The Rockford Files (1976) – The Family Hour & Feeding Frenzy

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This week private investigator Jim Rockford (James Garner)gets mixed up in some serious trouble, and it’s up to his quick wits, and friends to keep him out of jail…

First up is The Family Hour, which aired October 8, 1976, and was written by Gordon T. Dawson. The phone gag is from a friend of Jim’s who is in town with his wife for a convention. They can’t wait to see him, and tell him to expect them around 1am!

Jim and Rocky (Noah Beery Jr.) have nothing on the go for the next few days but for some fishing up in Baja. That all comes to a grinding halt when a young girl, Marin (Kim Richards – Tia from Disney’s Witch Mountain films) ends up on his doorstep. She’s waiting for her Aunt Cecil (Marged Wakeley), and was left there by her alcoholic father, Stuart (Burt Young), who seems to have gotten himself into a bit of trouble with some undercover officers and a dirty DEA agent.

Rocky is taken with the young girl immediately, and it’s he who convinces Jim to help out, and try to find her dad. To do so, Angel (Stuart Margolin) and even Becker (Joes Santos) has to help out.

This one was a fun episode, and it was cool to see Jim a little bit outside of his comfort level, dealing with a smart kid, who seemed to be able to hold her own.

It also made an effort to show, at little bit at least, that Stuart had a real drinking problem, and that he had to get his life sorted, and want to get it sorted before he could win his daughter’s heart back. And for once, there’s a financial reward for all their hard work, and Jim doesn’t keep it…

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Feeding Frenzy aired 15 October, 1976 and was penned by Canell based on a story by Lester Wm. Berke and Donald L. Gold. The phone gag this time around is a pet clinic, where apparently Rocky dropped off a stray cat… who has now had kittens, could Jim come and pick them up please?

An old flame of Jim’s, Sandy (Susan Howard), approaches him about helping out her father, Charly (Eddie Firestone). It seems Charly stole a fair chunk of change, and now that the statute of limitations has run out, he’s decided he wants to return it, having lived with the guilt of his actions for years.

He doesn’t want people to know it was him, however, and asks Jim to be his go-between.

Jim agrees, and ends up in a world of trouble.

It seems that now that the money is free and clear, a number of people are eager to take it off Charly’s hands.

As such, a couple of thugs initially grab Sandy, and they have to make a deal for the money to trade her back, in a nicely executed scene in the middle of a skating rink, surrounded by skaters who begin to slow down when they realize something is up, forming a circle around everyone (though why none of them calls the cops is beyond me).

But that is only the tip of the iceberg as Jim finds himself in legal hot water when it’s possible they were a day early and the statue of limitations may not apply yet.

Poor Jim.

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