‘Dukes of Hazzard’ Star Tom Wopat Remembered Scary First Time Visiting Los Angeles

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Bill Tompkins/Getty Images)

Dukes of Hazzard star Tom Wopat’s first impression of LA was that the city was less like the City of Angels and more like the pits of hell.

As the Luke Duke actor shared in a 2013 interview, when he headed out to California for his Dukes of Hazzard screen test, there were “fires burning everywhere” and the threat created an ominous feeling.

“So I flew into LA—the first time I’d ever been there—and clouds and just this orange glow from underneath,” he remembered. “I thought I was going to hell, man. I just—it scared me to death.”

And even after flames died down, Schneider was still terrified to set foot in the city.

“And then once I got the part,” he continued, “I was still scared to death.”

The ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ Brother First Met in a Bathroom

Tom Wopat and John Schneider’s Dukes of Hazzard friendship had a humble beginning.

As the two shared in an interview, they first met during their screen test at Warner Bros. And they shared their first words through a bathroom stall.

“I went in to use the restroom, and I saw a pair of boots and a guitar in a case underneath the door,” Schneider recalled.

The guitar stood out because, like Wopat, Schneider began his career on Broadway. And music was his number one passion.

The Bo actor usually brought his own instrument everywhere. But he left it at home during that trip. And the mistake ended up being a blessing in disguise. Because while the guys were in LA, they spent the entire week sharing the pick and bonding over old stories.

“I played Jim Croce, and he’d play John Denver. And I’d play Cat Stevens, and he’d play Harry Chapin. And we just … got along from the very beginning so very well, but we couldn’t be more different in every regard,” he said.

Nearly 50 years later, Tom Wopat and John Schnieder are still “joined at the hip.” And that’s all thanks to an old guitar and a couple of toilets.

“He’s been one of my best friends since the moment we met, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon,” Schneider said. “We’re both theater brats. He came from the community theater. So did I. We have a common love of theater, the roar of the crowd, and all that. We’re joined at the hip forever.”

The co-stars even went on to record a Holiday album together called Home for Christmas.

“Tom and I really bring out the best in each other,” Schneider told Broadway World. “We may not sound alike when we talk, but when we sing, sometimes you can’t tell us apart. In the studio, I put him first, and he puts me first. If that’s not friendship, I don’t know what is.”