Monday, March 14, 2011

The Rockford Files: A Lesson in Life

As some of you may know, Travis and I have recently gotten a bit hooked on episodes of “The Rockford Files” available through Netflix streaming.  This awesome drama about an ex-con turned private investigator really has everything the two of us would ever want in a show:  awesomely-dressed characters (think polyester suits and general ‘70s awesomeness,) a charismatic, funny lead character (yes, James Garner.  You were, and still are, the bees knees,) and enough recurring elements to warrant several laughs per episode AND this blog!  Without further ado, Travis and I present:

What We’ve Learned from “The Rockford Files:”
1.  No matter what you may think, someone IS always following you.  This person is going to continue to follow you while you try to dodge the follower – by pulling into a gas station or making several hairpin turns - and as soon as you begin to squeal tires when you come around a corner?  Then it will escalate into a car chase.  This chase will last as long as you can continue to make your gold Firebird outrun whatever land boat the enemy is driving.  And when you finally do come to a stop, the bad guys will either try to kidnap you or give you a warning from their boss about what’s going to happen if you don’t (fill in the blank with something sinister but sort of innocuous, like, “Give me $1,000 and we won’t throw you in the pool at the end of the show.”)  Another rule of thumb is to never play “Slug Bug” with the Rockford Files car chase scenes.  They pass more VW bugs than hookers on Dickerson Road.  You will end up with a severe hematoma on your bicep and your divorce attorney on speed dial.  Now, if they DO kidnap you:
2.  Just get in the car.  Chances are they’re not going to hurt you – they’re just going to get out whatever information they can out of you and then drop you in the middle of the desert while they drive off.  I mean, no one really dies in the Rockford Files, except possibly the guy at the very beginning that prompted the entire “hire a private investigator” situation in the first place.  And the guy at the beginning had no story line, so it’s completely cool that the gardener found him facedown in the begonias surrounded by a pool of blood.  Otherwise, who is going to chase James Garner?  The guy who DIDN’T kill Mr. Begonia?
3.  A good rule of thumb when watching the show is that A Bad Suit + A Good Moustache = Not Great Morals.  9 times out of 10 this equation nets you a criminal. 
4.  It’s always a good idea to carry some sort of weapon when entering your house.  Odds are, some goon is waiting inside and will bash you with your crystal ashtray when you walk in the door.  You’ll wake up a few hours later with nothing more than a slight scratch on your forehead and a ransacked trailer.  At no point will this cause serious brain damage.  And maybe you should hide that ashtray?
5.  Identity theft is okay as long as your intent is to catch a criminal.  No, you don’t have to be an undercover police officer to partake in a little nonchalant role-playing.  You just have to be a street-wise PI on a mission to take down evil.  So go ahead and pretend to be an electrical technician in order to gain access to someone’s house and personal records.  It is completely fine.  And if someone asks questions, tell them about your brain injury from that unfortunate ashtray incident. 
6.  If you are chasing a bad guy around a fancy house, odds are one of you will end up in the pool. 
7.  Being a private investigator will afford you a cheap trailer on the beach.  Adding a semi-nice desk, a blotter, and a rockin’ answering machine will turn this ramshackle arrangement into a “business office.” 

Potential clients will walk in, look around in disgust, and subsequently pull large amounts of cash out of their pocketbooks (they’re almost always women.  Who else is going to swoon over your investigational prowess?) in order for you to solve their problems.  These ladies have usually tried to solve the problem themselves, but to no avail.  That’s why they’re coming to you!  This brings me to my next point:
8.  For the modest outlay of $200* a day (plus expenses) you can secure the solution to your problem, via private investigator.  Now, I’ve done the math on this, and making the assumption that he worked an average of 5 days a week, and he worked every week, that would give Jim Rockford an annual salary of a cool $52K.  And that was in the late ‘70s!  One would think he would be able to afford something better than an aluminum box in the sand that might as well have a “Come Bash in my Head and Possibly Kidnap My Father Who is Always Hanging Around and Drinking My Beer.  On Second Thought, Go Ahead and Follow Through on that Last Part.  I’m Tired of Buying His Booze and that Might Explain Where All of My Money is Going” sign out front.
*Plus a 10% commission on collection jobs. 
9.  The Firebird is In.De.Structible.  This car sees about the same amount of action as the General Lee (sans doors that are welded shut) and yet is ready to take down a crook at a moment’s notice. 

And there you have it folks:  A Survival Guide a la Rockford for your reading pleasure.  If you haven’t watched this fine television show, Travis and I highly suggest you do.  And if you don’t take our advice, don’t call us from your next ashtray-induced headache. 


  1. You brought back so many memories for me - I used to watch Rockford with my dad. By the way, best tv theme song. EVER.

  2. On another note, I am perplexed that you are not older than your sister. She knows ZERO pop culture from before 1990. Splain that?

  3. I have an issue with #8. Now while he charges $200 a day (plus expenses), how often does it seem like at the end of the episode he doesn't actually get paid? Maybe you've watched more episodes than me, but I distinctly remember how often he'd end up short-changed by the end, even though he cracked the case. I'd say that brings down his annual income substantially.