Rockford Files Cast And Crew Party 2013
Written by Jim Suva
Pictures by Joe Gunderson, AJ Palmgren, Rob Kleinle
Logo By Darin James Bristow
This years Rockford Files Cast and Crew Party 2013 was held at Galpin Ford in North Hills, California on Saturday June 22nd. We gathered in Community Room, on the second floor. The Party started at 8:30 am with a meet and greet. Coffee and danish were available for those attending. Sheri Aldrich was kind enough to man our registration table and greet everyone as they came in. Special names tags with our logo on them, were given to each our guests and speakers.
Some of those who attended this years party included our first real life Private Investigator, Chris Farmer from Arizona. Chris became a PI because of The Rockford Files. Others came from New Jersey, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Minnesota, Alabama, Illinois, California and from Germany. In fact, Patrick Schnurr and his father Albert from Germany, won the farthest distant traveled prize. The prize was the 1/64th scale Rockford Files Hotbird, from Hot Wheels and two Rockford caps.
This year we did something different. We had guest speakers to talk about their experience working on The Rockford Files and with James Garner. By the feedback I have received, it was a big success. Everyone attending got to hear all the stories, so that no one missed any.
Roydon Clark - Stuntman. Roy is James Garner's stunt double, since "Maverick" in the 1950's through a number of TV shows and movies. On Rockford, Roy was the second unit director and stunt coordinator. Roy told some great stories about working with Jim over the years.
Robert Zilliox - Set Decorator 1975 through the Rockford Movies. Bob told stories about how he started in the business and was promoted on The Rockford Files to Set Decorator. He said Jim told him that he did not want anything used more than once on Rockford.
Milt Kogan – Actor and a real medical Doctor. Milt has appeared in numerous TV and movies, plus 3 different Rockford’s “No Cut Contract”, “The Empty Frame" as Aaron Keel, Angel’s brother-in-law.
Steve Reich and Steve Hofmann from Film Vehicle Services - Steve R. and his
partner Steve H. were in charge of finding and working on the Firebirds for the
Rockford Movies of the 1990's. They talked about the finding of the Firebirds and the help GM gave them in locating parts for their transformation into Rockford Firebirds.
Dennis Burkley – Actor. Dennis has been in many TV shows over the years. He
mainly played Bikers, tuff guys and was also in Murphy’s Romance. Dennis is
one of nicest guys you ever want to meet. He also talked about working with Jim.
Chester Grimes – Personnel friend of James Garner and Actor. Chester worked on a couple of episodes of Rockford and appeared in a couple of the Rockford movies. Chester was also Jim’s driver for a few years. He brought his own unquie stories
to the party.
Diane Adler- Film Editor. Diane came and was suppose to answer questions. Unfortunately, we ran out of time. But Diane did take pictures and sign autographs for the fans.
Pat McKinney brought some of his Rockford Files Collection, along with his
Screen used 1978 Firebird Formula 400. Of course the Firebird (the star that it is) arrived a little late, but came in on a flat bed truck. Pat did not want anything to happen to it on the way to and from Galpin Ford.
Glenn Gamer and Michael Mundy brought their Firebirds to the party too. Below are a few pictures of their cars. Glenn's Firebird is from Neveda and is a 1978. Michael's is the red 1979 Firebird.
We took breaks between speakers, so that fans could meet, talk, get pictures and autographs.
Of course, it was time for the Guess Speakers to catch up with their Rockford Family from the show.
Before we left Galpin Ford, everyone signed a banner for Pat McKinney. Pat
had the banner made with his on money and will be proudly displayed in his
Part of the party of course was held in the parking lot, because of one special Firebird. Pat enjoys talking about his Firebirds with his fellow fans.
Here are some of my favorite pictures of most of the guests by Pat's Firebird.
We broke for lunch around 1 pm. Those interested in going to see Pat’s 76 and his 77 Firebird sound car, were welcome to come back to Pat’s house at 3 pm. In fact a number of people showed up. Including a stunt man that Sue Kessler knew, Bob Herron. Bob worked on Rockford in a few episodes. He also work as a stunt double for Ross Martin on The Wild Wild West. He was also the first stunt man to drive the original 1966 Batmobile on Batman. He has some wonderful stories to tell about working on the different movies and TV shows.
A few people went down to Paradise Cove on Sunday morning, to see where Rockford lived. This was organized by Sheri Aldrich and included Richard Piet, Tim Koch, Glenn and Kathy Gamer.
We would like to thank our speakers for giving up their time, to share their stories with the fans of a great TV show and it’s star James Garner. None of these people were paid to participate. All funds raised were used toward the cost of this event. We do not make any money, in fact we usually do not even cover the cost.
This article is dedicated to Dennis Burkley. Even though Dennis was not feeling well the day of our Rockford Files Party, he still attended, spoke, took pictures with and autographed items for the fans. He was truly a wonderful guy! We will miss you very much Dennis!!!