There are so many iconic things about The Dukes of Hazzard. From Daisy Dukes to the General Lee and its iconic horn, there were lots of memorable moments from the show. But creators didn’t plan one of those special moments. Luke Duke’s slide across the hood of the 1969 orange Dodge Charger was a complete accident. In fact, Tom Wopat got a serious injury during the first hood slide, and producers had to make alterations to the car to incorporate it into the show.
Wopat was on an episode of Pop Goes the Culture in 2019 when the topic came up, and he told the wild story about how it happened. The first slide occurred during the second episode of the series.
“It was actually an accident,” he said. “My idea was we’re running down a hill, … and my idea was to step on the near fender because, you know, we were on the hill above it. So, I was just gonna put my foot on the fender and jump over (the car’s hood). Which I did in rehearsal just fine. But the grass is a little wet, and I got my cowboy boots on, and my heel hits the near fender and slides out from under me.
“So I hit that and BAM, and I slid across the hood. And as a matter of fact, there was about this much of the antenna sticking out. The antenna was broken off, and I got about a 4-inch gouge in my arm when I was doing it. But, you know, it became kind of a signature thing. It looked great on-screen.”
It did. And no Dukes of Hazzard episode was complete without Luke Duke sliding across the hood as the Duke boys begin their escape. But the show’s producers removed the antenna from the front of the car going forward to protect Wopat.
The General Lee Wasn’t Supposed To Have That Horn
The General Lee has a memorable look with its bright orange paint job, but that horn is unmistakable. But that was another random occurrence producers hadn’t planned on. The production team only added the horn a few days before the first episode was shot.
That’s because, they didn’t know such a horn existed until then.
While they were filming the pilot episode of The Dukes of Hazzard in Georgia, two of the directors were eating breakfast in the town square. While there, a car drove by and played the opening bars to “Dixie” when it honked its horn. It was too good to pass up. So, the directors chased down the car and bought it on the spot for $300.
The crew installed the horn into the General Lee that day and the rest is iconic television show history.