11 February 1936 to 6 September 2018
I am not much of a Burt Reynolds fan. I remember him in Boogie Nights (1997) and Cannonball Run (1981) but the song that went with the movie which impressed me was Duelling Banjos (1972) from the screen hit, Deliverance. It was also another of the New Zealand melodies that kept ringing in my mind - even today - when I studied there in 1973.
The others were I Don't Know How To Love Him (1970) by Helen Reddy, Beautiful Sunday (1972) by Daniel Boone, and Killing Me Softly (1973) from Roberta Flack.
Deliverance was playing at one of the bigger cinema complexes on Lambton Quay, the main shopping street in Wellington, and had been showing for days. I was free after a gruelling morning test and wanted to break free when I saw this huge poster of Burt Reynolds with his bulging muscles acting beside another big star, John Voight.
What the heck I told myself; I had another half day to kill in boring Wellington, so I bought a ticket.
I was introduced to the song, one which kept my eyes on the screen and ears on the speakers. There were strains of Yankee Doodle in the song and I bought the vinyl later around the Quay's street corner. More interestingly, the composer was Arthur Smith, the man who created Guitar Boogie, a song every guitarist should be familiar with.
A rare combination that bonded into a memory: Burt Reynolds + Deliverance + Duelling Banjo + Arthur Smith + New Zealand.
Good-by Mr Reynolds. May you Rest In Peace.