Sunday, July 20, 2014

Who is the tall dark stranger there



When I was four going on five, TV meant two things: Disney's Wonderful World of Color, and Maverick.

I don't recall any of the stories, really. Just Tinkerbell at the Disney opening, turning noir into glorious color. Ting-ting-ting. A transformation quite magical, considering our set was black-and-white.

And the beautiful Bret Maverick, someone I thought a dead ringer for my beautiful Uncle Fred. (Still do, though I haven't seen my Uncle Fred since he got out of prison in the early 80's.)

My parents didn't watch Disney with me and my sister. Mom was probably making cherries jubilee, and Dad out spraying the yard with DDT.

But we all gathered together for Maverick. So did the neighbors. We often watched Maverick at their house, on a TV that didn't need a whack on the head to come to order.

Every Maverick night (Sundays, maybe?) was a huge event for me. With my trusty steed King Emerald (plastic horse head on broomstick -- placeholder for times to come) by my side, I'd be dressed in my best cowboy clothes (hat, fringe jacket), a holster slung from waist to hip, or an approximation of waist and hips, given I had no hips, only a sizable Biafran belly -- a physiology which pushed the cap-loaded six-shooter somewhere near my knees.

Maybe I wouldn't even remember Maverick, except for one night. I had a front row seat, as always. And one of the adults (Tommy, he was nine), crept up to me and whispered in my ear, "Kiss him." My parents were not a demonstrative people, and I knew that I would probably get some words about this back home. But then Tommy said, "I dare you." So when Bret came on, I ran to the TV and kissed the screen. Everyone cheered and applauded; or so it seemed.

I'm sure I did get words back home. But it didn't matter. I had kissed Bret Maverick.



This is the other maverick, my Uncle Fred. (I'm the bald one.)

37 comments:

  1. Ah yes, I remember watching Maverick when I was a kid, too. My father was a TV cowboy show fanatic, so we saw ALL of them. I thought James Garner was one of the most handsome of the lot.

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  2. Ours was "Bonanza." I'm sure that was Sunday night so that must be why I never watched "Maverick." But I loved Garner as Jim Rockford. He was one of those actors who made it look easy.

    I want to hear about your uncle Fred.

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  3. What a nice memory. RIP, James Garner.

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  4. I'm not even going to tell you how many years before I learned Natchez was a city and Matches to New Orleans wasn't a poker hand.

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  5. I watched Maverick and yes I had a crush on him... the theme song does not sound familiar at all to me... Great post on him.. I also loved Rockford as well... Also read he (in recent years) was also feeling a bit depressed over the years.. sad... also his death date is the same as when I entered a new decade.... NOW that is an eye opener for me.

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  6. I was a Maverick fan as well. Then Rockford Files, which I watched for years new and in reruns [remember reruns?]. Murphy's Romance is a movie I revisit every so often. It's time for a screening in honor of James Garner, one of the good guys~

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  7. Love that post, Karin!
    It makes me remember when I was a young girl... I love to watched
    mainly Dr. Kildare, he was so beautiful and charming! I wish I had kissed him! I liked to watched Bonanza and Maverick too!

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  8. He always reminded me of my Uncle Bob! ;-) I always though that James Garner was probably a really nice guy.

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  9. "Murphy's Romance"! That is indeed one to revisit.

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  10. Was Maverick opposite Bonanza? That's why I don't remember though I dug JG in Grand Prix. Where he beds Jane Birkin. Can that be right? !

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  11. Well, now we truly know there are two kinds of people in the world: Those who grew up watching Bonanza, and the uber-cool ones who watched Maverick.

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  12. To quote Ramona on her love of James Gardner

    "he can park his moccasins under my bed anytime"

    btw: he did a film shoot on Grand in South Pasadena back in the 70's. One actor willing to leave the trailer and meet the neighbors. Very nice man.

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  13. I watched The Wonderful World of Disney, too, but rarely watched Maverick or Bonanza. I curled up in the corner with a book instead. Wonderful tribute, Karin!

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  14. Bret Maverick: As my old pappy used to say, a fox ain't sly, he just can't think any slower.

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  15. Maverick was must-see TV when there were only three channels, which were enough. And Disney's Wonderful World of Color was the absolute technology breakthrough! Uncle Fred would be proud of this post.

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  17. Stranger? It's only me!
    But, Jimmy Garner was a maverick alright & and a good one at that. The world was better when he was still with us.

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  18. Beyond Maverick -- "Garner, along with McQueen and Burt Lancaster, became founding members of the Friends of the Santa Monica Mountains conservancy group, according to the book "Transforming California" by Stephanie S. Pincetl. The group played a key role in the 1978 creation of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which at 153,075 acres is the world's largest urban national park."

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  19. I still can hear that confounded Rockford Files music in my head.

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  20. Wonderful, I love all your childhood memory pieces.

    I don't recall any of us ever arguing about what to watch on TV, I think all those shows were just universally loved. Now we have a rerun channel that shows all the good stuff, especially Rawhide. I loved me some Rowdy Yates.

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  21. I kissed Sheriff John on the tv screen and asked him to wait for me so I could marry him....premonition of things to come???

    I watched it all...we were a Bonanza family...but somehow I watched Maverick too...and Rockford Files...and...and...and!!! I thought James Gardner was sexy at every age!!!

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  22. Ooops...that should be Garner!!!

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  23. Love this and James Garner--
    your kiss was well-placed

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  24. I watched Maverick a lot until Bret was no longer a regular. I never liked Bart. He didn't have the personality that his brother had. I was so disappointed I eventually gave up watching.

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  25. I don't remember Maverick, but I did like The Rockford Files. He was like a long, cool drink of water.

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  26. I was more of a Rockford Files girl. He was also in some great movies.

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  27. All of the shows mentioned were good shows fun, interesting, and good for family viewing. There aren't many shows these days that appeal to such a broad audience...most all of the shows that appeal to the adult are way beyond appropriate for kids...i think it's a shame...

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  28. Wow, you kissed Bret Maverick! Jealous! Great way to remember a wonderful actor. I remember watching Rockford Files as a kid, although I was probably too young to understand some of the story lines. I'm not quite sure why, but a few months ago I started watching the show on netflix. What a hoot! A real time capsule of LA in the 70s. Hot cars! Vintage signage! Ridiculous clothes! Silly plots! But Garner is a joy to watch, and I look forward to watching more of that show, and revisiting other shows and movies he's been in.

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  29. They say The Americanization of Emily is his best. We'll see; I ordered it.

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  30. It's been a long time since I've seen that one!!! I remember that I liked it...he and Julie Andrews were a good match....I may have to watch it too!!!

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  31. Decent looking chaps. Did I ever mention my brother looked like a roughhewn James Dean? Half-brother.

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  32. It was a little strange to see Garner in roles after Maverick, even as great as those roles were. To me, he was Brett Maverick, and he fit that character to a "T".

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  33. I LOVED Maverick. I'm whistling the tune right now! Join in if you want.
    It's funny you mentioned Disney's Wonderful World of Color. Do you remember when they showed "Spin and Marty" on there? Probably before your time.

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  34. Geeze Pat!!! That's a real blast from the past!!!

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