Posts Tagged ‘James Garner

29
Aug
13

ROCKFORD FILES cast and crew party 2013

Rockford Files Cast And Crew Party 2013

Rockford Files Cast And Crew Party 2013

Written by Jim Suva

Pictures by Joe Gunderson, AJ Palmgren, Rob Kleinle

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Logo By Darin James Bristow

This years Rockford Files Cast and Crew Party 2013 was held at Galpin Ford in North Hills, California on Saturday June 22nd.  We gathered in Community Room,on the second floor. The Party started at 8:30 am with a meet and greet.  Coffee and danish were available for those attending.  Sheri Aldrich was kind enough to man our registration table and greet everyone as they came in.  Special namestags with our logo on them, were given to each our guests and speakers.

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Some of those who attended this years party included our first real life Private Investigator, Chris Farmer from Arizona.  Chris became a PI because of The Rockford  Files.  Others came from New Jersey, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Minnesota, Alabama, Illinois, California and from Germany.   In fact, Patrick Schnurr and his father Albert from Germany, won the farthest distant traveledprize.  The prize was the 1/64th scale Rockford Files Hotbird, from Hot Wheels and two Rockford caps.

This year we did something different. We had guest speakers to talk about their experience working on The Rockford Files and with James Garner.  By the feedback I have received, it was a big success.  Everyone attending got to hear all the stories,  so that no one missed any.

Roydon Clark – Stuntman.  Roy is James Garner’s stunt double, since “Maverick” in the 1950’s through a number of TV shows and movies. On Rockford, Roy was the second unit director and stunt coordinator.  Roy told some great stories about working with Jim over the years.

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Robert Zilliox – Set Decorator 1975 through the Rockford Movies.  Bob told stories about how he started in the business and was promoted on The Rockford Files to Set Decorator.  He said Jim told him that he did not want anything used more than once on Rockford.

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Milt Kogan – Actor and a real medical Doctor.  Milt has appeared in numerous TV and movies, plus 3 different Rockford’s  “No Cut Contract”, “The Empty Frame” as Aaron Keel, Angel’s brother-in-law.

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Steve Reich and Steve Hofmann from Film Vehicle Services – Steve R. and his
partner Steve H. were in charge of finding and working on the Firebirds for the
Rockford Movies of the 1990’s.  They talked about the finding of the Firebirds and the help GM gave them in locating parts for their transformation into Rockford Firebirds.

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Dennis Burkley – Actor.  Dennis has been in many TV shows over the years.  He
mainly played Bikers, tuff guys and was also in Murphy’s Romance.  Dennis is
one of nicest guys you ever want to meet.  He also talked about working with Jim.

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Chester Grimes – Personnel friend of James Garner and Actor.  Chester worked on a couple of episodes of Rockford and appeared in a couple of the Rockford movies.  Chester was also Jim’s driver for a few years.  He brought his own unquie stories
to the party.

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Diane Adler- Film Editor.  Diane came and was suppose to answer questions.  Unfortunately, we ran out of time.  But Diane did take pictures and sign autographs for the fans.

Pat McKinney brought some of his Rockford Files Collection, along with his
Screen used 1978 Firebird Formula 400. Of course the Firebird (the star that it is) arrived a little late, but came in on a flat bed truck.  Pat did not want anything to happen to it on the way to and from Galpin Ford.

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Glenn Gamer and Michael Mundy brought their Firebirds to the party too.  Below are a few pictures of their cars.  Glenn’s Firebird is from Neveda and is a 1978.  Michael’s is the red 1979  Firebird.

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We took breaks between speakers, so that fans could meet, talk, get pictures and autographs.

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Of course, it was time for the Guess Speakers to catch up with their Rockford Family from the show.

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Before we left Galpin Ford,  everyone signed a banner for Pat McKinney.  Pat
had the banner made with his on money and will be proudly displayed in his
garage.

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Part of the party of course was held in the parking lot, because of one special Firebird.  Pat enjoys talking about his Firebirds with his fellow fans.

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Here are some of my favorite pictures of most of the guests by Pat’s Firebird.

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We broke for lunch around 1 pm.   Those interested in going to see Pat’s 76 andhis 77 Firebird sound car, were welcome to come back to Pat’s house at 3 pm.  In fact a number of people showed up.  Including a stunt man that Sue Kessler knew, Bob Herron.  Bob worked on Rockford in a few episodes.  He also work as a stunt double for Ross Martin on The Wild Wild West.  He was also the first stunt man to drive the original 1966 Batmobile on Batman.  He has some wonderful stories totell about working on the different movies and TV shows.

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A few people went down to Paradise Cove on Sunday morning, to see whereRockford lived.  This was organized by Sheri Aldrich and included Richard Piet, Tim Koch, Glenn and  Kathy Gamer.

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We would like to thank our speakers for giving up their time, to share their stories with the fans of a great TV show and it’s star James Garner.  None of these peoplewere paid to participate.  All funds raised were used toward the cost of this event. We do not make any money, in fact we usually do not even cover the cost.

Plans are all ready in the works for next years 40th Anniversary of The Rockford Files.

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This article is dedicated to Dennis Burkley.  Even though Dennis was not feeling well the day of our Rockford Files Party,  he still attended, spoke, took pictures with and autographed items for the fans.  He was truly a wonderful guy!  We will miss you very much Dennis!!!

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27
Aug
11

Rockford Files shooting locations, then and now!

I have to admit I am a sucker for fan stuff like this!  Being able to stand in the very place where movies or shows that I loved actually shot is just a fun “touchstone” to bring me closer to the action that I remember seeing on the big and little screen!  Below is super Rockford fan Jim Suva’s write up on his trip to Rockford Files locations!  The Herbie owners are planning a three day event to do pretty much the same thing for their Sothern California locations next month, so any group of fans can pull this sort of thing off, and if you do, well tell me about it with great info and photos like Jim does!  Enjoy! 
Nate Truman

Rockford Files Locations

 

Written by Jim Suva

In July 2011, Pat McKinney and I went to find the locations that were used on The Rockford Files.  Below are some of the locations we found.

Here is the original location of Jim Rockford’s trailer in the parking lot by the Malibu Pier on Pacific Coast Highway.

The first two pictures are from the show.  Last two are 2011.

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First picture below is Lankershim Blvd. in 2011.  A number of scenes of Jim driving down this street have been used. The second picture is St Charles Boromeo.  The inside of the church was used while filming “Find Me If You Can”.  The church is located on the corner of Moorpark and Lankershim Blvd.

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“The Real Easy Red Dog”  First picture is from the episode.  It shows the Services entrance to Ruehmanm Pontiac in 1975. The next picture is of the dealership today.  It now sells BMW’s.  The third picture is the house where Stefanie Powers character lived in 1975 and the fourth is 2011.

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Jim entering the house and the side view of 4265 Denny Ave. North Hollywood.

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“The Trees, the Bees, and T.T. Flowers”  The church is located on the corner of Cahuenga and Whipple in Toluca Lake.  The first two picture are from 1976.  The third picture was taken 2011.

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“Beamers Last Case”  This is Tony’s Body Shop located at 4730 Blix Street in North Hollywood.  First picture is from 1977 and the next two are 2011.

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Here is Jack Kelly’s characters home at 4365 Forman, Toluca Lake.  First picture is the gate to the property in 1977.  The next picture is the gate 2011.  Third picture is the driveway 1977.  Fourth is the driveway 2011.

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“Hotel of Fear”  Here is the Mob Bosses Nova’s house located at 4256 Navajo, Toluca Lake.  First two pictures are from 1977 and the last two are 2011.

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“Rosendahl and Gilda Stern are Dead”  The intersection is at Cahuenaga and Riverside Drive in Toluca Lake.  This is where Abe Vigoda and Robert Loggia’s characters met.  The first two pictures are from 1978 and the last two are from 2011.

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This is Rocky’s House located at 3654 Lankershim Blvd., Studio City.  The house has had an addition built on the front of house.  It now has a row of trees in front.

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This is Bob Morse’s Beach Cafe, Paradise Cove.  It use to be called the Sandcastle.  It has changed quite a bit over the last few years.  Jim Rockford’s trailer use to be parked in the parking lot.    That part of the  parking lot is now a sandy beach with tables.  Below are pictures of Paradise Cove, July 13, 2011.

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I hope you enjoyed these pictures.  It is always nice to see what the locations look like today.

27
Jul
11

The Rockford Files Fans get together for their first Festival!

My pals Pat McKinney and Jim Suva you can say are big Rockford files fans.  We connected because of their Rockford files screen used cars, but obviously if you get the car, well you love the show it came from!   So below is Jim’s write up of the fans first big get together!  Read on!

Nate Truman Starcarcentral.com Founder

Rockford Files Fest – 2011

Written by Jim Suva

On July 13, 2011, the 1st Annual Rockford Files Fest was held. In April I began to make arrangements to meet Pat McKinney and Brett Papworth. Pat and Brett are friends who helped me with my research of the Rockford Firebirds. Since my family and I were coming to the Los Angeles area during the second week in July, it seemed like a great idea to meet them in person! I then told Rob Howe that we were coming. Rob runs the official James Garner Fan Page on Facebook. He took this prospective meeting, which was going to include lunch at Paradise Cove, and transformed it into the 1st Rockford Files Fest. A Fest had been discussed for years on the Yahoo Rockford Files Group, but somehow that never became a reality. Until now.

Rob used to work on the set of the series during the last two seasons. Through the Garner Facebook page and his contacts with the show, he combined Rockford crew members and fans. This year’s Fest had a very limited budget and was really a trial run for next year’s Fest.

The Rockford Files Fest was held in two parts, in two different locations. The first part was held at Pat McKinney’s house, where we met at 10 a.m. Pat owns three (yes, that’s right, three) original Rockford Firebirds from the TV series. He has a 1976, a 1977 and a 1978 Firebird Formulas that were all driven by James Garner.

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Pat also displayed his collection of Rockford Files memorabilia, including photographs, an original screen-used license plate, a telephone answering machine, a phone, a clock and a pencil holder, similar to the ones used in the series. Pat was nice enough to let us actually touch these items, and pose for pictures with his Firebirds!

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Pat also has a collection of Rockford crew jackets and hats. These items were given to the Rockford cast and crew by James Garner during the filming of the series and the movies. What a classy guy!

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The 1977 Firebird gets to stay in the garage, out of the sun. It is the actual sound car from the fourth season. You can see the plugs in the fenders where wiring and cables were run. It’s a beautiful car!

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The 1976 Firebird is the only known car that has a letter signed by James Garner documenting the VIN number. It also states that he drove this Firebird on The Rockford Files.

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The 1978 Firebird was used in the last two seasons of the series. As you can see, it still needs a little TLC!

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Pat will be restoring these Firebirds as time and finances allow.

We also stopped by a nearby RV storage facility where Pat’s newest project is parked. He was given a 1959 Nashua trailer, which is the same kind of trailer Jim Rockford lived in during the series. Pat is hoping that with the help of Robert Zilliox, he will be able to paint and decorate the trailer to match Jim Rockford’s trailer. Robert Zilliox was the set designer from The Rockford Files. Robert has pictures of the interior of the trailer and the designs used on the show.

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We are hoping to have all of Pat’s collection items at the 2nd Rockford Files Fest!

The second part of the Fest was held at Bob Morse’s Beach Café. This is the old Sandcastle Restaurant that was the site used for both the TV series and the CBS movies.
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We met at the restaurant at 1:30 p.m. Rob made sure that we were sitting at tables where the original trailer sat. This area has been transformed into a beach area and has tables with beach umbrellas to keep the California sun off, our heads. The parking lot has been removed a few years ago. It was very cool to be sitting in that exact location!

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Once most of us arrived, Rob held a brief introduction, welcoming us and introduced the Rockford crew and the fans. Everyone received a T-shirt that was designed by Sheilagh Howe. The T-shirts were black because that is James Garner’s favorite color. Pat McKinney also gave out Rockford Files hats, that he had made to many of the attendees.

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Unfortunately, James Garner was not available to attend. Jim did send his personal car along with his driver, Chester Grimes. Chester has appeared on The Rockford Files several times in different roles. Note the Cadillac’s license plate! Obviously, a combination of his two favorite characters!

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Roy Clark, Jim’s stunt double since his Maverick days, was kind enough to attend. Rob introduced Roy and he held a very nice speech. Roy also entertained us with several stunt stories, and about one particular stunt that he did in the episode “Battle of Canoga Park”

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Roy was nice enough to go around to the different tables and he spoke with everyone. I was even fortunate enough to have him sign the visor of my Firebird! Roy also brought a great poster signed by James Garner, as well as a Rockford crew jacket.

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Rob introduced Jon Winokur, who relayed a special message from James Garner. Jon is co-authoring The Garner Files, the story of James Garner’s life. It will be published in November, 2011.

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Also in attendance was Blake Delgado, the son of Luis Delgado, Jim’s best friend for almost 50 years. You might remember Luis playing Officer Billings. Robert Zilliox, set designer, and Diane Adler, film editor, were also there. They signed autographs and had pictures taken with the fans. Unfortunately, my family left before Don Wilkerson came. He was an assistant director and was responsible for getting Rob Howe on the set. Ed Robertson also joined us. He is the author of Thirty Years of The Rockford Files. This book is my Rockford bible!

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A very special treat was Paul Santo’s restored 1977 Firebird, painted in the correct Rockford color. He parked close by in the parking lot (management wouldn’t let him drive it onto the sand! I wonder why?) Many many pictures were taken of Paul’s Firebird. It was so cool to have the Firebird in Paradise Cove again.

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Roy Clark’s son Dennis and his grandson stopped by with a truck that was used as background truck in several episodes. Of course, the truck had different paint jobs in those episodes.

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James Garner was so appreciative of his fans that he signed three items to be raffled off at the Fest. He signed a Rockford hat, a pilot script, and a Rockford T-shirt. Below is a picture of the lucky winners with their prizes! They received their prizes in custom Rockford Files Fest bags, also designed by Rob and Sheilagh.

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We had a wonderful time! We wished it could go on forever!

For more pictures please visit The Official James Garner Fan page on Facebook.

http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/The-Official-James-Garner-Fan-Page/137716439595713

We are already starting to plan a bigger Rockford Files Fest for next year. All will be invited, so tell your friends! Please check back for updates on next year’s event.

12
Jan
11

Original Screen Used Rockford File’s Truck

Original Screen Used Rockford File’s Truck

written by Jim Suva

I had the pleasure to talk with Robert, who lives in Florida. Robert is my age and is another dedicated Rockford Files fan. Robert is the proud owner of an original screen-used Rockford Files pickup truck. During the last season of The Rockford Files, James Garner appeared on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Jim told Johnny that this was going to be the last season for the TV series. Upon hearing that, Robert asked his wife to write a letter to NBC telling them that he wanted to buy Rocky’s pickup truck. Some time passed and Robert asked his wife if she ever received an answer. She hadn’t. So he asked her write another letter. This time, Mary Ann Rhea, Jim’s personal assistant called Robert. She said they lost the original letter while moving their office, but they had Rocky’s truck if he was still interested in purchasing it. Needless to say Robert and his wife flew to Los Angeles in May 1980. They were picked up at the airport by a man named Chuck … in Rocky’s pickup truck! Chuck worked for the Vista Group, the organization that helped supply the vehicles to the TV series. They were driven to the body shop where the truck was originally painted, and had a scratch touched up as they waited. Robert heard that the owner of the body shop wanted to buy all the Firebirds and trucks from The Rockford Files, but could not afford to buy them all. That is why Robert could buy this truck. After the scratch was repaired, they were driven to a nearby community called Toluca Lake, where James Garner’s new office was located. The office was right across the street from Bob Hope’s home. Once at Mr. Garner’s office they saw that he had a 1980 Trans Am and one of the Rockford Firebirds there. Robert and his wife met and talked with Mr. Garner for over two hours. He told them all about the pickup and how everything worked. He even autographed two posters for them, which featured the vehicles from The Rockford Files. Robert said Mr. Garner was just like a regular guy. Robert and his wife stayed a few days in Los Angeles. Mr. Garner got Lakers tickets for them, and they also drove out to Paradise Cove to check out the Sandcastle Restaurant. Robert then drove his prize pickup back home to Florida. This particular pickup truck is a 1979 GMC 4X4 Sierra ½ ton. It has a 400 cubic inch engine with a four-barrel carburetor. It also boasts full-time four-wheel drive with a turbo 400 transmission. Each wheel has two shock absorbers. It still has all the Vic Hickey Enterprise equipment, such as two additional gas tanks, winch, steering wheel, roll bar and fog lights. The pickup also has two original GM gas tanks that came with the truck from the factory. Robert remembers that the GMC trucks originally came only in silver, and with basic equipment. The Vic Hickey equipment and the maroon paint were added at a local body shop. The maroon color is actually a 1976 GM color called Rosedale Red with orange pinstripes. The pinstripes are about 1/8 inch in width. The rear of truck has the names Jim & Jerry written on it in pin striping. According to Robert, his truck can be seen in two episodes, “The Big Cheese” and “Paradise Cove.” Robert’s truck has Vic Hickey center hubs on the front wheels and the standard GM center hubs on the rear wheels. BigCheeseRFT2 Robert has not driven his truck much over the years. It only has 11,910 miles on it. He currently has the truck in his garage under a tarp. It is in need of restoration. His dream is to restore Rocky’s pickup truck and show it to James Garner in person!

 




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