If you didn’t live through it, I’m not sure I can adequately explain the trucker/CB radio craze of the late ‘70s/early ‘80s.
It was a pre-Internet, pre-public access cable way to broadcast yourself.
At that time, people moved from physical labor out doors to repetitive, mental work indoors. Societies’ values changed, and the brawny guys who used to be cultural heroes found success harder and harder to achieve. The trucker may have risen to cultural prominence, however briefly, as a loner hero tough enough to make his own rules.
Personally, I think the answer is simpler.
Hal Needham created a richly visual folktale about the power of individuality.
Sprinkled liberally with humor, it just worked.
|“Breaker, breaker, hold on to your ass, Fred.”|
In 1977, Hal Needham was a stuntman with a screenplay.
He managed to get a directing deal on the picture, and got buddies Burt Reynolds and Jerry Reed to star. Burt was the sexiest man in America back then, and Sally Field was poised to be America’s sweetheart. She was Burt’s girlfriend, and not yet an Academy Award winner, when she landed her co-starring role.
Jackie Gleason was, of course, the Great One, but not as powerful as he was when he set the proportions of TV screens to make himself look thinner.
The basset hound was just a basset hound that Burt Reynolds chose because it refused to obey commands.
Smokey and the Bandit was the #2 top-grossing movie in America that year. Star Wars was #1.
Over the next two years, the sales of Pontiac Trans Ams almost doubled.
- A legend and an out of work bum look a lot alike
- Yes, Virginia, there really was a time when brands of beer were strictly regional, and transporting them across the regional lines was bootlegging
- The good, old, American lifestyle – for the money, for the glory, and for the fun. Mostly for the money
- Sometimes people do things because they’ve never been done before
- The Bandit can drive any forking thing around
- Never run out on a wedding to the son of a Texas sheriff
- In 1977, you could decorate and entire town for $40
- Driving and talking to you are both challenges
- You can’t claim someone is disrespecting the law when you haven’t got any respect for it, either
- A “diablo sandwich” is made with ground beef, taco seasoning, corn, and diced tomatoes; served on a hamburger bun with lettuce and sour cream
- If you’re in a hurry, skip the hushpuppies. They take too long
- There is no way, no way, that you could come from my loins. Soon as I get home, the first thing I’m gonna do is punch your momma in the mouth.
- When you tell somebody something, it depends on what part of the United States you’re standing in as to just how dumb you are
- Some men will take on a whole biker gang just to defend their dogs
- Hold on to Fred,son,here comes the cavalry
- If you’re a good person, your friends will give you work
- Conversely, if you do good work, you’ll make friends and keep getting work
The cast and crew all came back for the sequel, but Burt Reynolds bowed out of the third film – and you shouldn’t see it, either.
Sorry, Jerry Reed.