The week after I got out of 5th grade, I was in a promotional video for GM that was filmed @ the State Park in Petoskey. (The following year, I was in a GM commercial that actually aired on TV & I have a cop of it waiting to be transferred from VHS to the computer as soon as I find someone w/ the technology to d0 that... so don't worry, it'll be on Youtube for your viewing pleasure soon enough.) I returned from filming to learn that while I was out, cable television had come to Parkview, our neighborhood just west of Petoskey. Of the 9 channels we got, 1 of them was WKBD-TV 50 from Detroit. ("What were the other 8 channels?" you ask... Disney, The Movie Channel, EPSN, CNN, The Nashville Network, USA, MTV, & TBS.) One night that summer, WKBD showed a movie that changed the course of my life (& the life of my siblings as well). My dad recorded that movie that night & we watched it as a family. I even remember the dessert I ate that night: vanilla ice-cream w/ crème de menthe. The movie we watched on that fateful night was Support Your Local Sheriff. By that point in my life, I'd already seen some Rockford Files episodes, so I knew who James Garner was, but after watching the film, I realized that he is pretty freaking awesome. If you don't believe me, watch him in The Great Escape. People always point to Steve McQueen as the star, but Garner steals the show.
You may recall that a couple years ago, I went on a Rockford run & watched it every nightly. Since then, Channel 38, WADL in Detroit is no longer showing it, but Encore Western has been showing Maverick which is just as awesome. If you haven't seen it, give it a go. It was on from 1957-1962 & is one of the strangest shows I've ever seen. It runs the gamut from straight ahead Western to everything else under the sun: hard-boiled mystery, drawing room comedy, adventure, romance, tongue-in-cheek con (even The Sting lifts a large part of its plot from a Maverick episode), Shakespearean tragedy, & satirical post-modern social commentary.
Along w/ the great writing & bizarre plots is the stellar cast. Not only do we get James Garner as Bret Maverick, but his brother Bart is played by Jack Kelly & we get guest appearances from Clint Eastwood, Buddy Epsen, & Adam fucking West! After James Garner left the show, he was replaced by Roger Moore who played Beau, their British cousin. This role lead directly to Moore's starring role in The Saint which in turn set him up to replace Sean Connery as Bond. I know I haven't been blogging as much lately, but w/ teaching, soccer, & the fact that readership is down, I haven't been ass motivated. However, the need to celebrate James Garner & Maverick couldn't be back-burnered any more. Besides, I actually got Aiden to watch an episode the other day... if only we'd have ice cream w/ crème de menthe.