Tuesday Is Theme Tunes Day – The Rockford Files

More share options

This week’s classic theme tune comes from one of the all-time great detective dramas, The Rockford Files.

The show, which ran for six seasons between 1974 and 1980 (plus eight TV movies in the mid-to-late 1990s), starred the inimitable James Garner as Jim Rockford, an amiable ex-con who spent five years in jail after he was wrongly convicted of armed robbery.

After he is released and pardoned, he becomes a private investigator specialising in helping other wrongly-convicted people and other types of cases which the cops consider to be solved and closed but in which he believes mistakes have been made.

The Rockford Files was created by Roy Huggins, who had previously worked with Garner on 1960s comedy western Maverick and wanted to create a similar but contemporary series to showcase Garner’s charismatic charm, and Stephen J Cannell (who also co-created The A-Team, among others).

The quality of the writing, in comparison to most 70s cop dramas, is often considered one of the main reasons for The Rockford Files’ enduring popularity through reruns and DVD releases. The prolific Cannell alone wrote some 36 of the show’s 122 episodes.

The series also provided an early chance for viewers to enjoy the writing of future Sopranos creator David Chase. He worked as a producer on the show and also wrote 16 episodes.

Interestingly, two of the episodes Chase wrote involved Rockford becoming entangled with mobsters – in one of them, an organised crime family from New Jersey…

The Rockford Files is one of my earliest TV-watching memories and that famous answering machine message (in an age when telephone answering machines still seemed like something out of science-fiction to most British viewers – hell, even Jim Rockford had to lease his) is forever etched in my brain.

And, of course, the answering machine message was followed by the theme tune, written by the legendary partnership of Mike Post and the late Pete Carpenter.

Here is the original version of the theme tune from the show’s first season:

Vodpod videos no longer available.


And here is a slightly tweaked, rearranged version (the difference is most notable in the more funky section towards the end) from later seasons of the show:

Vodpod videos no longer available.


1 Comment

Filed under Classic TV, Tuesday Is Theme Tunes Day

One response to “Tuesday Is Theme Tunes Day – The Rockford Files

  1. Pingback: Tuesday Is Theme Tunes Day – Hawaii Five-O « The Cathode Ray Choob

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s