1977. That’s the year Smokey and the Bandit was released in theaters. I was 3 years old and of course, and hadn’t seen the movie yet. I hadn’t discovered Smokey and the Bandit until 1981 at the age of 7 but the movie combined everything a kid of that era could ever want. Fast cars, evading law enforcement, and slapstick comedy. Sally Field was also a huge part of the equation (LOL).
The Bandit films weren’t the only thing Burt Reynolds did over his long career but they are the films I remember the most. They are the films that helped shape my imagination as a young boy. Of course, I was a huge consumer of comic books and cartoons and that’s exactly why these movies resonated with young kids like me.
For me, these films have stood the test of time and I could easily sit and watch them now as I did over 30 years ago. Burt Reynolds may have not been everyone’s cup of tea but he was the Bandit to me. Some of his more memorable roles included parts in Cannonball Run, The Longest Yard and Boogie Nights. Still, even though he was another character, I saw the Bandit.
I’m not going to lie. It’s a mixed bag of emotions to see the stars whom you watched as a child start to go into the next world. It’s like your childhood being dissolved before your eyes. It also makes you stop and think about your own mortality and the inevitable is coming for you. I still have a few years though and I am very thankful for the Bandit.
Burt Reynolds reportedly died of cardiac arrest at a Florida hospital on September 6, 2018.
Thank you, Burt Reynolds. Thank you for filling my childhood with fond memories and moments of imagination which I enjoyed every minute of. Goodbye Bandit. Goodbye, goodnight, and godspeed!