'The New Maverick (Pilot)'
(James Garner, et al / DVD / NR / (1978) 2008 / Warner Bros.)
Overview: In 'The New Maverick,' Garner re-teams with Jack Kelly to reprise their roles as brothers Bret and Bart Maverick from the popular TV show “Maverick”. This time around, the two old West sharpers are joined by their British cousin Beau's college-dropout son, Ben (played by Charles Frank). Together they teach the “new maverick” the tricks of the trade with one last heist to capture a few menacing train robbers and collect a handsome reward.
DVD Verdict: James Garner took time off from The Rockford Files to star in the "retro" TV movie 'The New Maverick,' written by Rockford stalwart Juanita Bartlett. Garner steps into the role of western gambler Brett Maverick as though the 20 years since the original TV series had never passed; he is co-starred, as ever, with Jack Kelly as Bart Maverick.
Charles Frank is introduced as the Maverick boys' young nephew Ben, a Harvard dropout and gambler-in-training who would carry the action when this film graduated into a brief TV series titled Young Maverick. The plot involves a train holdup, stolen gatling guns, a stupid politico (Eugene Roche), and a gang of Eastern gangsters led by horse-hating George Loros.
In one of the poignant scenes Brett Maverick looks at a tombstone which reads "Bart Maveric/Shot Dead/1880" and says to the Gravedigger, "Brett Maverick ... There's a "k". Maverick is spelled "ck". Couldn't you put something else there?" The Gravedigger replies, "I put what I known. His name, he's dead, it's 1880." To which Maverick responds with , "I can give you the year of his birth," before the Gravediggers ends with "He's past counting birthdays." Man, they don't write stuff like that any more, do they ... come on now, do they?!
Susan Sullivan also co-stars in 'The New Maverick' as Poker Alice, a character who was later given a pilot film of her own. 'The New Maverick' is in its own modest way just as much fun as Mel Gibson's expensive Maverick feature film of 1994 - which also co-starred the evergreen James Garner. This is a Standard Version enhanced for 16x9 TVs, but doesn't come with any Special Features.