If you are a member of the Pontiac-Oakland International Car Club, look for the April issue of the Smoke Signals. I will be writing a series of articles called: The Suva Files. They will appear every other month for a series of three articles. I hope everyone will enjoy them. Special thanks to Thom Sherwood for his Graphics and editing! The online version is now up on the clubs page for members only.
Rockford's Joe Santos Passes Away
It is with great sadness that Joe Santos has passed away this Friday morning 3/18/16, at the age of 84. He was best known as Dennis Becker on The Rockford Files. Mr. Santos suffered a heart attack at his Santa Monica home on Wednesday. He was rushed to the hospital and put on life support, but never regained consciousness.
Mr. Santos had a 40 year career and was nominated for an Emmy in 1979 for his work on The Rockford Files. He also appeared on Hard Castle And McCormick, Magnum PI and other TV shows, as well as appearing as Frank Sinatra's father in the mini series Sinatra.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Santos daughter and two sons.
Star Cars - Where Are Now?
Written by Jim Suva
A couple of years ago I came up with this idea for a TV show. I think it would work, on several different cable channels. I believe it could be a good fit for Velocity, History, Discovery to name a few.
Below is my concept for the show.
I actually have a Facebook page, James - Where Are They Now : https://www.facebook.com/
Let me know what you think of it!
James Garner Tribute, Norman Oklahoma
Written by Jim Suva
My good friends Donna and Jeff Loebler recently took a trip to Norman, Oklahoma. This is the hometown of James Garner. Now Donna and Jeff are big James Garner fans. In fact they are currently restoring and building a replica of The Rockford Files Firebird.
There first stop in Oklahoma was at the National Cowboy and Western Hertiage Museum at 1700 NE 63rd Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73111. There is a nice display of Mr. Garner's, Bret Maverick costume, from the 1981 TV series Bret Maverick. Below are some pictures of their display. Click on picture to make for larger viewing.
Donna and Jeff next stop was Norman, Oklahoma. There they found the statue of James Garner. Around the statue is a brick wall with the names of the Friends of James Garner. See pictures below:
Just a few blocks from the James Garner Plaza is the University of Oklahoma Theater. The theater was actually closed, but a student took Donna and Jeff in to see the lobby. In the lobby is a very nice display, s a tribute to Mr. Garner, which includes his chair. This chair was custom made and was used all over the world, on his different films and TV shows.
I would like to thank Donna and Jeff for all of these wonderful pictures, that they took and shared with us. Donna said that the people in Norman love James Garner. Any true Garner fan should make a trip, to see his hometown.
Rockford Files Firebird, Etched Photo Sign
My good friend Donna Loebler had this lighted sign made and sent me. I believe this is an actual picture of my 1977 Firebird Esprit. It is absolutely beautiful.
It is an etched photo on acrylic, that is light from its base. It measure 11 3/4" by 6" tall. It was made by Enlighted Obsessions. Perfect for that Rockford Files fan.
Jim Rockford Comes to Pontiac, Illinois
Written by Jim Suva
On Friday September 18, 2015, Julie and I started our trip to the 4th Annual All Pontiac Cruise and Car Show. The show was hosted by Heart of Illinois GTO Club, Gateway GTO Club, Windy City GTO Club and the Pontiac-Oakland Museum.
On our way to Pontiac, we stopped in the small town of Odell, to see their Standard Gas Station. The station was built in 1932 and continued as a body shop till 1999. It's a great photo/gathering spot for car clubs. Below are a few pictures.
Right down the street from the Standard Station, is an old Mobil Gas Station. Another great photo spot.
We arrived in Pontiac on Friday afternoon and went straight to the Pontiac-Oakland Museum to see Tim and Penny Dye. The Dye's run the museum and do a wonderful job keeping the Pontiac name and history alive and well.
When you visit Pontiac, they have many other great museums, like the Route 66 Museum and War Museum. Both are great for the history that is told through their artifacts. They also have the largest Route 66 Mural. A visit would not be complete with out having a picture taken in front of the mural with or without your car.
On Saturday and Sunday, tours of the museums were offered to the public. For those registered for the All Pontiac Cruise and Car Show, a Poker Run was scheduled on Saturday afternoon. The route was designed with 7 stops. The Poker run started at the Route 66 Mural, and then went to 5 private car collections across the area. The final stop was the Pontiac-Oakland Museum. We were welcome to stay and browse at each stop as long as we wanted to. Before leaving the stop, we were asked to choose a random playing card.
See pictures below from the different car collections along the way.
Saturday evening, at a special gathering that included dinner and dessert, the winner with the best 5 card poker hand won a prize! There were also two runner up prizes.
After dinner and dessert, everyone was treated to a show by the Vermillion Players, a local talented group. We enjoyed a very entertaining musical review, that also celebrated the Vermillion Players 50 consecutive years of doing shows in Pontiac. Quite an accomplishment!
On Sunday was the big Car Show. This is also the Pontiac-Oakland Museum's big fund raiser of the year. This year's event had 210 cars attending and raised more than last year for the museum. Below are just a few pictures from the car show.
The City of Pontiac does a wonderful job making everyone feel right at home. The community has a lot of interesting sights for everyone to enjoy, even if you are not interested in cars. Julie and I go back every year to enjoy this special place.
The Rockford Files: TV Guide Articles
Written By Jim Suva
Over the years TV Guide has done a few articles about The Rockford Files, as well as some of the cast. I recent purchased these TV Guides below and have scanned in the articles, so that you may enjoy them as I have. Click on each picture below to get a larger readable version.
This first TV Guide, from February 1, 1975, has a nice article about James Garner.
The second TV Guide's article, from March 6, 1976, is about Noah Beery Jr. (Pidge).
Third issue dated March5, 1977, talks about filming on location. This article has some very nice sketches.
The fourth TV Guide, is dated August 20, 1977. Joe Santos is featured in this issue.
The fifth issue dated June 2, 1979, article talks about the Producers, Writers and Production Crew.
The sixth TV Guide issue dated November 26, 1994, is all about James Garner's return to The Rockford Files Movies.
Here is an addtional TV Guide issue I found in my basement, also dated November 26 - December 2, 1994.