Neal County, Tennessee - The rural
police drama WALKING TALL/NBC/1981 starred Bo Svenson as widowed Sheriff
Buford Pusser who maintained order in lawless Neal County,
Tennessee. Buford's wife, Pauline was killed during an attempt on
his own life.
The people in Sheriff Pusser's life included:
- Harold Sylvester as Deputy Aaron Fairfax
- Jeff Lester as Deputy Grady Spooner
- Courtney Pledger as Deputy Joan Litton
- Rad Daly as Michael Pusser, Bufford's teenage son
- Heather McAdam as Dwana Pusser, Bufford's, young daughter
- Walter Barnes as Carl Pusser, Bufford's father
To battle crime in the county (gambling prostitution, moonshiners),
Buford used a four foot length of wood (labeled his "pacifier") to
convince criminals he meant business. And believe me, you didn't
want to get womped with that club.
TRIVIA NOTE: Before starring in
the short-lived 1981 series Bo Svenson portrayed Sheriff Pusser in the
theatrical releases Walking Tall, Part 2: The Legend of Buford
Pusser (1975) and Walking Tall: The Final Chapter (1977).
The 1978 TV-Movie starring Brian Dennehy continued the tale of
Sheriff Buford Pusser. Bufford's life story was first portrayed
in the movie Walking Tall (1973) starring
Joe Don Baker.
In 2004, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson reworked the legend of Buford
Pusser in the film Walking Tall that told the story of Chris
Vaughn, a former U.S. soldier who returns to his hometown in
Kitsap County, Washington to find it overrun by crime and
corruption. Kevin Sorbo (of TV series HERCULES fame) also borrowed
from the legend in the 2007 films Walking Tall: The Payback
and Walking Tall: Lone Justice as Nick Prescott, the son of
the town's sheriff who was killed in an alleged car accident.
The Buford Pusser character was based on the real Sheriff Buford
Pusser of McNairy County, in west Tennessee who died in a suspicious car crash
on August 31, 1974 when his new Corvette veered off Highway 64, hit
an embankment and crashed and burned. Before his untimely death, he
was slated to appear in the sequel movie about his life.
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