Archives For Smokey And The Bandit

The Summer of ’77

August 16, 2017 — Leave a comment

The Summer of ’77 started with a bang: STAR WARS

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It ended with a thud when news broke over the radio at Echo Valley’s neighborhood pool: Elvis Presley, dead at the age of 42.

In between we saw SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT, read with morbid interest about the Son of Sam as he terrified New York City, and sang Cold as Ice in our cars along with Foreigner.

But I’ll never forget the late afternoon of August 16, 1977. A couple of my friends and I were swimming when the DJ broke into whatever song was playing and made the announcement of the news coming out of Memphis. The half dozen of us at the pool all looked at each other, what did he just say? According to the AP crowds were gathering outside of Graceland. The DJ promised to keep us informed and then he played an Elvis record — even though it’d been a while since Elvis had been a staple of Top 40 Radio.

No social media, no round the clock cable news, no smart phone notifications. Just Elvis songs playing over the radio for the rest of the night and people making their way to the pool to share the moment, talk about the songs, swap some stories, and get in another swim.

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Deadline posted a clip earlier today from Jesse Moss’s documentary, THE BANDIT, which premieres this weekend at SXSW in Austin. Word has it that none other than The Bandit himself — Burt Reynolds who recently turned 80 — will be there to intro the doc when it unspools at the historic Paramount Theater.

NOTE: It may have been changed by now, but in Deadline’s first post they listed the year of SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT’s release as 1997. We all know better. The movie was the runaway hit of 1977.

Here’s a clip from The Bandit