‘Dukes of Hazzard’: Tom Wopat Explained Why the Show Shares Distinct Similarity to ‘The Andy Griffith Show’

by Matthew Wilson

“The Dukes of Hazzard” and “The Andy Griffith Show” were very different programming. But they do share this distinct similarity as well. Actor Tom Wopat, who played Luke Duke on the show, said both programs had an innocent nature.

“I liken it to a show from my childhood, ‘The Andy Griffith Show,” Wopat told Digital Journal in regards to the tone of the show. “I find it innocuous in the sense that there’s no real sex or violence. Or bad language or anything like that. But it involved real people in real relationships and I think that’s kind of what our show did as well.”

While the show focused on cousins Bo and Luke Duke getting into trouble with the law, their exploits were often family-friendly. “The Dukes of Hazzard” was more of an adventure comedy with a bit of family drama than a seedy crime show or thriller. The Duke boys often acted with the best of intentions. And there was a bit of moral high ground thrown into the show’s wild stunts.

Meanwhile, “The Andy Griffith Show” created the image of a picturesque town in North Carolina. Most of the viewers wished they could have grown up in a town like Mayberry. The citizens were eccentric for sure. But they often acted with the best of intentions. The most they had to worry about was the bumbling antics of one Deputy Barney Fife on occasion.

‘Dukes of Hazzard’ Versus ‘Andy Griffith’

But a key difference is that Mayberry had Andy Taylor as sheriff. Played by Andy Griffith, Taylor was an honest and kind man that looked out for the best of his citizens.

Meanwhile, “The Dukes of Hazzard” had to contend with Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane. Corruption and ineffectiveness in the law played a crucial part in the show and its adventures.

Often, the Duke boys had to watch out for the people. It’s something that Wopat doesn’t think the movie version of the show accurately captured. It failed to show the Dukes as well meaning boys.

“The spirit of the show is the Robin Hood-ish aspect of it; that we were looking out for people of our own station,” Wopat said. “Even when the authorities that were after us all the time got into trouble, we’d take care of them because they were part of our community and I don’t think the movie really reflected that… It seemed more like a slacker movie, from what I can tell.”