‘Dukes of Hazzard’: Tom Wopat and John Schneider’s First Awkward Meeting Involved a Guitar and a Bathroom

by Josh Lanier
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It’s hard to imagine, but the Duke boys met in a bathroom on the lot Warner Bros. lot before shooting their first scene of The Dukes of Hazzard. Generally, it’s not a good idea to not talk to strangers through bathroom stalls, but John Schneider saw something that caught his attention.

Both Schneider and Wopat have written and produced music since they were behind the wheel of The General Lee. But this wasn’t an instance where a famous person gets a record deal because they’re famous. Both of The Dukes of Hazzard leads were musicians before were on the show.

The two bonded over their shared love of music. And it was because of that bathroom meeting.

“I went in to use the restroom and I saw a pair of boots and a guitar in a case underneath the door,” Schneider recalls.

Wopat said he had to carry the instrument with him, but joked that he was in the restroom practicing. “It really echoes nice in here,” he said. “It’s like the like the milk house and the barn and on the farm.”

They said they would end up passing the guitar back and forth to one another later and quickly formed the brotherly bond they kept most of their lives.

‘Dukes of Hazzard’ Hood Slide a Happy Accident

Tom Wopat was on an episode of Pop Goes the Culture in 2019 when the host brought up his iconic hood slides on the show. Anytime the boys got into trouble on The Dukes of Hazzard they would rush to The General Lee. Wopat’s Luke Duke would leap and slide across the hood to get into the passenger seat.

It looked great on camera, but it was never supposed to happen. The script called for him to jump over the hood, but on the day of filming things were wrong.

“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.”

The Dukes of Hazzard producers knew they had an iconic moment and would want to replicate it later. So all future iterations of The General Lee had their antenna moved to the back of the car.

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