As we all know, The Dukes of
Hazzard never aired on Nickelodeon but with Nick’s upcoming 40th
anniversary just around the corner I thought it would be fun to take a look at another
series which also got it’s start in 1979.
·The Dukes of Hazzard first aired on January 26, 1979, as a
filler prime time program until The Incredible Hulk returned to the airwaves.
With only nine episodes were ordered the executives at CBS crossed their
fingers and hoped for the best and they got it! Lasting for a total of seven
seasons the show racked up an impressive 147 episodes the show was a hit and
made house hold names of their new and rising stars. So, let’s take a look at
some facts about the show you may, or may not, have known.
·The show’s original concept was roughly about two brothers who
were at odds with the corrupt law authorities of Hazzard County.
·The series was considered an action-comedy.
·The series was inspired by the 1975 film Moonrunners, which was
also created by Gy Waldron and had many identical or similar character names
·William Paley, CBS chairman, hated the show. Sad but true. Apparently,
the concept of the show just didn’t appeal to him.
General Lee was a 1969 Dodge Charger. (Okay, we all
know that one but still.)
TV cousins John
Schneider and Tom Wopat were certainly popular there was only one character
which out shown them. Who could that star be? The General Lee of course! It seems
that out of the 60,000 fan letters the show received each month about 35,000 of
those letters were to, or rather about, the General Lee.
·Dennis Quaid was considered for the part of Luke Duke but there was one
problem with that. At the time he was married to P.J. Soles whom he wanted to
play the part of Bo and Luke’s cousin Daisy. Unfortunately for Dennis, and
fortunate for us, Soles just didn’t seem to be the right fit for the role and
the rest is history. Tom Wopat was eventually cast as Luke and Catherine Bach as
·John Schneider was only 18 years old when he was cast as
Bo Duke despite the fact that the producers actually wanted someone between the
ages of 24 to 30 years of age. I think the fact that he happened to mention
that he could do some of the stunt driving helped.
·It also turns out that John Schneider wasn’t a good old
country boy as he portrayed in his audition. He was actually a native New Yorker.
·Before being cast as Luke Duke, Tom Wopat was a stage actor and was
flown in to do a screen test with John Schneider.
·John and Tom first met in the men’s room where they began talking about music when Tom’s guitar was spotted under a stall door.
·Worried censors would not allow Catherine’s skimpy jean shorts on
camera it was decided that she would wear a few layers of panty hose in case of
· Former First Lady Nancy Reagan was a Daisy Duke fan. It turns out that Catherine’s
former grade school teacher, Shirley Moore, went on to work in the White House.
After Catherine send her one of her posters, she received a letter back from
her letting her know that Mrs. Reagan was a fan. Not wanting to disappoint her
fans Catherine sent over more posters.
·Remember that there were a few episodes in which James Best, who
played sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane, didn’t appear? There was a reason for that.
Turns out that instead of having a private dressing room to change in after one
of his famous chased with those Duke boys they just hosed him down instead. He
demanded a private dressing room in which to change in and was gone for five
episodes. (Who could blame him?)
·There were also a few episodes in which Ben Jones, who played “Cooter”
the mechanic, is missing as well. Why? Ben thought his character should have a beard
but the executives wanted him to be clean-shaven instead.
·After years of wrecking as many Dodge Chargers as find for their
seventh, and final season, in 1985, the production team chose to turn to a miniature
car for some of their stunts. It wasn’t the wises move the team had made an according
to Tom in an interview he gave to E!, “It was a source of humiliation to all of
us on the show.”
·Believe it or not, Tom Wopat’s hood slide across the General
Lee, the footage showing in the opening credits, was an accident! According to
him the slide has been unintentional and that the first time he tried sliding
across the hood the car’s antenna injured him.
·Did you know there was an animated series? I didn’t, but as it
turns out “The Dukes,” was produced by Hanna-Barbera and aired in 1983. The
series only lasted for twenty episodes so instead of being grounded in Hazzard
County this series traveled the work taking the boys to places like Hong Kong