On Day 6 of the Filming Schedule, night time, September 4, 1976 the Town Square scenes were filmed in McDounough, GA. This includes the scene where the Trans Am ducks behind the building to hide from the Arkansas Highway Patrol.
The scenes are 35-D and 35-E where Bandit is running from the Arkansas state trooper and hides behind the the building in the middle of the square.
First scene filmed is the close up of Burt navigating the curve into the square.
Next is the exterior shot of the Trans Am hoping up onto the curb and hiding behind the small building. Notice that the same headlight is out from earlier today.
The camera cuts back to catch the LeMans driving past the hiding Trans Am. This is the same LeMans that crashed into the pond and was fished out yesterday.
The camera zooms in on Burt, now behind the wheel. Burt pulls forward slowly, stops on cue and smiles at the camera. Burt did not want to look at the camera (known as breaking the 4th wall) but Hal convinced him to do it and it worked out great.
Behind The Scenes
The square was filled with McDonough residents there to watch the filming of the next Burt Reynolds movie. The first scene filmed was the close up of Burt Reynolds as he rounds the corner headed towards the square. Burt is driving the Trans Am with a camera mounted to the driver's door. This is Insert Car Trans Am #3. After the first take, Burt politely asked the onlookers to stand a little further back so they would not get picked up by the camera. Then Burt did the 2nd close up take, which is the one you see in the movie.
Thanks to Doug Walker we know the fate of one of the Trans Ams...
For the next scene, the plan is for the Trans Am to do a high speed s-turn into the square. The car should swerve to avoid the curb in the corner of the square and then hop up the high curb onto the square's center to hide behind a small building. Ironically, the small building is operated by the McDonough Police Department.
The problem is, the stunt driver (Alan Gibbs) came in a little too fast to make the turn. The Trans Am slams into the curb, fully parallel, and blows out both tires and destroys both wheels on the passenger side of the car. Doug said it sounded like a bomb went off. The whole suspension of the car was damaged in the accident. We now know that this was Trans Am #2.
The movie crew tows the car away and cleans up the debris. They pulled another Trans Am off the car hauler (Trans Am #1) to film the scene again. This is the take you see in the movie.
Trans Am #2 is out of commission for a few days. It reappears later as an insert car (camera car). We will announce its reappearance when that happens. Until then, we are down to 3 Trans Ams; Hero Car, Insert Car and Stunt Car
Doug shared another story about his older brother; Between filming the shots behind the building, Doug's brother approached Hal Needham to discuss the damaged Trans Am. "I sure would like to get my hands on one of those Trans Ams when you guys are done filming." To which Hal replied "I would love to give you one but they are ghost cars. They do not have a VIN."
Also, here is an intriguing article by Jeff Reeves, an eyewitness on the filming set that day. Reeves skillfully crafts a vivid mental picture, allowing us to immerse ourselves in the experience.
Smokey and the Bandit and Billy Ray Bell - Jeff Reeves - October 18, 2018