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The Rockford Files: Quickie Nirvana

Jim lets acquaintance “Sky Aquarian” use his telephone and his mailing address as a favor. That might be a bad idea, because a couple of thugs come looking for her. Jim tracks Sky to an ashram and then to Gordon Borchert’s consciousness collective before he finds her, and learns that one of her bosses gave her a package to deliver, and that she forgot to deliver it. Jim insists she show him the envelope, and when he opens it, he discovers $30,000 in cash. The next day, Jim sends the envelope back to Sky’s boss – but later learns what he mailed was newspaper clippings! Jim evades goons, discovers Skye can’t keep her mouth shut, and returns to Gordon’s collective to get the real money back, only to discover that Gordon has skipped to India...

Episode Info  

Episode number: 4x7
Production Number: 47513
Airdate: Friday November 11th, 1977

Director: Meta Rosenberg
Writer: David Chase

Guest Stars
Lawrence CookLawrence Cook
As Dijon (as Larry Cook)
James LuisiJames Luisi
As Lt. Doug Chapman
Valerie CurtinValerie Curtin
As Jane "Sky Aquarian" Patten
Kip GilmanKip Gilman
As Alan Bayliss (as Kenneth Gilman)
Quinn RedekerQuinn Redeker
As Gordon Borchert
Dick Anthony WilliamsDick Anthony Williams
As Maceo Prentiss

Co-Guest Stars
Elta BlakeElta Blake
As Ann
Patricia PearcyPatricia Pearcy
As Parvathi
Carl W. CrudupCarl W. Crudup
As Eddie McBrair (as Carl Crudup)
Michael GrandcolasMichael Grandcolas
As Panhandler
Dan MagieraDan Magiera
As Conga Drummer
Episode Notes
The opening credits list Patricia Parvathi, but specifically list her as a guest star.

Jim’s car license tag reads “853 OKG.”

Early in the episode, Dijon and Eddie follow Jim, and he catches them at it. Eddie refers to Dijon as “Lenny” in this scene, but everyone else who addresses or refers to the character by name calls him Dijon. It is possible that Lenny is Dijon’s real name. Or that this is a script error.

Episode Quotes
Answering Machine Message: Hey, I saw your ad in the classified. Three African goats for sale! I keep calling, all I get is a machine. Is that a typo in the paper or what?

Sky: (noticing Jim about to clean a fish) Is he dead?
Jim: No, he’s an actor. He’s faking it.

Eddie: Nice work, Lenny. If only you’d had a fire truck, maybe he’d of seen us sooner!

Sky Aquarian: Oh, wow. He had a gun? I can’t deal with violence.
Jim: You think I enjoy it? You know we’re both in trouble. They got to me through that law office you work at because you called them this morning.
Sky Aquarian: I don’t grok that.
Jim: What kind of office was it? What goes on down there? Meditate on that!

Sky Aquarian: Last night Alan called me into his office and asked me to deliver a package to some guy on the Venice boardwalk, but I forgot.
Jim: Who’s Alan?
Sky Aquarian: Alan Bayliss. He’s a senior law partner. But you know, the package was probably just legal papers. I mean, I don’t think it would cause all this negativity.
Jim: Well, where is it? I want to see it.
Sky Aquarian: Oh, could it wait awhile? Gordon asked me to sweep out his van.
Jim: Sky, I have been shot at, I’ve traveled over two hundred miles, a rock took out my radiator. You want to see negativity? I’ll show you negativity!

Jim: Why would Bayliss’ law firm be doing $30,000 bag jobs?

Sky Aquarian: Maybe I was supposed to have this money. Or you were. Or you and me together. Or maybe Subfire Institute was meant to have it – Gordon with all his incredible works that need money...
Jim: Do you have brain damage or something? The people have guns who own this money!
Sky Aquarian: Yes, but suppose it was karma that it fell into our hands?
Jim: Forget the karma and get in the car!

Jim: I’d sure like to know what kind of dirt that money’s hooked up with.
Sky Aquarian: It’s a puzzle, alright. We know the sound of two hands clapping, but what is the sound of one hand clapping?

Jim: The thing of it is, I told you, don’t tell anyone. They must have done it while I was at the motel. Somebody did a quick switch while I was taking a shower. That’s the only time that that envelope left my sight.
Sky Aquarian: Maybe Gordon did tell someone. Someone who’s not on the same spiritual level he is. Someone who’s into wealth consciousness.

Jim: Here’s some facts I have right: you know the money you never had? Well, we don’t have it anymore, either. Even though it doesn’t exist, if you want it back, you ought to be talking to a guy by the name of Gordon Borchert. He has your loot, now.
Sky Aquarian: Jim has no right to say that, he doesn’t know that for a fact.
Jim: Here’s the part you’re going to love, Mr. Bayliss. Well, you would, if the money was yours. Guess where the money’s gone?!? India. There’s curry, chutney, turbans, all those good things. So if you want your money back, that’s where you’re going to have to go to get it. Not to me, not to her, we are out of it!

Dijon: Mace, I’ve been with you a long time and I only mean you well. I think that we should remove Grunning.
Maceo Prentiss: Yeah, that’s the only way.
Alan Bayliss: Maceo, what is happening?!? You’re talking about another murder!
Maceo Prentiss: I already done it once, ain’t no hope for my soul now, anyway.
Alan Bayliss: This is crazy. This is totally crazy! The problem won’t end with Grunning, don’t you see that? Now there’s Rockford and that typist involved in this. They’ve been to the police once. Suppose they keep pushing it. Then we’ll have another murder on our hands. Somebody may tie it together.
Maceo Prentiss: We’re going to have to take them out, too.

Jim: It’s a theory: Mac Grunning was a Maceo Prentiss fan. He goes down to see him perform and maybe he sees something pertaining to the accident.
Lt. Doug Chapman: And he becomes so despondent over the fact that his idol can’t drive very well that he hangs himself!
Jim: That’s cute, Chapman, really cute! You know, maybe Mac knew Prentiss was to blame for the accident and was trying to shake him down. That’s why the thirty grand delivery attempt.

Sky Aquarian: (picking up a hamburger) Poor little animal gave his life to make this.
Jim: (angrily pushing her burger back to her plate) You know, I’ve just about had it with you!
Sky Aquarian: What’s the matter?
Jim: I’m tired of your philosophizing and moralizing and whining...
Sky Aquarian: Whining?
Jim: Yeah – you want to give me a sermon about the hamburger and you’ve got gall enough to eat it!

Sky Aquarian: My consciousness doesn’t lend itself to problem solving like yours does, okay?

Jane Patten: I don't want to get old...
Jim Rockford: Well, neither do I.
Jane Patten: Oh, but you see we don't have to. Not if...
Jim Rockford: There's nothing you can do about it. That's the way it is. I'm sorry to be the bearer of the bad news. There's no easy answer, you know. There’s no quickie nirvana.

Jim: Either you put that $30,000 in my hand or I’m going to expand your consciousness with my shoe!

Sky Aquarian: Gordon, how could you?!?
Gordon: How could you? (he slaps her face, hard) How could you cop out on me like that?
Jim: That’s the sound of one hand clapping.

Episode Goofs
Jim releases the emergency brake on the thugs’ car, it drifts backwards and steers around the curve in the road! How could it do that with no one behind the wheel? Most likely, the producers did not wish to pay for shooting a scene where the car left the road, as that would have taken it over a cliff.

Cultural References
In an impromptu list of people Sky Aquarian might attach herself to, Jim facetiously cite Francis the Talking Mule. Francis was the subject of about a half dozen films, a mule that talked, but only to his nominal master Peter Stirling (Donald O’Connor). Stirling, a hapless GI, survived life’s ups and downs with help from his talking equine, but as often as not got into trouble when forced to reveal the source of his assistance. The first movie, Francis appeared in 1950, and the last in 1956.

Jane Patten is a professional follower. The precise philosophy matters less than that someone else is doing the thinking. At the ashram she received the name “Gopi” and from a reverend the name “Hester.” Presumably, someone else gave her the name “Sky Aquarian” for it seems unlikely that she’d devise it herself. It is possible that she has no self-esteem and therefore little or no self-confidence save the table scraps of it fed her by those she follows. She reveals the danger in total and uncritical acceptance of the leadership of another: that leader can mislead, and the follower will never realize it until it is too late.

Jim encounters many people who claim to seek enlightenment, to eliminate anger and violence from their lives or to divorce themselves from material things. Yet many of them become angry, violent or behave immorally at the slightest provocation. Perhaps writer Chase means to suggest that moral strength comes from within, and cannot be sought by following others.

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