In total 122 different messages were created through the run of the original six series. The eight CBS TV movies (also referred to as season 8) feature a unique message. However episodes syndicated as James Rockford, Private Investigator use the same message; it was taken from episode 507, “A Three-Day Affair with a Thirty-Day Escrow”.
Each message is a standalone gag that often provides a small amount of biographical detail about Rockford, the people he knows and the activities that occur in his life as a Private Investigator. Only extremely rarely (such as in the episode "Chicken Little is a Little Chicken", during which Rockford house- and cat-sits for an absent Beth) is the content of the answering machine message in any way connected to the plot or situations of the episode itself.
As the camera focuses on the telephone, it rings twice and then Rockford's recorded voice is heard providing the following greeting:
||Message left on machine
||“The Kirkoff Case”
||"It's Norma at the market. It bounced. You want me to tear it up, send it back, or put it with the others?"
||“The Dark and Bloody Ground”
||"Hey Jim, this is Louie down at the fish market. You going to pick up these halibut or what?"
||"Hey Rockford, very funny. I ain't laughing. You're gonna get yours."
||“Exit Prentiss Carr”
||"It's Maury. Got a call from Davis at the IRS. You were right. They bounced your return. Call me."
||“Tall Woman in Red Wagon”
||"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?"
||“This Case is Closed”
||"Really want Shim in the seventh? C'mon, that nag couldn't go a mile in the back of a pickup truck. Call me."
||“The Big Ripoff”
||"It's Audra. Remember last summer at Pat's? I've got a twelve hour layover before I go to Chicago. How about it?"
||“Find Me If You Can”
||"This is the blood bank. If you don't have malaria, hepatitis, or TB, we'd like to have a pint of your blood."
||“In Pursuit of Carol Thorne”
||"This is the message phone company. I see you're using our unit, now how about paying for it?"
||“The Dexter Crisis”
||"I staked out that guy only it didn't work out like you said. Please call me. Room 234. County Hospital."
||“Caledonia — It’s Worth a Fortune!”
||"It's Doc Jones. What did you do to the hand, son? Three fractured knuckles! You hit somebody?"
||“Profit and Loss, Part 1: Profit”
||"Hey Jimmy, this here's Dennis Garot. Remember me? From the Army. I'm stuck here in town. How about I come over and bunk with you, buddy?"
||“Profit and Loss, Part 2: Loss”
||"This is Mrs. Moseley at the library. We billed you for your overdue book Karate Made Easy. We abuse our library, we don't get our card renewed."
||“Aura Lee, Farewell”
||"Mr. Rockford? You don't know me, but I'd like to hire you. Could you call me at...my name is, uh, never mind. Forget it."
||“Sleight of Hand”
||"Rockford, this is Mr. Dow. If you think I'm going to pay to have your car repainted, you're nuts. You can take your expense bill and stuff it."
||"Jim, it's Jack. I'm at the airport. I'm going to Tokyo and I want to pay you the $500 I owe you. Catch you next year when I get back."
||"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?"
||“Say Goodbye to Jennifer”
||"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."
||“Charlie Harris at Large”
||"Hey, Jim, it's me. Susan Ellis from the laundromat. You said you were going to call and it's been two weeks. What's wrong, you lose my number?"
||“The Four Pound Brick”
||"This is Shirley from 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 four-thirty."
||“Just by Accident”
||"This is Thelma Sue Bigsley. It's about the research I called you about, family tree. Did you talk to your daddy? We may be kin."
||"This is Marilyn Reed, I want to talk to you...is this a machine? I don't talk to machines."
||Message left on machine
||“The Aaron Ironwood School of Success”
||"Hi, Jim. We couldn't reach you, so we went ahead with the job and I know you're really going to dig it. But if you don't I suppose we can always tear it out."
||“The Farnsworth Strategm”
||"Rockford, this is Tony. Now, your car's ready. Couldn't reach you, so I went ahead and put in the new pistons. The tab's $527.54. And this time we're talking cash."
||“Gearjammers” — Part 1
||"Okay, pal, it's Harry. I just checked my car. You kept the battery charged all right, you also put 3500 miles on it."
||“Gearjammers” — Part 2
||"Jimmy, it's Angel. Don't pay no attention to my other message. You're out of it. You're clean, no trouble at all. Just ignore the first message."
||“The Deep Blue Sleep”
||"Hi, Jim. Thanks for the dinner invitation. I'd love to, but does it have to be the taco stand?"
||“The Great Blue Lake Land and Development Company”
||"Hello-Jim-Rockford's-machine. This-is-Larry-Doheny's-machine. Will-you-please-have-your-master-call-my-master-at-his-convenience? Thank-you. Thank-you. Thank-you."
||“The Real Easy Red Dog”
||"Jim? It's Shirley at the cleaners. You know that brown jacket, the one that I said looked so great on you? Your favorite. We lost it."
||“Resurrection in Black and White”
||"Hiya, Jimmy, it's cousin Lou. Going to be in town a coupla days. Know you won't mind putting us up. It's just me and Aunt Sissy and B.J. and the kids and little Freddie."
||“Chicken Little is a Little Chicken”
||"Jim, it's Beth. You have the vet's number, the flea collar and extra litter. One thing I forgot, keep him away from the other cats. He's not very discriminating."
||“2 Into 5.56 Won’t Go”
||"Jim, it's Maria over at the laundromat. There's a yellow dress in with your things. Is that a mistake, or special handling, or what?"
||“Pastoria Prime Pick”
||"Hey, Jimbo, Dennis. Really appreciate the help on the income tax. Wanna help on the audit now?"
||“The Reincarnation of Angie”
||"Hi, Jim, it's Jamie at the police impound. They picked up your car again. Lately, they've been driving it more than you have."
||“The Girl in the Bay City Boy’s Club”
||"Hi, sonny, it's Rocky. I got the bill and I've been trying to figure out what everybody owes on L.J.'s birthday party. Tell me, did you have the Pink Lady?"
||“The Hammer of C Block”
||"It's Jack. The check is in the mail. Sorry it's two years late. Sorry I misfigured my checking account and I'm overdrawn. Sorry I stopped payment on it. So, when it comes, tear it up. Sorry."
||“The No-Cut Contract”
||"Horas fantásticos. La única oportunidad en su vida del precio Rosario llantas radiales. Call toll free - cinco-cinco-cinco, tres-uno-dos-uno." [Fantastic hours. The only chance in your life on the price of Rosario radial tires. Call toll free - 555-3121.]
||“A Portrait of Elizabeth”
||"Jim, it's Harry. We've been waitin' on you for two hours. The forks! Where's the forks? Lasagna ain't no finger food."
||“Joey Blue Eyes”
||"Sorry, Jim, this is for Rocky. Hey, Rock ... Stan. Got that redhead and her sister. 10:30, Macy's Grill. [Chuckle]"
||"Mr. Rockford, Miss Miller of the Bartlett Book Club. Great Detectives of America is not in stock, so we sent you Cooking Made Easy. Hope you enjoy it."
||“The Italian Bird Fiasco”
||"Jim? Sally. Hey, I just found you were an Aries. Listen, if you have Virgo rising, give me a call."
||"Jim? Madame O'Connor at the Zodiac Restaurant. You don't pay that dinner tab, we're gonna repo your birthday."
||“Foul on the First Play”
||"Jim, it's Eddie. You were right about Sweet Talk in the seventh. He breezed in, paid $72.50. But I didn't get your bet down."
||“A Bad Deal in the Valley”
||"Uncle Jim? It's Ralph. I got your letter, but I moved out here anyway. I really want those detective lessons."
||Message left on machine
||“The Fourth Man”
||"Hi, just want to put your mind at rest. Found your address book in the theater last week. It's in the mail. By the way, Carol's okay, but Linda..."
||“The Oracle Wore a Cashmere Suit”
||"Teddy's Tree House. You've won free landscaping services for one full year. We'll mow your lawn, top your tree, mulch, seed, fertilize, and feed. Isn't that wonderful?"
||“The Family Hour”
||"Hey, Jim, it's Frank. Me and Ellie's down here for our convention. Can't wait to see you. Should be over at your place about 1 AM. Banzai, buddy.
||"Hi, this is the Happy Pet Clinic. Your father gave us this number when he left town. The calico stray had six kittens. Please come get them. Today!"
||“Drought at Indianhead River”
||"Jim, thanks for taking little Billy fishing, he had a great time. Turns out he really wasn't seasick. Um, have you ever had chicken pox?"
||“Coulter City Wildcat”
||"It's Shirley at the Plant and Pot. There's just no easy way to tell you this, Jim. We did everything we could. Your friend died."
||“So Help Me God”
||"Dr. Souter's office. This is the third time you've cancelled. Now, you have to have that root canal. A sore foot has nothing to do with your mouth."
||“Rattlers’ Class of ‘63”
||"Gene's 24 Hour Emergency Plumbing. Your water heater's blown? We'll have somebody out there Tuesday. Thursday at the latest."
||“Return to the Thirty-Eighth Parallel”
||"Tompkins at Guaranteed Insurance. About your burglary claim. Major loss all right. Funny you remembered to file, but you didn't remember to pay your premium."
||"This is Dr. Souter's office again, regarding that root canal. The doctor is in his office...waiting. He's beginning to dislike you."
||“The Trouble With Warren”
||"Jimmy, it's Phil in Puerto Rico. This is real important. Talked to Mr. [static crackling], he'll pay $20,000. Call him at 221-6228 [static crackling]."
||“There’s One in Every Port”
||"Bummer! I call up with some good vibes and some positive energies and I talk to a robot? Forget you, man!"
||“Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones, But Waterbury Will Bury You”
||"This is the Department of the Army. Our records show that you are the "Rockford, James" who failed to turn in his service automatic in May 1953. Contact us at once." Voiced by William Boyett.
||“The Trees, the Bees and T.T. Flowers” — Part 1
||"Jimmy, old buddy, buddy. It's Angel! You know they allow you one phone call? Well, this is it."
||“The Trees, the Bees and T.T. Flowers” — Part 2
||"Hello? Hello? Hello? Hello?"
||“The Becker Connection”
||"Hi, um, I'm confused. Is this Dial-A-Prayer? Well, should I call back when the reverend's in the office, or what?"
||“Just Another Polish Wedding”
||"George Debone, Malibu Space Watch. Had three sightings last week. You see anything unusual? Television reception interrupted? Call 555-1313."
||“New Life, Old Dragons”
||"It's Pete. Hope you enjoyed using the cabin last week. Only next time leave the trout in the refrigerator, huh? Not in the cupboard."
||“To Protect and Serve” — Part 1
||"This is Dusty, your father's friend. So you helped me move, that's it? See if maybe I don't like the new place? See if maybe there's some painting to be done?"
||“To Protect and Serve” — Part 2
||"This is incredible. Do you know last night I had one of my dreams? I dreamed that if I called you, you wouldn't be home. And you're not."
||"This is Doctor Souter. My nurse tells me you've blown four root canal appointments. Well, you're finished in this office."
||“Dirty Money, Black Light”
||"This is Toby. I forgot what I was calling for. Your recording is so boring. Spike it with some humor, some personality. Something."
||Message left on machine
||“Beamer’s Last Case”
||[loud traffic noise in background] "Jimmy, this is Angel. I've got this new pad, right over by the Hollywood Freeway, and some friends are coming. Borrow your record player?"
||“Trouble in Chapter 17”
||[Noises from large dog in background] "Jim, this is Donna. Boy, we've been swamped today. No, sit. We should be closing in about...sit. I'll meet you at...oh, get down."
||“The Battle of Canoga Park”
||"It's Betty from up the street. I'm phoning all the neighbors because Spotty is loose. If you see him, call me. Oh, don't wear musk cologne. Leopards have a thing about that."
||"This is Globe Publications. Our records show you did not return your free volume of the Encyclopedia of Weather. So we'll be sending you the remaining twenty-nine volumes. You'll be billed accordingly."
||“The Dog and Pony Show”
||"Jimmy, Lou. You owe me five bucks. Matarozo's average in the '68 Series was .310 not .315. Oh...and...uh...Fran and I are getting divorced."
||“Requiem for a Funny Box”
||"Mr. Rockford, Sue Ellen. Our class is having that crazy scavenger hunt I told you about. If you're wondering what happened to your trailer door, it's going to win me first prize."
||"Hey, I saw your ad in the classified. Three African goats for sale. I keep calling and all I get is a machine. Is this a typo in the paper, or what?"
||“Irving the Explainer”
||"Hey, am I too late for those African goats? Haven't got the whole three hundred cash, but, like I've got a whole lot of homemade cheese. Maybe we could work something out."
||“The Mayor's Committee from Deer Lick Falls”
||"So you put your machine on at night, huh? Just because I call you at 3 A.M.? You know how bad my insomnia is. Thanks a lot Jim."
||“Hotel of Fear”
||"Jim? This is Manny down at Ralph's Bar. Some guy named Angel Martin just ran up a fifty buck bar tab. Now he wants to charge it to you. You gonna pay it?"
||*Beep* "Hi, there. If you are interested in selling a product by a computerized telephone sales *beep* stay on the line and one of our representatives will speak with you."
||“The Queen of Peru”
||"Jim, it's Grace, at the bank. I checked your Christmas Club account. You don't have $500. You have $50. Sorry, computer foul up."
||“The Deadly Maze”
||"Hey, Jimmy, I tried to catch you before you left. Hey buddy, I was wrong. The rally in Mexico, it was yesterday."
||“The Attractive Nuisance”
||"Jimmy Scott? This is Aunt Bea from Tulsa. Cousin Randy just graduated from high school and wants to be a producer. Now you live out in Hollywood, you just do something."
||“The Gang at Don’s Drive-In”
||"Jim, I have finally finished twelve long years of psychotherapy and I'm now able to tell you just what I think of you. Would you please call me?"
||“The Paper Palace”
||"This is Mrs. Owens with the Association For A Better Malibu. Thanks for your contributions. We've made real strides, but it would help dear, if you could move your trailer."
||“Dwarf in a Helium Hat”
||"Here's the tally, Jimbo. You had Atlanta at even money, tough break. And you got bombed in the Duke-Wake Forest fiasco, and you split the quinella at Hollypark. So you owe the book for $450. Anytime before Friday, huh, buddy?"
||“South by Southwest”
||"Bill Skelly with ICO. I'd like to interest you in some new private detection, including the 44OA Telephonic Bug. We'll demonstrate it in a friend's home for one full week, at no charge."
||“The Competitive Edge”
||"Okay, Jimbo, Dennis. I know you're in there. And I know you know it's ticket season again. Policeman's Ball and all that. So come to the door when I knock this time. I know you're in there."
||“The Prisoner of Rosemont Hall”
||"That number four you just picked up from Angelo's Pizza? Some scouring powder fell in there. Don't eat it. Hey, I hope you try your phone machine before dinner."
||“The House on Willis Avenue” (two-hour episode, re-edited for syndication into two one-hour episodes)
||"Good morning, this is the telephone company. Due to repairs we're giving you advance notice that your service will be cut off indefinitely at 10 o'clock. That's two minutes from now."
||"Sonny, this is Dad. Never mind giving that talk on your occupation to the Grey Power Club. Hap Dudley's son is a doctor and everybody'd sorta...well, rather hear from him, but thanks."
||Message left on machine
||“Heartaches of a Fool”
||"Say, I'm the one who hit your car at Fork City, I've got no insurance, I'm broke. But, I really wanted you to know how sorry I am. If it makes you feel any better I hurt my arm."
||“Rosendahl and Gilda Stern are Dead”
||"Hello? Are you the guy who lost a wallet in the Park Theater? Well, I'm kinda like into leather. So, I'll be returning the money, but I'm going to keep the wallet."
||“The Jersey Bounce”
||"Jimmy, Angel. Here's a tip, but his handwriting's bad. Third Son in the fifth race at Bel Meadows. Wait a minute, could be Fifth Son in the third. Wait, this might be next week's race."
||“White on White and Nearly Perfect”
||"Pacific view lots. Perpetual care by people who care. At an unbelievably low price. Call Montief and Snell, the full service mortuary. We won't rest easy, until you rest easy."
||“Kill the Messenger”
||"Jim, Chet, returning your call. Sorry I missed you, but I appreciate you calling back. And if you call again and I'm not in, just leave your message and I'll get back to you."
||“The Empty Frame”
||"Jim, directions to the party. Left on Saugus, you'll see a rock. Left, left again, right, another left, there's kind of a hill—keep going you'll probably see a bunch of cars."
(This message actually fits in with the story. Rockford and Angel are at a party in the opening scene.)
||“A Three-Day Affair with a Thirty-Day Escrow”
||"Rockford? Alice, Phil's Plumbing. We're still jammed up on a job, so we won't be able to make your place. Use the bathroom at the restaurant one more night."
||“A Good Clean Bust with Sequel Rights”
||"Jim, I have to thank you for talking over my problems with me last Tuesday night. I love you for it, but can you have lunch tomorrow to talk about the divorce? I'm real bummed out."
||“Black Mirror” (two-hour episode, re-edited for syndication into two one-hour episodes)
||"Jim, I leave London four o'clock, arrive L.A. nine. I guess that's London time. Yeah, four to nine is five, minus twelve flying... no, plus twelve. Ah, but then there's a time change."
||"Rockford, Jake at the Sand Pebble. Sorry old buddy, but there have been gunshots around your place once too often. The neighborhood association wants to have a talk with you."
||“A Fast Count”
||"Jim, you give Peg the two hundred for the painting. She owes me seventy and I owe you forty-six for the Christmas trees. Harry's still out sixty for the dinner, but at least it'll void that check."
||“Local Man Eaten by Newspaper”
||"Sonny, this message ain't for you, it's for me. I just want to pick up the ladder at the Paint Mart."
||“With the French Heel Back, Can the Nehru Jacket Be Far Behind?”
||"Jim, Coop. I'm at the address you wrote down for the poker game tonight. This is a gas station, it's closed, there's no one around and my car is stalled. Now, you got to call me at 4-6-6-3-*click*."
||“The Battle-Ax and the Exploding Cigar”
||"Miss Hollroy, City Federal. Your lost check still hasn't arrived. It's impossible for us to lose checks, so unless we received full payment by noon today we'll foreclose."
||"Jimmy, Angel. Listen, Eddie Talliferro just gave me a hot tip on a class filly in the eighth at Holly Park. Only trouble is I need twenty."
||"Mr. Rockford, Arthur's Hi-Fi. Your stereo is ready, but since your warranty expired in the two months it was in our shop, you'll have to pay the $60 on the repair."
||“The Man Who Saw the Alligators” (90-minute episode, re-edited for syndication into a single one-hour episode, removing some scenes)
||"Mr. Rockford, you know what if you are attacked and killed? Ask for Albert Kinsey at grand opening of Happy Dawn School of Secret Arts. Win free lesson."
||“The Return of the Black Shadow”
||"Jim, this is Florence Boyle, you worked for my husband last month in Glendale. You were so helpful then, and, well I have a problem of my own I'd like to discuss. Confidentially, of course."
||“A Material Difference”
||"Jim, Joel Myers at Crowell, Finch, and Merriwether. We're going to court tomorrow with that Penrose fraud case, but steno misplaced your 200 page deposition. Could you come down tonight and give it again?
||“Never Send a Boy King to Do a Man’s Job” (two-hour episode, re-edited for syndication into two one-hour episodes)
||"Mr. Rockford, Miss Collins from the Bureau of Licenses. We got your renewal before the extended deadline, but not your check. I'm sorry, but at midnight you're no longer licensed as an investigator."
||"Jim, Denny from Denny's Pest Blasters. Got a great deal for ya. We'll rub out your rodents at a tremendously low cost. So call us, we're in the yellow pages and we mean business."
||“A Different Drummer”
||"Jim, this is Andrea at Todd's Food Mart. Listen, there's a guy down here by the name of Angel Martin who's charged $110 worth of groceries to your account. Is that okay with you?"
||Message left on machine
||"Jim, this is Cal of the Leave The Whales Alone Club, Our protest cruise leaves from the pier Saturday at 3 AM. The whales need you, Jim."
||“Lions, Tigers, Monkeys and Dogs” — Part 1
||"This is Betty Frinell. I don't know who to call, but I can't reach my Food-Aholics partner. I'm at Vito's on my second pizza with sausage and mushroom. Jim, come and get me."
||“Lions, Tigers, Monkeys and Dogs” — Part 2
||"Jim, this is Janelle. I'm flying tonight so I can't make our date. But I've got to find a safe place for Daffy. He loves you, Jim. It's only two days and you'll see, Great Danes are no problem."
||“Only Rock ’n’ Roll Will Never Die” — Part 1
||(sung) "We're down at Hennesey's Bar, Jim, having a drink or two. You better get down here quick, Jim, or we'll probably take your stool!"
||“Only Rock ’n’ Roll Will Never Die” — Part 2
||"Jimmy, this is Dora. I'm gonna move in with the kids, but I'll sure miss you, dear. Thank you for taking out the garbage every week. I'll send you a card for your birthday."
||“Love is the Word”
||"This is Maria at Liberty Bail Bonds. Your client Todd Lehman skipped and his bail is forfeit. That's the pink slip on your '79 Firebird, I believe. Sorry, Jim, bring it on over."
||“Nice Guys Finish Dead”
||"Jim, Dwight. I put a new outlet in the kitchen. I lay in the cable and the box. Then I pull the breaker just like you said. And both of my tv sets start burning. What should I do now?
||“The Hawaiian Headache”
||"Billings. LAPD. You know Thursday is Chapman's 20th year, and we're giving a little surprise party at the Captain's. I think you should come. By the way, we need five bucks for the present." (This is the same message played in the pilot episode and is the only machine message played more than once through the entire series run.)
||“The No-Fault Affair”
||"Oh, I thought this was Dial-A-Joke. I'm going to a party and I need some icebreakers. But, uh, I guess that's...that."
||“The Big Cheese”
||"This is The Baron. Angel Martin tells me you buy information. Okay, meet me at 1 A.M. behind the bus depot, bring $500, and come alone. I'm serious."
||“Just A Coupla Guys”
||"Mr. Rockford, this is Betty-Jo Withers. I got four shirts of yours from the Bo Peep Cleaners by mistake. I don't know why they gave me men's shirts, but they're going back."
||“Deadlock In Parma”
||"Because where you live says so much about you, your home has been selected by Royal Imperial Roofing and Siding as our neighborhood showcase. A bonded representative will call on you."