Sunday, August 31, 2014



There's one last bit o' business we have to take care of before we finish off our annual salute to the TV Western - a final tip o' the Stetson to the late James Garner.  Without him making Bret Maverick such a fantastic member of Toobworld's wild, wild West, just about all of the blog posts this month would never have been published.

So blame him, not me.

Bret Maverick has already been inducted into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame, back in July of 2007.  (His brother Bart was inducted first several years before, mostly on the strength of the episode "Hadley's Hunters" - which was one of the first mega-crossover episodes ever broadcast.)

Eventually, Jim Rockford will be inducted into the TVXOHOF as well - not only for 'The Rockford Files' and its eight reunion movies, but also for spawning a spin-off for Richie Brockelman as well as for several Toobworthy mentions in other TV shows.  (Zonks not included!)

But today, in memory of the man who gave us those two giants among TV characters, Toobworld Central is welcoming James Garner himself into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame and its "League Of Themselves" wing.

And thematically, it can all be traced back to his embodiment of Bret Maverick on the TV screen.

First up: the "Downbeat" episode of '77 Sunset Strip' in which Garner tried to give some friendly advice to his old pal, private eye Stu Bailey.  Bailey (TVXOHOF member since January, 2013) and Garner had been old friends "since the Flood".  Garner had been at Dino's Lodge being interviewed by future Hall of Famer James Bacon, the Hollywood columnist.

Stu Bailey, though acquitted of the crime of sedition for lack of evidence, has his private investigator's license revoked and goes on a drinking spree. He is then recruited by a former friend to conduct business with Communists.

Basically the same thing from the
Although he is acquitted for lack of evidence of the crime of sedition, Bailey's private investigator's license is revoked and he goes on a drinking spree. He is then recruited by a former friend to conduct business with Communists.

If you'd like to see that episode, click here.

The interesting thing about this encounter is that Garner greets Bailey with "Hello, Sherlock", while Bailey responds with "Hello, Maverick.  Are you looking for cattle rustlers?  Or a card game?"

So on Earth Prime-Time, James Garner also starred in a TV show called 'Maverick', but this is NOT a Zonk.  Bret Maverick was an historical figure from the Old West and so why shouldn't he have a TV show made about his life?  Just like other historical Westerners such as Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, Judge Roy Bean, and Annie Oakley?

(By the way, Garner's use of the name "Sherlock" is yet another accepted indication that Sherlock Holmes - like Bret Maverick - was an actual person in the main Toobworld.)

And then there was his appearance on a little-remembered sitcom called 'Angel', about a young French woman making a new life for herself as an American housewife in the Los Angeles area back in the 1960.  (The show lasted only one season.)

From Wikipedia:
Annie Fargé portrayed Angelique "Angel" Smith, a pretty, young scatterbrained Frenchwoman who comes to the United States and marries a young architect, John Smith, played by Marshall Thompson. With her distinct French accent, Angel gets into various problems with the culture, language, and procedures in her new country. In the episode "The Dentist", for instance, she learns she must pay when late for her appointment with the dentist (played by Parley Baer in this episode).

In the nineteenth episode of 'Angel', broadcast during the February Sweeps of 1961, Garner appeared as himself in "The French Lesson".  He had been recommended to see Angelique for lessons in French for an upcoming film role*, but she misconstrued the whole reason for his visit.....

Here's a clip from "The French Lesson":

If you want to see the full episode, click here......

Now, to be eligible for membership into the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame, one must have three credits from three different sources.  But the rules are flexible enough to allow for one of those credits to be just an acknowledgement that the candidate exists in Toobworld.  And that's the case with James Garner's third qualification.

Back in the 1980s, a couple of old stars of TV Westerns were reunited for a Roy Rogers TV special which saluted the Hollywood stuntman - James Drury and Doug McClure from 'The Virginian', Pat Buttram (Gene Autry's sidekick), and Jack Kelly from 'Maverick'.

We've already established that 'Maverick' was based on an historical character (and the same could also be said for 'The Virginian' which also had the added source material of a 1902 novel by Owen Wister.)  So when Kelly (on horseback) was chasing after one of the bad guys who was trying to get away on a a motorcycle, he exclaimed:

"Oh, if Jim Garner could only see me now!"

So it's further affirmation that James Garner has a televersion (if we didn't already have more solid proof by his earlier two appearances as himself), and it's implied that he was also part of 'Maverick' like Kelly was.

And if you want to see THAT episode, click here!

It might not seem like enough to get James Garner inducted into the Hall, but remember - this is the fifteenth anniversary of the TVXOHOF's existence and for this year-long special occasion we follow the mantra "What I say, goes!"

I just wish circumstances in Life didn't give a reason to do so.....


* The movie could have been 1963's "The Great Escape" - it's reasonable to assume Garner might have needed to know how to speak French for that World War II epic.  Or it might have been for some fictional movie only to be found in Toobworld.......

1 comment:

Jim Peyton said...

I would think it would be for Grand Prix....