April 22

Smokey and the Bandit, 1977

Hey all you gear-jammers, welcome back to another exciting and hilarious episode of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! This week J. Blake and Dion Baia are taking a trip down South and covering a film that endeared a generation to Trans Ams, CB Radios, Trucking, and Coors Beers. We’re of course talking about the comedic essential, the 2nd film behind Star Wars in 1977, the original Smokey and the Bandit, starring Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jerry Reed, Paul Williams and Jackie Gleason.

Smokey and the Bandit

The fellas go in depth with this beloved classic, unpacking for the listener the era this movie was released within, and set up the context for this all-star cast coming together to appear in stuntman Hal Needham‘s directorial debut film. Dion an Blake clear the air and actually spell out the details about why Coors Beer at the time wasn’t sold East of the Mississippi, and the reasons why Coors had such a short shelf life (a HUGE piece of this plot). The boys get into the nuts and bolts of the 70’s CB craze, even breaking down the various vehicles used in the movie for all those motorheads out there. How was Burt Reynolds‘ involvement integral in turning this into an A-list movie? How much of Jackie Gleason‘s dialogue was adlibbed? And what seen was entirely his idea? Why did the studio not want Sally Field? How cool is it to have singer/song writers Jerry Reed and Paul Williams in the same film together? And how does the remastering of these older film’s soundtracks into 5.1, sometimes actually muck up the original film’s sound? Well sit back and stretch out those legs because the boys are gonna put that hammer to the floor and give ’em hell, in this all new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

EXTRAS:

For further reading on Jackie Gleason‘s forgotten but still legendary foray into music, check out this informative article penned by SNMS’ own Dion Baia, for Podwits.com

Have a look at Hal Needham talking about directing, Smokey and the Bandit.

Here’s the January 2016 Barrett-Jackson auction of the 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am from Smokey and the Bandit.

Check out Burt Reynolds explaining the backstory for the Trans Am that sold at the  2016 Barrett-Jackson Auction.

Take a look at this great 2015 video of the then and now locations for Smokey and the Bandit.

Have a gander at this brand new interview with Burt Reynolds and director Jesse Moss, whose 2016 film The Bandit documents the friendship between Reynolds and stuntman and director Hal Needham, and their journey to make Smokey and the Bandit!

Here’s episode three of television’s American Trucker, entitled Bandit and the Snowman, where the hosts retrace the 1,330 mile bootleg run from Atlanta to Texarkana and back in a replica of the movie’s star truck.

Have a look at this episode of GearZ, where they showcase and drive a 1977 Bandit Pontiac Trans Am Burt Reynolds Edition car.

Watch this short little featurette called Snowman, What’s Your 20?, a CB tutorial for the terms used in the film.

And lastly, but certainly not least, here is a long-lost and just discovered ORIGINAL teaser trailer for Smokey and the Bandit 3, whose original concept and way it was shot (and then scrapped), was having Jackie Gleason in the roles of both Sheriff Buford T. Justice AND The Bandit. Yep… that’s what we said.  AND he’s an ultra rare, long-lost on-set photo of Gleason, as The Bandit.

December 18

SNMS Presents The Side Cast: Randy Jurgensen Part 2From Homicide to Hollywood

SNMS Side CastWelcome back to another all new edition of Saturday Night Movie SleepoversSide-Cast. We present Part 2 of our exclusive interview with retired NYPD Homicide Detective turned actor, consultant, writer and producer Randy Jurgensen. In this episode, we segue into Randy’s fascinating career in Hollywood and his body of work in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s. We go in-depth about the first film he was drafted to be an advisor and actor for, The French Connection, and how he prepped the actors to be New York City cops (back when background prep was rare). We also discuss his friendship with director William Friedkin, as well as the four plus films they would collaborate together on. He also explains his role as of one the stunt drivers in one of the greatest car chases of allsorcererrandy time. He then goes into great detail about becoming a producer, and fighting the Screen Actor’s Guild for Larry Cohen‘s God Told Me To ; ‘stealing’ filming locations in New York City for Maniac and Viligante ; surviving the jungle and the Federales in Central America while filming Friedkin’s Sorcerer ; to fighting city hall (literally) in a small Maine town to get Stephen King‘s Thinner completed. As astounding as it is that a retired Detective was able transition into a life in Hollywood, what’s more incredible is that legends like Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and Roy Scheider were vying to hang out with him, because he was the ‘real’ deal, and moreover was the lead Detective on a very cruising_01publicized case at the time involving probably the most notorious cop killing in New York City’s history! Again, it’s a case where truth is stranger (and more entertaining), than fiction! So come listen to an absolutely fascinating and exclusive installment of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers! (above picture Randy and Roy Scheider in Sorcerer, 1977; left picture is Randy in the NYC Coroner’s Office in Cruising, 1980)

EXTRAS:

The very iconic photo of the finale of The French Connection– Randy can be seen over Gene Hackman‘s right shoulder.

Here, here, here and here are behind the scenes shots of Randy on set on The Godfather, during the scene where Sonny is assassinated.

Check out Randy in The Godfather poster, up in the top right corner.

Here’s Randy at the end of Maniac, with real life partner Jimmy Aurichio!

Have a look at another picture from Cruising, with Randy center, interrogating Al Pacino, with Paul Sorvino standing against the wall.

Here’s another from Cruising, this time with a very young Ed O’Neill.

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December 4

SNMS Presents The Side Cast: Randy Jurgensen Part 1The Bad, Old Days

SNMS Side CastWelcome to an ALL NEW edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers‘ “Side-Cast“. This episode takes SNMS listeners in an entirely different direction, presenting an all new and very rare interview with a retired NYPD Detective and Hollywood legend, Randy Jurgensen. He has appeared in over 50 films and television shows, including The French Connection, The Godfather, The Seven Ups, God Told Me To, Maniac, Sorcerer, Kojak, Fort Apache the Bronx, Superman, Vigilante, Cruising,  C.H.U.D., Maniac Cop, Homicide: Life on the Street, The Juror, Thinner and Donnie Brasco among many others as an advisor, actor, producer and writer. Two of his cases were turned into major Hollywood films by his good friend William Friedkin, and are now classics.

But before all of this, Randy was a Homicide Detective in Harlem, “making a living among the dead” as he calls it, in the 2-8 Precinct dubbed “the Murder Factory“, navigating through some of the most awful times in New York City’s history. He and his fellow officers battled to keep the crime and murder rate down, while at the same time struggled to not lose a city to radical groups like the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army (BLA). He was involved in the worst cop killing in the city’s history and made it his mission to bring the killer to justice, even if it meant sacrificing his career as a police officer. The experience led him to write a book in 2006 about the case, entitled Circle of Six: The True Story of New York’s Most Notorious Cop Killer and the Cop Who Risked Everything to Catch Him, a must read and cannot be recommended more highly. But to understand how he got to work in films with legends like Al Pacino, Marlon Brando, Gene Hackman, Johnny Depp, and his good friend (and SNMS favorite!) Joe Spinell, one has to hear the incredible and unbelievable story of how he got there.

blue cover Part One of our interview with Randy is the prequel to his film career, as he goes into detail on what it was like being a cop in a city that had on average 2000 murders a year, and speaks about some of the parallels that can be seen today with law enforcement. It is truly a case where fact is stranger (and at times more interesting) than fiction. A must listen! #RememberCardillo

Click here to see Randy back in the day, a picture from the 1977 Frank Sinatra film Contract on Cherry Street.

(Here is Randy with Ol’ Blue Eyes)

Click here to see Randy on April 20, 1972, moments after being hit in the back of the head by a brick thrown off a roof, during the Harlem riot that occurred after the shooting of Officer Phil Cardillo in Nation of Islam Mosque No. 7.

Check out this short Documentary starring Retired Detective Jurgensen.

Here are some more interesting facts about Randy.

 

March 13

Dirty Harry, 1971

This time around Dion and Blake are talking about potentially their most controversial film for Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers to date, Don Siegel‘s classic, the original Dirty Harry, from 1971, starring Clint Eastwooddirty-harry-poster
This groundbreaking film literally paved the way for the onslaught of police genre stories on the big and small screen in the 1970’s,  and refined and set the standard for the Vigilante/Anti-Hero genre that blossomed for the next 20 years, and also spawned 4 sequels. So why the heck was this film so contentious for 1971? How did the raw violence and its graphic depiction sit with audiences at the time? How does it hold up today? Is this actually a Western in disguise? Is the film’s composer Lalo Schrifrin as underrated as it seems? Did this film quite possibly give us the action film genre as we knew it with Arnold, Sly, and Willis in the 1980’s- Wha-? Hmm… Well come on down and give us a spin on another brand-new edition of Saturday Night Movie Sleepovers!

*Dion erroneously referred to Frank Sinatra‘s 1967 film Tony Rome, when he actually met his 1968 film The Detective.

(Check out the 1971 San Francisco premiere of Dirty Harry!)

(Have a look at this CANCELLED 2007 Dirty Harry game for X360/Ps3, that would have taken place between the first and second film, and looked sweet as all hell! And   –Here’s the story behind it!)

(Here’s a ultra-rare promotional ad done for the film while Frank Sinatra was still being talked about for the role.)

(Check out the back cover of the novelization at the really cool early concept for Scorpio‘s ransom note!)

(Watch the trailer to see how they promoted the film)