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The Dukes of Hazzard

From Academic Kids

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Cast of "The Dukes of Hazzard", starting from the left going counter-clockwise: Sorrell Booke (Boss Hogg), Tom Wopat (Luke Duke), Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke), John Schneider (Bo Duke), James Best (Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane), Sonny Shroyer (Deputy Enos Strate), Denver Pyle (Uncle Jesse), Christopher Mayer (Vance Duke), Byron Cherry (Coy Duke), and Ben Jones (Cooter Davenport)

The Dukes of Hazzard is an American television series that originally aired on the CBS television network from 1979 to 1985. Among others, it was directed by Jack Starrett following his departure from Starsky and Hutch (1975). Starrett went on to direct Hill Street Blues (1981).

Contents

Main plot

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Bo and Luke Duke in their famous car, "The General Lee"

The show was loosely based on the movie Moonrunners (1975), and followed the adventures of two southern good ol' boys, Bo and Luke Duke, living in an unincorporated area of the fictional Hazzard County, Georgia racing around in their souped-up car, the General Lee, evading corrupt Boss Hogg and his inept county sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane. Bo and Luke had been sentenced to probation for illegal transportation of moonshine.

Many episodes revolved around Boss trying to engage in an illegal scheme with criminal associates. Some of them were "get-rich schemes," though many others affected the financial security of the Duke farm (property which Boss long wanted to acquire for various reasons). Other times, Boss hired known criminals to frame Bo and Luke for crimes such as bank robbery (thus, resulting in probation revocation and allowing Boss to easily acquire the Duke farm). It was up to Bo and Luke to uncover the schemes and foil the criminals.

More than once, however, Boss was targeted by former associates who were either seeking revenge or turned against him after a scheme unraveled due to Boss' greedy nature or Rosco's bumbling. Other times, criminals who were even more crooked and ruthless than Boss came to town. Sheriff Rosco also found himself in trouble more than once. In these common situations, Bo and Luke often had to rescue their local Hazzard adversaries before ultimately defeating the bad guys.

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Daisy Duke drove "Dixie", a white Jeep CJ7 with a Golden Eagle emblem on the hood.

Daisy Duke (portrayed by actress Catherine Bach) raced around Hazzard with her cousins, first in a yellow-and-black 1971 Plymouth Road Runner (which seemed to transform into a Plymouth Satellite in some episodes), and then — after her car was lost over the side of a cliff — she received her trademark white 1980 Jeep CJ7, the "Dixie", with a Golden Eagle emblem on the hood. Daisy also has the distinction of having her trademark provocatively high-cut jean short shorts named after her: "Daisy Dukes".

Uncle Jesse (portrayed by actor Denver Pyle) was the patriarch of the Duke clan, and the father-figure to all Dukes who stayed with him on the dilapitated "Duke Farm". Jesse apparently had no children of his own, and happily provided for his nephews and niece in the unexplained absense of all of their parents. Jesse Duke, in his youth, had been a Ridge-Runner in direct competition with J.D. Hogg, thus beginning the "feud" between the Dukes and the Hoggs. However, it should be noted that, while both Boss Hogg and Uncle Jesse would scowl at the mention of the other's name, the two enjoyed a lifelong "friendship" of sorts; one helping the other when in desperate need. Jesse educated his nephews against Hogg, and often provided the cousins with inspirational sage advice.

Deputy Enos Strate was generally a friend of the Dukes, but during the early years, he too was involved in car chases with Bo and Luke (since he was Rosco's underling). Only after he returned from his stint in Los Angeles did he totally refuse to harass the Dukes without just cause.

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Rick Hurst (Deputy Cletus Hogg)

Deputy Cletus Hogg (Boss Hogg's cousin) was also generally friendly and dim-witted, but he would gladly assist Boss and Rosco in their unprovoked pursuit of the Dukes.

Cooter Davenport (portrayed by actor Ben Jones) was the Hazzard County mechanic. He owned "Cooter's Garage" in Hazzard County Square, directly across from the Police Department and the County Bank. Cooter was also an "Honorary Duke", as he often assisted the Dukes in escaping Rosco's clutches, or helped them to foil Boss Hogg's schemes.

Bo and Luke leave the show

The Dukes of Hazzard was consistently among the top-rated television series (at one point, ranking second only to Dallas, which immediately followed the show on CBS' Friday night schedule). Then, in the spring of 1982, series stars John Schneider and Tom Wopat walked off the set in a contract dispute over their salaries and merchandising royalties.

Two "replacement Dukes" were subsequently hired (Byron Cherry as Coy, Christopher Mayer as Vance), and the ratings immediately sank. The "faux Dukes" (one of the more polite ways viewers described the "long-lost nephews" of Uncle Jesse) were never popular with viewers, and were immediately written out the show when Schneider and Wopat reached a settlement and returned to the series in early 1983.

While the return of Bo and Luke were welcomed by hardcore fans, the show never regained its former popularity, and by 1985, The Dukes of Hazzard quietly ended its run.

Tourist attraction

Although Hazzard County, Georgia was a fictional location (the early episodes of the show were filmed in Covington, Georgia), the real-life town of Hazard, Kentucky was a beneficiary of the show's popularity. Members of the cast were frequent visitors to the town's annual Black Gold Festival.

The "Cousin Countin' Game"

Many people have tried to decipher the Duke's family tree in an attempt to understand how it is that so many people could be cousins, all with the last name "Duke". The last unofficial word is that Jesse Duke would have had to have come from a family of eight boys, including himself, as he would have had to have had seven brothers to have produced offspring named "Duke".

  • Brother 1 - Luke's father
  • Brother 2 - Bo's father
  • Brother 3 - Daisy's father
  • Brother 4 - Coy's father
  • Brother 5 - Vance's father
  • Brother 6 - Jeb Stuart's father (Jeb Stuart Duke is a one-episode Duke cousin who rides into Hazzard County on a motocross bike)
  • Brother 7 - Gaylord Duke's father (Gaylord Duke is also a one-episode Duke cousin who visits Hazzard from London, England)
  • Brother 8 - Jesse Duke

Characters on the show

Theme song

The theme song "The Good Ol' Boys" was written and performed by the late Waylon Jennings. He was also the Balladeer of the show.

Movies

There were two made-for-TV reunion movies, The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion! (1997) and The Dukes of Hazzard: Hazzard In Hollywood (2000)

A feature film remake of the series, The Dukes of Hazzard is scheduled to premiere in 2005.

Spin offs

Reruns

Until TNN was purchased by Viacom, it aired reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard. After the creation of "The New TNN," the program was strangely absent from all television. CMT Canada and Showcase Action airs The Dukes in Canada. CMT America began airing the series in late February 2005.

DVD Releases

Season 1 was released on Region 1 DVD on June 1, 2004.

Season 2 was released on Region 1 DVD on January 25, 2005.

Season 3 was released on Region 1 DVD on May 31, 2005.

Season 4 will be released on Region 1 DVD on August 2, 2005.

External links

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