Pub Quiz


I was a huge fan of the late James Garner, including of course for his work on the Rockford Files. This quiz is a tribute to that show, which always opened with a message left on Jim’s answering machine. The list below includes 8 real messages from season 1, and two that are fake. Your challenge is to identify the fakes. Answers after the jump. Observations on the quiz or on just how damn great this show was are welcome in the comments.

1. “Mr. Rockford? This is the Thomas Crown School of Dance and Contemporary Etiquette. We aren’t going to call again. Now, you want these free lessons, or what?”

2. “It’s Norma at the market. It bounced. You want me to tear it up, send it back, or put it with the others?”

3. “Sonny, it’s Dad. Remember how my truck had that problem with the brakes? Can you pick me up at the end of the Santa Monica pier?”

4. “It’s Laurie at the trailer park. A space opened up. Do you want me to save it or are the cops going to let you stay where you are?”

5. “I staked out that guy only it didn’t work out like you said. Please call me. Room 234. County Hospital.”

6. “It’s Audra. Remember last summer at Pat’s? I’ve got a twelve hour layover before I go to Chicago. How about it?”

7. “This is Shirley at the bank. The answers are: no, no, and yes. No, we won’t loan you money. No, we won’t accept any co-signers; and yes, your account’s overdrawn. I get off at 4:30.”

8. “Jimmy it’s Angel. I’m onto an incredible land deal that you’ve got to get in on. Buddy, you are going to LOVE Florida, Call me.”

9. “It’s Doc Jones. What did you do to the hand, son? Three fractured knuckles! You hit somebody?”

10. “This is Mrs. Lindis. Three time this month I came to clean and it always look like people been fighting in there. Furniture broke, things tipped over. I’m sorry, but I quit.”


The fakes are #3 and #8. If you got one, well done. If you got them both, that’s fantastic.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

6 thoughts on “Pub Quiz”

  1. This isn't so much of a quiz as it's a test to identify people who responded to Garner's passing by bingeing the Rockford Files on Netflix.

    I guessed 6 and 9. 6 seemed too much like good luck for Jim Rockford, and 9 seemed inconsistent with episodic television (is he going to drive that car with his hand in a cast for a bunch of episodes?). But I almost went for 8 …

  2. I'm fairly proud to say that I got both. I don't think the answering machine recordings ever featured the voice of a regular cast member. It was always these other people that Rockford knew (or was being harassed by) from his life outside of the audience's view. One of many little touches that made the series one of the most cleverly written of that era of TV. I share with Keith an inordinate fondness for both Garner and the Rockford Files.

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