The Long Summer of George Adams

The Long Summer of George Adams is a 1982 American made-for-television drama film starring James Garner and Joan Hackett. The film was directed by Stuart Margolin, and was based upon a novel by Weldon Hill.

The Long Summer of George Adams
Written byJohn Gay
Weldon Hill (book)
Directed byStuart Margolin
StarringJames Garner
Joan Hackett
Music byMurray MacLeod
Stuart Margolin
J.A.C. Redford
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
ProducersS. Bryan Hickox
Meta Rosenberg
Production locationsCushing, Texas
Maydelle, Texas
Rusk, Texas
Texas State Railroad, Rusk, Texas
CinematographyAndrew Jackson
EditorGeorge R. Rohrs
Running time100 minutes
Production companyWarner Bros. Television
Warner Bros. Television Distribution
Original networkNBC
Picture formatColor
Audio formatMono
Original release
  • January 18, 1982 (1982-01-18)
External links


Set in 1952, George Adams is a man at the end of his rope. He is a steam engine fitter working for the railroad at a way station in his hometown of Cushing, Oklahoma. However, he finds himself working at a time when the railroads are converting from steam engines to diesel-electrics. Just like the engines he works on, he knows his time of usefulness for the railroad is running out. To make ends meet, he has taken a second job as the town's night watchman. This has created George's greatest frustration. The schedule he is on has him sleeping each night in the attic, waking at mid-day to his wife, Norma, making lunch for his two boys. Between the two jobs he works and his wife's schedule with the family, there is almost no time for George to be alone with Norma. This strikes him as a particularly cruel blow, and in frustration he questions her interest. She assures him she would welcome a visit, but finds the schedule is working against them. In the back of his mind George keeps believing a man could be happy if he could have his wife and family in his own home on his own piece of land.

George struggles to hold his home and family together. He is good friends with Ernie, a Korean War veteran who is hopelessly in love with Norma's younger sister, who lives with the family. A number of events ensue, including a playful bout of fisticuffs in the ring with a local chicken farmer. George slips just as he is being punched, ending the fight with an apparent knock down. This is a point of great embarrassment and disappointment for his two boys. When his wife leaves town with the family to visit relatives, he confides to Ernie this is going to be a long summer. With his wife away George succumbs to a brief affair with his neighbor. This is not as well a kept secret as George might hope, though his wife never finds out. George and Ernie end up stopping a bank robbery. Finally George receives the letter he had been dreading from the railroad company, a transfer order to Gunther, a town he and his wife have no interest in moving to. George finally puts his foot down, deciding to quit the railroad and return to his father's nearby homestead, to build his family a home and return to a life of farming in Cushing, Oklahoma.



The story of an average man in a small Oklahoma town had been of interest to Garner for some time prior to the shooting of the picture. Garner was a native of Oklahoma, and had held onto the script for 10 years.[1] A number of Garner's crew from The Rockford Files participated in the making of the movie, including Stuart Margolin, who directed the project.[2]

The movie was well received. People Magazine noted: "Garner’s wry style and an excellent supporting cast make this TV movie worthwhile."[3]


  1. ^ Ryan and Ryan 2018, p. 86.
  2. ^ Ryan and Ryan 2018, p. 87.
  3. ^ People Staff (18 January 1982). "Picks and Pans Review: The Long Summer of George Adams". People. Retrieved 13 May 2019.
  • Ryan, Stephen H. and Paul J. Ryan The Essential James Garner Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, (2018).
  • Strait, Raymond James Garner: a Biography New York, NY: St. Martin's Press, (1985).

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