Tuesday, January 3, 2012

1975: LL Cool Jim Rockford

The Rockford Files is probably my favorite science-fiction/fantasy TV show/media/book/whatever of all time.

You say the show does not qualify for the genre? Well, for me, it qualifies in spades. Here's a mid-40s bachelor who lives on the beach (I'm in Madisonville, Ky., and my wife and daughter and I recently vacationed in Minneapolis), who's an early adopter of technology (it was 1990 or so before I started using an answering machine) and keeps his footing in all sorts of hot-blooded, high-stakes arguments with tough dudes (I would just start crying and apologize).

And then there are the women. In the episode that airs tonight 1975, "Sleight of Hand," Jim Rockford shows up unannounced at the apartment of some smokey lady in a slinky robe, starts asking a bunch of nosey questions in harsh language and ends up with an invitation to, "Stop by again some time, when you're not on a downer." Pretty much every episode has a sequence along these lines.

NBC televised this show at 8 Central--after Sanford and Son and Chico and the Man and before Police Woman--on Friday nights. "Sleight of Hand" was the 18th episode of the first season of Rockford Files.

Thus, in conclusion, the Internet is amazing.


  1. Yea for television!

    I'm very excited about the 1975 coverage.

  2. 1975 Update: On January 3, 1975, the Kentucky Wildcats were 7-1 and ranked number 9 in the country. After being blown out 98-74 at Indiana, here's how UK bounced back:

    12/09/74: UK 90, UNC 78 (at Louisville)
    12/20/74: UK 97, Wash. St. 75 (UKIT)
    12/21/74: UK 90, Okla St. 65 (UKIT)
    12/23/74: UK 100, Kansas 63 (Louisville)
    12/28/74: UK 113, Notre Dame 96 (Louisville)

  3. This is great. I wonder if my new Joe B. Hall bio has something about that Indiana game.

  4. I thought I saw a picture that referenced the game.

  5. I really hope that at some point, I get to see another UK team that scores more than 90 points in five consecutive games.

  6. Russell Rice, writing on Page 96 in Joe B. Hall, My Own Kentucky Home:

    "The 'Cats opened with easy victories over Northwestern and Miami before traveling to Bloomington and getting their ears pinned back, 98-74, by an Indiana team whose sophomore center Kent Benson taught them the real meaning of a physical game. After Benson threw a forearm to Robey's jaw, the UK freshman told his adversary that he would be better prepared next time around. When IU coach Bobby Knight questioned an official's call late in the game, which was out of reach of UK, Joe B. applauded and said, 'That's the way to go, Bobby!' As he turned to go back to the UK bench after apologizing to the IU coach, Knight cuffed him on the back of the head. 'It was very emotional for us,' Joe B. said. 'That altercation probably fired me up more to develop our team and hopefully have another chance to play Indiana.' He said the game also made his players realize they were going to have to match up to the physical type of play they were experiencing from other teams if they were to materialize as a team.

    "They were trailing North Carolina, 31-16, two nights later when he benched four of his starters for poor performances. He sent them back in the final eight minutes of the first half and Conner responded by shooting them to a 26-3 spurt and 90-78 victory. 'It was in that game that our players woke up and made themselves into a good ball club,' Joe B. said. ...

  7. Kentucky advanced to the Mideast Regional final in Dayton, for a rematch with Indiana. Rice, on Pages 97 and 98:

    "... (T)his time Kentucky was determined not to be intimidated. Guyette decked Benson with a forearm early in the game and Benson later connected solidly with an elbow to Robey's chin, a violation that was detected by an official and resulted in two Robey free throws that gave UK a 79-70 lead.

    "The key to the Hoosier offense was a 'moving' pick that would be set up on on the baseline, where the forwards would react to the defense's move and either drive the baseline for open layups or shoot over the screens. Joe B. told his players to avoid the pick, but if it was a moving screen, to go ahead and make contact, which meant body-checking as in football. After the officials called Indiana for four or five offensive picks, the Hoosiers became more cautious and the Wildcats were able to fight through the picks and get their man. There were times when the 'Cats were called for blocking, but they did stop the easy layups.

    "On defense, the Hoosiers utilized half-court pressure with a deep sag designed to keep an opponent from getting down and setting up, Joe B. urged his players to get out fast and get some penetration and for the guards to take the 15-foot shots, even if they were missing. Flynn scored 22 points as UK won, 92-90, for UK's biggest victory in many seasons, and advanced to the national finals at San Diego with Syracuse, Louisville, and UCLA."

  8. Rice, looking back on Pages 102 and 103 at both games against Indiana in the 1974-75 season:

    "That was a fine group of freshmen to bring in as support personnel for an equally fine group of seniors, but those youngsters were not quite prepared for the baptism of fire they were to receive at Bloomington. In light of past history and the fierce rivalry between the two schools, the roughness of that game is understandable, but there was a feeling in Lexington that Bobby Knight had overstepped his bounds by tapping Joe B. on the head. It would be several years later before Knight would make a surprise appearance during a Joe B. Hall Roast in Lexington and win his way back into the good graces of UK supporters, who love a winner as long as he does not beat UK too many times.

    "By tournament time, that Indiana team was awesome, having won all its games and earned the number one ranking; however, the Hoosiers had been playing without their injured All-American Scott May during the latter part of the season, and he would see limited action against the 'Cats in the Mideast Regional at Dayton. Prior to the opening round of that regional, Joe B. openly predicted that Oregon State would upset Indiana, which seemed rather unrealistic, but he later explained that he wanted to plant in his players' minds the thought that the Hoosiers were not invincible, that they could be had.

    "In the dressing room before meeting IU in the championship game, Joe B. wrote on the blackboard: 'NETS!' 'BUS!' 'POLICE!' 'COLISEUM,' explaining that he wanted the players to be careful that no one got his fingers cut or fell off the ladder as they cut down the nets after the game, that they would ride the bus back to Lexington, that the Kentucky State Police would escort them to Lexington after they crossed the Ohio River, and that there would be a victory celebration in the Coliseum.

    "The bus ride back to Lexington after that fine victory was an unforgettable experience. The police escort led the UK team bus and a long stream of vehicles south on an interstate that at intervals was lined with cheering fans, many of whom had hung banners on the overpasses and anxiously waited there for the parade to pass underneath. The celebration sounded louder than most such celebrations in the past, with the usual introduction of players, coaches and staff, autograph-signing, and cheering to the cues of the UK cheerleaders.

    "A sidelight of the UK-IU game that would be a subject of conversation in Kentucky for weeks to come was the manner in which the NBC-TV cameras kept panning on Mrs. Bobby Knight during the entire course of the game while ignoring Katherine Hall. There also would be criticism of the sometimes seemingly biased remarks of 'color' commentator Jerry Lucas, who was a teammate of Knight at Ohio State. The videotape of that game would be a popular item among Lexington households that owned the proper equipment to play it, especially in the Hall basement den, where it would be much in demand during Joe B.'s annual Christmas party. The Wildcats really destroyed NBC-TV's game plan that afternoon."

    Rise, Russell. Joe B. Hall, My Own Kentucky Home (Huntsville, Ala.: Strode Publishers, 1981).

  9. The 1975 UK win over IU is what really turned me into a UK fan. I was nine years old, and this was the first time any team I rooted for had won a really big game.

    That part about the tape of the NBC broadcast is quite interesting. I remember the shots of Knight's wife throughout the game, and how annoying they were. But what's interesting is that this is one of the famous "lost" games. UK fans are always looking for this tape on the UK message board, and it's thought to be almost impossible to find.

  10. On this date in 1975, Kentucky went 51-90 from the field in a 115-80 victory over Dale Brown and LSU. Five Cats (Guyette, Robey, Phillips, Grevey, and Flynn) scored in double figures.

    Next up, the 1975 Cats travel to Georgia.

  11. By the way, I didn't hear Jerry Lucas's commentary of the UK/IU game because we turned down the TV and listened to Cawood on the radio.

  12. I wonder if Joe B still has the tape.

  13. Jan. 11, 1975, is the day before Super Bowl IX. I'm spending this Saturday night in my mind watching CBS's prime time:

    -- the All in the Family in which the Jeffersons move away from the Bunkers, "on up to the East side" and to their own show;

    -- a Shell Oil Bicentennial Minute (though, sadly, not the Jessica Tandy episode included in this YouTube playlist);

    -- an animated production of Mel Brooks/Carl Reiner "2,000-Year-Old Man" bit that I'd bet was on TV in the homes of 27-year-old Rob Reiner, 26-year-old Billy Crystal, 30-year-old Jerry Seinfeld and 27-year-old Larry David, as well as the Evergreen State College dorm room of 20-year-old Matt Groening;

    -- a Bob Newhart Show that isn't on YouTube;

    -- The Mary Tyler Moore that predicts the hometown Vikings are going to beat the Steelers tomorrow, and

    -- a Tim Conway episode of The Carol Burnett Show.

  14. Of course, earlier on this Saturday, I would've been watching the Hudson Brothers Razzle Dazzle Show.

  15. I had forgotten that George Jefferson's drycleaners was downstairs in the apartment building where he, Louise and Michael live.

  16. On January 6, 1975, UK beat Georgia 96-77 to run its record to 8-1.

    But on January 11, 1975, the Cats were out-rebounded 60-42 (!) at Auburn, and they lost to the Tigers 90-85. UK is now 8-2 overall, and 2-1 in the SEC.

    Next up: on January 13, 1975, the Cats host Number 18 Tennessee.

  17. I was scared to say anything about the 1975 Auburn loss today.

  18. On January 11, 2011, UK beat Auburn 78-54.