Sunday, March 23, 2014

Classic TV: Maverick (1957)

Up until he tried his hand at situation comedy, it seems as though James Garner played virtually the same character in every one of his series.

Maverick started it all. Garner was Bret Maverick, a gambler by trade who'd rather run from trouble if he could. The format of the series allowed for an anthology format, with Jack Kelly appearing as brother Bart, and, for a while, a pre-The Saint Roger Moore as cousin Beau. Moore was available after The Alaskans had failed. Rare was the time when two of the three Mavericks were in the same episode.

Producer Roy Huggins later worked with Garner on not only The Rockford Files, but also Nichols, which was Garner's 1st attempt at revisiting Maverick. In the 80's, Garner was persuaded to revive Bret Maverick, but that series lasted maybe a year or two, with country singer Ed Bruce along for the ride. Nichols barely lasted a year, and thus was the worst of Garner's TV efforts.

I first discovered Maverick airing in daily repeats on WSBK out of Boston back in the 70's. Today, the series is airing on Encore Westerns, a premium service (check local listings).

SpudTV brings us the open & close:

Garner had a small role in the feature film version of Maverick, which had Mel Gibson in the lead. Gibson tried, but he just wasn't a perfect fit.

Rating: B+.


magicdog said...

I didn't get to watch much of this series until it turned up on TV Land. It was a likeable show and showed how much Garner could carry a show almost by himself. I see a lot of Jim Rockford in Maverick.

It was also a hoot to see Roger Moore years before he was Bond!

hobbyfan said...

That was the point I was making. Rockford Files was a modern-day reboot of Maverick, except that Rockford was a PI, not a gambler, and on top of that had already done time. I'll be covering Rockford down the road.

Moore did Maverick before the Saint, mind, but this did set him up for the Persuaders, his last pre-Bond series.