Eat My Dust perfectly fits the cultural zeitgeist at the end of the 70s, which matches the end of the 60s, as culture looked toward southern influences and maybe never stopped. During the 1970-71 season, CBS famously canceled all of its rural programming — Mayberry R.F.D., The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction and Green Acres — despite it being highly rated but not as appealing to those that bought commercials. Ironically, by 1979, the network would return to the same shows it turned its back on when The Dukes of Hazzard became a ratings success.

Star Ron Howard had written a comedy with his dad Rance called Tis the Season. He already half the budget and if Corman put up the rest, he’d be in this movie and direct and star in another, which ended up being Grand Theft Auto.

Charles B. Griffith, who directed and wrote the movie, suggested the title as a joke. He’d know about car films, as he wrote Death Race 2000

Hoover Niebold (Howard) is the son of the sheriff who is in love with Darlene (Christopher Norris, yes that’s her name) but she’s really in love with the car owned by Bubba Jones (Dave Madden). Hoover steals it and that’s pretty much the movie. All the Howards — including Clint — are in this and it’s more episodic humor than an actual narrative, but that’s perfect for what the kind of movie it is. This is meant to play drive-ins and be just enough entertainment but not enough distraction for what the drive-in is really all about to younger audiences.

But yeah — back to my point. Hollywood will always return to being inspired by and courting southern audiences and those that want to be part of what that audience is all about.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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