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.
Rockford Files Cookie Jar
Written by Jim and Julie Suva
Any true fan of Jim Rockford knows he kept his gun, a .38, in his cookie jar. Of course he also kept his favorite cookies, Oreos, in there too. Over the different seasons, Rockford’s cookie jar changed a bit. Below are several pictures of the different versions.
According to Pat McKinney. There were three different cookie jars used through out the series. The first two were ceramic and differed by one having a tiered top, the third was tin. The first two jars were store bought items and this was confirmed by Robert Zilliox.
Here are two pictures of the cookie jar from "Blessing In Disguise" Rockford Movie. This is the only time that I have seen the back of the cookie jar. As you can see it is made out of tin.
This year Pat McKinney purchased one of the screen-used cookie jars. See pictures below of Pat's screen-used jar. From what I can find in episodes, this version started to be used in season 4, and lasted throughout the Rockford movies, with the exception on the last two movies, Murder And Misdemeanors, If it Bleeds it Leads. That movie had a solid brown cookie jar for some reason.
Over recent years, I have come across a number of Rockford fans that expressed an interest in owning a similar cookie jar. Of course, many Rockford-related items have come up for sale, and are usually priced very high. So Julie and I decided to make our replica. Using the pictures of Pat's cookie jar and the screen capture below, we did just that.
We are sharing what we learned, and giving you instructions so that you can make your own! We started off with a Bisquick cookie tin that Julie got in the 1970’s. We discovered that it had the correct shape. These are available on ebay, along with other similarly shaped cookie jars. The important thing to keep in mind is that you want the proper style lid. Note that this cookie jar is actually smaller then the one used on the show.
I lightly sanded down the original graphics, using a 150 grit sand paper. This was to make the jar smooth and all the same color. We also removed the knob for ease of painting.
We purchased our paint supplies from Michael’s. Below is a picture of the different colors of paint we used.
For the main color of the cookie jar, we used Krylon Indoor/Outdoor ivory satin spray paint. It took several coats to get a nice even cover.
Once the cookie jar dried, Julie started painting the circles on the lid's knob, using a pencil eraser to make the 8 circles on the top of the knob. She used a mixture of Martha Stewart Crafts Pearl and Chalkboard Pink paint, to get the color we wanted.
Next, using a compass she drew the guidelines for the purple and blue dots on the lid. Martha Stewart Crafts Chalkboard Purple made up the inner circle, and Martha Stewart Crafts Blue Satin paint for the outer dots.
The larger dots on the outer edge of the lid, as well as the dots on the main part of the cookie jar were a little harder to make. Julie used the cap from a tube of caulk for the size. She painted the outer edge of the cap with the desired color and pressed it on the surface. Then she filled in the inner area of the circle with a very thin paint brush. This was very time consuming. The dots on the edge of the lid are Martha Stewart Crafts Green Chalkboard.
Moving on to the main part of the cookie jar. Starting from the bottom, using blue painters tape, we measured 1 inch from the bottom of the jar. This was the starting line for placement of the first row of dots. The first line of dots will be the same pink combination used for the lid's dots above.
Moving up from the bottom, the second row is the Purple paint. The third row is Martha Stewart Crafts Light Blue Satin, followed by Green, Blue, Green, Light Blue, Purple and finally Pink.
The final row of dots on the top edge of the jar is Blue.
After everything was dry I coated the lid and jar with Krylon UV-Resistant Clear/Acrylic Coating to seal the colors in.
We hope you like our finished project!