The Rockford Files

Season 5 Episode 4

White on White and Nearly Perfect

Aired Unknown Oct 20, 1978 on NBC



  • Trivia

    • In an episode of the popular comedy series 'Frasier' entitled 'Door Jam' the characters Martin Crane (the father) and Daphne Moon (housekeeper / psychical therapist) watch two episodes of 'The Rockford Files' (which Martin simply refers to as "Rockford"). The first episode they watch is the Pilot (described as "the first ever episode"). As they watch the Pilot Daphne comments that Martin looks like Rocky (John Mahoney who plays Martin Crane does bare a similar resemblance to Noah Beery Jr but not to Robert Donley who actually played Rocky in the Pilot).
      When mentioning the second episode they watch Daphne says; "Tom Selleck guest stars". However, the Frasier episode also refers to the fact that The Rockford Files was filmed in Malibu (Martin Crane gives separate trivia on the fact that comedy series 'M*A*S*H' was filmed in the Malibu hills area). However we do not see exterior shots of Jim's trailer at Paradise Cove in White on White (nor incidentally in the Pilot because the Trailer was not situated in Malibu at that time). There is one quick flash of an aerial shot of the trailer at the Cove in the sixth season episode 'Nice Guys Finish Dead', but it is not obvious that it is in Malibu.

      In an strange coincidence to the above, this episode is also referred to in an episode of 'Magnum PI', entitled 'Tigers Fan', where two guest characters are talking about "Last nights Rockford Files which featured this Lance White character". We know of course that Tom Selleck was Lance White and that he went on to became Thomas Magnum!

  • Quotes

    • Belle Labelle: Are you the Lance White who saved Mr. Hillman's life a long, long time ago when the Mob was moving in at the club and threatening his wife and four grandchildren?
      Lance: [modestly] Let's just say it's closer than I like to come.
      Jim: [unimpressed] Isn't it about time for an intermission? I'm out of popcorn!

    • Answering Machine: Pacific View Lots. Perpetual care by people who care. An unbelievably low cost! Call Moncrieff and Snell. We won't rest easy til you rest easy.

    • Lance: "Things have a way of working out; they always do."
      Lance White's 'catchphrase'

    • Jim: "no doubt about it, Lance is perfect. It's his only flaw!"
      Jim responds to Teasdale's statement that Lance is a good character.

    • Jim: "Isn't that nice, a happy ending. All of us got to go to a farm."
      Jim sarcastically responds to Lance's recount of thier previous meeting, in which Lance's actions resulted in Jim spending 90 days at a Prison Honour Farm

    • Jim: "His gun is deadly... mine is in a cookie jar".
      Jim describes to Rocky real life detective work is not the same as described in a book.

  • Notes

    • The character Lance White is based on Waco Williams from Maverick, which also starred James Garner.

    • It is apparent from dialogue that Jim and Lance are already acquainted – with reference to a previous case involving three little boys, the mob and Jim spending ninety days on a County Honour farm after Lance reports him for breaking and entering in the case.

      It is also apparent from dialogue that Lieutenant Chapman is Lance's police contact. Lance even refers to him as 'Doug', 'Doug Boy' or 'Chappy'. Jim greets his own police contact; Dennis Becker, but is more or less ignored as even Dennis is distracted by Lance!

    • Although Jim usually charges $200 a day plus expenses for his work, in this episode Jim accepts a fee of $500 a day, in addition to a bonus of $2000 from Teasdale.

    • Due to his exposure as Lance White in The Rockford Files, Universal Studios offered Tom Selleck the lead role of Thomas Sullivan Magnum III in Magnum PI in 1980.

      Many Rockford producers and crew were also involved in Magnum PI including Chas. Floyd Johnson, John David and J Rickley Dumm, while Noah Beery, Joe Santos, Gretchen Corbett, Stuart Margolin and even Stephen J. Cannell all made guest star appearances on Magnum.

    • After Jim shows Angela his business card she reacts distant and uninterested and then she goes to answer the door [to Lance], Jim picks up his business card, brushing his finger over the text to check the ink is dry! (Note that in 'Foul on the First Play' Jim was caught out by the fact that the ink was still wet on one of his phoney business cards!).

    • At the begining of the episode Rocky is seen reading a Dan Slade detective novel entitled "My Gun is Deadly". We also hear his 'inner monologue' as he is reading.

    • This episode has a predilection for time and clocks; Lance with his watch going off at ten minute intervals and also the focus on clocks at various locations – the clock showing 6:15 at Jim's trailer when Rocky is reading, the pendulum clock at Teasdale's home and later a clock at Lance's office.

  • Allusions