That’s right friends. This past weekend was the 40th Anniversary of the Smokey and the Bandit movie that came out in 1977. Do you remember the basis of the movie? This is what it says on the IMDB webpage:
Big Enos (Pat McCormick) wants to drink Coors at a truck show, but in 1977 it was illegal to sell Coors east of the Mississippi River without a permit. Truck driver Bo “Bandit” Darville (Burt Reynolds) agrees to pick up the beer in Texas and drive it to Georgia within 28 hours. Cledus “Snowman” Snow (Jerry Reed) drives the rig while the Bandit helps make his path. When Bo picks up hitchhiker Carrie (Sally Field), he attracts the attention of Sheriff Buford T. Justice (Jackie Gleason). Angry that Carrie will not marry his son, Justice embarks on a high-speed chase after Bandit.
Knowing the story line, you now know that some of the movie is based in Georgia, home sweet home to this oinker. And downtown Jonesboro (less than five minutes away from the Hotel Thompson) held its 40th Anniversary over the weekend. The big rig came rolling in on Main Street followed by the famous Pontiac Trans-Am. And not only was the rig and Trans-Am present, so was the sheriff’s car that was driven by Sheriff Buford T. Justice (played by Jackie Gleason).
And of course they had a re-enactor that was playing Burt Reynolds character… who just happened to get arrested by our finest here in Clayton County, Georgia.
Nah, not really. It was all for show but doesn’t that guy look just like Burt Reynolds years ago in the movie?
He was a great guy for getting arrested and hanging out with everyone… and mom said not bad on the eyes whatever that means.
Burt Reynolds did show up to the festivities. This is him in the picture next to the Trans-Am. What an awesome time it was for everyone in attendance.
Did you know some of this trivia that we read on IMBD?
• A senior executive at Pontiac promised Burt Reynolds a free Trans-Am if the movie became a hit. It did and the 1977 T-Top Trans-Am became one of the hottest selling cars of the year. When the movie became a hit, Reynolds expected the executive to come through with his promise. But the Trans-Am never came. After a few months, Reynolds, (who was afraid of looking like one of those pretentious stars looking for freebies), finally called Pontiac. As it turned out, the executive that made the promise had retired and the new executive refused to keep the promise that was made, by the previous Pontiac Trans Am executive.
• Jackie Gleason would often ask his assistant Mal for a “hamburger,” which was code for a glass of bourbon.
• In Jonesboro, GA (YAY close to us here at the Hotel Thompson) where a lot of the film was shot, Snowman’s house and the warehouse where the Coors beer is picked up (in Texarkana, TX) are actually only about a half a mile away from each other.
• The line of Jackie Gleason’s dialogue printed on the movie’s poster is incorrect. The quote on the poster reads “What we have here is a total lack of respect for the law.” In the movie Gleason actually says “What we’re dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law.”
Credit to IMBD web page for information on movie. Credit to Scott Stubbs for pictures.
Tags: 1977, adventure, animal, appreciation, bacon, Bandit, Big Enos, Bo Darville, Burt Reynolds, Carrie, Clayton County, Cledus Snow, comedy, coors, cute, downtown, entertainment, freedom, Friends, fun, funny, games, Georgia, growing up, happy, Hotel Thompson, humor, IMDB, Jackie Gleason, Jerry Reed, Jonesboro, Love, miniature pot bellied pig, Mississippi River, Mom, Pat McCormick, pet, pets, pig, play, playful, Pontiac, Pontiac Trans-Am, priceless, Sally Field, Sheriff Buford T. Justice, smart, Smokey and the Bandit, snorts, snowman, Texarkana, Texas, Trans-Am, trucker, Weekend
Welcome back friends to another edition of Travels in the South. We have been talking about our visit with our great friends Bill and Jean from Canadian Cats. If you have missed the previous editions, please check them out here: Red Lobster; Fogo de Chao; Stately Oaks; Spa Day. World of Coca-Cola Part I, World of Coca-Cola Part II. World of Coca-Cola Part III, The Varsity, Gone With the Wind Part I.
Last week we started the Gone with the Wind tour in Jonesboro, Georgia. We spoke of the Patrick Cleburne Memorial Cemetery. The above picture was taken by Bill. What an awesome picture, you think? Today we continue our tour. There was one thing that I forgot to mention last week that I think you might find fascinating.
In this picture, you see the front entrance to the Road to Tara Museum where the Gone with the Wind tour starts and drops off. This building is important – not on historically but movie wise. Have I intrigued your interest now?
You see, Georgia is like little Hollywood and there are lots of movies made here. Heck not too far from us in Atlanta, they filmed the movie The Walking Dead. That explains all of the zombies downtown – snorts with piggy laughter.
But back to this Road to Tara Museum. Do you know what famous movie actually took place in downtown Jonesboro? In fact, there was a scene in the movie that was filmed right behind this building. That’s right – Smokey and the Bandit with Burt Reynolds. Notice the building now in this picture – this is the back of the building. In the movie, Jonesboro was turned into Texarkana. Cool huh? So you see we have our own little bit of Hollywood right here in the south 🙂
There are lots of other important places in Jonesboro. There’s actually the R.K. Holliday Office Building. R.K. Holliday was the cousin of Margaret Mitchell and the father of the woman who served as inspiration to Mitchell’s character Melanie Hamilton. Then there is the Carnes Homes that was built in 1850’s by Stephen Carnes. Carnes was a casket maker and after the war he was hired to re-inter the Confederate soldiers that had been buried around the city into the Patrick Cleburne Memorial Cemetery that we spoke about last week.
The tour also brings you by the 1898 Clayton County Courthouse. Margaret Mitchell visited this courthouse to research local records during her writing of Gone with the Wind.
Our next stop on the tour was the Courthouse/Masonic Lodge. From 1858 until the first County Courthouse was completed on this site in 1861, Clayton County Court met in the Masonic Hall. This courthouse was used until 1898 when the new courthouse was built. Now inside of this building it houses all kinds of history along the ways in Clayton County. It had original policeman uniforms, jails, Gone With the Wind pictures of Scarlett and Rhett to ghosts. Yep I said ghosts. Our tour guide says that psychics have been to this building and spoke to ghosts from years past. Interesting huh?
I’m sure you recognize this movie poster from Gone With the Wind but can you read it?
And do you know what happens to people on the tour that can’t behave? Go ahead guess. I bet you can’t guess. Stay tuned next week my friends for the continuing tour.
Tags: 1898 Clayton County Courthouse, adventure, appreciation, bacon, Burt Reynolds, casket, cemetery, confederate, courthouse, cute, daddy, entertainment, Friends, fun, games, Georgia, Gone with the Wind, growing up, happy, Holiday, Hollywood, Hotel Thompson, humor, Jonesboro, Love, Margaret Mitchell, Melanie Hamilton, Mom, mommy, movie, movie poster, museum, Patrick Cleburne Memorial Cemetery, play, playful, priceless, R.K. Holliday Office Building, Rhett Butler, Road to Tara Museum, Scarlett O'Hara, smart, Smokey and the Bandit, soldiers, south, Stephen Carnes, Texarkana, The Walking Dead, tour, travels, Travels in the South, zombies
Perhaps you’ve heard of this area called historical Jonesboro, Georgia. Do you know the story of Gone with the Wind that was written by Margaret Mitchell? Parts of this novel and movie were actually set in Clayton County in historical downtown Jonesboro.
In fact, the plantation in the book/movie, “Tara”, is an important part in Clayton County. One of our main north/south roads is named after Tara and is called Tara Boulevard. They actually even made two sequels to Gone with the Wind – did you know this? They were called Rhett Butler’s People and Scarlett. Both take place briefly in Clayton County.
AND, I bet you didn’t know this fact. Parts of the film Smokey and the Bandit were actually shot in and around Clayton County, specifically downtown Jonesboro.
This is a picture taken off of thebanditrunphotos.com It actually shows Burt Reynolds in his famous car in front of what is actually the historical downtown Jonesboro depot. Although there is a sign up on the building that states “Texarkana”, if you look in the lower left hand corner you will actually see a sign that states Jonesboro Days. 🙂 A little oversight by the movie company.
Another known fact about our little town – the Jonesboro Confederate Cemetery also known as the Patrick Cleburne Confederate Cemetery. This cemetery is opened daily between dawn and dusk. Mommy highly recommends the visit. This cemetery is north of Jonesboro where the heaviest fighting took place during the second day of the Battle of Jonesboro. This battle took place August 31 – September 1, 1864.
This cemetery is home to between 600-1,000 men who died during this battle. If you look closely at this picture, on top of the monument that states Confederate Dead, you will see on the arch 12 cannonballs. Once you enter this walk way, it takes you inside of the cemetery. It really does take your breath away when you think about all of the blood shed in such a short time.
As you walk through the cemetery, you notice something just a little different about the layout. The headstones are patterned in the shape of a confederate flag. The walkways are shaped like a X and the graves fill in the triangles of the X.
You can spend hours in this cemetery just looking at the different headstones reading the names. Names of people that you actually don’t know in person but can feel and reconstruct in your mind the battles they must have went through during the time. It is an emotional feeling to say the least.
There are also many homes in historical downtown Jonesboro that were used in the civil war as Confederate field hospitals. You can learn more about the homes and businesses located in the area at http://jonesboroga.com/site/VisitingJonesboro/OnlineHistoricalTour/tabid/91/Default.aspx
It’s a great read into this area. I hope you enjoyed my little taste of some of the famous things about my home town. I would love to hear about your home town 🙂 XOXO – Bacon
Tags: adventure, animal, appreciation, bacon, Battle of Jonesboro, Burt Reynolds, cemetery, Clayton County, confederate, downtown, field hospitals, freedom, Friends, Georgia, Gone with the Wind, happy, historical, hospitals, Jonesboro, Jonesboro Confederate Cemetery, Love, Margaret Mitchell, miniature pot bellied pig, mommy, Patrick Cleburne Confederate Cemetery, pig, plantation, priceless, Rhett Butler, Rhett Butler's People, Scarlett, Smokey and the Bandit, south, Tara