J.W. Pepper vs. Buford T. Justice

PHArchivist

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Live & Let Die and Smokey And The Bandit...

For those familiar with both films, was Gleason inspired by the J.W. Pepper role/performance?

I cannot for the life of me imagine that he was not. The roles are way, WAY to similar.

In fact, I'd even ask if Hal Needham was influenced by the entire boat chase in L&LD, as the overall structure, style, etcetera is very similar to the SATB sequences (Example: Pepper, riding in a beat up police unit, replete with detached driver's door falling off).

Yet in all the features I've seen on both films, not one mention of any connection (or at least I don't recall). It is said that Gleason's role was influenced by a person Reynold's father knew (IIRC).

But again - nothing that I am aware of that connects J.W. Pepper vs. Buford T. Justice.

Thoughts...?
 
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Interesting question that I have pondered.

I think it's just two Actors riffing on red-neck sherriffs! :lol
 
Seem like you mixed it up a bit.. Its the name that came from someone Burt knew...
"Buford T. Justice" was the name of a real Florida Highway Patrolman known to Burt Reynolds' father, who himself was once Chief of Police of Jupiter, Florida. His father was also the inspiration for the word "sumbitch" used in the movie, a phrase he reportedly uttered quite often, according to Reynolds. Jackie Gleason was given quite free rein over ad-libbing dialogue and making suggestions. In particular, the scene where Sheriff Justice unknowingly encounters the Bandit in the "choke and puke," was not in the original story, it was Gleason's idea.[citation needed]
 
Seem like you mixed it up a bit.. Its the name that came from someone Burt knew...

Actually, no...

As mentioned, I am aware of the reported inspiration from the acquaintenance of Reynold's father. Thank you for posting the passage affirming that.

What I find odd is that is the only cited inspiration, though the Pepper character is so close that I am surprised that J.W. Pepper is not also cited as an influence


Yet in all the features I've seen on both films, not one mention of any connection (or at least I don't recall). It is said that Gleason's role was influenced by a person Reynold's father knew (IIRC).

But again - nothing that I am aware of that connects J.W. Pepper vs. Buford T. Justice.
 
Isn't that fat bloated southern "gentleman" police officer just a stereotype?

I mean Boss Hogg and Roscoe P. Coltrane are sort of the same guy split in two.
 
I don't have an answer, but interesting question.
Makes me wonder why I like Justice but utterly despise Pepper. Pretty much the same character, but I guess Gleason adds much needed charm.
 
I don't have an answer, but interesting question.
Makes me wonder why I like Justice but utterly despise Pepper. Pretty much the same character, but I guess Gleason adds much needed charm.

That's it exactly. Gleason's performance, really, as crass as it was, is of Oscar Winning caliber. If only the Academy would pay attention to such roles. It was masterful.

The J.W. Pepper role was pushed too hard and was too much of a caricature - simply not as well handled.
 
Isn't that fat bloated southern "gentleman" police officer just a stereotype?

I mean Boss Hogg and Roscoe P. Coltrane are sort of the same guy split in two.


Mike I sort of agree and sort of disagree...

Do totally agree on the overall stereotype, and that there are some similarities between Boss Hogg and the other two.

But Boss Hogg is decidely different too.

Then factor the striking similarities between Justice and Pepper. Not only between the two chracters, but the sequence as well (yet another example: Pepper interferes with - and tries to take control of - a multi-jurisdictional police matter; just like Justice).
 
The acquaintanceof Reynold's Father was my step-father, Buford L. Justice. Buford and Burt werehigh school football running backs who received scholarships from FloridaState. Buford attended Pahokee High School and Burt attended Palm Beach HighSchool. They became friends at Florida State. Buford only attended school for ayear, dropped out and enlisted in the army. When Buford returned from thestates, stationed in Germany, he went to work for Florida Power and Light. Hisjob as a lineman took him throughout Palm Beach County and he would stop by theReynolds home in Jupiter on numerous occasions. He developed a longtimefriendship with "Pa" Reynolds. My siblings thought it was cool whenwe received the Reynolds annual Christmas card in the mail. When Buford and mymom, Arlene, were dating in 1973-74, they were invited to the Reynold's home inJupiter (Ranch) for dinner one evening. All Mom know that she was going to havedinner with Buford's friend "Buddy", Buddy's date and his parents. Shewas quite surprised to find out that Buddy was Burt Reynolds and his date wasDinah Shore. Pa Reynolds told Buford that Burt was going to do somethingspecial for him, but didn't tell him. When Smokey and the Bandit came out, hefinally knew what he was talking about. If you remember there was a scene inthe movie where two police officers in a patrol car was talking about a hookernamed Arlene. My Mom was not a hooker, but it was a way Burt could poke fun ather too. I don't think that he could have used the name of an actual person for the Gleason character, so he used the middle initial "T" with emphsis. I had the pleasure to meet Burt's Dad in January of 1979 at his homein Jupiter. I felt I needed to add this story, but Burt Reynolds himself isreally the only one to confirm whether Gleason's character was named after thepolice chief or my stepfather.
 
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The whole thing is an old stereotype. It far predates any of the Bond/Bandit/Dukes characters.


Sherriff Joe Higgins - fictional character from Dodge advertisements dating back to at least 1969 or 1970:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Az_gECAGXvE

joe.jpg
 
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Are you telling me that the word "sumbitch" came from Smokey and the Bandit? While I will admit I had never heard that word before that movie (I was only 12) I would have never thought that it originated there.
 
Are you telling me that the word "sumbitch" came from Smokey and the Bandit? While I will admit I had never heard that word before that movie (I was only 12) I would have never thought that it originated there.

I doubt that it originated with Smokey and the Bandit. It is quite typically heard in southern slang. I've heard it all my life (born in 1972). It is typical of the way southerners condense words down; like "wouldja", "didja", and the famous "yall".
 
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