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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
My passion is also my business, as I am with the Toronto based Hav-A-Kar Auto Group. I sell or lease any make of car, van or truck available in Canada. My interest in all things "car" has helped me with my many clients in Ontario over the past 20+ years. Please give me the opportunity to assist you.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Nov 26: So long Bandit!

Famous guy, famous name, but you just might not have heard of him unless you were a bit of a car gal/guy. Hal Needham had been in about 4500 TV shows and 310 movies. He also directed ten movies and that is where the "Bandit" part comes into play.

Hal was a Hollywood stuntman extraordinaire. When those famous and not so famous actors did death defying feats, more than likely it was Hal Needham who actually did them or at least scripted the action. But like many things in life, his risky job didn't kill him in his 80's, but a disease did, as is so often the case.

Scenes like this classic, featured Needham doing something tricky or outright dangerous. The actors get paid the really big bucks, so that the stuntman can step in and make them look great. And Needham made them look amazing. With a reputation like his, one becomes much sought after, the money and opportunities naturally come along as well. So Hal moved into directing movies. No academy award winners (Cannonball Run?), but ones that most people know anyway 30 years later. Such as the Bandit.........

Yep, "Smokey and the Bandit". This light, little car chase movie breathed new life into Burt Reynolds' career, as well as featuring quite a few other name brand players......Sally Field, Jackie Gleason, Jerry Reed. But what Needham really did, was make the black and gold Pontiac Trans Am famous. Thirty six years later, these cars show up at auctions and car shows, with the Smokey and the Bandit designation, like this version from the second Bandit flic..........

Being a Needham movie, this car played a huge role and it was in almost every scene. But being a Needham movie, meant that action was rampant and that the cars would be doing things not normally seen outside of a movie theatre, unless of course, you lived your life like the Dukes of Hazzard county.........

Can't recall that I've ever seen a car do anything quite this spectacular in everyday life.

But Needham wasn't just about the movies. He loved cars, so with some solid sponsorship, he moved into NASCAR with the famous Skoal Bandit line of race cars........

"Hal Needham's Skoal Bandit" was a fixture in the Winston Cup series for several years and not just as a mid pack competitor. The very talented Harry Gant once drove the NASCAR Bandit to four straight wins, beating out great competitors like Dale Earnhardt, Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace, seen above at Martinsville, Virginia.

Atlas, that very full life came to an end last month, as Hal raced off toward that bright light at the end of the tunnel. Wonder if they had a black hearse trimmed in gold with a screaming eagle on the hood, doing some minor action moves on the way to Hal's final resting place?

So long Bandit  -  thanks for the great ride!

Until next time........

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