May 19, 2022

East Bound And Down

Smokey And The Bandit
Universal Pictures (1977)
One of the most iconic films in American history premiered at Radio City Music Hall 45 years ago today.  Smokey And The Bandit, starring Burt Reynolds and Sally Field, went on to earn over $126 million dollars in North America which made it the second highest grossing film of 1977.  The only movie that year to be more successful at the box office was the first Star Wars film.

Despite the fact that this movie was played repeatedly on television throughout the 80's and 90's, I didn't see this movie for the first time until I was in my 40's.  It was literally introduced to me, as so many other films have, by Joe Bob Briggs who hosted his How Rednecks Saved Hollywood show at the Mahoning Drive-In Theater last July.  This show was immediately followed by a 35mm screening of Smokey And The Bandit while Joe Bob and Darcy met with fans near the concession building throughout the runtime of the film, which ended after 2:00 am.

This night may have been the most fun I've ever had watching a movie.  Everything just came together perfectly: we got to meet and talk with both Joe Bob and Darcy, we had some good food, the weather was beautiful, Joe Bob's show was hysterically funny, and finally, we got to see a true classic of American cinema for the very first time the way it was meant to be seen - on the big screen, projected from 35mm under the stars on a beautiful summer night at the drive in.  It was an incredible night, and it's a memory I will always cherish.