Perhaps the most iconic image from the 1980s classic series “Dukes of Hazzard” is the General Lee. The 1969 Dodge Charger is instantly recognizable. If you ever see one on the street, you almost expect it to accelerate toward the nearest dirt mound and take flight. But fondly as we remember the famous car, it also happened to be the source of Luke Duke actor Tom Wopat’s biggest scare on set. And it came at the hands of Daisy Duke no less.
Anyone who has ever watched the “Dukes of Hazzard” knows how aggressively the Duke boys liked to drive. But much to John Schneider and Tom Wopat’s relief, the most daring feats the General Lee undertook were handled by a team of talented stunt drivers. That doesn’t mean the top-billed actors didn’t do some of the routine driving on occasion, though. And that’s precisely when Wopat found himself terrified.
In a 2019 interview with Pop Goes the Culture TV, the Luke Duke actor recalled a time he was legitimately scared inside the General Lee.
“I think the one thing that people don’t realize. I think the scaredest I was ever in the car was when Cathy was driving,” Wopat said. “We had a scene where we had been in some sort of fight. Geez, imagine that- and she slides up, she pulls up in the General Lee, and we jump in, and she drives off. And I was on the floor in the backseat, I thought I was going to die.”
And before you jump to conclusions, he wasn’t scared because Catherine Bach was a bad driver. It was just the opposite.
‘Dukes of Hazzard’ Star Catherine Bach was an ‘Amazing Driver’
Many of us like to think we’re Richard Petty behind the wheel. All it takes is one experience in a car with someone who can really drive to shatter those illusions.
For “Dukes of Hazzard” star Tom Wopat, that eye-opening experience came at the hands of Daisy Duke herself. Now, Wopat never claimed to be a great driver. But he was trembling after being taken for a ride by his co-star Catherine Bach.
“She’s insane, she’s an amazing driver. She was then, anyway,” Wopat finished.
And it fit her character. Not only was Daisy Duke great behind the wheel, she always stepped in to help Bo and Duke when they got in trouble. Whether it was shooting or driving, the iconic Catherine Bach character did it just as well, if not better than the Duke boys themselves.