The Night We Met Rockford

In 1979 Ken Kragen produced a CBS-TV Special, Kenny Rogers & The American Cowboy. Half of it was shot on a ranch with real cowboys and half of it was a concert filmed at the Universal Amphitheater. The guests were Mac Davis, Charlie Daniels and the host was Bob Hope. The audience was star-studded and there was a huge Hollywood party planned backstage.

Kenny was off stage and the band was still vamping as the party guests started arriving with one slightly ahead of the crowd. I couldn’t believe my eyes. We worked for Kenny Rogers, but sometimes it was hard not to be starstruck. This man was a hero who starred in one of my favorite TV shows (The Rockford Files), one of my favorite films (The Great Escape) and he was coming right at me.

Son, do you have a restroom I could use? Yes Sir, Mr. Garner, follow me. Thank you, and please call me Jim! Yes Sir, Mr. Garner, I mean Jim. I took him to the band’s dressing room and waited. As the band arrived after being onstage for over an hour, of course they were disturbed that I had let a stranger use the bathroom ahead of them. Hearing I was in trouble, Jim started talking to me through the door. They recognized his voice. The toilet flushed and the door opened. I washed my hands, he said, as he reached out and shook each of ours, thanking us for the use of the facility. Jaws dropped open and I escorted him to the party.

Rest In Peace, Jim, I mean Mr. Garner!

“It’s Hard To Be Humble” Mac Davis & Kenny Rogers (1979)