Mustache March is nearly over, I hope all of you enjoyed it as much as I did. I've been sporting my PowerStache this month not in a salute to the Hulkmaster Terry "Hulk" Hogan (like so many people assume), but instead to the greatest car-movie actor ever, Burt Reynolds.
Quiet down, Steve McQueen fans.
Burt Reynolds has appeared in many a car-centric movie, most of them in the heyday of The Burt, the late 70s into the early 80s. The most well known of the films is certainly Smokey and the Bandit, released in 1977. Burt is The Bandit, a well-known scofflaw hired to guide a shipment of Coors from Texas to Georgia, without being intercepted by the law and only a short time to get there. The Burt pilots a big-block 1977 Trans Am used to block for his partner Snowman who is driving the truck filled with the beer. I'll leave out the rest of the plot because the vehicular madness is all that matters.
Smokey and the Bandit is a great watch with plenty of tire frying. The cool thing for me about this movie is that my college professor who taught me most of what I know about racing engines and design, actually helped build the engines used in the Bandit's Trans Am in the movie. They were actually Big Block Chevrolets, not the Pontiac engines used in most Trans Ams of those years.
Another Burt feature of choice is The Cannonball Run, released in 1981.
In this speed packed 95 minutes of film, Burt Reynolds and Dom Deluise race a modified Dodge Tradesman ambulance in the Sea-to-Shining Sea road race known as The Cannonball Run. The same ambulance was actually raced in the 1979 running of the Cannonball and driven by director Hal Needham and racer turned writer Brock Yates. Yates is also credited to being the inventor of the Cannonball Run. In 1971 he and his crew ran the very first Cannonball Run in protest to the ever tightening regulations and automotive political correctness of the time. The race has spun off many copies such as the Gumball 3000 and The Bull Run.
There are other car movies featuring The Burt, none worth menioning as much as the two mentioned above. Smokey and the Bandit II was the same as the first one, they just replaced the cargo of beer with an elephant. I also recommend seeing Stroker Ace, because it features a score by the Charlie Daniel's band, who I will also pay tribute to, come Decembeard.
So it is, come the Month of the Mustache, that we salute you, Burt. May Tom Selleck never overcome your glory (eventhough he is cool).