Hollywood demigod Hal Needham shattered over 50 of his bones as the industry's leading stuntman before he took a somewhat safer spot in the directors seat. His car-crushing creative debut SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT was brutally assaulted by the press...and became one of the most beloved films of the era. Burt Reynolds' flashing grin and souped-up ride were as crucial to '70s American culture as cheap beer. Needham followed his blockbuster with a string of deeply wild crowdpleasers, from CANNONBALL RUN to RAD, as well as an endless number of incredible true life adventures that he's detailed in his new autobiography Stuntman!: My Car-Crashing, Plane-Jumping, Bone-Breaking, Death-Defying Hollywood Life.
Now, Hollywood's blue collar auteur will be joining us to celebrate his life and his work, both of which are filled with chaos, explosions and an impossible amount of gooooood trouble. Thanks to help from our friends at the Texas Book Festival Hal will be attendance for two incredible screenings this weekend.
First, bring the whole family and catch Hal at the FREE Kid’s Club screening of THE VILLAIN on Saturday morning at the Alamo South Lamar. It’s a broad western farce starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Handsome Stranger, who must escort beautiful heiress Charming Jones (Ann-Margret) across the desert to get her family inheritance. Along the way, they are continually assailed by the Wile E. Coyote-like Cactus Jack (Kirk Douglas, doing many of his own stunts), who falls off cliffs, blows himself up and generally makes an entertaining mess of it all. This film is one-of-a-kind.
Then on Sunday, October 23rd at 7pm Hal will be at the Ritz for SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT. Even if all SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT had going for it was Hal Needham’s astonishing car action, it would have been a major hit. But when you throw in the alpha male of the ‘70s - Burt Reynolds, the easygoing natural charm of Jerry Reed and the comic brilliance of Jackie Gleason, you have a film that’s every bit as unstoppable as Reed’s payload of Coors. Get there early because Hal Needham will be signing copies of his new book in the lobby.