. And, don't worry, there are still plenty of land yachts, and of course Jim's Firebird.

Jim Rockford's client was a pompous know-it-all with a British accent, also an imposter of some sort in the art world. At one point, this guy has his feet up on Rockford's desk in Jim's own trailer making demands of him. OK, lots of people break into his trailer, but, this guy was blackmailing Jim to keep working on this case, rather than the usual begging, as in other episodes. "How'd you get in here?!" Jim wanted to know**, starting to get truly pissed. The guy tells him how he used to be in the British secret service or such during the War. "Good show, that!", Jim said in his best Hogan's Heroes' Colonel Crittendon imitation, or any other WWII British officer style. This one cracked me up, right there.

The ending had one of the best lines I've heard so far. Jim had figured out that what seemed to be art smuggling was actually diamond smuggling, the diamonds being from some heist in London. This staid Lloyd's of London representing typical older British guy was having dinner and drinks with Jim at the end, and Jim mentioned that recovery fee(?) of 5%. That would get him $50,000. That's a quarter million today, by my rough estimation. He could get Rocky that semi finally, with plenty to spare. A Rockford File fan knows that Jim never ends up with a serious payoff, though, for all his troubles. There was some loophole (of course) and his reward was down to $5,000. "But then there's British inheritance taxes, income taxes, your IRS, ..." goes Mr. Lloyds of London. "OK, just tell me if I'm gonna have enough to pay the bill?", says Jim Rockford, giving up. "That depends on how many more drinks you're planning on having." Splendid! Good show!

Now, as to the "etc.", a few things are changing, here into 1976. For the 1st Season, and I think into the 2nd, during lots of the car chase scenes, especially the ones out in the California countryside, but even in town, the background music would turn a little bluegrass style, with a banjo playing. Maybe the producers figured "hey, this is LA! Make it stop.", but this seems to be gone. In the episode after the one I discuss here, I was almost falling asleep, but I noticed another thing about a chase scene. Really, there was no chase scened, as I heard Jim tell somebody "nah, it's too dangerous to go on a high-speed chase through LA for this." It'd be different if HE were the one being chased (usually the case), but this one really struck me. Somebody was sticking in an agenda here, 46 years ago. As if the audience needed to hear that, otherwise they would have imitated Jim Rockford careening around the surface streets, parking lots, and scrap yards*** of Los Angeles. C'mon, most drivers don't have Firebirds and don't know how to do Rockford J-turns to begin with!

Finally, one of the bad guys sitting inside his car waiting for Jim to make a move had a phone in his car! Wow. It had a handset just like a wall or desk phone. Did they have those?

Fun stuff for the blog-week's end. Next week, about that Commandment I of the Georgia Guidestones, making movies (OK, youtube videos), more on inflation, and probably more China-PanicFest-Renewed and immigration stupidity... etc. Thanks for reading, and especially, thanks for commenting!

* It had "Ford" lettering on the front, so it wasn't a Mercury Bobcat - same thing, about.

** It wasn't the old "watch-Jim-get-his-extra-key-from-somewhere-on-the-hitch" trick.

*** Seems to be a good place to lose 'em.

Dieter Kief
Saturday - May 28th 2022 1:16PM MST
PS Adam - front seats for the w-126 are 500 Euros/each in "reasonable condition" - - -
I fan old car has good seats, that's 50% of the pleasure.
I just drove a little Opel custom wagon for a few days (4,5 l diesel/ 100 km).12 years old - but: Great seats, simple, but economiclally perfect! Pure pleasure!
Good luck with your W-126!
(Its brown, no?)
Adam Smith
Wednesday - May 25th 2022 6:45PM MST
PS: Aloha, Dieter, Achmed

W126 indeed, Dieter. 5 cylinder OM617 engine.

I bought her for $900 about 13 years ago. The odometer stopped at 298k miles sometime before I got her. You can tell some heavy, obese people rode around in it. Seats are beat. Rear springs are shot. But she always starts. Lots of power, Great on fuel. Needs some work though. I haven't used it much since I got my e34. Been letting sit for years now. I should give the old mercedes some love (and some parts). She could be a good car again.

Dieter Kief
Wednesday - May 25th 2022 12:23PM MST

Mod. you're actually onto something other than my idiosyncratic spelling, because Mercedes calls those people now oficially Classic Cars Dpt. or some such. the expression Oldtimer ha become outdated, hehe. Andreas isn't working for Mercedes, only with them, but for his own bank account. He's well into retirement age by now, but keeps goin' because he likes it that way.
Wednesday - May 25th 2022 6:07AM MST
PS: "I know a Mercedes Oldtimer-mechanic." Haha, Dieter, I can't help think of the recent iSteve post on Capitalization, as this sounds like it's an official position, maybe some German guild - the OTM - OldTimer-Mechanic.
Dieter Kief
Wednesday - May 25th 2022 1:35AM MST

Ah, Adam - I smile even before I hit the keys - yours is a W 126 then - maybe a six-cylinder.
A nice ship (ein hübsches Schiff), as we used to say, when it started to make the rounds. - One of the most durably built automobiles of these days...
I know a Mercedes Oldtimer-mechanic. He works mostly on the 190 coupés and cabriolets in his own garage, which is stuffed with plants of all kinds (three palmtrees before it too). A nice and well-lighted and very tastefully equipped place I enjoy a lot. Next time I'll see him, I'll ask him about the W 126 diesels.
Adam Smith
Tuesday - May 24th 2022 8:15AM MST
PS: Good evening, Dieter,

"Your car-link opened a spare parts site of Mercedes, but did not show a specific car - other than a - brown... 300 SL rodster (W 198 - 1960 or so - no more wings attatched, hehe). Now you made me curious."

Hmmm... Now I'm curious too. Here are the pics I posted...

I'm amused by how the same webpage links will work differently from different places in the world.
Hell, I'm often amused by how different browsers and operating systems will read the same internet differently.

I hope you have a great evening, Mr. Kief!

Monday - May 23rd 2022 10:53PM MST
Adam this is the one

Your car-link opened a spare parts site of Mercedes, but did not show a specific car - other than a - brown... 300 SL rodster (W 198 - 1960 or so - no more wings attatched, hehe). Now you made me curious.
Mr. Anon
Monday - May 23rd 2022 6:56PM MST


"Great episode, featuring the fabulous William Daniels, of “The Graduate” (he was Dustin Hoffman’s dad) “1776” (John Adams)..."

They always used to show 1776 on the 4th of July. I thought William Daniels did a great job as John Adams. Daniels was also great in the 1960s psychedelic spy farce "The President's Analyst" starring James Coburn (a funny and strange movie - I recommend it). And he had a brief role in the 1970s conspiracy thriller "The Parallax View" (a very creepy and paranoid-feeling movie - I also recommend it).
Al Corrupt
Monday - May 23rd 2022 3:13PM MST

I am another victim of the Vega. Mine had a warped head (aluminum) and rear shocks that ripped out of their mounts (great for a first time back seat down lovemaking session… great bounce), and then it gave up the ghost. A connecting rod bearing went out and the rod snapped… not only did it bend the piece of rod still attached to the piston to a 90degree angle, but the piece of rod still attached to the crankshaft blew holes into both sides of the engine block. A fine first automobile…
Adam Smith
Monday - May 23rd 2022 3:02PM MST
PS: Good afternoon, Dieter,
I hope you're having a great evening...

What was up with all those brown cars/trucks/vans in the 70's?
(I had an old dodge 1 ton van in metallic fecal brown. Reliable, but ugly. Gas hog too. 8mpg)

Is this the kind of Mercedes diesel in your story?
(Sounds like good times!)

I've always thought those looked nice.
Never been in one, but I do have one of these...

(Needs some new interior and some other stuff. Still runs well.)

My wife said she hadn't heard that song in years. Thanks!

Dieter Kief
Monday - May 23rd 2022 1:58PM MST
My Michigan girlfriend 78 ff. drove a brown Pinto for a while. I was relieved when she got rid of it.
Thanks to the heavens above that she looked (and moved...) so much better than this awkwardly proportioned automobile.
In '77 I drove a white Mercedes 200 diesel (the one with the little wings at the back) with red leather seats (it was - to the surprise of quite some policemen, legal to seat the driver and two co-pilots in the front row - oh how we drank and laughed and kissed and bumped laughingly into one another and - smoked there! - The ashtray was huge, so that you would not miss it - and in full chrome - which served the same purpose; in the dark too. It was still - shimmering. A very handy beige cigarette lighter was right beside it. It featured a little red lamp on its top, so you could always spot it, no matter whether "it was dark outside - or light" (Elton John Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters - how we loved this one - and sang along from the top of our lungs!).
The speedometer went (very slowly...) from bottom straight up (!) to the top - while changing colors: Green, yellow, red (= over 100 km/h, ca.).
Adam Smith
Monday - May 23rd 2022 9:38AM MST
PS: Good afternoon, everyone,

Anyone remember the BMW E18? Better known as the AMC AMX/3?

Monday - May 23rd 2022 9:14AM MST
PS: Spent some time in a Chevy Vega too! Yes, a POS. I was just about to bring up the Maverick when I saw you mention it, Mr. Ganderson. I also fondly remember the Plymouth Duster. A friend had a "Gold Duster", that was written on the side, and then that brings up a slightly different era (just a couple of years), when my other friends had a number of small Japanese cars. I think it was a B210 Datsun that had "Honey Bee" written on the side.

No matter how much they broke down, all of them had more class than the vehicles of today.

Nope, I had no idea that that RF writer wrote Sopranos scripts too. I really don't keep up with all those types, though they obviously mattered.

Those Celicas always stood out as the coolest Toyotas, Alarmist. A friend has a mid-90s on that's got over 300,000 miles on it.
The Alarmist
Monday - May 23rd 2022 6:32AM MST

Wouldn’t have caught me dead in a Pacer ... wait, maybe that is precisely how you would have found me in a Pacer. Moi? I had a Celica. Great car.

Yes, the old car phones had handsets similar to a desk or wall set. You would have loved to see the machinations it took to make it all work, which is why it was the province of the rich or people like POTUS.
Monday - May 23rd 2022 5:48AM MST

Great episode, featuring the fabulous William Daniels, of “The Graduate” (he was Dustin Hoffman’s dad) “1776” (John Adams) St. Elsewhere (Dr. Craig) and “Boy Meets World” (Mr. Feeney) … oh, and let’s not forget he was the voice of the car in “Knight Rider”. Camilla Sparv, who was the hot babe in that episode was, as the great Howie Carr would say, “Not Guilty!”

Daniels was in another Rockford in which he played the prosecutor of a grand jury that harasses Jimbo.

Garner apparently did all his own driving in Rockford, which is kinda cool. I’ve also heard that he used the show to throw roles to his pals; guys like Robert Loggia, his brother Jack, and a lot of those “oh, THAT guys” like George Loros.

And I’m sure you’re aware, Mr. Mod, that David Chase, who wrote a lot of Rockfords, was the driving force behind the Sopranos.

UsNthem: those 70s vehicles were doubleplusungood! The Vega made the Pinto look like a BMW; it was perhaps the worst production car ever made in the US. The Trabant or the Lada takes the world crown, though.

And let us not forget, while we’re talking crappy cars and James Garner, Ford made another rotten vehicle called the Maverick!

“Who is the tall dark stranger there, Maverick is his name…”
Adam Smith
Sunday - May 22nd 2022 9:09PM MST
PS: 🍺 🤠 🐸

Sunday - May 22nd 2022 6:52PM MST
PS: Mr. Anon, I had no idea, but then I'm not a James Bond movie fan. A Hornet chasing a Matador, eh? I have some time in a Hornet. It was a '78 or so, right before they made it more of a classy car - it was then a Concorde - may have even been a French accent mark there, but it would have rusted off the car before the other letters, haha.

Maybe they are homely, but I see the Pacer and Gremlin as really unique body styles. I wish I had a running Gremlin right now. (Finding parts would be hell, I guess anyway.)

UsAndThem, on the Jap cars. Yeah, quality had gone up a whole lot from the 1960s to the '70s, or else the bad reputation was maybe already old at the end of the 60's. Their small cars were the right thing for the time, when American car companies had not put much effort into them yet.

My Dad did not WANT to buy foreign at all, but between some "tinny" (his words) Colt and a Toyota, he went for the Toyota. It was solid, and it would have ran a long time too, probably, if a family member had not kept running it when it was out of oil. "Yeah, the light was on, but I had to be somewhere..."

Thanks for the comments, everyone.
Sunday - May 22nd 2022 6:43PM MST
PS: Adam, the website with the purported identify of Mr. "R.C. Christian" is something I'll read more of before I write, but from my reading of the complete book, the guy was just a wild-eyed do-gooder. If they want to make eugenicist, White Supremacy, all that, out of him, that's just an agenda, IMO. If would be interesting to know more of who he was.

No, the cube wasn't there. I saw your last URL, which confuses me. There is nowhere a description of said cube on the monument or in the book. That seems like a fun little project by one of the local granite companies to bring out a few more viewers than normal, perhaps, put there to see when anyone would notice (and steal) it?

Thanks for these links. That was interesting.

Sunday - May 22nd 2022 5:45PM MST
There were a lot of ugly cars manufactured in the 70's. I actually had a Pinto - you know, the one that could blow up if rear ended - piece of crap. Had a friend that had a Vega - another piece of crap, along, of course with the Pacer. All in all, not a good decade in US auto manufacturing - the Japs were coming on strong with better gas mileage and reliability. Pretty funny as back in the 60's, the joke was "made in Japan" was junk.
Mr. Anon
Sunday - May 22nd 2022 4:43PM MST

"This Pacer wasn't involved in any chase scenes,..."

There was at least one all AMC chase scene in movie history - in "The Man With the Golden Gun", Bond (Roger Moore) in an AMC Hornet chases Scaramanga (Christopher Lee) in an AMC Matador. It was I believe one of the first compensated instances of product placement in a movie. AMC had a reputation for making homely, boring vehicles (Pacer, Gremlin), so they figured they could up the sex-appeal of their cars by getting them featured in a Bond movie.

By the way, Christopher Lee was always one of my favorite Bond villains.
Adam Smith
Sunday - May 22nd 2022 2:37PM MST
PS: Me again,

I meant to post this link too, but forgot...


Adam Smith
Sunday - May 22nd 2022 1:41PM MST
PS: Happy Sunday, Mr. Moderator and Friends...

About those guidestones...

I found that video on this guy's blog yesterday...

He has some other guidestones stuff too...

I didn't notice the so called cube before and I don't recall any mention of it in the R.C. Christian book.
Did you notice it (or whatever is in it's place) when you visited the guidestones?

Not sure what to make of the two conflicting Robert Christian/guidestones origin stories.

Anyway. I hope you have a great evening!

WHAT SAY YOU? : (PLEASE NOTE: You must type capital PS as the 1st TWO characters in your comment body - for spam avoidance - or the comment will be lost!)