07
Aug
12

Rockford Files Reunion!

Rockford Files Cast and Crew Reunion Party

Rockford Files Cast and Crew Reunion Party 

Written by Jim Suva

On Friday July 20, 2012, Pat McKinney, Chester Grimes, Steve Reich and I held  the first reunion of some of the cast and crew from The Rockford Files. We are hoping to continue what James Garner started, promoting the family atmosphere on the set. The party included fans of the show as well.  The original intent of this gathering was to celebrate the Firebirds and Pat’s Rockford collection. So we invited the “Fans of the Firebird”.

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Pat McKinney’s House

Pat and Camille McKinney opened up their home, to host the party. Pat designed T-shirts and hats for those who were attending. Steve Reich supplied the food from Stone Fire Grill. Chester Grimes contacted and invited the Cast members and the Crew. I supplied the drinks and was in charge  of sending out invitations. Because we were limited to personal resources, it was an invitation-only event. Below are pictures that were taken at the party. [Click on a picture to see a larger image.]

Pat’s garage was turned into a Rockford Files Museum.  Here is just a part of Pat McKinney’s Rockford Files Collection.

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Of course, Pat had his three screen-used Firebird Formulas out in all their glory, for all guest to enjoy. His ’76, and ’77, which is closest to being finished, and his ’78.

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Chester Grimes brought his Mini Cooper, which belonged to James Garner. Garner gave Chester the Mini a few years ago, and Chester customized it.

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Paul Santo brought his 1977 Firebird Formula to the party.  Below is Paul with his Firebird and a few pictures of his car.

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The Crew members that attended were Bob Zilliox(Set Designer), Diane Adler(Film Editor), Roydon Clark(Jim’s Stunt Double and Second Unit Director) Don Wilkerson(Assistant Director) and of course Chester Grimes( Jim’s close friend and retired driver). Chester also appeared as different characters on the show.

Bob Zilliox, Diane Adler and Roy Clark                Chester Grimes and Don Wilkerson

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We celebrated the episode “Return of the Black Shadow”. Actor’s Paul Koslo, Dennis Burkley and Chester Grimes played bikers. Micah McCloskey also played a biker and supplied his 1940 Indian Motorcycle to The Rockford Files for this episode. Below are pictures of Paul Koslo on Micah’s bike. [Photo courtesy of Micah McCloskey.] The next picture shows Dennis Burkley (center) with Jim Suva and Pat McKinney. Next picture is Micah talking to Paul by the bike. The last picture is Chester Grimes with Jim Suva.

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Dave Kunz a ENG Photographer/Automotive Reporter for ABC News in LA, brought his Bullitt Mustang to the party.

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Richard Piet with Chester and Roy         Bret Papworth, Pat and Camille McKinney and Dan Shaw

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Dennis and Paul                         Bob                                   Diane                            (shade!)

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Bob, Diane, Roy and Richard            Dave, C. Van Tune, Steve Reich and Pat talking cars!

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(L) Roy Clark looks right at home in Paul’s Firebird.
(R) Sheri Aldrich, Roy, Dave Kunz and C. Van Tune.

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Sheri Aldrich wanted to arrest Roy.  He was very accommodating!

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Paul, Roy and Pat relaxing        Sheri posing with Paul’s license plate         Rob Kleinle

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Paul, Jim and Steve Reich           Jason Torchinsky interviewing Pat for Jalopnik Online.
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We are already starting to plan next years party. We are going to try and get James Whitmore Jr, (Freddie Beamer) to come. Pat and I met Mr. Whitmore through our friend Paul Santo. In fact, Paul Santo will be joining the team to help plan next years party.

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James Whitmore, Jr. (center) with Pat and Jim

Pat recently purchased a 1976 GMC pickup truck that he plans to make into a replica of Rocky’s Truck.

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One thing missing this year was Pat’s trailer. Due to a previous engagement, it could not make it to the party! We are hoping to have it attend the next party.

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Pat’s Rockford Trailer

Everyone really enjoyed themselves at this first reunion event. We had fans from Pennnsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Nevada and of course, California. Thank you to everyone for coming to help make this party such a success!


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