comedies such as The Beverly Hillbillies had been a staple of the
CBS lineup in the 1960's. The Dukes of Hazzard signaled a revival
of the "good ol' boy" comedy, nearly a decade later. Luke
and Bo Duke were cousins and buddies in Hazzard County, located "east
of the Mississippi and south of the Ohio" (no mention of the state
but there is a Hazard, Kentucky - a city, not a county). Their nemesis
was Boss Hogg, a fat, blustery and thoroughly corrupt local politician
always seen in a white flannel suit. The Dukes easily managed to avoid
capture by dim-witted Sheriff Coltrane, Boss Hogg's brother-in-law, while acting
as Robin Hoods of the county. The hot-rodded all over Hazzard county county in
their souped-up Dodge Charger, "General Lee," occasionally
pausing for some sage advice from their wise old uncle Jesse. Moonshine,
wild car chases and crashes, and lots of scantily clad young women,
including the Dukes' gorgeous cousin Daisy, populated the series. Country
star Waylon Jennings served as off-screen narrator, to the accompaniment
of fast-paced banjo music.
considerable success of Dukes spawned several imitations,
including Lobo, Harper Valley P.T.A., and a spin-off from Dukes
itself, starring Sheriff Coltran'es grinning deputy Enos (the show name was
also called Enos). When Enos departed the series he was replaced by a new Deputy, Cletus.
the spring of 1982, Tom Wopat and John Schneider walked out on The Dukes
of Hazzard in a contract dispute over their salaries and share of the
merchandising rights royalties from Dukes toys, games, T-shirts and other
paraphernalia that were selling like hotcakes to children around the country.
The production company, Warner Bros., held a nationwide hunt to find two new Dukes to fill their
shoes in the series and, after screening 2,230 applicants, settled on Byron
Cherry and Christopher Mayer. In the premiere episode that fall, it was
explained that Luke and Bo had left Hazzard to try their luck on the NASCAR
racing circuit and that their cousins, Coy and Vance, had returned home,
after a six-year absence, to help Uncle Jesse run the farm. Deputy Enos
Strate was back, but it just wasn't the same. For those who were convinced that
the real star of the series was the "General Lee" it must have come as a
surprise to learn that the car's drivers made any difference. The program's ratings and Wopat's
and Schneider's careers all suffered as a result of the feud, so a settlement
was finally reached and Luke and Bo returned to Hazzard County the following
February. That fall, Coy and Vance were gone.
series also took its toll in real automobiles, as a result of all those
chases and crashes. Although on-screen, the General Lee never
seemed to have a scratch, almost 300 look-alikes were wrecked during filming.
A regular stable of Identically painted Dodge Chargers was kept on hand during production
of each episode, so as not to hold thing up.
theme song from this series, sung by Waylon Jennings, was on the charts
during 1980. An animated version of the show, titled The Dukes,
aired on CBS' Saturday morning lineup from February to November 1983
with the series' regulars providing the voices.