Looking back on the original Dukes of Hazzard series, John Schneider is the only man who could have played Bo Duke. However, one producer didn’t want him to. Many times it seems in the entertainment business, that things happen by chance. Just one good break can legitimately change someone’s entire career. If one unnamed producer on the original show had his way, we would have never seen Schneider bring Bo to life on screen.
A while back, Schneider sat down and spoke about how he ended up with the role. It wasn’t a sure thing with one producer seemingly wanting nothing to do with the actor as Bo. However, better minds prevailed and thankfully Schneider was slated as half of the Duke boys. Listen below.
To hear John Schneider himself tell it, producer Phil Mandelker was the main reason why he was able to land the part. Without the support from his producer, the young actor might have not gotten the role.
Another producer, who is unnamed, did not want to see Bo Duke played by Schneider. Really, it must have been a personal issue because anyone who sees Schneider and doesn’t see a Duke boy isn’t thinking straight.
Here is how he told it in the video.
“I learned later that the executive producer was there, there were two of them. One was Phil Mandelker, bless his heart, he loved me. The other was a guy who will remain nameless…or I’d have to track him down and kick him.”
‘Dukes of Hazzard’ Producer Phil Mandelker Supported Schneider
Thankfully, Phil Mandelker had enough pull on the show to help make the decision. Bo Duke is an iconic character and the cast on Dukes of Hazzard meshed so well together. Picturing anyone else besides Schneider in that role is hard to do. Really, who else would have taken up that role and executed it so well.
Mandelker loved Schneider in the role. As soon as he saw him audition he knew he had found his man. That’s the way the Dukes of Hazzard star tells it.
“[The other producer] didn’t want me. But Phil…said, ‘When you walked in the room,’ he said, ‘You were absolutely beyond a shadow of a doubt, you came off that page and you were Bo Duke. No question.'” Recalled Schneider.
The results speak for themselves. After this cast was put together, it was clear that the perfect actors had been picked for these parts. Tom Wopat, Catherine Bach, Denver Pyle, James Best, and the list goes on and on. Not to mention Waylon Jennings as The Balladeer through the first five seasons. It is astounding how well these actors fit the look and style of the characters. However, John Schneider as Bo Duke might be the best pairing on Dukes of Hazzard.