Smokey and the Bandit Part 3 (original Jackie Gleason footage; 1983)
|A rare photo of Gleason in the Bandit costume.|
Smokey and the Bandit Part 3, originally known as Smokey IS the Bandit Part 3, is the third installment in the popular Smokey and the Bandit car chase franchise released in 1983. Universal Pictures ordered a third installment, but two of the stars of the film, Burt Reynolds and Sally Field, declined to participate due to a contract dispute. Jackie Gleason, who normally played Sheriff Buford T. Justice, was tasked with taking on Reynolds role of the Bandit as well.
When the film was shown to test audiences, it was reported that they were confused by the concept, so some additional footage was shot with Jerry Reed's character Cledus filling in as the new Bandit.
The film's original premise circulated for years as part of Hollywood lore and was believed by many to simply be a myth. However, in 2010, a teaser trailer surfaced on YouTube for the original premise with the original title. Afterwards, a photo of Gleason in the Bandit costume found its way online. Otherwise, the original alternate footage has never been seen by the public. An online petition has been set-up to try and convince Universal Pictures to release the original version of the film.
On May 3, 2016, IMDB user "MovieMan-88" announced that he possessed a copy of the script that he was willing to share via PM. The plotline is basically identical to the final version released to theaters, except of course for the character of Bo Darville who was now played by Jackie Gleason as well, which no one but Justice himself seems to notice. Only now, Darville is mute for most of the film, only occasionally imitating Reynolds' signature laugh, except at the film's conclusion, where he imitates Clark Gable's famous line as Rhett Butler from the classic film Gone with the Wind, "Frankly, Dusty, I don't give a damn."
- Online petition to have the original version of the film released. Retrieved 28 Jan '13.
- The message board post where the script was accessible from. Archived 11 Feb '17