Interesting Bits|

Photo: Paul Williams | By Ethan Alter, Yahoo Entertainment | Han Solo may be the galaxy’s best smuggler, but back here on terra firma, no one outraces the Bandit. Forty-five years ago, Smokey and the Bandit went head to head with Star Wars over the long Memorial Day weekend, and while George Lucas’s space opera emerged as 1977’s biggest hit, audiences happily went “East Bound and Down” with Burt Reynolds’s boisterous bootlegger over and over again. Moviegoers now have a fresh chance to experience the movie on the big screen: Smokey is part of the TCM Big Screen Classic series hosted by Fathom Events, and [the last screening is set for June 2.]

Helmed by stuntman-turned-director Hal Needham, Smokey and the Bandit sped to a mighty $126 million, lapping the domestic gross of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It also became part of the pop culture firmament of the American South, where it’s viewed as being more than just a smashing good time.

“Billy Bob Thornton once said that, in the South, Smokey and the Bandit is considered a documentary,” songwriter-actor Paul Williams tells Yahoo Entertainment with a laugh. “It’s just culturally so interwoven. If there was ever a film that acted as kind of a clubhouse for a time and place, it’s Smokey and the Bandit.”

Williams’s screen time in Smokey is relatively brief, but he makes an immediate impression as Little Enos Burdette, who sets the movie’s cavalcade of car crashes in motion alongside his on-screen dad (and off-screen friend), Big Enos, played by Pat McCormick. Credit for that goes to their matching blue suits, which tipped Williams off to the spirit of the enterprise he had joined. “I remember Pat walking into the room wearing his version of the suit, and I thought: ‘Sure, he gets the great costume!’ And then I realized: ‘Wait a minute, I’ve got the same one here!”
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Read the interview here which mentions all the great songs written for it:

Smokey and the Bandit returns to theaters on June 2 from Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies. Visit http://www.FathomEvents.com for showtime and ticket information.

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