BEHIND THE SCENES 10/4/1976
46th Anniversary of Filming Day #27
"Hold up on that car wash gentleman"
Today we film the iconic scene where we are introduced to the character Sheriff Buford T. Justice. Todays scenes were filmed on Mundys Mill Road just south of Jonesboro, GA.
According to the original script, Carrie's abandoned car was supposed to be a Camaro. And the 3 vandal kids were referred to as "KID #1", "SECOND KID" and "BEN". Of course, Jackie Gleason is making up his own dialog and not following the script exactly (excerpt from script below).
I had the pleasure of meeting with Mark Myers who played Ben (aka the kid who got kicked in the butt) a few days ago and he had some great stories to share from this day of filming...
On filming day, Mark met the other cast members (excluding Jackie) at a hotel in Atlanta and caught a ride over to the filming location. Mark recognized Mike Henry (aka Junior) from being in the John Wayne movie The Green Beret. He recalled his line when they found a dead American soldier. Mike Henry said - "they got him but he took a lot of them with him." Then John Wayne replied: "No, he took all of them with him or they wouldn't have left this." John Wayne held up the dead soldiers rifle.
At the filming location there were dressing rooms and catering set up on the same road you see the brown van pull out from in the movie. Mark was pleasantly surprised to find a dressing room with his name on it. When they arrived on set, Jackie Gleason was wearing a tuxedo then went to his dressing room to become Sheriff Buford T. Justice.
Jackie was cracking jokes and kept everyone laughing. When it came time to start filming there was a pause when the 3 kids were supposed to say their lines..."CUT! Why don't you say your lines?" They replied "because we don't have a script". Instead of suppling a script someone just stood off camera and fed them their lines.
Mark said they filmed the "kick in the butt" scene 14 times. Keen observers will notice between takes of the "attention getter" that Jackie is missing his revolver. He is actually missing his whole utility/gun belt. Mark told me that between takes Jackie was sitting in his chair on the side of the road having another "hamburger" (which was code for a glass of bourbon). Everyone could hear a commotion as Jackie fell over backwards in his chair and head over heels into the ditch. Onlookers were stunned as Jackie crawls out of the ditch, stands on the side of the road and exclaims "Alright! For all of you that missed it, I will only do that one more time." After the tumble and cleaning up, the gun belt just didn't make it back onto Jackie's wardrobe before filming started again.
I was surprised to discover that the 3 kids were actually in the van when it pulled in front of the semi barreling down Mundys Mill Road. Mark recalls that it didn't seem as close in real life as it appears in the movie. Driving the van was actor David Donovan who played "Second Kid". Mark says he has not seen the other 2 kid actors since that day of filming, but he did trade messages on Facebook one day with the actor who played "KID #1". His first name was Scott.
Mark says Burt and Sally were not on set that day. Note that the scene where Bandit picks up Carrie in the Trans Am was filmed several days earlier; on 8/30/76. If you look at the side of the road you will notice the grass was cut between then and today. A Trans Am showed briefly in one of the scenes filmed today (see pic below) but it didn't really have any significance to Mark at this point.
Mark now owns a real estate company in Loganville, GA Myers Team Realty They provide services in over 6 counties around metro Atlanta and have won several awards. I was very impressed with their operation! Mark told me other great stories about his acting career and some of the interesting people he has worked with over the years. I will share them in future posts.