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The Garner Files

May 29, 1994

Reading your Summer Sneaks article on James Garner ("Was, Is and Always a Maverick," by Carla Hall, May 15) reminded me of an oft-repeated family story.

My father, who was an avid amateur golfer, played in a pro-am game sometime in the late '60s. After the first 18 holes, he introduced my mother, who was quite star-struck, to Garner, who was playing in the tournament. My mother, trying to be cute and clever, said, "Hmmm, James Garner. I don't think I'm familiar with the name." Well, according to my mother, Garner, in typical Rockfordesque fashion, looked at her and said, "That's OK, lady, I don't know you either."

For years after that, James Garner was taboo in my household. I had to watch "The Rockford Files," which I loved, on the sly. Once my mother even caught me humming the show's great Mike Post/Pete Carpenter theme song. It wasn't until I became an adult that I had the courage to admit to my mother that I really like James Garner.

No knock to Mel Gibson intended, but to me there really is and always will be only one Bret Maverick (and one Jim Rockford, for that matter). And, believe it or not, my mother agrees.

MARK E. BEALLO

Los Angeles

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