By the point its sequence finale aired in 1980, the present had won numerous Emmy Awards. The Rockford Recordsdata had additionally grown right into a popular culture phenomenon, sparking widespread curiosity in its theme tune (which charted on the Billboard Scorching 100) and its featured autos (i.e., the Pontiac Firebird Espirit, the GMC Sierra Basic, and others).
In an effort to capitalize on the success of The Rockford Recordsdata, NBC tried to do a by-product present. Sadly, the spinoff present didn’t have the identical longevity as its predecessor. In truth, the spinoff was cancelled earlier than it even completed airing.
‘The Rockford Recordsdata’ aired for six seasons
The Rockford Recordsdata follows Garner’s Rockford as he’s wrongfully imprisoned in California’s San Quentin Jail. When Rockford will get launched, he turns into a personal detective understanding of a rundown cell house perched in a Malibu seashore car parking zone. In every episode, Rockford helps remedy chilly circumstances and lacking particular person investigations.
Whereas the premise could seem easy at present, it was groundbreaking within the ’70s. The Rockford Recordsdata was an try to use a “devil-may-care perspective to the private-investigator present, which was to the ’70s what Westerns had been to the ’50s,” explains AV Club.
“The present’s reputation, even now, could be attributed to various components,” provides the outlet. On the time, most native TV stations aired The Rockford Recordsdata each afternoon for almost a decade.
Garner was additionally a giant hit with audiences, particularly with the best way he added a sarcastic contact to the character. Apart from being modern in its theme, AV Membership notes that “the sequence’ craftsmanship can be obvious,” including that “to this present day, it’s the best drama sequence of its period to observe in marathon classes.”
With a profitable template to observe, NBC and the present’s writers tried to make use of The Rockford Recordsdata to launch a spin-off present. However not not like Rockford’s dilapidated cell house, the spin-off fell aside.
‘Richie Brockelman, Personal Eye’ was imagined to be a spin-off of ‘The Rockford Recordsdata’
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Richie Brockelman, Personal Eye was one other American detective drama from NBC’s studios, and it premiered in March 1978 just a bit over midway via The Rockford Recordsdata‘ run. It featured actor Dennis Dugan as a 22-year-old personal investigator in Los Angeles, California.
“The character of Richie…had appeared within the 1978 episode [of The Rockford Files],” studies Wide Open Country. That is what Hollywood executives name a “backdoor pilot,” the place audiences are launched to a brand new sequence via one other widespread present. Nevertheless, the spinoff didn’t carry out properly with audiences.
“The sequence ran for simply 5 episodes and was not renewed,” studies TV Obscurities. “At the least one telefilm was later created by modifying episodes of Richie Brockelman, Personal Eye collectively.”
However TV executives didn’t hand over, and Richie Brockelman, Personal Eye wasn’t the one time they tried to make a by-product from The Rockford Recordsdata.
There have been two different spinoffs of ‘The Rockford Recordsdata’
In a 1977 episode of The Rockford Recordsdata entitled “Simply One other Polish Marriage ceremony,” audiences meet two black characters: Gandolph “Gandy” Fitch (Isaac Hayes) and Marcus “Gabby” Hayes (Lou Gossett, Jr.) “This episode was a ‘backdoor’ pilot for a attainable spinoff sequence,” factors out IMDb.
The sequence was imagined to be known as Gabby & Gandy, with Hayes being a smooth-talking investigator and Fitch being a brawny, critical investigator. Nevertheless, the studios determined to not proceed with the spinoff.
“At a time when black actors on crime dramas typically performed pimps, streetwalkers, drug sellers, or addict-informants, this try at a by-product sequence with two black detectives was formidable,” provides Crime Reads.
Final however not least, there was an try and create a ganger showcase of The Rockford Recordsdata.
American screenwriter David Chase joined The Rockford Recordsdata in direction of the tip of its run. “Chase signed on…in 1976 and remained till its untimely conclusion halfway via the sixth season in 1980, writing and/or producing almost two-dozen reveals,” studies Slate. “And Rockford‘s penultimate installment was really a backdoor pilot for what would have been a Chase-produced spin-off about New Jersey mobsters.”
That spinoff additionally didn’t occur. Curiously, Chase would go on to put in writing and produce one other well-known gangster present: The Sopranos on HBO.