Burt Reynolds cracked a few local safes in 'Breaking In'
"Smokey and the Bandit" hero Burt Reynolds, who died Thursday in Florida, spent time in the late 1980s robbing a Portland amusement park and cracking local safes as a character in John Forsyth's 'Breaking In.'
Reynolds, who was 82, filmed "Breaking In" with young actor Casey Siemaszko (who also had roles in two "Back to the Future" films) for several weeks in and around Portland. It was one of dozens of movies that have been filmed in the state in the past 60 years.
Reynolds portrayed low-key safe-cracker "Ernie" who lived in a house near Portland International Airport and spent time burglarizing local houses and businesses, ripping safes from the walls and opening them in his basement as planes roared overhead. The movie's climax included a robbery of the Oaks Park amusement center.
Ernie took on Siemaszko ("Mike") as an apprentice and lookout for some of his jobs.
Scenes were filmed in Northwest Portland, downtown, Southeast Portland landmark Corno's food store, Oaks Park and East Portland.
"Breaking In," written by John Sayles and directed by Forsyth, was released in October 1989.
Reynolds was a Florida State University running back who gave up football after several injuries and jumped into the university's theater program. He appeared in more than 100 feature films beginning in the early 1960s, and five dozen television shows. Reynolds even had parts in two video games. He also wrote a children's book and released an album in the early 1970s.