Skip to content

the otto files

where the classics never go out of style

Here’s a clip of James Garner being interviewed around the time he was working on the film remake of Maverick in 1994 with Mel Gibson and Jodie Foster. It’s important to me for one reason and one reason only: his comments about acting and specifically Spencer Tracy.

When I “discovered” the classic films back when I was about nine or ten years old, my first movie heroes were James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart. Eventually, I became quite impressed by the charm and comedic talent of Cary Grant and Bill Powell. However, when all was said and done, it was Spencer Tracy that stood out to me among them all. I’ve often said, Tracy was so captivating that I could just watch him eat breakfast and I’d be happy. He had that indescribable power, that magnetism that is talked about in the above clip. James Garner had that same power, that very same magnetism that drew all eyes and attention to him as soon as he entered a scene. How interesting to discover that he, too, admired Tracy.

I’ve been watching episodes of The Rockford Files all week long. I never tire of them. It’s like time spent with old friends. One of the most endearing aspects of that show is the relationship between Jim Rockford and his father, Joseph “Rocky Rockford played by actor Noah Beery. One of the reasons for this wonderful dynamic is because Garner really loved Beery or “Pidge” as he was called by his friends. Whatever the reason, the back and forth between tough, ex-truck driver Rocky who worries and plays the mother hen to his only son Jimmy, is just one of the best father/son relationships ever on TV.

It’s a great, great show. The most obvious proof of the show’s greatness is that you can watch it today, nearly 40 years after it was first produced, and it’s still as fresh and funny and enthralling as ever. It had some really tremendous writing but it also had James Garner, a man, like Spencer Tracy, who always grabbed your attention the moment he walked into the room.

Tags: , , , , , , ,