In 1977, the number one movie in America was Star Wars. Number two that year was the much loved - but overshadowed - Smokey and the Bandit. This week marks the 40th anniversary of the release of Smokey and the Bandit.

The people at Mental Floss have come up with some "behind the scenes" facts about one of the classics of American cinema. Especially if you're a redneck.

Did you know:

The writer and director, Hal Needham, was friends with Burt Reynolds and lived in the pool house on Burt's property for 12 years. One day he came to Burt with the script for Smokey, written on yellow legal pads. Burt told him, if he could get the money together, Burt would do the movie. The whole thing was so shaky, Burt's friends begged him NOT to do the movie. In the end, they didn't really need a script - the movie ended up being almost all improvised on the spot.

They had four Trans-Ams to work with for the shoot and they wrecked three of them. The fourth was so beat up at the end it wouldn't start, so in the final scenes, it's being pushed by another vehicle.

Jerry Reed wrote the theme, East Bound and Down, in one night, while he was out partying.

And (IMO) one of the craziest facts: legendary director Alfred Hitchcock was a HUGE fan of the movie and according to his daughter, it was his favorite film in his final years.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) the Regal Theater in the Lansing Mall will celebrate the anniversary by showing the movie at 2PM and 7PM.

Here's some more "behind the scenes" facts about Smokey and the Bandit.

 

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Noted zythologist and all-around fun guy Banana Don can be reached via email at don.jefferson@townsquaremedia.com and on Twitter at @WITLBananaDon and @WITLFM. Also, Facebook friend Banana Don and Stephanie at Facebook.com/BananaStephanie and Facebook.com/WITLFM.
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