Joe Don Baker is well known in the role of wrestler-turned-sheriff Buford Pusser, from the acclaimed 1973 film Walking Tall
. This is the story of a real-life hero in the McNairy County town of Selmer, TN (roughly 80 miles east of Memphis), who fought corruption and took down the bad guys...often with the aid of his four-foot club! Pusser became such a famous local hero that a local highway was named after him...not to mention Joe Don Baker portraying him in the movie.
In 1975 the studio was going to continue Pusser's story on film, with Walking Tall Part II
. This time, though, Pusser was actually going to portray himself, and had signed the movie contract and everything. Hours, later, though, his car ran off the road near his Adamsville home and killed him. Local legend has it that the car was "fixed" to do just that by some of the local crooks who hated Pusser for his "interference." The studio moved ahead with the film, though, signing Bo Svenson - acclaimed for his role as the monster in 1973's telefilm Frankenstein
and at the time the second-tallest leading man in Hollywood after James Arness - to portray Pusser.
Svenson went on to portray Pusser again in 1977's The Final Chapter: Walking Tall
. The following year a one-shot CBS telefilm called A Real American Hero
took up the story of the rural Tennessee sheriff, this time with Brian Dennehy in the starring role.
But Svenson was back in the title role soon enough, with Columbia's 1981 television series, Walking Tall
. This was an hour-long NBC show that picked up the story of the real-life man, but fictionalized aspects of it (starting with the renaming of the county to fictional "McNeal" county and putting the setting in the 80's, instead of the 60s/70s time period of the real-life events). The program only lasted 7 episodes: "The Killing of McNeal County's Children," "The Protectors of the People," "Kidnapped," "Hitman," "Company Town," "Deadly Impact," and "The Fire Within." A lot of fans of this show were surprised when the series didn't make it to DVD in 2004, as a tie-in to the new Walking Tall
remake starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
But Sony has finally gotten off the stick, so to speak, and today is planning to announce the March 7th
release of Walking Tall - The Entire Series
. This is a 2-DVD set (341 minutes) that goes for $24.96 SRP. Video will be in the original full frame, and audio in English mono. Other specs, and any extras which might be included, haven't been revealed just yet. Nor has cover art. But stay tuned, and we'll bring that to you just as soon as we can. In the meantime, you can pre-order this from Amazon.com
for just $16.99!