Even With (These) Glitches, The Dukes of Hazzard Was a Terrific Show
Dukes of Hazzard central cast
CENTRAL CAST -- of the Dukes of Hazzard. Front, Sorrell "Boss Hogg" Brooke; Back, from left, James "Rosco P. Coltrane" Best; John "Bo Duke" Schneider; Tom "Luke Duke" Wopat with Catherine "Daisy Duke" Bach. (Not shown--- Denver "Uncle Jesse" Pyle, Ben "Cooter" Jones; Roy "Enos" Shroyer.
A successful beginning
I can't recall what or where I was on January 26, 1979, but I'm sure that I was in the United States. January 26, 1979 was the day that CBS launched what (some) television critics tagged a "latter-day Hee Haw," but stopped with that verbal jab due to the "beastly" success of Hee Haw that ran for over 15 years. The show I am teasing you about was "The Dukes of Hazzard." And what a time that was when this show hit the airways.
I remember 1979 well. This year marked four years of marriage and four years of working for the local newspaper, the Journal Record, which by the way, is still going strong and so is my marriage. I could just sense that some of you were waiting for some cute punchline like: "I sure wish my marriage was still going strong." Sorry. Maybe next time. Next!
Getting to watch the Dukes was frustrating
I had a female coworker, then-named Teresa Barnes, a reporter and photographer who was a big fan of The Dukes of Hazzard and kept me updated each week on what happened on the show. Now the reason why I didn't, or rather couldn't, watch this hit show was due to a local cable channel, WCBI in Columbus, Miss., on my local cable company had the wise idea to switch affiliations from CBS to ABC. Great idea. Just like the guys who drew-up the Hindenburg.
Now I had two ABC channels, but no CBS and I was hacked beyond reason. With that fall's new line-up which included The Incredible Hulk and The Dukes of Hazzard, I felt as if I were serving a prison sentence depending on visitors to tell me what was happening on CBS. That not only sucked, but chapped my channel-changing thumb. I learned (through several phone calls) that WCBI was locked into a two-year contract with ABC and there wasn't a way out of it.
Time passed. Loyal viewers of WCBI passed also. This television station for their viewing. This hurt the station's ratings among the market area where WCBI dueled WTVA, Tupelo, Miss., their "dog-eat-dog" competition, and was losing ad revenue and viewers on a daily basis. FYI: the persons who talked the management of WCBI into changing affiliations was not heard from or seen again. Imagine that.
Who can forget?
The Dukes of Hazzard
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Dukes of Hazzard is an American television series that aired on the CBS television network from January 26, 1979 to February 8, 1985. The series was inspired by the 1975 film Moonrunners, which was also created by Gy Waldron and had many identical or similar character names and concepts.
- The Dukes of Hazzard follows the adventures of "The Duke Boys", cousins Bo Duke (John Schneider) and Luke Duke (Tom Wopat), who live in a rural part of the fictional Hazzard County, Georgia, with their attractive female cousin Daisy (Catherine Bach) and their wise old Uncle Jesse (Denver Pyle). They race around in their customized 1969 Dodge Charger stock car, dubbed (The) General Lee, evading crooked county commissioner Boss Hogg (Sorrell Booke) and his inept county Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane (James Best), and always managing to get caught in the middle of the various escapades and incidents that often occur in the area.
- Bo and Luke had previously been sentenced to probation for illegal transportation of moonshine; their Uncle Jesse made a plea bargain with the U.S. Government to stop brewing moonshine in exchange. As a result, Bo and Luke are not allowed to carry firearms — instead, they often use compound bows, sometimes with arrows tipped with dynamite — or to leave Hazzard County, although the exact details of their probation terms vary from episode to episode. Sometimes it is implied that they would be jailed for merely crossing the county line; on other occasions, it is shown that they may leave Hazzard, as long as they are back within a certain time limit. Several other technicalities of their probation also came into play at various times.
Finally. I get to see The Dukes
Skipping ahead two years. It was on a Friday night in 1981. My wife and I along with our only daughter were sitting in our living room just hanging out. Something told me to turn to WCBI and I did. There sat then-WCBI general manager, Pat Lynn, the consummate professional in every way including "eating a hefty serving of crow," for how professional he handled his many apologies to the viewers who had, as he said, "kept our phones burning with complaints," but that was history for he announced that WCBI was going to switch back to CBS and give the loyal viewers a head-start on a good night of television entertainment.
I do not know if I fainted or just had a memory failure, but I enjoyed the now-late Bill Bixby as "Dr David Banner," in The Incredible Hulk and then "the" show, The Dukes of Hazzard followed with a lot of great entertainment. How happy we were at having (a) CBS station to watch.
I enjoyed The Dukes of Hazzard. It was a sensibly-written sitcom/action show that starred Denver Pyle as "Uncle Jesse Duke," who was helping to mentor, "Duke" cousins, Tom "Luke Duke" Wopat; John "Bo Duke" Schneider; Catherine "Daisy Duke" Bach; Sorrel "Boss Hogg" Brooke; James "Rosco P. Coltrane" Best; Roy "Enos" Shroyer and Ben "Cooter Davenport" Jones, the central cast.
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Boss Hogg's schemes and dreams
The show was narrated each week by the now-late Waylon Jennings who also sang the show's theme song. Each week, it was a different, almost-law-breaking adventure for the Dukes with various guest stars popping into Hazzard County, Ga., to either steal a shipment of gold headed for the Hazzard Bank or to join "Boss Hogg," the crooked country commissioner in one of his shady ideas to catch the Dukes breaking their probation and taking over their farm and the land with it.
The Dukes of Hazzard was a classic good versus evil each week. And the sides were clearly seen as good and evil. There was no guesswork involved. This is one of the things I loved about the show. Plus, and to be honest, getting to see the gorgeous Catherine Bach, as "Daisy Duke," in her bluejean short-shorts on her job as a waitress at "The Boar's Nest," a nice little rural bar owned by "Boss Hogg."
As far as the scripts went, they were fun. Not complex. And didn't have a hidden sociopolitical message. I loved that as well. The acting was superb and it showed that acting legends, Denver Pyle and Sorrell Brooke enjoyed their roles. Actually it appeared as if the entire cast got along swimmingly. Except in 1979, when salary disputes among Tom Wopat, John Schneider who were at odds with CBS for allegedly paying one "Duke" cousin more than the other. This problem was not as much solved, but written as "Bo" and "Luke" were called away to another state to handle some serious family business while fill-in's or "scabs," Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer, as some "Duke" loyals called them, handled the situation with more humor than serious imaging.
As much as I loved The Dukes of Hazzard, I couldn't help but catch a few glitches in some shows and even back then, I challenged myself to see how many glitches I could catch each week.
(Story continued below "Hulk" video below)
Do you remember?
Did you catch any glitches when you watched The Dukes of Hazzard?
Some glitches I found were:
- Roy "Enos" Shroyer was written-off the show to take on a show of his own aptly-titled, "Enos," a rural police officer working in a big city. Christopher "Cletus Hogg" Hurst took his place as Hazzard's number two police officer with James "Rosco P. Coltrane" Best and his character was well-below the standard that writers had built with Shroyer. Hurst's lines were not that funny and his character was cast as not that bright. It hurt me when "Enos" only ran a few episodes before low ratings got the show cancelled. Roy Shroyer was a fine actor and on "Enos," his talking of Hazzard County and the Dukes were sometimes hard to understand. Goes to show you that NBC's hit, "McCloud," with Dennis Weaver would not be copied.
- Question: In the summertime, when "Bo" and "Luke" actually did some work, was it a law that they went without shirts? Oh, I get it. This was a ratings-hook for female viewers. Silly me. But this happened occasionally. Once the Duke cousins were putting up a new fence for "Uncle Jesse," and they were needed in town to help with a problem that involved Ben "Cooter" Jones. The fence-building was never finished.
- During most chases between "Rosco P. Coltrane," or "Enos," and the "Duke" cousins, "Luke," would almost every time say this line, "Ohhh, Turkey's Stump? That's over on Copperhead Field where we used to go when we cut school." My view is this: Did these boys cut school everyday for they knew every log road and pig trail in Hazzard County.
- This is not a bellyache, but didn't Catherine "Daisy" Bach not have that many changes of clothing? She was seen in a dress (Wow) only a few times, and the rest in her blue jeans short-shorts. I know. A ratings-hook for men viewers. Hey, it worked. And as for the male "Dukes," did they not own a good suit and tie? That was just a side view. I did though, love Catherine Bach---even today.
- Only once did I see "The General Lee," the beautiful 1969 Dodge Charger have to be overhauled by "Cooter." Now face this with me. Hold my hand. As fast as "Bo" and "Luke" drove this classic car, wouldn't it stand to reason that the car would have to be overhauled more than once? Just the son of a true "shade tree mechanic," my late dad, speaking.
- I cannot say that whomever was in charge of continuity for The Dukes, was a true master, for on one episode, "Bo" was going to town alone and was showered and wearing a shirt when he crawled into "General Lee," but when he arrived it town, he got out of the car without a shirt and had to reach inside and put it on. I guess showing where he pulled it off was not worth showing. Right?
- On one episode, "Boss Hogg," had an alleged heart attack due to some losses in his stock investments and immediately grabbed his stomach, not his chest as most heart attack victims do. Even the dialogue was not in sync with the action. ROSCO: "Boss! Are you alright?" BO: "Naw, Rosco. Get the 'doc,' for it looks like a heart attack." See what I mean?
- When it came to making a living, "Uncle Jesse," must have been feeding "Bo," "Luke," and "Daisy," with his Social Security check for in some episodes, he stated "the corn crop may be a little 'un this year, boys," but you never saw him pick one ear of corn much less haul it to town to sell it.
- And the main glitch was much like in shows such as "Starsky and Hutch," and ABC's "Batman," when their fast cars took off while on dirt surfaces, they burned rubber. Have you ever tried this? You can only burn rubber on an asphalt surface. But "Bo" and "Luke" "burned rubber,' many times on those rural dirt roads in Hazzard County. Guess no car experts were working on the crew, huh?
- No, this is my main rant, not to be confused with items above. The "Dukes of Hazzard," remake film sucked. You did NOT see insinuations of smoking weed, stealing and other secular wrong's on the "Dukes of Hazzard" television show, but you did in this ratty-made film which starred Jessica Simpson who did not do a smooth job as "Daisy."
And if I go further with more rants about this movie, "I" may be the one having a heart attack.
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