August 12, 1983
I believe we’ve discussed once or twice in this series, and possibly in other contexts, that in 1977 there was this movie called “STAR WARS” that absolutely knocked pop culture on its ass, and the thing still hasn’t recovered. One of the biggest and longest lasting pop culture creations so far. More than a phenomenon. Practically a religion.
Would you care to guess what was #2 at the U.S. box office that year, and therefore also a big deal? It was SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT, the directorial debut of stuntman Hal Needham. Though I’m not aware of a disco version of its theme song, it made more money than CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND or SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER. It was huge.
SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT II came out the August after EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and did pretty well, if not as well. Now we have SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT PART 3 released in the August after RETURN OF THE JEDI. This time it acknowledges its sister trilogy by opening with text that says, “Once upon a time, there was a famous Sheriff. It was not so long ago in our very own galaxy……..” (read the rest of this shit…)