by David Koon
Brent Renaud of the Little Rock Film Festival just e-mailed to confirm that, in addition to a special appearance by "Smokey and the Bandit" writer/director Hal Needham at the LRFF-closing showing of "Bandit" at Riverfest Amphitheater on Sunday, June 5, another star will be in attendance: a movie-correct replica of the 1977 Trans Am made famous in the film.
The car, owned by local businessman Mark Osborne, might be one of the most detailed recreations of the film's black Pontiac Trans-Am in the world, complete with the rare t-top option, an even-rarer factory CB radio, the gold firebird on the hood, a Georgia flag plate on the front and a whip antenna. It's scheduled to be featured on the cover of "Hot Rod" magazine in August.
Osborne, who owns North Little Rock's Southern Coating and Nameplate, Inc., is a movie and TV car freak, with special emphasis on "Smokey and the Bandit" memorabilia. In addition to the Trans Am, Osborne owns two General Lees that were actually used in the filming of the TV show, and recently sold a detailed replica of the black and red GMC van made famous on the TV show "The A-Team." He also owns a page from the original talent contract for"Smokey and the Bandit" signed by Burt Reynolds, and an early draft of Needham's script in which The Bandit drives a Ford Mustang. Sacrilege!
Gonna be a fun night, folks. Be sure to come out.