I just returned from a five day vacation in Jupiter, Florida. I went there to watch spring training St. Louis Cardinals baseball, enjoy some great seafood, and get an early jump on a nice ocean breeze with 70 degree temps. However, even on vacation, I found some movie-related fun. Located there in Jupiter is the Burt Reynolds and Friends Museum. I must confess, the inner movie snob in me was hoping for something of a train wreck. I was hoping to see some of the corniest, cheesiest, goofiest, mustache-infused 70’s shenanigans you could possibly find. After all, that’s a lot of what Burt Reynolds is known for- being a mustachioed good old boy who sold movie tickets but rarely made anything that was critically acclaimed (Deliverance notwithstanding). What I found was something else entirely.
One aspect shines through at the Reynolds museum- his peers love him. Peppered all over the museum are letters and autographed photos from well-wishers and friends. These well-wishers include names like Cary Grant, Jack Lemmon, Clint Eastwood, four (four!) U.S. presidents, Jackie Gleason, and an incredible array of notable sports figures. The very first thing you see in the museum- aside from the incredibly gracious host- is a foreword from Orson Welles about Reynolds and I think it says it all. I’ve posted my crappy cell phone picture of it to the right. Be sure to click on it to get the full (more legible) version. Consider me humbled, Mr. Welles, because I’m pretty sure I’m exactly the type of person you were addressing.
There’s also a really healthy dose of memorabilia. His helmet from The Longest Yard (1974) is one noteworthy artifact, as is the canoe that was used in Deliverance (1972). If that’s not enough, you can also find his Emmy award for Evening Shade; two Golden Globe awards [Evening Shade and Boogie Nights (1997)]; several People’s Choice awards; and others. I was inches away from a couple of Golden Globe awards and an Emmy. I doubt I’ll get that chance again.
Here are some more crappy cell phone pictures that I took. First, the People’s Choice awards:
The canoe from Deliverance, the Emmy award, and the Golden Globe:
The helmet from The Longest Yard:
And about the cheesy stuff… It was there. I’d be remiss if I didn’t include some photos. Here’s Burt in all of his glory. I’m particularly fond of the hilariously over the top oil painting of him on a horse carrying a puppy. And that poster art for Stick is the least subtly phallic film poster I’ve ever seen.
The final verdict is that it was an excellent place to visit, run by extraordinarily nice people, and it supports a warm and engaging picture of Burt Reynolds. And there’s more than enough Hollywood memorabilia there to make the visit worth your while.