James Garner believed that there's a massive responsibility in television

By: H&I Staff     Posted: October 27, 2022, 2:17PM

Life, as we know it now, would be utterly different without past inventions. There would be no cars and planes for travel, no lightbulbs to see at night, or no telephones to communicate. These are all vital creations, and they all serve different purposes, but to James Garner, there was one invention that significantly helped shape lives every day.

During a 1999 interview with the Television Academy, Garner talked about Maverick, the popular show he starred in, and how television is one of that century's three most significant inventions.

At the 4:51 mark of the interview, Garner was asked, "Were you concerned at all that you'd be so identified with this role that everybody would only know you as 'Bret Maverick'?" He responded by saying that it was a concern because if you're well known for a significant role, it's hard for the following work to get recognition.

"That was a concern, yeah, because what do you do after Maverick?" he said. "If you're so well known in the one thing, when that runs its course, where are you after that? So, that bothered me."

Although the star left the show after three years, fans still identified him as Maverick and Rockford from The Rockford Files, another iconic show Garner starred in during the '70s.

The interviewer followed up with the phrase, "the power of television," which prompted the actor to reveal that he believes television is vital. "Television is one of the, probably, three most important things done in this century," he began. "See, television shapes people's lives every day, everywhere. What used to take us a month or two to find out, we know in ten seconds today because of television."

With new ways to learn and quicker entertainment, comes great responsibility for those who create the content. Garner was aware of that responsibility as an actor and shared his frustrations about people in motion pictures during that time.

"Sure it does; I feel a responsibility. That's what bothers me about people in motion pictures and television or whatever," he said, beginning to share his views on the landscape. "A lot of them have a lack of responsibility to the public. You don't do things that are a bad influence on the public... things that can influence people to rob or kill."

He then spoke about how he would see certain movies and disapprove of how they showcase things. "They have no redeeming qualities in any of their characters. It's alright to do some of that stuff when you have someone who points out 'this is wrong.'"

According to Garner, he had that issue with the movie Bonnie and Clyde. "I said this is a wonderful movie that's beautifully done, but I don't like the idea of making heroes out of murderers."

Many fans know James Garner as a man of his word who often shared his views on topics.