Saturday, June 22, 2019

Eastbound And Down

When Burt Reynolds passed away last year, I immediately knew I wanted to run a clip from Smokey And The Bandit in my newscasts, particularly the one showing Sally Field's runaway bride character tossing a bag into Bandit's Trans Am after he pulled over and said, "I don't want to get married."

A look at the films
that have left a mark on my life.
"Great, that makes two of us," Field replied before asking Bandit to unzip the back of her dress and adding, "Does this thing move?"

"Oh yeah," Bandit replied before speeding off.

I couldn't find that clip, but I did find one that I thought summed up Reynold's prolific film career.

I saw a documentary on this picture where Reynolds read the script and thought it was awful. But he still agreed to do it, and he had a lot of fun doing it. For Reynolds, it really wasn't so much about the money or the glory as much as it was the fun, and Reynolds seemed to have more fun making movies and TV shows (Evening Shade among them) than anybody I knew in Hollywood.

It's not just Reynolds who makes this picture work. Jerry Reed is unforgettable as the good-ol-boy trucker who can't hit the road without his basset hound friend Fred. But it's Jackie Gleason's bigoted, dimwitted sheriff Buford T. Justice who steals the picture.

I didn't get the full breadth of his foul-mouthed tirades until I saw the unedited picture instead of the version that aired on NBC which substituted "Scum Bum" in place of a more colorful term.

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