Tuesday, July 22, 2014


With James Garner's death over the weekend comes the realization that we will never have any new movies or TV show appearances for either of his two most famous roles.

The Powers That Be should have done something about that while they had the chance.  (Yes, I know about the TV movies for Rockford and the big screen adaptation of 'Maverick'.  But what can I say?  I'm greedy.)


1)  'Downton Abbey'
Bret Maverick was born April 7, 1847.  I'd like to think that he lived as long as James Garner did, which would mean that he died in 1933.  (Bret Maverick is one of those characters, like Archie Bunker and Lt. Columbo, who should be considered as having died around the same time as the actors who portrayed them.  It's inconceivable to imagine anybody else stepping into those roles - at least on TV.)

So it's feasible to think that he could have made the ocean voyage to England at any point during the 'Downton Abbey' timeline which began onscreen in 1912 and so far has reached 1923.  (Maverick would have been 76 in 1923.)  

But why/how would he have met anyone from Downton Abbey, whether upstairs or downstairs?  Perhaps he got himself invited to one of Lord Grantham's clubs for a friendly game of cards.  Or at some other social function like the running of the horses at the Derby.....

2)  'The Murdoch Mysteries'
Again, Bret Maverick would have been still hale and hearty at the turn of the 20th Century.  And as Maverick wandered all over the West looking for a game, perhaps he went to Toronto in hopes of joining in on one with a big pot there.  Or maybe he was looking up somebody who owed him a sizable debt.  That would be a great kick-off to an episode in which the debtor winds up dead and Maverick is blamed.  It would take William Murdock to find the real killer.

3)  'The Adventures Of Brisco County Jr.'
I've always said that if only Robert Conrad had been hired to reprise his character of James T. West in 1891 for the show, then it ight have brought in enough ratings to justify a second season.  Having Bret Maverick playing poker against Brisco and Lord Bowler would have done the same thing in - ahem! - garnering ratings.....

4)  'The Wild Wild West'
A lot of the small towns visited by Bret Maverick over the course of his series - like Duck 'n' Shoot - would have been the perfect backdrop for some Old West despot to establish his base of power.  And I can just imagine Dr. Miguelito Quixote Loveless being driven to exasperation by Maverick's constant quoting those Pappyisms.....

5)  'Nichols'
What a fantastic Sweeps Week episode it could have been for Garner to play two roles in the same episode - but unlike the final episode of 'Nichols', at least we would see the two of them together, thanks to special effects.  Yes, there would have been an age difference - by 1914, Bret Maverick would have been 67 years old, while Garner was just 43 at the time.  But he resorted to old age make-up in the past in order to play Pappy Beauregard Maverick, so why not again?

6)  'Doctor Who'

Don't laugh!  With the TARDIS, anything is possible, so the Doctor could easily have visited the Old West while Bret Maverick was alive.  He did so in "A Town Called Mercy", but the time period would not have jibed with Garner's physical appearance at that point.  (Not that he was healthy enough to play the role at the time.)

By the way, "The Gunfighters" storyline wouldn't count as a possibility because the Doctor and his companions were not really at the OK Corral.  They never did realize they were in a holographic projection created by the Melkotians from 'Star Trek'.

Why would the Doctor have met Bret Maverick?  Besides the random chance always considered whenever the TARDIS comes to a stop, Maverick might have been knee-deep in some scenario that cried out for the intervention of a Time Lord.
  • The return of the Master?
  • Some apocalyptic weapon devised by Dr. Loveless
  • The Orb sought by both Brisco and time traveler John Bly
  • An invasion by aliens a bit more threatening than those seen in the Old West of a 'Time Tunnel' episode

Of all the Doctors' regenerations, I think it would have been fun to see Maverick interact with either Pertwee's Third Incarnation or Tennant's Tenth.  (And again, Garner could have done an episode in that time period of 2006-2010.)  Unless they did a lot of location filming, I don't think the production quality of the episodes during the tenures of Hartnell and Troughton would have been acceptable for an appearance by Garner.  (And that's not even taking into consideration that his movie career was beginning and that his imbroglio with Warner Brothers would have prohibited him from playing the role again at that time.)



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