Monday, May 07, 2012

A Hollywood-heavy Wrap-up

James Garner’s 1974-1980 private-eye series, The Rockford Files, wins a most appreciative write-up on the A.V. Club Web site. Todd VanDerWerff writes that Garner “took the role [of Jim Rockford] and made it the stuff of TV legend. His Bret Maverick was a great part, sure, but it’s for Jim Rockford he’ll be remembered. He could be callously flippant in one scene, then caring and concerned in the next, and Garner would play every note perfectly. In one episode after another, Garner became a tour guide to a world viewers wouldn’t want to live in but didn’t mind visiting, and he did it all while suggesting he was just as amused by the TV tropes and clichéd bullshit as they were. In James Garner’s work as Jim Rockford, TV perfected the eye-roll.” You can read all of VanDerWerff’s post right here.

• There’s yet another flattering Garner post here.

A film so bad, it’s good. Or maybe not ...

• It’s been more than 30 years since I last tuned in the short-lived ABC-TV detective drama Griff, starring Lorne Greene and Ben Murphy. So I was more than a little surprised to stumble across this page on the Modcinema Web site, offering a 93-minute, 1973 feature called Griff: The Case of the Baltimore Girls. That teleflick is described as “the second pilot created for the show,” which was “edited down to a one-hour episode and re-aired under the title ‘All the Lonely People.” At just $16.99, this DVD might soon provide me a pleasant trip down nostalgia lane. By the way, the original pilot for Griff was a two-hour TV film called Man on the Outside, which wasn’t actually broadcast until a year and a half after the series’ cancellation.

Loving Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window.

• For the Mystery People site, Wallace Stroby, author of the new novel Kings of Midnight, offers a list of his six favorite heist novels.

• Meanwhile, Crime Fiction Lover chooses its five favorite police procedural series, including James McClure’s often underrated Tromp Kramer and Mickey Zondi books.

• Who knew Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion was so big?

R.I.P., Joel Goldsmith, the composer son of the legendary Jerry Goldsmith (more about the latter here), who passed away on April 29, at age 54, due to cancer. Among Joel Goldsmith’s credits were the scores to Diagnosis: Murder, Martial Law, the 1993-1994 TV series The Untouchables, and Stargate SG-1.

• Also having just gone to the grave is Bob Stewart, “the creator and producer of such legendary TV game shows as The Price Is Right, To Tell the Truth, and Password” (all of which I watched as a small and impressionable boy). Stewart perished last Friday, May 4, of natural causes in Los Angeles. He was 91 years old.

• And I somehow missed this news before: “Character actor George Murdock, who played Lt. Scanlon on Barney Miller and appeared in numerous movie[s] and on TV shows, passed on 30 April 2012 at the age of 81. The cause was cancer,” Terence Towles Canote reports in A Shroud of Thoughts. Murdock was a splendidly gruff performer, whose many credits included appearances in The Outsider, It Takes a Thief, The Name of the Game, Banyon, The Magician, McCloud, Harry O, and CSI. One of his roles I remember best was that of Cavanaugh, an insurance company honcho in Banacek.

1 comment:

Steve Aldous said...

I have the "Griff" TV-movie "The Case of the Baltimore Girls", which I recorded as it was aired a few years ago on Channel 4 in the UK. This is actually two episodes from the series ("All the Lonely People" and "The Last Ballad") stitched together to form a feature - something Universal did quite a lot in the early seventies (eg. the six hour-long first series episodes of "McCloud" were edited into three TV movies). I think there have been some assumptions this was a second pilot as it was the only instance of a stitched together movie for the "Griff" series. There is a wide use of obvious overdubs to create a link between the two distinct stories.