‘Dukes of Hazzard’: Tom Wopat Sparred with Father of 1970s Boxing Legend for One Episode

by Josh Lanier
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Tom Wopat made the mistake of getting into the boxing ring with the father of one of the 1970s best welterweight boxers for an episode of The Dukes of Hazzard. The actor who played Luke Duke said he had a headache for weeks after filming ended.

Wopat and the surviving cast of The Dukes of Hazzard reunited to record commentary for the Season 3 DVD release. And Wopat tells his television brother John Schneider that they were going to watch “the boxing episode” later that day.

“That’s the one where I got the crap knocked out of me by Sonny Shields,” Wopat said.

Sonny Shields, a boxer and trainer, was the father of Randy Shields. Randy happened to be one of the top welterweight boxers in the world at that time. Sonny had been a fighter most of his life, “and looked like it, too,” John Schneider added.

The episode — “And In This Corner, Luke Duke” — focuses on Luke Duke’s fight with a renowned boxer in Hazzard County named Catfish Lee, or else they’d lose the farm. Sonny Shields played Catfish, who often hit below the belt and landed cheap shots. And apparently, Sonny Shields wasn’t far off, to hear Wopat tell it.

“I’d be in there doing the thing, and (the director would) yell cut, and he’d give me one more shot after I’d relax,” Wopat said, mimicking taking the hit. “Oh, I had a headache for two weeks, man.”

Schneider joked later that Sonny Shields — despite losing in the show — could have “beat the s**t out of all of us with one hand tied behind his back.”

‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ Cast, Crew Were Very Close

The Dukes of Hazzard cast have all stayed in touch over the years, they said. But that’s an extension of the “family feeling” that the show fostered.

“The interesting thing about ‘Dukes’ is, if we run into any of the other actors, it’s great,” John Schneider said. “But also, by the same token, if we run into any of the stunt people, if we run into any of the grips, the gaffer, if we run into anybody that worked on ‘Dukes,’ there’s a family feeling there that exists to this day. Some 20 something years later.”

He said that’s likely because from the producers on down, Dukes of Hazzard was considered a team effort.

“I’m not sure why everybody on Dukes of Hazzard is still so close,” Schneider continued. “They built a family there. They made the young people very aware that this was, in fact, a group effort. So there was never any feeling on ‘Dukes’ like ‘this is my show.’”

Outsider.com