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The Rockford Files: Beamer's Last Case

Jim returns home from vacation ten days early and owing $600 to a Caribbean casino. When he gets there he finds his car destroyed and a lot of angry clients he never agreed to work for! They include an angry husband who accuses Jim of stepping out with his wife, and the disappointed owner of a cab company seeking help with extortionists. And then a truck brings thousands of dollars worth of forensic gear Jim doesn't need, but that his credit cards paid for! Then Jim learns the casino sold his debt to a local shark who has canceled the two week grace period, and someone in the cab company is connected to a racketeer! Jim will have to work hard – without pay – to get out of this jam!

Episode Info  

Episode number: 4x1
Production Number: 47509
Airdate: Friday September 16th, 1977

Special Guest Stars
Robert LoggiaRobert Loggia
As Manny Arturis

Guest Stars
James Whitmore, Jr.James Whitmore, Jr.
As Fred Beamer
Jack KellyJack Kelly
As Ralph Steel
Bibi BeschBibi Besch
As Monica Steel

Co-Guest Stars
John DaveyJohn Davey
As Delivery Man
Paula VictorPaula Victor
As Receptionist
Raymond ORaymond O'Keefe
As Tony
Cal BelliniCal Bellini
As Pedro E. Ramirez
Howard GeorgeHoward George
As Phil 'Golf Bag' Moreno
Phil HooverPhil Hoover
As Dallas Walker
Arthur EisnerArthur Eisner
As Floyd Arturis
Carlene WatkinsCarlene Watkins
As Girl on Bus
Episode Notes
James Garner's former Maverick co-star, Jack Kelly, has a small role in this episode as a client who was gypped by Freddie Beamer impersonating Jim Rockford.

Episode Quotes
Answering Machine: Jimmy, this is Angel. Listen, I got this new pad, right over by the Hollywood Freeway and some friends are coming. Can I borrow your record player?

Manny: Phil, I don't know...
Phil: That ain't an answer, Manny!
Manny: Maybe we got some trouble with that P. I. that we hired. He left about two pounds of rubber on the pavement on his way out of here. He could have been on the extension in the garage.
Phil: When your cousin Floyd hired this Rockford guy, you said you could get rid of him. I don't have to tell you I've got two hundred grand tied up in taxis in this town. Your cousin don't want to sign the affiliates contract. He breaks away, all the other little companies will follow. They're going to stampede me right out of business. That happens, Manny, you're going to be eating the cookie.

Jim: (noticing the serious damage to his car) Rocky?!?
Rocky: How did it get like this? I picked it up Tuesday at Tony's just like you told me and brought it here and parked it! Aw, sonny, look at this side. It's all bunged up over here, too!

Jim: Angel! He knew where the key was! He's probably been living here and he probably wrecked my car!
Rocky: I thought you told me Angel was going visiting. I thought you told me he was going to spend thirty days on somebody's farm.
Jim: Yeah, that's right. He doesn't get out for three more days.

Jim: I will pay them back.
Rocky: You bet you will, or Mister Pedro E-for-Executioner Ramirez is going to roll the turf over you and plant a stone on your head!
Jim: Dad, they don't do that any more... they gun you down from slow-moving Chevies.

Jim: My name is Rockford. I've been out of town, I just got back, I don't owe you any $400, and if you try to take my TV and my refrigerator I'll give you a whole new outlook on the taxi business!

Jim: So, he found my charge cards where were in my desk, and he put me in debt to the... Scotland Yard Products Company of... London, Illinois!

Monica Steel: He spends most of his evenings after nine in a bar/restaurant called the Sand Pebble. They know him there.

Ralph Steel: If I ever catch her with that coach, or that private detective she hired, or even you, Clarence – I'm coming out swinging!

Jim: Mr. Delgado gave me two more weeks on the debt. You can call him and check it.
Ramirez: That'll be fine, except for I bought the paper from Del two days ago for $500. That leaves him out of it. You have to deal with me. And the way I see it, two weeks is just plain out of the question.
Jim: Well, the way I see it, the debt is owed to the Occidental Hotel in Puerto Rico, and you're just a guy with a long story and great taste in clothes.
Ramirez: My banking representatives will be by at five to cancel out the debt. Have the money.

Bartender: (Threatening Rockford with a shotgun.) You make a move, and you're going to get the pellet concession right in your guts!

Jim: I got a market list of charges against you, and I'm pressing them!

Jim: I got some of Beamer's stakeout tapes.
Becker: Anything on 'em?
Jim: I don't know, yet. About two-thirds Lux radio theatre...

Freddie: Sometimes private detectives gotta take risks!
Jim: Well not me! I make a habit of avoiding risks!!

Jim: Freddie, what did I ever do to you?
Freddie: Nothing, Jim. I like you. But you have no idea what it's like to spend your life under a car. Tony's a nice guy and all that – but every time some joker overflows the toilet it's, “Hey, Beamer!” Every time an engine gets fouled and somebody doesn't want to swallow a ton of sludge, it's “Hey, Beamer!” Let me tell you something: my life's been going down the drain like a crankshaft full of old oil. I hadda make a move and I did!

Becker: Why would they want to kill Beamer?
Jim: Manny promised Phil Moreno that his cousin Floyd would sign the unified cab contract only Floyd wouldn't do it, so Manny obviously agreed with Phil to firebomb his own cabs. Beamer must have ended up in the middle somehow and now they're trying to kill him.

Cultural References
Jim scornfully compares Fred Beamer's stakeout narration to Lux Radio Theater. This radio program ran from 1934 to 1955, adapting films to hour long radio plays, often starring at least some of the original players. It took its name from Lux soap, a then popular brand of what today would be called laundry detergent. Jim's comment suggests that Fred's stakeouts more resemble the script of a fictional tale than the practical notes of an experienced investigator.

Long before confidence operators devised schemes for widespread identity theft, this episode dealt with the basic idea. In a sense, Beamer's scheme for slipping into Jim's identity was easier then, before photographic identity documents became widespread, but even now, those with the right connections can forge these documents without difficulty. The episode serves as a cautionary tale, as Jim makes several mistakes, such as leaving credit cards in an unlocked desk, that experts now warn against. One must conclude that what Beamer did wasn't often done then, or Jim (an expert in scurrilous behavior by profession) wouldn't have been taken advantage of quite so easily.

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