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Though screened in the late Fifties, James Garner was as much a part of the Sixties as everything else that made the Sixties what it was and how it’s now gone, but never to be forgotten.

Those who grew up with “Maverick” and later, “The Rockford Files” will have different views on what were ground-breaking television series though many didn’t realize it back then as the world was swept up in so much newness, change and creativity.

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James Garner, however, as Bret Maverick was like John Lennon- but as an American in a Western television series- witty, irreverent, smart, a con in the nicest possible way, someone who avoided a fight and won many with his words and an original at a time when television heroes were always shooting themselves outta trouble.

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Jack Kelly as Bart Maverick was Garner’s Paul, or even Ringo and, at a time when having an English accent meant so much to America, those cameo appearances by Roger Moore as cousin Beau- I loathed them as Moore overdid that whole English thing and spoke as if he had a broom shoved up his arse- gave the series a wider audiences.

But James Garner, he carried that series as he did, later on, the brilliant Rockford Files- still irreverent, still savvy, cocky, argumentative as Jim Rockford, and which, together with the way he played Bret Maverick, MUST have influenced Mel Gibson’s role of the irreverent, cocky etc Martin Riggs in the Lethal Weapon series.

And let’s not forget that Gibson reprised Garner’s role in the 1994 movie version of Maverick. Garner played his father.

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As for the Rockford Files Theme by Mike Post, Post deserves an entire, well, post about all the great music he wrote for television series with his work for “Hill Street Blues” being the Revolver of music for television.

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Today, however, it’s time to say Goodbye to and remember James Garner- and with a smile- a great actor whose accomplishments and performances in movies have always been low-key, respected by many of his peers and who gave television audiences new characters, all of whom were likable.

Likable is good and James Garner was a good guy who proudly wore that white hat in his heart.

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