Thanks to the newsletter of comic book writer / artist Chip Zdarsky (Daredevil, Sex Criminals), I recently learned that, back in 1996, that famously mustachioed sex icon known as Burt Reynolds narrated an audiobook adaptation of Moby Dick.
You read that right. In fact, there's even an audio sample available on Amazon, so your own ears might feast on Burt's vaguely-Gaelic-tinged sailor cackle! No seriously, his voice over work is wild.
Zdarsky also shared this delightful anecdote of the time he met Reynolds while working at a bookstore in Canada in the 90s, where the man came in to buy some holiday hardcover gifts:
I looked at my fellow register-jockeys and we all knew that we were in a race, to time our customer interactions such that we'd force Mr. Reynolds to our tills. Once he was next in line to be served we all rudely raced through our current customers ("Okaythankshappyholidaysbye") to secure our one-on-one with The Bandit himself. Nobody could dismiss customers like me, so I won and ended up face to face with Mr. Burt Reynolds.
He was, astonishingly enough, purchasing a stack of audio books, which he admitted were all last minute gifts for friends and family. I chuckled and said that it was wild that he was here buying those because the staff and I had just noticed his audio book of Moby Dick.
As the words left my mouth I wondered if this was the wrong thing to bring up. Was he embarrassed by it? Was it a sore point? Burt eyed me up and down for what felt like an eternity. Then he finally chuckled and said, "Heh. Yeah, I remember that one. I was drunk on Irish Whiskey for a week."
"Happy holidays, kid." He gathered up his audio books, gave me one final look … and then winked and gave me a one-handed finger gun.
Absolutely perfect. No notes.