‘Dukes of Hazzard’: Here’s Why James Best Temporarily Left the Show During Season 2

by Keeli Parkey
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Television actor James Best is most widely known for his role as Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on the popular series “The Dukes of Hazzard.” The show ran from 1979 until 1985.

As fans of the show know, Sheriff Coltrane is an adversary of Bo and Luke Duke. He often pursued them during their wild antics. However, there was a time during the show’s second season that Best did not appear on the show.

According to information available on IMDb.com, James Best left the show during that second season due to a conflict. The actor reportedly did not like the dressing room situation on “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

According to an article on MeTV.com, Best shared his feelings on the issue during a 2014 interview.

“My dressing room was a bunch of 50-year-old plywood boxes that they dragged around on a tractor,” Best reportedly said. “… I was always falling in mud and getting filthy. And to clean off I had to stand between two blankets while someone hosed me down.”

Best and the powers behind “The Dukes of Hazzard” eventually worked things out. The actor got a better dressing room. So, he returned to the show, according to MeTV.com.

‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ Filled in for James Best While He Temporarily Left the Show

IMDb.com also reports that “The Dukes of Hazzard” filled Best’s Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane’s shoes with a few other characters. And, those characters have some great names.

One of them was Hughie Hogg, who was played by Jeff Altman. Another was Lester Crabb, who was played by Clifton James. There was also Grady Byrd, who was played by Dick Sargent. The other was Buster Moon, who was played by James Hampton.

And, while all of these actors did good work on the show, there is just no replacing Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane.

Television Show was Inspired by Movie

“The Dukes of Hazzard” is known as a success on the small screen. But, did you know that the show has its beginnings on the big screen?

The movie that eventually led to the creation of the popular action is “Moonrunners.” This film came out during 1975. The writer and director of the movie was Gy Waldron. A few years later, he would go on to create “The Dukes of Hazzard.”

According to IMDb.com the plot of “Moonrunners” is as follows: “Grady and Bobby Lee run moonshine for Uncle Jesse, who prides himself on his old-school moonshining methods, and refuses to buckle into the big business moonshine’ of Jake, who controls these parts for New York mobsters.”

Waldron changed character names for “The Dukes of Hazzard” television show in addition to making other changes. During 1977 Waldron went to Warner Bros. to try to make “Moonrunners” work on television. The company decided to move forward. Production on “The Dukes of Hazzard” reportedly began in 1978. Interestingly, only nine episodes were originally planned for the show. However, it ultimately ran for several seasons.

Outsider.com