Sunday, July 20, 2014

Remembering James Garner

I wanted to write a long tribute to James Garner, highlighting his career
and what each of his roles meant to me and to the rest of his fans. I wanted to tell you how inspired I was by Jim Rockford and how entertained I was by Brett Maverick. I wanted to blushingly tell you how touched I was by Duke’s dedication to Allie in The Notebook and how proud I was to see that Tank Sullivan and his crew still had the right stuff in Space Cowboys. I wanted to tell how characters he played showed a strength and gentleness no lead actor before him dared show. Bu the truth is all of those characters we just a small extension of the man behind them.

James Garner the man was as much a character as the roles he played. He was a
tough guy, a dedicated husband, a loving father and a personality that commanded both the big screen and the television screen. It was impossible not to adore whatever character Garner played. In fact, my own mother often bragged that if it weren’t for the old man and Garner’s wife, she’d do what it took to marry him. The truth is he was one of the few men I was ever afraid for my mother to meet. Imagine the embarrassment of having to bail your mother out of jail for molesting a celebrity.

I often rain praise on those who work so hard to entertain me, but thinking it
over I cannot remember a stage in my life when Mr. Garner wasn’t doing just that. He gave us so many characters to look up to and emulate. I’ve said it before when the world lost great entertainers: George Burns, Bob Hope, John Ritter, Jeanne Cooper, and Lucille Ball… The truth is the loss of James Garner hits hardest of all for me so far. I guess it’s because I’ve watched him all my life and never really noticed how old he was getting. I mean let’s face it, even at 86 years old, he still had the personality, strength and humor as he had when Bret Maverick hit the TV screen 57 years earlier.

But, I won’t list all of the reasons I loved watching James Garner. To do that, I would probably tax the servers that host this blog. Instead, I will just say how much I will miss having the opportunity to see what he does next. I think for the first time since starting this blog, I am going to ask you, what is your favorite James Garner character?

In the comments below, tell everyone who your favorite character is and why. Meanwhile, I am going to go dig out Support Your Local Gunfighter and Support Your Local Sheriff.

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