Thirty six years ago this week, the television world said good-bye to the Dukes of Hazzard and its trio of loveable Duke cousins, Uncle Jesse, Boss Hogg and Sheriff Rosco P Contrane.
And an orange Charger was put into TV deep freeze.
The show started Jan. 26, 1979, and then bowed off the air Feb. 7, 1985. At one point, “Dukes of Hazzard,” about the shenanigans of cousins of Bo and Luke Duke as they ran the roads in rural Georgia, was almost as popular as “Dallas.” For three years, “Dukes of Hazzard” was among the nation’s top 10 shows. But by 1985, it dropped to 41st.
‘Dukes Of Hazzard’ Is All About Country Cousins
At its premise, the show started with Bo and Luke being on probation for illegal transportation moonshine. Their Uncle Jesse made a plea deal with the feds to help his nephews. The cousins can’t carry firearms. But they get around the rule. Uncle Jesse takes care of five Duke cousins on the Duke farm, but the show never explains who their parents are and how they came to be with Uncle Jesse. But it’s all vintage Dukes of Hazzard.
The Duke cousins often butted heads with county commissioner Jefferson Davis (J. D.) “Boss” Hogg. It all made for terrific plot points. There’s also a fan-favorite character named Cooter, who runs the local garage. Cause every good southern town has at least one guy named “Cooter” living in it.
“Dukes of Hazzard” starred a couple of good ol’ boys in John Schneider (Bo Duke) and Tom Wopat (Luke Duke). We know they weren’t doing any harm. Catherine Bach, as cousin Daisy, gave the world a pop culture reference. The actress wore short denim shorts to show off her long legs. So “Daisy Dukes” was added to urban slang to literally describe a woman’s shorts. Bach also became a sex symbol. She injured her legs for millions of dollars. Plus, she posed for a poster than sold 5 million copies.
Show Layered in Country Music By Design
By the second season, the show also had incorporated a celebrity speed trap. The celebrities usually were real-life country singers who’d get caught speeding. They’d be given a ticket. In order to pay it off, the singers would give a concert for the town. The speed trap snapped Roy Orbison, twice, and it also ensnared Donna Fargo, Mel Tillis, the Oak Ridge Boys, Dottie West and Tammy Wynette. Mickey Gilley and Loretta Lynn also made appearances in this fictional Georgia town.
The General Lee also was one of the star’s of the show. Producers used 309 Dodge Chargers throughout the show’s run. It was estimated that at least half the cars went airborne on the show.
By the way, Waylon Jennings was the show’s narrator. So, you can’t begin musing about the “Dukes of Hazzard” until Waylon puts you in the mood. Enjoy.