Fast Cars, Moonshiners and a bunch of wacky adventures- Dukes of Hazzard became a pop-culture icon almost immediately, who’s popularity continued to grow exponentially throughout the years. As kids we dreamed of jumping the General Lee over hay bales and barns, running from the law and just causing a good old ruckus which translated instead into bike jumps, wheelies and lots of skimmed knees and bruises. This piece of our childhood, that ran for 7 seasons, was never meant to go past one season but as we take a look back, we can remember why it was so awesome in the first place and maybe learn some new things you didn’t know about the Duke boys shenanigans.
It Was Based on a Movie
Did you know this epic show was inspired by a second rate movie called Moonrunners? Many of the themes, characters and details made their way from the original concept into the show.
From day one, the boys were saved by Uncle Jesse after being caught running shine in the first few episodes. From here, Jesse had made a deal for the boy’s freedom and agreed not to produce shine anymore. The boy’s arrest conditions stated they couldn’t leave the county or own firearms- but we clearly saw how they made life work just fine!
It Was Just Filler
If you can believe, the Duke boys were originally meant to be a short filler with only 9 episodes.
That Wasn’t The Show You Remember
While most of us remember this family humor show to be light on the inappropriateness, the first few episodes actually had Sheriff Coltrane spewing some rather adult themes and profane language.
Originally Shot on Location
It wasn’t just Hollywood that made these epic episodes so authentic, the first few episodes were actually shot in the backwoods of Georgia before they moved the show out west.
It Was Quickly Moved to California
As much as we wanted to say the whole show was shot on location, they moved out west to California to keep costs down. The little town of Hazzard wasn’t the Georgian town we imagined it to be after all.
It Was a Different Show After That
After a major overhaul of the show’s content and humor following the move to California, the theme was redirected toward a more family friendly tone.
We Mean REALLY Popular
At one point ranking in the #2 position of national shows, this show skyrocketed it’s way into super popularity.
Only Two People Appeared in Every Episode
Even though they made for most of the substance in the show, the Duke boys were not in every episode. It was Uncle Jesse and the Hogg that made their appearances in every single episode.
Here’s What Happened to the Stars
Being from a bush town in Georgia, the producers just thought up some cousins they could introduce when Bo(John Schneider) and Luke(Tom Wopat) made fusses about money and merch. In season 5, Bo and Luke ‘plan to go off and join NASCAR’, so the producers just brought in carbon copies of the two that hung around for 17 episodes. These unpopular fellows were finally replaced with the original pair after the producers gave in to the stars demands.
The General Lee
The iconic third member of the team was the General, but little did you know, the boys originally were scripted to drive a Plymouth, and a Fury of all Plymouths!
The Real Star of the Show
When we think of The Dukes, it’s fair to say that we remember the iconic vehicle more rather than the guys themselves. In it’s inception, the car from Moonrunners, known as the “Traveler”, was named after the trusty steed of General Lee. The producers wanted to go a step further and name the orange speed demon directly after the General himself.
There Were a Lot of Crashes
Out of more than 300 Chargers used in the filming, it’s quite sad to say that less than 17 originals remain from the show.
Per episode, the show was averaging about two cars completely destroyed or wrecked. Yes, two of these beauties almost every show.
What About the Horn?
Besides not originally being part of the script, the classic Dixie playing horn was introduced after the producers were filming on set in Georgia and heard a muscle car drive by honking the iconic horn. They chased him down to ask where he got the epic honker.
Things You Didn’t Know About Luke Duke
Besides the epic hood slide he did that was unscripted at first, the show makes gentle references to Luke’s quiet past as a boxer and a Marine.
That Slide Was an Accident
We also found out that the hood slide, which Wopat just threw in there, was completely unscripted and resulted in an injury from the car’s antenna.
Get to Know Bo
Although we always wondered where the color scheme of the The General came from, there are references to Bo’s past as a stock car driver that give hints to what its design was inspired by.
Boss’ Many Hats
Seemingly in control of the whole town, Boss Hogg actually held almost 10 positions in the County of Hazzard:
Boar’s Nest owner
Country Store owner
and Justice of the Peace
Jumping The General
Although it seemed so natural when the General took flight, the stunt managers actually fashioned a steel compartment into the trunk in which they would stuff weights of up to 400 pounds to keep her level while in flight.
We Want Waylon
The iconic voice that narrated our journey through the lives of the Hazzard County residents was actually the same voice as the original inspiration, Waylon Jennings from Moonrunners. Fans were so in love with his raspy, country voice that they finally scripted his appearance into the seventh season.
Beware of Speed Traps
No one can forget the Sheriff’s speed traps that oddly seemed to only catch country music stars. The hit list of offenders included names like Freddy Fender, The Oak Ridge Boys, Roy Orbison, Johnny Paycheck and of course, Waylon Jennings who never failed to sing a song or two to get out of their tickets.
Dukes on the Radio
That good old tune that kept us humming along every time actually made it’s way to the top of the country music charts and all the way to #21 on the overall billboards.
Exactly what we hoped they would’ve built in our neighborhoods, the actor who played Cooter (Ben Jones) later opened up “Cooter’s Place” in Tennessee, a place that embodies the spirit of the show. With go-karting, memorabilia and mini golf, this is the paradise we hoped to eat lunch at one Saturday and practice all the moves we learned from Bo over the years on the track.
Remembering James Best
Roscoe, no matter how hard you tried to make us not, we loved you. James Best was a pinnacle character the show just wouldn’t have worked without. But this man’s true greatness was barely grazed over by his role. Born in Kentucky and orphaned at the little age of 3, he went on to serve as a B-17 tail gunner in WWII before the series and after, became a professor of drama at the University of Mississippi Oxford. Although Hogg seemed to lead him astray most of the time, his heart remained warm and touched all of us fans in a special way.