The Dukes of Hazzard

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The Dukes of Hazzard

From 1979 through 1985, millions of Americans tuned in to CBS on Friday nights to view a fantasy slice of Southern country life on one of the nation's highest rated shows, The Dukes of Hazzard. The comedy featured exaggerated Southern accents, tooth-rattling car chases, and comic stereotypes of good and evil. Sandwiched between The Incredible Hulk (1978–82) and Dallas (1978–91; see entry under 1980s—TV and Radio in volume 5), The Dukes of Hazzard drew huge audiences of loyal fans. Even in 2001, sixteen years after its cancellation, The Dukes of Hazzard still thrives in reruns.

With its simple, silly plots and wholesome values, The Dukes of Hazzard was a counterpoint to the seriousness of politically radical culture of the late 1960s and 1970s and issue-oriented comedies like All in the Family (1971–79; see entry under 1970s—TV and Radio in volume 4). The stars of the show were three young adult cousins, Luke (Tom Wopat, 1951–), Bo (John Schneider, 1960–), and Daisy Duke (Catherine Bach, 1954–). The cousins lived with their crusty old uncle, Jesse (Denver Pyle, 1920–1997). The two Duke boys—described in the show's opening song as "just some good ol' boys, never meanin' no harm"— were hell-raisers who clearly represented the forces of good. Daisy Duke is best remembered for the short-short denim cutoffs she wore on every show. Each show found the Dukes caught up in a good-natured battle with the forces of evil in Georgia's Hazzard County, represented by the corrupt Boss Hogg (Sorrell Booke, 1930–1994) and the hopelessly inept Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane (James Best, 1926–). The other major personality on the show was the Duke boys' car, the General Lee, a bright orange 1969 Dodge Charger with a Confederate flag painted on its roof. The hero of at least three dramatic chase scenes each episode, the General Lee has its own fan clubs. Several Web sites offer instructions for building a copy of the car.

CBS has produced two Dukes of Hazzard reunion films, one in 1997, and one in 2001. Critics hated the films, but loyal fans tuned in happily to catch up with their old friends in the uncomplicated world of Hazzard County.

—Tina Gianoulis

For More Information

Anderson, Gary. Gary's Dukes of Hazzard Page. (accessed March 28, 2002)

Bigonesse, Ray. Ray's Dukes of Hazzard Page. (accessed March 28, 2002).

Davidson, Bill. "Crackup in Hazzard County! Here's the Casualty Report." TV Guide (December 25, 1982): pp. 12–16.

Gritten, David. "Southern Hospitality (and Politics) Gives The Dukes of Hazzard an Old Kentucky Home." People Weekly (October 12, 1981): pp. 54–57.

Schneider, John. "Dukes of Hazzard." John Schneider's Official Website. (accessed March 28, 2002).