Burt and Farrah Toast Their Horsepower Opera 'cannonball' with a Blowout
Do you see the cast we have here?" demanded Sammy Davis Jr. as he bellied up to the bar. Since the throng in the private room at Jimmy's in Beverly Hills included Burt Reynolds dressed as a race car driver, Farrah Fawcett in a slinky black dress and cowboy boots and Jamie Farr in an Arab djellaba, the cast was hard to miss. They came in costume for the L.A. wrap party of director Hal Needham's The Cannonball Run, a horsepower opera about the annual, highly illegal Connecticut-to-California Cannonball Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, a cross-country car race. The party itself threatened to last almost as long as the race. (In the 1979 Cannonball, winners Dave Heinz and Dave Yarborough crossed the country by Jaguar in under 33 hours, averaging roughly 85 mph.)
The movie merrymakers—who shot their own Cannonball victory party that last day on the L.A. set—resumed in earnest at Jimmy's that evening and, entertained by Davis and Burt Convy (singing), Mel Tillis (doing stand-up comedy), Dom DeLuise (dancing) and Farrah (juggling), they didn't adjourn until 1 a.m. "Go out and tell everyone what fun this picture's going to be," Sammy Davis adjured the celebrants as the party ended. But screenwriter Brock Yates advised not to expect High Art. "I was discussing some delicate dialogue with Needham the other day," Yates reported, "and in his typical fashion Hal said, 'Screw the dialogue. Let's go wreck some cars.' "
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