Stunts Unlimited Founder Hal Needham wrote and directed a little gem of a film called Smokey and the Bandit, maybe you have heard of it???
We have gathered together some original photos from the Stunts Unlimited archive, video interviews, and fun facts to celebrate the 40th anniversary of this good ol’ boy film – enjoy!
Back Row: Jophery Brown, Walter Wyatt, Bobby Bass, Tommy Huff
Middle Row: Bobby Byrne, Robert Levy, Bill Sherman, Alan Gibbs, Jim Connors
Front Row: (unkown) Janet Brady, Hal Needham
Fun Fact: Three actors who had cameos in the film later became regulars on the Smokey and the Bandit TV spin-off, Dukes of Hazzard: John Schneider (Bo Duke), Ben Davenport (Cooter) and Sonny Shroyer (Enos).
Fun fact: Smokey and the Bandit received an Oscar nomination for editing, but lost to Star Wars.
Fun Fact: Bruce Springsteen was a fan of Smokey and the Bandit – here’s a line from his song, “Cadillac Ranch”: James Dean in that Mercury ’49 / Junior Johnson runnin’ thru the woods of Caroline / Even Burt Reynolds in that black Trans Am / All gonna meet down at the Cadillac Ranch.
Fun Fact: Stunts Unlimited Member Bobby Bass doubled Jackie Gleason and was the driver who sheared the roof off a police car.
Fun Fact: Musician and Smokey and the Bandit co-star Jerry Reed wrote the song Eastbound and Down specifically for the film and it became a huge hit
Fun Fact: For the grand finale of the 40th Anniversary of Smokey and the Bandit, Stunts Unlimited Member Troy Gilbert is designing the Bandit Jump, a recreation of the original car jump over the Jonesboro River made famous by Stunts Unlimited Member Alan Gibbs for Smokey and the Bandit. Not only is it super cool, but all the proceeds will benefit the Disabled American Veterans.
banditjumpteaser from oliver keller on Vimeo.
Fun Fact: They went through 12 Pontiac Trans-Ams during the making of the film