The Rockford Files (1975) – Gearjammers Part I & II

 

This two-parter, written by Don Carlos Dunaway from a story by Cannell, originally aired 26 September, and 3 October, 1975, and sees Rocky (Noah Beery Jr.) in some serious trouble.

The phone gag features someone calling to talk to Jim about the state of the car he borrowed, yes he kept the battery charged up, but he ran up 3500 miles on it.

Rocky, unbeknownst to him, has seen something he shouldn’t have, and finds himself in a serious danger from the mob. He thinks they’re just after the money he’s raised by selling charity tickets…

Jim (James Garner) has to find him before the mob does, and figure out why!

And we find out that Jim doesn’t know his dad as well as he thinks as he starts tracing him from the Gearjammers bar where he learns about the tickets, to the liquor store where he learns about the weekly champagne and Mary Ramsay (Rosemary DeCamp), seems everybody knows about this, including Becker (Joe Santos), except Jim.

Through it all, Jim does his best at dodging and out driving the thugs who are following him, who are tailing him in the hopes he’ll lead them to Rocky…

It seems the mob is working with someone on the inside of Pacific & Western trucks, to set up vehicle hijackings!

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Things get really bad for Jim, who is banged over the head with a skillet (thanks to Rocky) and the mob plants a time bomb in his car, which blows just as Jim and Rocky decide to walk for a late dinner, ending part one.

The first episode was really engaging and fun, and I loved learning all this stuff about Rocky that Jim doesn’t even know until that episode.

The second episode picks up right where the first one ended, with Jim’s car blown to pieces, and the need then to use Rocky’s truck for the rest of the episode.

This episode’s phone gag features Angel (Stuart Margolin), who tells Jim that he is free and clear, and please ignore the previous message.

Jim starts investigating the trucks, but finds the missing shipments don’t give him any real clues, the hijacked trucks were carrying deliveries of work gloves, grapefruits, dynamite and Geiger counters.

It doesn’t make any sense to Jim, and it makes even less sense to him when the trailers, contents all intact, show up in a shipping yard. Jim and Becker stake out the trailers, until they are reclaimed by Pacific & Western. At that point they figure that they were blown somehow.

When the thugs make another attempt on Rocky’s life, he finally agrees that protective custody may be the best idea, but as he gets ready to turn himself over to Becker, the missing tractor trucks show up to claim a delivery of furs, worth upwards of two million dollars.

Jim puts it all together, and he and Rocky both take off in tractor trucks to chase down one of the thieves in a big chase sequence (though happily, as usual, there isn’t much in the way of traffic on the road to cause problems)!

The story wraps up pretty quick from there, but it was a lot of fun to see Rocky a little more in the spotlight this time around, as the chemistry between Garner and Beery is a lot of fun to watch, and they bicker really well.

This was a fun two-parter!

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