This Date in ROCKFORD FILES History: Cheryl Ladd stars in “Death by Resurrection,” an episode of SWITCH, airing Dec. 2, 1975, that would soon trigger one of the most colorful chapters in Rockford Files history

In the summer of 1975, production began on Switch (CBS, 1975-1978), a caper series, starring Robert Wagner and Eddie Albert, that was produced by Glen Larson. Hoping to emulate the blend of action and humor that made The Rockford Files into a big hit, Larson asked Rockford co-creators and fellow Universal contract producers Roy Huggins and Stephen J. Cannell to provide him with a few scripts that could help him incorporate elements of the Rockford style into episodes of Switch. One of the scripts that Huggins and Cannell provided Larson was “This Case is Closed,” a ninety-minute episode of Rockford, co-written by Huggins and Cannell, that originally aired in October 1974.

On Dec. 2, 1975, CBS aired “Death by Resurrection,” an episode of Switch that was strikingly similar to “This Case is Closed” in plot, style, and manner—including the use of flashback techniques to tell part of the story. Even some of the dialogue was the same in both episodes. Larson, however, took sole writing credit for “Death by Resurrection,” without acknowledging that he had actually based that episode on “This Case is Closed.”

The morning after “Death by Resurrection” aired, Huggins and Cannell fired off a memo to Universal Television executive Frank Price that detailed the extent to which Larson had appropriated elements of their Rockford script without attribution. This set the stage for one of the most colorful episodes in Rockford Files history—one that ended with James Garner, quite literally, taking matters into his own hands.

LEARN MORE about this episode in the revised third edition of 45 YEARS OF THE ROCKFORD FILES, featuring more than sixty new pages of never before published information about both the original Rockford Files and the CBS reunion movies, including twenty new interviews and six new appendices. 25 percent of the net proceeds from the sales of 45 YEARS OF THE ROCKFORD FILES will be donated to The James Garner Animal Rescue Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds to help rescue organizations, shelters, individuals, fosters, and veterans with emergencies, evacuations, medical care, adoptions, training, pet supplies, shelter, rehabilitation, boarding, transportation, food, and other pressing needs. JGARF is one way for Garner fans to honor Jim’s memory and extend his legacy. Plus… if you order 45 YEARS OF THE ROCKFORD FILES directly from Black Pawn Press, you will receive an exclusive bonus gift. Go to Rockford45.com for more details

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