karaokegal (karaokegal) wrote,

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100 TV Shows-#92-The Rockford Files, #93-Kojak

The Rockford Files


I know what you're thinking...why am I putting these two together, aside from a certain desperation to get this project done with? They are both "iconic" shows from the late 70's/early 80's essentially built on the personal charisma of one actor/character, but in other ways soooooo different.

Rockford: Los Angeles. Laid back, somewhat hapless, private detective who tries to eschew violence and never seems to get paid. He's charming, but honestly a bit of a schlub AND doesn't really command fear or respect from his "side-kicks." I really hated Angel for always getting Jim in trouble and could never figure out why Jim put up with his bullshit. I loved the opening answering machine messages and of course that awesome Mike Post theme.

Kojak: New York. Gritty. Pretty damn violent for the time. Police drama, although not really procedural. When he starts barking out: "Crocker, Stavros!" Those guys were ON IT! Some of the endings were very bleak and I remember the closing renditions of "A Day In The Life of a Fool," as being kind of devastating.

I tend to think of Rockford as a mommy show and Kojak as a daddy. I'm sure I watched both of them although not necessarily every episode of each.

I shipped Rockford and Beth,(I remember an article, TV Guide maybe, that described Gretchen Corbett as a cross between Bambi and something or someone who I now can't remember...I think it might have been Lauren Bacall) but I really shipped James Garner and Mariette Hartley in those Polaroid commercials and I think one of my biggest disappointments was when they finally got Mariette as a guest star on Rockford and it kind of fizzled. It was like the chemistry didn't carry over or the writers couldn't figure out how to capitalize on it.

I don't think I particularly had a crush on Telly Savalas, but I definitely had one on Kevin Dobson as Crocker, leading to some major slashing of Greg/Mac when Knot's Landing came along.

I do have warm nostalgia for both, but the real reason I'm grouping them in this post is a memory issue. Stick with me here a minute folks.

Having not watched any episodes of either since original broadcast era, I had a little bit of dialogue stuck in my head. It was an African American actor calling Rockford "Rockfish." I've carried this idea in fleeting bits of my memory for over 30 years. I was convinced it was Rosey Grier playing a bounty hunter named Salathiel Harms. I would have SWORN to this in open court. Then for some reason I decided to use the awesome power of the interwebs to verify the spelling of the character's name in preparation for writing what I thought would be a Rockford only entry in this meme. Only to discover that yes, Rosey Grier did play a bounty hunter named Salathiel Harms....ON KOJAK!!! I have no memory of this character interacting with Kojak in any way.

Then it turned out that the actor/character I had in mine was Isaac Hayes playing a character called Gandalf Fitch, who was an ex-con, but NOT a bounty hunter.

Thus the connection creating this dual post.
Thus my need to finish this thing up before the rest of my memory completely evaporates.
Tags: 100 things, 100 tv shows

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