The Rockford Files - Season One
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With a catchy Mike Post theme song, The Rockford Files began each week with a new message on Rockford's telephone answering machine, usually a humorous indication that Rockford's life was always in some kind of financial disarray. Garner played this angle to the hilt, portraying Rockford as a nice guy who knew all the scams and wasn't above using them if it aided his case. His portrayal, and the show's excellent writing, attracted a wide variety of new and established guest stars, and these 23 episodes (24 if you count the two-part "This Case Is Closed," originally broadcast as one 90-minute episode) feature appearances by Joseph Cotten, James Woods, Sharon Gless, Lindsay Wagner, James Cromwell, Suzanne Somers, Ned Beatty, and others, along with lesser-known but familiar TV regulars like Sian Barbara Allen and Mills Watson, all adding flavor to a series that was routinely hailed by mystery writers as one of the best private-eye shows in TV history. Speaking of mysteries, one can only wonder why Universal failed to include the series' 90-minute pilot (originally aired in March 1974), and while this reviewer experienced no playback problems with these three double-sided DVDs (four episodes per side), many consumers have reported DVD freeze-ups likely resulting from lower-quality players less capable of handling high-compression DVDs. These caveats aside, season 1 of The Rockford Files is a bona fide treat, setting the tone for even better episodes that followed in subsequent seasons. --Jeff Shannon
Top Customer Reviews
Then there's the dreaded double-faced discs. I found this set actually functioned, unlike so much recent Universal product. Well, almost... if you're watching individual episodes, you can't skip the closing credits to get back to the episode list. The disc will freeze up, and the only way you can continue viewing is to shut off your DVD player, restart it, and sit through all that opening crap again.
I swear, I HATE that Universal logo to pieces. I shut the sound off so I don't have to hear those self-congratulatory horns.
Like all modern Universal product, this has great content and crap treatment. But at least it's functional, aside from the menu-freeze problem.
I just wish Anchor Bay or someone else who cares had put this out. Just imagine how packed with bonus materials it would be, and how much nicer the packaging would be...
From his trailer office to his home made business card printer, Rockford was truly unconventional. That is what set him apart from his other 70's detective peers. The best part about Rockford was that he was human. He was frequently wrong in his assumptions, he got beat up a lot, and unlike other macho types, he didn't always get "the girl." Angel played by Stuart Margolin added hilarity to the show, and Rockford's dad, played by Noah Beery, gave it a nice family feeling as well. Overall, this was simply an outstanding show, and compared to some of the shows from the 1970's that are already out on DVD, it really makes no sense that this show is not yet out on DVD, and I look forward to the day when The Rockford Files is finally out in DVD format in all 6 of its wonderful seasons.
Stuart Margolin was simply fantastic as the scheming Angel, always with an angle, and always certain to get Rockford into trouble when it backfired. Like Rockford, you just couldn't stay mad at Angel, no matter what con had blown up in his face or how much trouble he would get our favorite TV detective in from time to time. Rockford and Angel remained friends because of that unspoken bond all ex-cons have, and because deep down, Angel was a stand-up guy, though you couldn't always tell it from looking at the surface.
Except for the 90 minute pilot episode, "Backlash of the Hunter," starring Lindsay Wagner as Sarah Butler, who would resurface in another episode from the first season, "Aura Lee, Farewell," Noah Beery Jr. portrayed Rockford's lovable dad, Rocky. Rocky was a retired trucker who loved to fish, and passed on the hobby to Jim. It was the little moments like fishing that were really the heart and soul of this show when you stop to think about it. There were always a few slice-of-life moments mingled in with the great car chases, glorious con games, and other assorted mischief, as Rockford tried to solve a closed case and stay out of jail at the same time.Read more ›
My first set of discs had some minor freezing on disc one, no problems on disc two, but serious issues with disc 3, with several episodes ("Claire", "Just By Accident" and "Roundabout") being unplayable. A second set following a return exhibited exactly the same problems in exactly the same places, so now I am going to have to return that as well. My DVD player is a newish Panasonic, not a cheapy, and in any event my backup player, a cheap Citizen that is a few years old, exhibited the same problem. Given the comments of others having similar problems, I can only assume there is a bad batch of discs in the pipeline. This is totally unacceptable for Universal and I can only imagine how James Garner -- who had his own little war with Universal about the series after it ended -- must feel about their handling of it.
For what I could actually watch, the content is excellent. Prints are sharp, colors are good, and the sound is generally acceptable for a series of that era. The shows themselves are priceless. I particularly liked "Aura Lee, Farewell", with the lovely Lindsay Wagner guesting. But the quality problems with the discs really soured me on this set. Universal must do something about the quality of their DVDs, and hopefully the folks at Amazon and other large retailers who will have to deal with unhappy customers will be able to exert some influence to get them to clean up their act.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Got it for my dad. He loves these, and can't wait to get a new season each birthday or Christmas. Says they are great for when he is working out and needs a distraction.Published 1 month ago by John
As most of the reviews state, best detective TV series ever. I can't wait till Vol. 2 with the movies is released. Read morePublished 1 month ago by J. Taylor
This has always been one of the best,if not THE best tv show that came out of the 70's..James Garner was truly one of the few really the greats of all time. Read morePublished 3 months ago by dennis teel
Bought this when it first came out back in the mid 2000's (no fault on Amazon, Universal's to blame). Funny how some people have different episodes that won't play due to freezing. Read morePublished 4 months ago by exodusone
The best. I love seeing all these shows on my laptop screen, up close. The filming was all done on the street in the day so you get to see all the businesses that were in place... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mary J.
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