James Garner as Jim Rockford, wisecracking private detective and ex-convict
Los Angeles, Summer 1974
Series: The Rockford Files
Episode: “Backlash of the Hunter” (Pilot)
Air Date: March 27, 1974
Director: Richard T. Heffron
Creator: Roy Huggins & Stephen J. Cannell
Costume Designer: Charles Waldo
WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
Today would have been the 91st birthday of James Garner, the charismatic actor who grew to stardom with his starring roles on the Western series Maverick and in The Great Escape (1963) before taking on what would be his signature role as struggling private eye Jim Rockford on The Rockford Files.
Roy Huggins and Stephen J. Cannell developed The Rockford Files as a spiritual successor to Maverick, reinventing Garner’s charming gambler Bret Maverick as a modern-day private investigator with the same sarcastic yet sincere attitude and conflict-averse nature. Having already proven his private eye credentials by playing Raymond Chandler’s famous detective in Marlowe (1969), Garner stepped into Jim Rockford’s loafers and established one of the greatest TV roles ever.
This is Jim Rockford. At the tone, leave your name and number. I’ll get back to you…
Richard Chamberlain as Jason Bourne, amnesiac ex-CIA agent
Zurich, Spring 1988
Film: The Bourne Identity
Release Date: May 8, 1988
Director: Roger Young
Costume Designer: Barbara Lane
“HEY, THIS ISN’T MATT DAMON!”
That’s right. In 1988, Robert Ludlum’s wildly popular spy novel The Bourne Identity (I hope that you at least knew it was a book first) was adapted into a two-part mini-series that was much more faithful to the book’s plot.
While the 2002 version with Mr. Damon is often considered to be superior, the 1988 adaptation certainly held its own in terms of acting, action, and suspense. Continue reading