Thursday, April 8, 2021

Actor James Hampton who played Aaron Ironwood in the ROCKFORD FILES episode The Aaron Ironwood School of Success dead at 84

Actor James Hampton, best known as bugler Hannibal Dobbs on "F Troop," Caretaker in the original "The Longest Yard" and the father in "Teen Wolf," has died at age 84, James also played Aaron Ironwood in the ROCKFORD FILES episode The Aaron Ironwood School of Success

The Hollywood Reporter, citing a family source, revealed that Hampton died at his home in Fort Worth, Texas due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. 

Born in Oklahoma City in 1936, Hampton was mostly raised in Dallas until he attended the University of North Texas and was ultimately drafted into the U.S. Army. THR reports that he was in the cavalry at Fort Knox before being sent to active duty overseas. When he returned home, he studied acting with Sidney Lumet’s father, Baruch Lumet at the Knox Street Theater in Dallas. 

Eventually, he moved to New York and found a job on the Oscar-nominated movie "The Cliff Dwellers." Due to its success, he went to Los Angeles where he landed a role on the TV show "Gunsmoke" in 1963. On the show, he met Burt Reynolds, which launched a friendship and working relationship that would endure until Reynolds’ death in 2018.

The New York Post notes that Hampton and Reynolds starred opposite each other in films like "Hustle," "W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings" and "The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing." Hampton also directed 16 episodes of Reynolds’ TV show "Evening Shade," which ran from 1990 until 1994.

Independent of Reynolds, Hampton studied with Leonard Nimoy, who helped him land the part of Pvt. Hannibal Dobbs on "F Troop," which only ran two seasons (65 episodes) but lived on in syndication. 

Most recently, he published his autobiography in February titled "What? And Give Up Show Business?"

He is survived by his second wife, actress Mary Deese and children James, Andrea and Frank as well as grandchildren. The family has requested that donations be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. 

Hampton played Fox’s father in the 1985 horror comedy "Teen Wolf."

Monday, February 15, 2021

The Rockford Files - Episode: The Great Blue Lake Land and Development Company (1975)

Above photo: Bartine Zane Burkett played feisty Mildred Jensen. She was 77 years old when she played this part. So far she is the only actor/actress I found who had a credited role in "The Rockford Files" who was born in the 1800's. 
UPDATE: 02/15/2021 From the comment section: I want to make a correction regarding the actress who played "Mildred" in The Great Blue Lake Land And Development Company. Her original name was Bartine Burkett and her married name was Bartine Zane. I knew her very well the last fourteen years of her life. She was my dear friend and I miss her very much. She made some films with Buster Keaton and Laurel And Hardy before they were a team. Some films and commercials can be found on Youtube. Thank you, Randall Sills Burbank, California

Above Photo: Bob Hastings who is 85 years old and still kicking played Paul Tanner. God Bless Bob!

Above photo: The late great Richard Shull played "Fast Harry DeNova", a slick talking salesman and con-artist.
Below Richard Shull in an United Airlines commercial.

Above photo: Another great actor who has since passed away, Dana Elcar played the local county sheriff, Sheriff Mitchell.

 Above Photos: Once again The Rockford Files manages to find a very beautiful and sexy actress to play a role in one of their episodes. Actress Mary Ann Chin as Billie Carlton. In 1975 when this episode was produced Mary Ann Chin spelled her name Mary Ann Chinn. If anybody knows what Ms. Chin is up to these days, please let me know.

We need help with the location of this gas station in this scene.
(See below photos)

The gas station and service buildings were in Acton, Ca. as was the Sheriff's office. The address of the gas station was 31918 Crown Valley Road. The Sheriff's office was on the opposite corner of the gas station in Acton. It's no longer there, but you can see it clearly in the Matt Helm movie "The Silencers" which was filmed (in part) in Acton as well.



Episode: "The Great Blue Lake Land and Development Company " (1975)

B-J's Complete Service Shop - Most likely the sign for this gas station was a prop and not the real name of the gas station. 

The above three photos shows Jim Rockford stopping at a rural gas station and grocery mart. The address plate on the building reads 31918 and I believe that is the actual address for the building/business.

This episode had three main filming locations:
Palmdale, CA, Santa Clarita, CA and
Lake Los Angeles, CA.
So I would imagine this old time gas station was once located in one of these three locations.

We do not have a location for this old County Sheriff's Office. It may also be a building on the set of Universal Pictures Studios and not a real sheriff's office. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The Rockford Files - Episode: Heartaches of a Fool - Filming Locations (1978) Paradise Cove and more....

 Above Photo:
The late Taylor Lacher played Country singer Charlie Strayhorn (Willie Nelson Voice)
Above Photos:
Joseph "Rocky" Rockford unknowingly drives a load of smuggled meats from Mexico
 Above Photos:
Rocky can be seen driving past the above street sign:
9200 Rayford Drive
The street now ends there due to the Westchester Parkway being built after the filming of this scene.
 Above Photos:
Rocky is forced off the road by trucking union thugs and his truck flips.
BLOOPER: In the bottom photo you can see the stunt man with a black helmet in the driver seat instead of Rocky Rockford.

Above Photos:
A little humor here by the the Rockford Files writers... The hospital Rocky is taken to is called "PAINE HOSPITAL" in reality it is really Los Angeles' Good Samaritan Hospital on Wilshire Blvd.
James Jeter as  Sheriff Milburn
John Davey as Deputy Harnsworth
Above Photos:
Filming scenes of Joseph Rocky Rockford in his hospital bed.
The very sexy and beautiful Lynne Marta as
Country singer Charlie Strayhorn's wife
Carrie Strayhorn - these two played a torn married couple fantastically! 
 Joe E. Tata who usually plays Jim Rockford's bail bondsman
actually plays Charlie Strayhorn's agent/manager
Norman Abbott Kline
Maybe somebody can help me out with this guy.
Anybody know who Mr. Hair is?
Mark Roberts as Hillman Stewart
The late Leo Gordon as Union Thug Clark Streeter
James Shigeta as Clement Chin
The late Don 'Red' Barry as Shorty McCall
Sadly Don committed suicide in 1980
 Charlie Strayhorn's jet - Tail Number: N778GA (1978)
Los Angeles Chinatown (1978)
Above Five Photos:
Norman Alden as Roland Eddy
This filming location was in Burbank California
The house address is 5356 as seen on the mailbox but
the street is unknown. This area was probably all knocked down for
upscale housing since the filming.
Above Three Photos: 
Exterior and interior filming at Malibu's Paradise Cove Restaurant & Bar back in 1978.
Jim Rockford's mobile home was parked next to this restaurant while filming the Rockford Files for many of the episodes.
Cenooco Celestial Noodle Company
9839 Bellanca Avenue, Los Angeles, California
Cenooco Celestial Noodle Company
9839 Bellanca Avenue, Los Angeles, California
INCA Company
9625 Bellanca Ave. Los Angeles, CA
 You can see the painted sign for long time Los Angeles Nightclub
"Carolina West" located at 5601 W Century Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA

We just heard about this 2014 death - James Shigeta who played the Chinese Mobbed Up "Clement Chin" in the 1978 Episode of the ROCKFORD FILES titled "Heartaches of a Fool"

James Shigeta, like James Garner, was a Korean War Veteran.

June 17, 1929 - July 28, 2014 
Mini Bio (1)
Hawaiian-born James Shigeta was, for a time, the biggest East Asian U.S. star the country had known for decades. His up-and-down career reflected the country's changing interest in films with East Asian themes, but, when called upon, he filled both A-movie starring roles and minor T.V. guest appearances with the same cool and classy style. An aspiring song-and-dance man early in his career, he had a series of romantic leading roles in the late fifties, culminating in his most important one, the lead in Ross Hunter's glitzy production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical, Flower Drum Song (1961). Supporting parts followed, his last showy turn coming again from Ross Hunter, with star billing and his own production number in the ill-fated musical remake of Lost Horizon (1973). Along the way, there have been many notable T.V. guest appearances showcasing Shigeta's facility with both sympathetic and villainous roles. His status as the foremost East Asian leading man of twentieth century U.S. film will endure undiminished by an erratic career.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: David Durrett

Trivia (9)

One of six children born to a Honolulu contractor, he was educated at New York University where he majored in English.
Discovered as a singer by TV's Ted Mack & the Original Amateur Hour (1948), where he won first place and an annual scholarship prize. This led to Vegas and nightclub appearances. Pat Boone and Ann-Margret are other celebrities who benefited from Ted Mack's popular show.
Speaks fluent Japanese, French and Italian.
The first Asian-American to crack the old Hollywood studio star system, albeit briefly, groomed as a romantic leading man.
On April 18, 2005, he was awarded a Visionary Award from East West Players, the nation's premier Asian American theatre organization.
Chosen by Goldsea Asian American Daily as one of the "100 Most Inspiring Asian Americans of All Time".
His publicist was Jeffrey Leavitt.
Upon his death, he was cremated and his ashes were scattered into the pacific ocean.
The Monday, September 1, 2014, issue of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported by Rob Shikina that services were held on Sunday, August 31, 2014, at Hosoi Garden Mortuary in Nuuanu and also reported that "Shigeta, a Marine during the Korean War, will be inurned in a private ceremony Tuesday at the National Memorial Cemetary of the Pacific at Punchbowl".

Personal Quotes (2)

I think an actor's life is necessarily self-involved. And that's what I would like to get away from.
I have never personally referred to myself as a star. When asked I always say, 'I'm an actor, a working actor.' I think the term 'star' is a vastly overused expression. That term has been used in reference to me but it is not of my own choice.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Rockford Files - Episode: Aura Lee, Farewell (1975) Filming Location: Oscar's Restaurant

Brian from FaceBook - Brian's Rockford Files has some great updates and photos on this episode.

Brian's Main Page For The Rockford Files Is

This episode featured many great actors/actresses.
 Above Photo: The "Bionic Woman" Lindsay Wagner makes her second appearance in The Rockford Files as bikini shop owner Sara Butler.
 Above Photo: A very young and beautiful Melissa Green plays the role of Aura Lee.
 Above Photo: The woman in the black and white checkered coat is actress Linda Dano, her current photo is shown in the bottom right corner of this image. Linda played Senator Evan Murdock's wife. The woman interviewing her is real life news reporter Kelly Lange. The late great Robert Webber can be seen standing in front of Jim Rockford, Webber played California State Senator Evan Murdock. 
 Above Photo:
Date of Birth1 January 1948Brooklyn, New York, USA
Birth NameThomas Scott

Mini Bio (1)

Tom Scott was a predominantly a '70s African-American lead and supporting actor who appeared sporadically on television and in films beginning in the late 1960s. His first Hollywood appearance was as a student on "The Patty Duke Show" in 1964, He made appearances, mostly in guest spots on such popular TV shows as "Sanford and Son", "Marcus Welby, M.D.", and "Quincy M.E". His last Hollywood appearance was in a 1999 low-budget science-fiction thriller entitled "Age to Age".
played the motel manager, Ralph Salisbury.

 Above Photo: Actor Greg Mullavey played the seedy con-artist Dirk Schaffer very well... You got to love that slick 1970's outfit he is sporting in this scene. 
 Above Photo: Veteran character actor Henry Slate played the crusty restaurant owner Oscar. Henry sadly passed away in 1996 at the age of 86. 
 Above Photo: Bill Mumy who became famous as young Will Robinson in the TV series "Lost in Space" played the painter/artist Trask. Along with his most impressive list of television/film credits, Bill is also a very talented well-known musician, songwriter, recording artist, as well as writer. He plays guitar, bass, keyboards, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, percussion and sings. He has released three solo CDs, 1997's "Dying To Be Heard", 1999's "In The Current" and the 2000 release of his third solo album, "Pandora's Box". All three released on Renaissance Records.

Oscar's Restaurant Update: I received the following information from Melissa Greene who played Aura Lee (As seen in the above photo) - She currently writes on FaceBook - Write From The Heart (Is her page)
Hello William - Oscar's was on the Pacific Coast Highway, on the right as you were heading north from the point where Sunset Blvd meets the Pacific Coast Highway. I'm not sure if that was the real name or not. The Sea Shore restaurant, shown in a few of your shots may very well have been right there at the end of Sunset Blvd., where it meets Pacific Coast Highway. If so, Oscar's was located across the street from a 50s style motel  - now gone, I'm sure - where the two highways intersected. That's where Robert Webber and I shot the montage of our  dinner and drinks preceding our "one night stand." The car accident scene was shot on a street on the Pepperdine College Campus in Malibu.


UPDATE: May 11, 2018: 

On May 10, 2018, I received a phone call from Gary J. Moreno. Mr. Moreno worked on the original Rockford Files TV series – listed by in the following fields: Set Decorator | Art Department | Special Effects. I recent wrote him in an attempt to ascertain any additional information about Oscar’s restaurant.  

Since this episode was filmed over 40 years, I knew, at best this was a shot in a dark. I can hardly remember what I did last year, let alone almost ½ a century ago. Mr. Moreno was able to remember a few things about the Oscar’s filming location. First that Oscar’s was not the real name of the restaurant but a fictitious name for the purpose of filming. Mr. Moreno also confirmed what was previously stated to our blog by actress Melissa Greene who played Aura Lee. Specifically that the Oscar’s location was located north of Sunset Blvd. on Pacific Coast Highway. Oscar’s was located just north of a real restaurant shown in this episode called Sea Shore Inn restaurant – which in 2018 is named Gladstone's

17300 Pacific Coast Hwy, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272. 

Mr. Moreno, and rightfully so, could not recall the real name of the restaurant called Oscar’s in this episode.  He also confirmed it was on the Oceanside of Pacific Coast Highway, directly across the street from an old roadside motel that is no longer in existence (Non-Oceanside of PCH).    

Thank you Mr. Moreno for your gracious phone call and information…… 

OK, enough with the actors/actresses in this episode. Here is what we need help identifying. It's a little grill called Oscar's in this episode. Not sure if that was the real name of the restaurant or not. It appears to be along the Pacific Coast Highway in 1975. The above two images show the building.
Anybody have any idea where this place is or was located?