El actor James Garner fallecio recientemente a la edad de 86 años (1928-2014).
Su papel en "Grand Prix" fue uno de los mas recordados por los aficionados al motor.
Hoy queremos recordarlo en una teleserie policiaca llamada "The Rockford Files" ("Los casos de Rockford") emitida en la NBC durante 6 años desde 1974-1980 con 122 episodios. Garner interpreta a un investigador privado de Los Angeles llamado Jim Rockford, junto con Noah Beery Jr. en el papel de su padre, un camionero jubilado apodado "Rocky"
Como en toda teleserie policiaca, el vehiculo empleado por el protagonista cobra gran importancia, y no podia ser de otra forma en este caso. Jim Rockford conduce un PONTIAC FIREBIRD SPRIT de tono cobrizo (copper mist) durante todas las temporadas de la serie. Los modelos empleados se fueron renovando cada año conforme a los nuevos modelos que Pontiac sacaba al mercado. La serie permanecio en pantalla hasta 1980, pero el ultimo modelo empleado fue el de 1978 debido a que el propio Garner se nego a usar el modelo del 79 ya que no le satisfacia las modificaciones que la marca habia introducido en la parte delantera del Firebird.
Garner fue un gran aficionado a los coches y él mismo conducia en las escenas mas comprometidas, sin duda la mas conocida de la serie era el giro de 180º conduciendo marcha atras, a modo de maniobra evasiva para huir de sus perseguidores.
Todos los capitulos de la teleserie comienzan con un mensaje en el contestador telefónico que al terminar deja paso al tema instrumental compuesto por Mike Post y Pete Carpenter. La sintonia logro alzarse con un Grammy en 1975 como mejor arreglo instrumental, y el single alcanzó el top 10 en la lista Billboard Hot 100.
The Rockford Files is an American television drama series starring James Garner that aired on the NBC network between September 13, 1974, and January 10, 1980, and has remained in syndication to the present day. Garner portrays Los Angeles-based private investigator Jim Rockford with Noah Beery, Jr., in the supporting role of his father, a retired truck driver nicknamed "Rocky".
The show was created by Roy Huggins and Stephen J. Cannell. Huggins created the television show Maverick (1957–1962), which starred Garner, and he wanted to recapture that magic in a "modern day" detective setting. He teamed with Cannell, who had written for Jack Webb productions such as Adam-12 and Chase (1973–1974, NBC), to create The Rockford Files.
The show was credited as "A Public Arts/Roy Huggins Production" along with Universal Studios and in association with Cherokee Productions. Cherokee was owned by Garner, with partners Meta Rosenberg and Juanita Bartlett, who doubled as story editor during most of The Rockford Files run.
The series theme music by composers Mike Post and Pete Carpenter was released as a single and went to #10 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the chart for 16 weeks. and won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement for 1975.
In 2002, The Rockford Files was ranked #39 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.
Familiar to viewers was Jim Rockford's gold Pontiac Firebird Esprit automobile, which Rockford always ran through its paces. One oft-recurring element of the show was the famous "Jim Rockford turn-around" (also known as a J-turn or "Rockford", commonly employed as an evasive driving technique taught to Secret Service agents driving for the President of the United States).When evading a tail or when otherwise cornered, Rockford would shift into reverse, speed up backwards in a straight line, sharply turn his wheels causing the front end to swing around; Jim always matched his steering to his speed allowing him to spin his car around 180 degrees and then quickly shift into forward gear, speeding off to escape while maintaining a straight course. James Garner claimed in a Season One DVD interview that he performed this stunt for the duration of the series.
Starting with the 1974 model year, Rockford would get a new model-year Firebird Esprit each year throughout the series, though they have identical "copper mist" color with a corresponding upgraded interior (and, occasionally, sharp-eyed car connoisseurs would spot the different model year cars used in various chase scenes that differed from those in an actual episode, especially in later seasons).
Although the series ran until early 1980, no Firebird was used past the 1978 model year as Garner reportedly was displeased with the restyled front end of the 1979 and later Firebird models and as such did not wish them featured on the show (although an answering machine message in one episode in the final season indicated his car was 1979 Firebird).