Sunday, March 08, 2009

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Do not follow Google's directions to the Burt Reynolds & Friends Museum in Jupiter, Florida. They have you turn onto Indiantown Road, proceed 95 feet and then turn right into the museum's parking lot. As it passes the facility, Indiantown Road is an overpass with a drop of about 25 feet to the parking lot below. Fortunately my son and I spotted a sign that said "BR Museum" which pointed us around to the back of the nondescript building.

Once inside, we saw all the stuff Burt Reynolds has accumulated over the years. The displays ranged from his Palm Beach High School football letters to the keys to various cities. A good portion of the items are pictures and various things autographed by other celebrities. Some of the photos had small engraved nameplates, others did not. For example, the brass plates identified the "one and only Fred Astaire" and the "one and only Elizabeth Taylor." Also rating a plate were "kind, wonderful, talented Robby Benson," "the dearest cowboy of them all, Mr. Doug McClure" and "actor, artist, teacher and dear friend Charles Nelson Reilly." The picture of Jim Nabors had no nameplate but did have a long message from Jim: "To Burt, You're the best! And you've been more than just a friend! With love and respect, your other brother, Jim."

A large steel door was ajar next to a collection of memorabilia from "Evening Shade." It prompted me to ask the museum staff if the building had once been a bank branch or if Burt had installed the vault himself to store his most precious artifacts. I guess I was a little disappointed that the place had once been a bank. Nevertheless, I stuck my camera in the opening to get a glimpse of the things Burt didn't put on display.

Burt's Emmy and Golden Globe for "Evening Shade" were in a display case by the front door. However the docent told us that his most prized award was a huge trophy from the World Stunt Awards. As you can see from the nearby photo, it took both Burt and Arnold Schwarzenegger to lift it. Another case held a sculpture of a reclining Burt, that I thought looked pretty good.

One corner of the room held a few paintings of Burt. I didn't ask whether they were made by fans or commissioned by Burt himself. One shows him shirtless, on a horse, holding a dog. Another is a representation of his character in "Deliverance." It hangs next to the actual canoe from the film, which is inexplicably tucked away in a little nook, where it will be the last thing you see before leaving.

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