“I hope people leave the squealing their tires, that’s how I’ll know it was a success,” John Schneider, actor, film-maker, and musician, said about the premier of his movie, Poker Run.
Schneider, who says that Poker Run is the second movie in what he is calling a new franchise, chose Sparta, Tennessee, as the place to premier his new movie and host an outdoor concert featuring his Stars N’ Stripes Band as well as Cody McCarver and Keith Burns.
“Sparta was some of the first 150 people to see Stand On It last year, and I wanted to come back here with the sequel,” Schneider said as he talked about his showing of the first movie in his self-proclaimed franchise last fall. “I love the people of Sparta, and I love the drive-in here.”
Schneider arrived in Sparta on the afternoon of Friday, Nov. 19, and borrowed a replica of the famous General Lee, which his character, Bo Duke, was known for driving in the hit television series The Dukes of Hazard, from local car enthusiast Richard Bullard.
Schneider, accompanied by Bullard and White County Executive Denny Wayne Robinson, drove around Sparta to announce the premier of the movie that would take place later that evening. While touring Sparta and waving to fans who stopped along the street to watch the star as he drove down Bockman Way and made a quick tour around the parking lots at Walmart and Valley Ford, Schneider’s General Lee was followed by White County Sheriff Steve Page who was in a replica of Roscoe Coltrane’s patrol car.
The lights and sirens of the patrol car, along with the playing of the classic Dixie Air Horn as Schneider led the chase across town and back, drew plenty of attention and announced Schneider’s arrival as cameras snapped, people waved, and horns honked in answer to the tune blaring from Schneider’s General Lee.
Later in the evening, Schneider and Cody McCarver, along with Keith Burns, took to the stage to play a concert that featured music from the soundtrack of the new movie, Poker Run, and included some of the familiar hits from last year’s Stand On It.
The evening concluded with the first public showing of Schneider’s most recent movie project as the crowd that had arrived at the Sparta Drive In were the first to see the film.
“I am excited to watch people watch the movie,” Schneider had said before the showing. “I want to see if they will laugh at the right spots. I want to see if they are loving the characters. I want to see if they get hyped up by the action.”
Schneider, who is quoted as saying that “at the core, [he] is a filmmaker and a storyteller,” above all, has admitted that the story of Duke (his character), Roy/Frosty (played by McCarver), Sonny, Papa, and Fred isn’t over as he has already begun working on the third film in the franchise, Double or Nothing.
“I think that will be it. Three movies,” Schneider said, but then added a disclaimer to the statement showing that there are no guarantees in show-business. “Unless the fans demand more. If they want to see more of these characters and see where we can take them, I would be an idiot to not give them what they want.”
So, will there be more sightings of The Duke and his (borrowed) General Lee touring the streets of Sparta? Will there be a viewing of the third movie in the trilogy at the Sparta Drive-In? Will John Schneider become a frequent visitor to Sparta? Keep an eye on johnschneiderstudios.com to find out. Just don’t squeal your tires while you’re waiting!
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