The Rockford Files

Trivia, Quotes, Notes and Allusions

Quotes (153)

  • Sara Butler: You aren't afraid of him, are you? Jim: You're damn right I am!

  • Sara Butler: How much of my own money am I going to earn back? Jim: I usually pay my operatives 20 bucks an hour for this kind of thing. Sara Butler: I wouldn't do it for less than 50.

  • Jim: You know what's wrong with karate Jerry? It's based on the ridiculous assumption that the other guy will fight fair.

  • Nick Butler: Who are you, the boyfriend? Jim: No, what I am is about fifty pounds heavier and a whole lot meaner.

  • Jim: (right before Jerry hits him) You gotta be one of the dumbest looking apes I ever saw.

  • Mrs. Elias: (meeting Jim, who is posing as a Dean of Admissions) You look like a truck driver in a suit.

  • Muzzy Vinette: (to Jim after he is beaten) And now just so you don't feel so bad about the beating I'm going to leave you with 200 dollars. Jim: You don't need to do that!

  • Jim: I'm investigating the Kirkoff killings and I heard you were having an affair with Mrs. Kirkoff before she was killed. Travis Buckman: Private cop, huh? Jim: Look, you aren't gonna shoot anybody, we both know it, so why don't you put that thing away before you have an accident. Travis Buckman: Who're you working for? Jim: Well, that's confidential. (Buckman cocks his gun) Jim: Larry Kirkoff.

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Notes (72)

  • In a very pre-PC moment in the washroom scene, Rockford taunts the thug about being "queer". Some re-runs remove this line.

  • The man Rockford encounters in the washroom is played by Jack Garner - James Garner's brother. Jack would play a number of bit parts in many Rockford episodes.

  • Lindsay Wagner returns as Sara Butler later in the first season, in "Aura Lee, Farewell". It is also widely believed that it was Wagner's performance in this episode that won her the guest role of Jamie Sommers in The Six Million Dollar Man, which in turn led to her own series, The Bionic Woman.

  • The producers had not yet decided on Noah Beery Jr playing the part of Jim's father Rocky; Robert Donley plays the character in this Pilot before the part was recast for the regular series.

  • Stuart Margolin is credited as Angel in the 90 minute version of the Pilot, but in the two-part version "Backlash of the Hunter", he goes uncredited.

  • In the two-part version, the answerphone tag is used just as it is in the series; here the message given by Officer Billings (who is yet to appear in the show till season 3) refers to Chapman's party (again yet to appear till season 3). THis answerphone tag is reused in the sixth season's Hawaiian Headache. Luis Delgado appears in the Pilot as the groom! The two-part version uses the traditional theme used from season 3-6. The movie plays a jazzier version of the traditional theme at the beginning, otherwise there is no familiar opening theme used. Jim's trailer is situated on the Pacific Coast Highway, where it would live for the first twelve episodes of the first season before moving to its traditional location of Paradise Cove. The two-part story features a main title theme and pictures the trailer (instead of Jim's desk) for the answerphone tag – the picture clearly shows the trailer at Paradise Cove! The main title features only pictures of Jim, placing pictures of Jim from the pilot story where other characters usually feature (i.e. Dennis, Beth, Angel or Rocky).

  • This is the first episode in which Noah Beery Jr. stars as Joseph "Rocky" Rockford. In the pilot episode, Robert Donley played this role.

  • In the Season One DVD featurette, James Garner remembers this as one of his favorite episodes.

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Trivia (63)

  • Nitpick: As fun as the bathroom scene where Jim puts handwash soap over the floor to cause the thug to slip over, the soap seems far too runny to be regular soap, and it's unlikely that the small amount of soap (or whatever it was) would cause the thug to completely slip over. Great scene though!

  • Jim's 1/4 page advertisement in the Yellow Pages has no telephone number shown!!! This must explain why most clients came to the door as opposed to calling.

  • The Pilot is simply called 'The Rockford Files', but it also airs in a two part format called 'Backlash of the Hunter - separate shows with additional filler scenes to bring the viewing time up to fifty minutes.

  • Three scenes were reused within the the two part version of the pilot, the most glaring being character Jerry Grimes shown in the Mayfair lounge with a poster of Rose Marie in the background, only to be shown later in the episode in a nightclub called Gazzarri's sitting at the same stool with the same poster in the background.

  • This episode marks the first appearance of Gretchen Corbett as Beth Davenport.

  • When Jim returns home from the police station, he parks between the lines in the parking space by his trailer. When he comes back out to his car a minute or so later, his car is straddling the line.

  • At the end of the show, Rockford is forced into a car at gunpoint. The car is a black Mercury with the hidden headlights similar to the type McGarrett always drove on Hawaii Five-O. When the car goes over the cliff and Rockford bails out, the car is suddenly an old Lincoln with the suicide doors and of course the headlights are showing.

  • When they show the train at night, the footage is shown reversed, as can be seen by the lit "57" number board on the front of the engine being backwards. A few minutes later, when they show the side of the train, the numbers on the side are also backward.

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Allusions (10)

  • The alias "Florence Baker" that the character Barbara Kelbaker uses, happens to be the name of Lady Baker who lived 1841-1916 and travelled a lot in Africa with her husband Samuel Baker, one of Great Britain's greatest explorers. Another coincidence is that one of Lady Baker's middle names is "Barbara", the same first name as the character.

  • Jim: Al, Al, be a good soldier. Don't die, just fade away. Jim's advice to Brennan comes from General Douglas MacArthur's farewell address to Congress on April 19, 1951. In the speech, MacArthur said, "The world has turned over many times since I took the oath at West Point, and the hopes and dreams have all since vanished, but I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barracks ballads of that day which proclaimed most proudly that old soldiers never die; they just fade away. And like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty."

  • The title of this episode is from a saying; Sticks and stones may break my bones (but words will never hurt me). The meaning is that something that is said or written about you cannot hurt you as much as a physical assault or abuse.

  • Lee Russo: His gags are so old, even Berle wouldn't steal them...
    Milton Berle, the legendary TV comedian, had a recurring gag in his act that he stole all of his jokes from other comedians ("I was listening to Jack Benny last night. I laughed so hard I nearly dropped my pencil").

  • "Irving the Explainer" The title for this episode comes from a literary convention in which a character delivers a huge amount of exposition to the audience. Usually, detective shows feature an "Irving the Explainer" scene in which the detective sums up the case.

  • When Angel is discussing a title for his book he suggests Witness for the Prosecution which is the title of a play written by Agatha Christie

  • The title and general plot of the episode are inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 film North By Northwest. In the film, Cary Grant is mistaken for a spy and gets entangled in a cross-country pursuit.

  • The title is a double allusion. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are minor characters from the play Hamlet; they are friends of the title character.

    Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is also the title of a surrealistic play by Tom Stoppard, which follows the exploits of the pair, with most of the action taking place while they are offstage in the original play.

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