Rockne Tarkington appeared on a number of TV shows and movies, primarily in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. He played the lead in the "blaxploitation" film Black Samson in 1974. He was a semi-regular on Tarzan, the Ron Ely TV series, playing Tao, a jungle veterinarian. He also played a recurring role on the Lee Horsley detective series, Matt Houston, in the 1980s, playing "Too Mean" Malone.
Fans of The Andy Griffith Show may remember Rockne for his role as football player Flip Conroy in the episode titled "Opie's Piano Lesson." In the episode, Opie gets in trouble for skipping his piano lessons to go to football practice. Then, he subsequently gets in trouble with coach Conroy, a former pro player, for missing football practice to take piano lessons. It turns out that Conroy had to take piano lessons as a kid himself, and he works out a schedule so Opie can do both.
Rockne will also be remembered by fans of the Banana Splits Saturday morning kids show for his portayal of Morgan, the castaway merchant sailor in the serial adventure "Danger Island," which was a featured element on the show. It was Rockne who frequently uttered the line, "Uh oh, Chongo!", which became a catch-phrase of sorts for kids who watched the show in the late 60s.
Tarkenton's career tailed off in the 1990s. His most recent recorded roles were in the films The Desparate Trail in 1995 and Wyatt Earp (starring Kevin Costner) in 1994.