I'm a Friend of Burt

If you live in south Florida and haven’t yet been to the Burt Reynolds Museum, get out of the pool, put your flip-flops on and high-tail it over there.

The fact that Burt Reynolds is one of the few Hollywood stars who has a museum just for him (and his friends. He has graciously called it the Burt Reynolds and Friends Museum) says something about him, this town, and me, because I went and spent an hour looking at photographs, movie posters, sports memorabilia and the canoe from Deliverance.

I even posed in front of a cardboard cut-out of Burt in a tuxedo. It’s one of the first times I’ve seen him in a tux.

You don’t have to be a Burt Reynolds fan to love that place. It’s a shrine to not only Burt, but to Dom DeLuise, Frank Sinatra, Charles Nelson Reilly, Dyan Cannon and the whole cast of Hollywood Squares. You know how stuff from the ‘70s can be kitschy and cool, retro and new, all at the same time? This is a museum to that.

You get the impression that Burt was everybody’s best friend from the mid 1960s right up until yesterday, when he waved to tourists going past his house. He lives in Jupiter and is known around town for being friends with everyone, famous and not so much.

Everybody loves Burt Reynolds for Smokey and the Bandit and Cannonball Run II, but I’m a fan of his quirkier periods. I looked for the Cosmopolitan centerfold, but couldn’t find it anywhere in the museum. My favorite of Burt’s works are Deliverance, Boogie Nights, and the orange juice commercials he did with his dad. The museum plays up Boogie Nights, probably because he won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar for it. And there’s an entire corner devoted to Deliverance (in addition to the canoe, they’ve got his crossbow. Ow). But I couldn’t find as much as a cell phone from Without a Paddle.

According to Wikipedia, Burt Reynolds has made more than 100 movies, although it’s Wikipedia, so they may have made up some of this. Like, was he really the sperm switchboard operator in Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex or is that a wiki-joke?

He’s just been in so many movies, the museum would have to be twice its size to handle all the fun stuff. As it is, the building is scheduled to be leveled soon and the museum is looking for a new home or may have to close.

So get there and fast, before all this cool stuff is packed away or sent to Planet Hollywoods all over the world.

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