Photo Courtesy of CBS
This series follows the escapades of Bo and Luke Duke, two cousins known throughout fictional Hazzard County, Georgia as “The Duke Boys”.
Bo (John Schneider) and Luke (Tom Wopat) live with their caring old Uncle Jessie (Denver Pyle) and cousin Daisy (Catherine Bach) on the family farm. The Dukes spend most of their time trying to foil the schemes of crooked county commissioner Boss Hogg (Sorrell Booke), a task that usually involves a car chase in the boys’ 1969 Dodge Charger stock car, “The General Lee”.
Bo and Luke are on probation for transporting moonshine illegally. Uncle Jessie’s intervention with the U.S. Government and promise to stop making moonshine saved them from prison, but they’re under certain restrictions – like not being allowed to leave Hazzard County or carry firearms. But that doesn’t stop a creative pair like the Duke boys. After all, who needs guns when you have a compound bow and arrows tipped in dynamite?
Bo and Luke also have the assistance of their sexy cousin, Daisy (Catherine Bach), Uncle Jesse and their close family friend, Cooter (Ben Jones), who runs the local garage. Boss Hogg, meanwhile, is supported in his nefarious schemes by the sheriff of Hazzard County, Rosco P. Coltrane (James Best), and his deputies Enos Strate (Sonny Shroyer) and later Cletus Hogg (Rick Hurst), who is Boss’s cousin. On some occasions, the Dukes end up helping Boss Hogg against their better judgment, and as the show progresses, the Dukes and Boss Hogg sometimes work together to battle bigger threats.
Bo Duke (John Schneider) – Bo is the blonde-haired Duke boy, slightly younger and a little more wild. He also seems to be the one who drives the “General Lee” the most. His one major weakness is his susceptibility to the opposite sex, something that gets them into trouble on occasion. Bo is also known for his rebel yell, “Yeeee-Haa!” and both he and Luke share the handle (or CB call sign) of “Lost Sheep”.
Luke Duke (Tom Wopat) – Dark haired Luke is the older of the two brothers. A former boxer as well as a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Luke is usually the one to come up with a plan to get them out of trouble. He was also the first of the Dukes to perform the iconic “hood slide” over the front of the “General Lee”. This became as regular an occurrence in the series as the car chases, stunts and jumps.
Daisy Duke (Catherine Bach) – Daisy is Bo and Luke’s sexy young cousin. She works mainly as a waitress at local bar The Boar’s Nest, having made a deal with the owner, Boss Hogg, to take the job in return for lower interest on a loan to her cousins. Multi-talented Daisy also occasionally works as a reporter and singer/songwriter. She joins her cousins in racing around Hazzard County, her vehicle a white 1980 Jeep CJ-7 called Dixie, with a gold eagle emblazoned on the hood. (For the first season and a half she drove a yellow and black 1974 Plymouth Road Runner and also a Plymouth Satellite.) Daisy’s trademark is her sexy outfits consisting of high-cut jean shorts, midriff-baring tops and high heels, and after a while jean shorts were commonly referred to as “Daisy Dukes”. Her handle is “Bo Peep”, although occasionally “Country Cousin” is used as well.
Photo Courtesy of CBS
Uncle Jesse (Denver Pyle) – Uncle Jesse is a father figure to all three of the young Dukes who, for reasons that are never explained, have no parents to raise them. In his younger days, Jesse was a ridge runner (a person who delivered moonshine, using the ridges instead of the mountain tops so as not to be detected) and in competition with J.D. Hogg (a.k.a. Boss Hogg). And although Boss and Jesse seem to dislike each other, whenever one of them is in real trouble the other is somehow always on hand to help out. Uncle Jesse’s vehicle is a beat-up old white 1973 Ford F-100 pickup truck, and very rarely his old moonshine car “Black Tillie” (once referred to as “Sweet Tillie”) makes an appearance too. His handle is “Shepard”.
Rosco P. Coltrane (James Best) – Rosco is the sheriff of Hazzard County. Although at one time honest, after the county voted away his pension he started conspiring with Boss Hogg in a bid to build his retirement fund. Rosco is both a partner of Boss Hogg and his brother-in-law; Rosco’s older, overweight sister Lulu is married to Boss, something which seems to give neither of them any pleasure. Rosco’s favorite phrase while chasing someone in his car is “I’m in hot pursuit”. During the third season Rosco acquires a Basset Hound named Flash who rarely moves and has to be carried everywhere by Rosco. Even though he and Boss don’t always agree, Rosco has several affectionate nicknames for him, ranging from “Little Meadow-Muffin” to “Little Fat Buddy”. Rosco’s handle is “Red Dog”.
Boss Jefferson Davis “J.D” Hogg (Sorrell Booke) – Boss Hogg is the corrupt County Commissioner of Hazzard County. Married to Rosco’s sister Lulu, he is also the richest man in Hazzard, and owns most of its businesses and properties in one form or another. He is selfish and overweight with an enormous appetite for food. He dresses primarily in a white suit complete with matching cowboy hat and drives (or is driven) in a white 1970 Cadillac Coupe de Ville convertible, complete with bull horns mounted on the hood.
Cooter Davenport (Ben Jones) – Cooter is a mechanic and the owner of the local auto garage “Cooter’s Garage”. An honorary Duke, he regularly helps them get away from Rosco or outwit Boss Hogg. His handle is “Crazy Cooter” and he drives an assortment of trucks throughout the show. His CB transmissions often start with, “Breaker one, Breaker one, I might be crazy but I ain’t dumb, Craaaazy Cooter comin’ atcha, come on.”
Deputy Enos Strate (Sonny Shroyer) – Enos is one of the deputies of Hazzard County, and though he works for Boss Hogg he is friends with the Duke family. Unfortunately, he often finds himself having to chase or arrest his friends. He is very much in love with Daisy Duke, and while they come close to marriage he never does get to walk her up the aisle. Enos’s handle is “Blue Fox”, but he can never seem to get it right. Often he mixes up his and Rosco’s handles, interweaving the names into things like “Red Fox” and “Hound Dog”.
Deputy Cletus Hogg (Rick Hurst) – Cletus is the second of the Hazzard County deputies. Although a distant relative of Boss Hogg, he’s a good-hearted man if a little dim. He too reluctantly chases after the Dukes, and also has a crush on Daisy.
Coy Duke (Byron Cherry) – Coy is another blonde-haired Duke cousin, who used to live on the Duke farm in previous years. He and another cousin, Vance, move back there briefly after Bo and Luke decide to join the NASCAR circuit.
Vance Duke (Christopher Mayer) – Dark-haired Vance is the other cousin who used to live on the farm and he returns there after the departure of Bo and Luke. Much like his dark-haired predecessor, Vance is the one who comes up with the plans.
The Balladeer (the voice of Waylon Jennings) – the Balladeer is the narrator of the show, as well as the singer of its theme song, “Good Ol’ Boys”. He offers an all-knowing perspective on the situation in each episode, often throwing in funny asides at critical plot points – more often than not during a freeze frame of a cliffhanger scene before a commercial break.
Flash (played by Sandy as well as others) – Flash is the loyal canine companion of Rosco. A leisurely Basset Hound with impeccable judgement, he hates Boss Hogg but loves all the Dukes.
Photo Courtesy of CBS
|Rosco P. Coltrane
|Sandy and others
Photo Courtesy of CBS
|Miz Emma Tisdale
|Don Pedro Colley
|Linda Mae Barnes
|Sheriff Lester Crabb
|Bobby Lee Jordan
|Mary Lou Pringle
|Big Jim Downey
|Jamie Lee Hogg
|Billy Green Bush
|Sheriff Buster Moon
|The Oakridge Boys as themselves
Photo Courtesy of CBS
John Schneider has appeared in many different television shows, including Smallville, where he and Tom Wopat were briefly reunited in one episode. Schneider has also appeared in Touched by an Angel, Walker, Texas Ranger, JAG, Desperate Housewives and Hee Haw, and had a recurring role in the popular series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
When James Best (born Jules Guy) was only three years old, his mother died and he was sent to live in an orphanage. He was later adopted by Armen and Essa Best.
Tom Wopat, like fellow actor John Schneider, embarked on a career in music, although he did not have Schneider’s success.
The Dukes of Hazzard saw a large number of automobiles wrecked in its numerous car chases. While the police sedans were not difficult to replace, the “General Lee’s” (old Dodge Chargers) were not nearly so simple. After a while the situation got so desperate that if a producer saw a Charger parked on a street, he sought out the owner and offered to buy the car there and then.
Ben Jones (Cooter) is a former United States Congressman and served in the United States House of Representatives for four years. Jones took the unusual step for a Democrat of asking President Bill Clinton to resign from office during his impeachment trial.
Catherine Bach married Peter Lopez, an entertainment lawyer, in 1990. After twenty years of marriage and two daughters, Lopez was found shot dead in an apparent suicide on April 30, 2010.
John Schneider (Bo Duke) has restored more than twenty “General Lee’s” or Dodge Chargers himself. He also owned a replica nicknamed “Bo’s General Lee”, which had the signatures of the cast of the 1997 TV movie under the hood. In 2008, Schneider sold the car at the Barrett-Jackson automobile auction for $450,000.
One of the jump sequences filmed by the stunt crew before the show’s debut is a world record holder. It took place on November 11th, 1978 and was 16 feet high and 82 feet long.
One of the outfits that Catherine Bach wore on the show was formerly on display at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
One of Boss Hogg’s favorite foods to eat was raw liver. So dedicated was Sorrell Booke to his role that when Boss ate the liver, so did Booke.
Somewhere between 256 and 321 1969 Dodge Chargers were created and for the most part destroyed during the filming of the series. Less than 20 of these cars are still in existence, and all are in various states of disrepair. Although it was a popular belief that some 1970 Chargers were used on the show as well, according to all the car builders this was not true. Some 1968 Chargers were used, but only after their front grill and round tail lights were replaced to make them identical to the 1969 models.
James Best and Sorrell Booke were close friends in real life and were allowed to improvise many of their scenes together.
When Catherine Bach went along to the audition for The Dukes of Hazzard, she heard that the producers were looking for someone with a “Dolly Parton” look. They evidently changed their minds, because she was hired on the spot. One of the early costume ideas for Daisy Duke involved a poodle skirt, go-go boots and a tight white turtleneck. Bach asked if she could instead bring in her own outfit and so the “Daisy Dukes” were born.
In addition to his many acting roles, John Schneider has seen success in the country music business. During the 1980’s, some of his singles reached #1 in the Country Billboard’s music chart and to date he has made a total of ten albums.
The first five shows were originally intended as “filler” rather than a fully-fledged series. They were filmed in Georgia at several locations that are still visited by fans of the show today. Two of the locations, however, have since been destroyed. Ace’s Used Car Lot was removed to make way for the expansion of a church, and the original Boar’s Nest is now a church as well.
Ben Jones, who played Cooter on the show, owns a store in Gatlinburg, Tennessee called Cooter’s Place, dedicated to all things related to the series. There are also Dukes of Hazzard museums in both Nashville and Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Legendary singer Buddy Holly arranged for Waylon Jennings’ very first recording session and hired him as the bass player for his band. In early 1959, Holly was offered a place in the “Winter Dance Party” tour opening in the Midwest. After one performance, he hired a private plane to fly them to the next stop on the tour. Waylon Jennings was supposed to be on the plane but gave up his seat to singer J.P. Richardson (a.k.a. the Big Bopper) who was suffering from influenza. On learning that he had given up his seat, Holly jokingly said to Jennings “I hope your ol’ bus freezes up!” Jennings jokingly responded, “Well, I hope your ol’ plane crashes!” As most people know, the plane did indeed crash that day, February 3, 1959, commonly known as “The Day the Music Died”. His off-hand remark haunted Jennings for the rest of his life.
Unbelievably, more than half the fan mail for the series was addressed to the “General Lee”.
The General Lee’s horn famously played the first few notes of “Dixie” but it wasn’t that way from the beginning. After a few episodes, the producers were driving through Atlanta and heard a car go by with this exact horn. They chased down the driver and persuaded him to sell it to them, not realizing until later that it could be bought at many an auto parts store for a third of what they had paid for it. The horn itself was only used in the episodes that were filmed in Georgia. For all the rest, filmed at Warner Bros. in Burbank, California, the horn was simply edited in during post-production.
Photo Courtesy of CBS
Sonny Shroyer (Enos Strate) was born Otis Burt Shroyer and is a country and gospel singer as well as an actor.
Denver Pyle (Uncle Jesse) entered the Merchant Marines during World War II.
While playing Daisy Duke, Catherine Bach’s legs were insured for the sum of $1,000,000.
During the course of the series, there were several departures from the show in one form or another. Ben Jones (Cooter Davenport) left over a disagreement about whether or not Cooter should have a beard. He was temporarily replaced by Cooter’s cousins, L.B. and B.B. Davenport (Ernie Lively and Mickey Jones), but returned a few shows later. James Best (Rosco P Coltrane) left briefly in the second season due to a dispute over dressing rooms. He was replaced by several actors until his return a short time later. The most memorable departure was that of John Schneider and Tom Wopat (Bo and Luke Duke). Both walked out after demanding a salary hike and claiming they were owed royalties from the show’s extensive merchandise. They were replaced with look-alike cousins Coy and Vance (Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer) but the show’s ratings plummeted. The dispute was finally settled and Schneider and Wopat returned for the last four episodes of the season. The look-alikes were written out in the same episode in which the original Duke boys returned, and were never referred to again. Incidentally, when Schneider and Wopat decided to walk out, Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke) had wanted to leave too. They persuaded her to stay on reasoning that if she left, there would be no show for them to return to.
Christopher Mayer (Vance Duke) was found dead in his home in July 2011, apparently from natural causes. He was 57 years old.
Actor Sonny Shroyer (Enos Strate) was given a spin-off show called Enos in 1980. Very wisely, he had it written into his contract that if his series did not last at least a full season, he could return to The Dukes of Hazzard if he chose. The spin-off show lasted for only seventeen episodes, and Shroyer duly returned to the Dukes.
Sorrell Booke (Boss Hogg) had his contract stipulate that his character would never do two things: kill anyone or deal drugs.
In later years, James Best moved to Florida and began teaching at the university there. He also become known for his skills as a painter, and he completed his autobiography in 2009.
John Schneider has revealed that he lied about his age when applying for the part of Bo Duke, claiming to be 24 when he was only 19. To further try and convince the producers he was the right man for the job, he showed up carrying a six pack of beer and spoke with a southern accent – despite being from New York City.
According to Catherine Bach, the famous shorts worn by Daisy Duke almost didn’t make it onto the series. The network executives went into a frenzy after seeing her wearing them and told the producers that she absolutely could not wear them. Eventually a compromise was reached: she could wear the shorts as long as she wore flesh colored pantyhose underneath. The executives hoped that the pantyhose would take some of the attention away from her outfit, but instead it enhanced Bach’s already shapely legs and made her a TV sex symbol forever.
The casting of Sorrell Booke as “Boss Hogg” had several life-not-imitating-art features. While the character of J.D. Hogg was almost cartoonish at times, Sorrell Booke was well-established as a serious actor. Though the Boss Hogg character was hated (with good reason), Booke was loved by the cast and crew members. And while Boss Hogg was not a smart man, Booke was an Ivy League graduate who had studied at both Columbia and Yale Universities. He could speak five languages fluently, and during his time in the Korean War had performed military intelligence work. J.D. Hogg character was also much fatter than Booke, who had to wear a fat suit to play the part.
Sorrell Booke died in 1994 of colorectal cancer. It was only after the main cast members met at his funeral service that they started talking about the idea for what would become the 1997 reunion movie.
Byron Cherry (Coy Duke) was a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society.
The only two members of the cast to appear in all 146 episodes were Denver Pyle and Sorrell Booke.
Many years ago, John Schneider briefly lived with Johnny and June Carter Cash, during which time he became a born-again Christian. Together with Marie Osmond he co-founded the “Children’s Miracle Network”, and has recently become involved in animal advocacy.
The theme song to the Dukes of Hazzard, Good Ol’ Boys by Waylon Jennings, was released in 1980 as a single. It peaked at #21 in the Billboard Pop Chart, and went all the way to the top of the Country Chart.
Christopher Mayer, who played Vance Duke during Top Wopat’s (Luke Duke) temporary absence, actually auditioned for the role of Luke Duke originally.
Catherine Bach made a lot of Daisy Duke’s clothes on the show, especially early on. This includes the red bikini she wore in the first episode and which is also seen in the show’s opening credits.
During the run of the show, Bach posed for a poster as Daisy Duke. It sold 5 million copies and garnered admiration from several unlikely sources, including the former First Lady Nancy Reagan and White House staffers. Bach had earlier visited the White House and sent one of the posters to an employee there who was one of her former schoolteachers.
The role of Daisy Duke was played by Jessica Simpson in the 2005 Dukes of Hazzard feature film. Making the character’s costume sexier than it had been on the television series wasn’t enough to please the critics, who were disappointed that Simpson’s depiction bore little similarity to the original character created by Catherine Bach.
The Dukes of Hazzard was developed from the 1975 movie Moonrunners.
Waylon Jennings, along with Willie Nelson, Tompall Glaser and Jessie Colter recorded an album titled Wanted, The Outlaws! in 1976. It was the first country music album ever to go platinum.
Sorrell Booke’s headstone reads, “Beloved Pa, Grandpa, Brother and Boss”.
Tom Wopat (Luke Duke) said that his famous “hood-slide” was originally an accident. His foot got caught on the side of the “General Lee” while attempting to jump across the hood, and he cut his thigh on the radio antenna in the process. Any such antennas were removed from all later versions of the “General Lee” to prevent a repeat of the injury.
Sadly, Denver Pyle died of lung cancer on Christmas Day 1997.
Due to an enormous number of requests to see the Balladeer on-screen, Waylon Jennings finally made a guest appearance on the show. It was season seven, and the episode was appropriately named, “Welcome, Waylon Jennings”.