Those good ol’ boys The Dukes of Hazzard burst onto our TV screens in 1979, and kept the police department of Hazzard County busy for 7 seasons, ending in 1985. The Dukes part of the title referred in the most part to the two lead characters, Beauregard Duke and his cousin Lucas Duke, which was a bit of a mouthful so they were known as Bo and Luke instead. They lived on a run down farm owned by their Uncle Jesse, and also yet another cousin, the pretty young Daisy Duke. With all these cousins it must have been a pretty big family, especially considering that Bo and Luke left for one series due to contract issues, and were replaced by two further cousins, Coy and Vance, the story being that Bo and Luke had left Hazzard to go NASCAR racing!
Of course, probably the most famous thing about the programme was the General Lee, the Dodge Charger which the Duke boys drove around in. It’s horn played a snippet of the song Dixie, and it was painted an orangey red with the US Confederate flag on the roof, and the number 01 on the doors. The doors were welded shut and access to the car was only possible by holding on to the roof and leaping in feet first. For filming the series there were several General Lees, the main reason being that the jumps and other stunts that the Duke boys performed each work had a habit of trashing the cars somewhat.
As the theme song states, the Duke boys have always been in trouble with the law, and in Hazzard the law, and just about everything else for that matter, was owned by Boss Hogg, who was a big fat man in a white suit who drove around in a big white limousine with cow horns on the front. Whilst the Dukes were on probation for smuggling moonshine, Boss Hogg was even more crooked than they were, and as such was always trying to find an excuse to put the boys behind bars. Inept town sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane was forever being ordered about by Boss Hogg, and general found himself crashing his car whilst in pursuit of the Dukes. He had a dog, a Bassett Hound named Flash, which was probably the least apt name you could ever think of.
Other recurring characters in the show were Deputy Enos, who was a timid young law man who was in love with Daisy and thought the Duke boys were basically alright. He was a more capable police man than Rosco would ever be. There was also Cooter, the town mechanic, who was a friend to the Duke’s and often assisted them in their battles with Boss Hogg and Rosco.
Whilst the storylines were often contrived you watched just to see the General Lee speeding around whilst rooting for the Duke’s to get the better of Boss Hogg. The country and western theme song was provided by late American singer Waylon Jennings, known on the credits of the show as The Balladeer. He was also the narrator of each episode, cracking jokes about the characters predicaments and providing pearls of wisdom with a southern US slant.
Most recently, a feature film of the show was made starring Seann William Scott and Johnny Knoxville as Bo and Luke and Jessica Simpson as Daisy, with a straight to DVD sequel following with a different cast. There have also been some reunion TV movies made featuring much of the original cast of the TV show, and several video games as well.