On Friday, Hal Needham – director of “Smokey and the Bandit” – passed away. He was 82.
I quote “Smokey and the Bandit” more often than I can tally. It is one of my faves and probably always will be. I even have a childhood memory of the movie: while riding around in the back seat of the car with my family, we spotted the big rig driven by Jerry Reed in the movie. It was parked outside a gas station in the middle of Nowhere, Georgia. I’ve never forgotten that sighting, or the exterior of that old filling station, with its peeling white paint and scrubby trees.
While Mr. Needham surely contributed far more to the world than “Smokey and the Bandit,” it is that contribution I shall always remember.
So long Smokey. So long Bandit. So long Hal. Rest in peace.