Friday, July 13, 2007

"Thirty Years of the Rockford Files" by Ed Robertson

My review of Ed Robertson's excellent new book, "Thirty Years of the Rockford Files", has been a long time coming, mainly because of my schedule over the last month and the sheer volume of information he includes in this wonderful look into one of the best TV shows of the 1970s.

Anyone familiar with "The Rockford Files" will remember the spirit of fun that James Garner brought to the series, and Robertson's book captures that perfectly. In addition to serving as a history of the TV show, the book also serves as a tribute to its charming, personable star. Garner brought a kind of self-deprecating humor to his performance which is undoubtedly what helped make it so popular.

Robertson takes an episode-by-episode approach to the show's history. His writing style captures the feel of the show as he offers plot synopses and "behind-the-scenes" history of each episode. It's interesting to realize the significant place that "The Rockford Files" holds in TV history. In many ways, it was a one-of-a-kind show. The early 70s in particular brought series like "MacMillan and Wife", "Columbo", and "McCloud", staples of NBC's "Million Dollar Mystery" program. "The Rockford Files" continued somewhat in this vein but added the incomparable Garner into the mix, playing a different kind of role that ushered in a new style of leading man.

Robertson also looks at the surprisingly large number of guest stars who made appearances on the show during its run. The trivia and behind-the-scenes facts are thoroughly researched and make this book a treasure trove for any "Rockford" fan.

This book comes with my highest recommendation, as well as the recommendations of several other long-time "Rockford" fans with whom I shared it.