They may have been good 'ol boys, but Bo and Luke Duke managed to get into plenty of scrapes in the classic '70s TV series "The Dukes of Hazzard." Set in moonshine country down in Georgia, the show ran for seven seasons from 1979 to 1985, making stars out of its relatively unknown young cast ... and making short shorts into the height of fashion for women looking to pull off Daisy Duke's hot look. But what made this show such a long-running success?
Sure, there was the cast and their good looks, from the shirtless Duke cousins to Daisy and her trademark shorts, but it was far more than sex appeal that made this show a hit. Perhaps it was the cool cars, from the boys' Dodge Charger that always seemed to be jumping over or crashing into something, to Daisy's Jeep and even Boss Hogg's Cadillac, complete with horns on the hood. Or maybe the show got its "it" factor from viewers who got a kick out of watching the Dukes outsmart the law and skirt trouble at every turn, even as the richest man in town and the sheriff were hot on their tail. Of course, the popularity of this show could simply lie in its down-home, aw-shucks sense of humor and healthy dose of southern charm. Whatever the reason, "The Dukes of Hazzard" has remained popular enough over the years to inspire a pair of reunion movies and a big-screen Hollywood remake in 2005.
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Named for Robert E. Lee, who led the Confederate Army during the Civil War, the General Lee is a 1969 Dodge Charger with a bright orange paint job. While Bo usually handled the driving, it was Luke who slid across the hood of the car in the opening sequence. Various sources dispute just how many of these muscle cars were wrecked during filming, but all seem to agree that it was in excess of 250.
Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane spent pretty of time chasing the Dukes through Hazzard County for crimes ranging from moonshinin' to suspected bank robbery. Much of Rosco's interest in the Dukes could be blamed on the fact that his brother-in-law, who happened to be the richest man in town, was not a huge fan of the Duke family.
Owner Boss Hogg kept an office at the back of the Boar's Nest, and a pair of HoggoCo gas pumps out front. Daisy worked at the tavern as a waitress throughout the series, and faithful viewers may remember that the Boar's Head featured an escape tunnel in the basement.
Jefferson Davis Hogg, known by most of the characters as Boss Hogg, wore a white suit and drove a gleaming white Cadillac with horns on the hood. His money, and the fact that he was married to Sheriff Coltrane's sister, meant that he often had the local law under his control.
Those "Good Ol' Boys" were never meanin' no harm, but somehow "they been in trouble with the law since the day they was born." Written and sung by Waylon Jennings, this song not only served as the show's theme song, but also hit the top of the Billboard Country Singles Chart in 1980.
Who knows if any other actress could have pulled off Daisy's sweet southern charm, and those very short hemlines, as well as Catherine Bach. Bo and Luke's cousin was an ace with horses and guns, and drove a Jeep CJ-7 after her Plymouth Road Runner was destroyed early in the series.
You really can't trust anyone in Hazzard County, as Jimmy Carter found out in season one. After sending his limo to town ahead of a presidential visit, Carter learns his limo was stolen right out of the Boar's Nest parking lot. Turns out, Cooter was able to hotwire it and take it for a short spin.
When she asks Boss Hogg for a raise, he fires her from her waitressing job at the Boar's Head in season two. To make ends meet, Daisy becomes the Deputy Sheriff for Hazzard County. Things start heading south when she gives Boss Hogg a parking ticket, and she soon loses her badge for letting a pair of bank robbers escape.
John Schneider played former stock car driver and younger cousin Bo Duke on the series. Older cousin Luke, with his brown hair, was played by Tom Wopat.
Deputy Enos Strate, played by actor Ben Jones, spent much of the series pining after Daisy Duke, who just wasn't interested. It probably didn't win Enos any favor with Daisy when he was constantly trying to arrest and harass her favorite cousins.
At the peak of her stardom and just as her autobiography "Coal Miner's Daughter" became a big-screen movie, Loretta Lynn starred as herself on a season two episode of "The Dukes of Hazzard." While passing through Hazzard County, Lynn got caught in a speed trap, then ended up being kidnapped by a wannabe country music trio.
Flash the basset hound is Sheriff Rosco Coltrane's beloved pet, whom he calls Velvet Ears. The dog is good at sniffing out trouble, barking harshly at Boss Hogg whenever the two came together.
Denver Pyle stars as Uncle Jesse, closest family member to Luke, Bo and Daisy Duke. The former moonshiner and frenemy to Boss Hogg drives a 1973 Ford F-100 pickup, and holds onto Tillie, his own moonshine-running ride.
What else would you expect to see painted on the roof of the General Lee then a Confederate flag. While controversial today, this design does seem to fit in with the car's name and its horn, which plays Dixie.
After Deputy Enos Strate heads off to work in California, Hazzard County's law enforcement is left short of manpower. Regular viewers of the show surely weren't surprised when one of Boss Hogg's relatives, a cousin named Cletus Hogg, was chosen as the new Deputy.
After running moonshine for Uncle Jesse, Luke and Bo were sentenced to probation, meaning they were forbidden from using firearms for most of the series. They were also banned from leaving the county without the permission of their probation officer, who was, of course, Boss Hogg.
Cooter Davenport is the local mechanic and the proud owner of Cooter's Garage, which is located across the street from the Sheriff's office. He's also a close friend to Bo and Luke, and often named as an honorary Duke.
Car chases were a huge part of "The Dukes of Hazzard," but the show's creators knew that no one wanted to see the law win. Instead, the Sheriff and Boss Hogg often found themselves and their cars in a lake or pond at the end of a long chase.
When using CB radios to communicate on the road (hey, there were no cellphones back then), Bo and Duke used the call sign Lost Sheep, while Daisy was Bo Peep and Uncle Jesse was Shepherd. Cooter went by Crazy Cooter, with Sheriff Rosco using the name Red Dog and Deputy Enos going by Blue Fox.
The opposite of the bumbling Sheriff Coltrane in pretty much every way, Sheriff Edward Thomas Little, known as Big Ed, was the tough lawman over in Chickasaw County. He was often seen holding his shotgun with his finger poised on the trigger, and he chased the bad guys in his '75 Plymouth Fury. The character is also unique as the only regularly appearing African-American cast member.
Jefferson Davis Hogg wasn't afraid to stoop to new lows to gain money or power, but his out-of-town twin Abraham Lincoln Hogg was pretty much his total opposite. When he came to town to hear the results of the Great Aunt Emma Lou Hogg's will, poor Abraham had to wrestle his share from Boss Hogg to donate it to charity.
After being absent for most of season five, Bo and Luke return late in the season and immediately begin to watch Daisy like a hawk. She moves in with a friend to get some space, and ends up being kidnapped by a group of mountain moonshiners. Before the kidnappers can force Daisy to marry one of their sons, the Duke boys come to the rescue in ultralite aircraft.
In the episode "Happy Birthday General Lee," fans finally learn the history of the Dukes' car. Painted black when they bought it in hopes of entering a local race, they chose to paint it orange because that was the only paint color Cooter had in stock at the garage. Things also got tricky at the time because a pair of thieves had hidden some gold dust in the car before it sold, and were willing to stop at nothing to recover the loot.
Hughie Hogg showed up in at least half a dozen episodes of "The Dukes of Hazzard." As crooked as his uncle, Boss Hogg, Hughie pulled schemes ranging from having Daisy framed for running moonshine to using a genie in a lamp to get his hands on Boss' fortune.
One of Boss Hogg and Sheriff Roscoe's favorite pastimes on the show was to set up a speed trap to nab any celebrities unlucky enough to pass through town. To get out of trouble, the poor celebs were forced to perform in a free show at the Boar's Nest. Thanks to this sneaky trick, "Dukes" viewers were treated to concerts by everyone from Roy Orbison to Buck Owens to Tammy Wynette.
Country crooner Waylon Jennings not only wrote the theme song, but also served as narrator on "The Dukes of Hazzard." Viewers finally got to see his face in season seven, when the episode "Welcome Waylon Jennings" revealed that it was Uncle Jesse himself who saved Waylon early in his career when his guitar was stolen before a show. Shannon Tweed, who later became Mrs. Gene Simmons, appeared on this episode.
The actors who played Luke and Bo missed much of season five due to a contract dispute. Their characters were said to have left Hazzard County to try their luck at the NASCAR circuit, and their cousins were brought in to take their place. Once contracts were resolved, the boys came back and the fill-in cousins were sent packing.
Even after witnessing Enos near the scene of a bank robbery, Daisy still couldn't believe that the deputy was responsible for the crime. To avoid testifying, she agreed to marry Enos in the second-to-last episode. Luckily, the real robbers were caught and the couple was saved from tying the knot for the wrong reasons.
Boss Hogg really took his evilness to new lows with Bo and Duke out of Hazzard County during season five. Twice, he used a terrible tank he dubbed the Lean Green Machine to pull off robberies. This being "The Dukes of Hazzard," Boss Hogg's schemes were quickly put to an end, even without the Duke cousins around the save the day.
When Bo and Luke headed out of town for most of season five, distant Duke cousins Coy and Vance came in to keep Uncle Jesse company. Fortunately, Bo and Luke missed home after 18 episodes, and came back to Hazzard. All four characters appeared in only one episode together before Coy and Vance left for good.
Deputy Enos Strate left Hazzard Count to join the LAPD in season three. This "Dukes" spin-off was framed with Enos writing letters to Daisy back at home, telling her about his new life. The series also got an animated spin-off known simply as "The Dukes" which ran for a single season in 1983.
In the 1997 TV movie, "Reunion!," most of the cast returned to Hazzard County to take part in a reunion festival. Fans learned that Luke was working for the forestry service, Bo was a race car driver and brainy Daisy was working on her PhD. Sheriff Rosco had been lucky enough to inherit all of Boss Hogg's money when he died, making him the new richest man in town.
In the 2000 flick "Hazzards in Hollywood," the Dukes are desperate to raise money for a local hospital. They head for Hollywood to raise funds, camping out next to the Hollywood sign, then trading Uncle Jesse's secret BBQ sauce recipe for repairs on the General Lee so they can get back home.
The 1975 movie "Moonrunners" featured Waylon Jennings as narrator, and told the story of cousins Bobby Lee and Grady, who ran moonshine for their Uncle Jesse. The movie was a hit, and inspired "The Dukes of Hazzard" TV show just a few years later.
Like many classic series, "The Dukes of Hazzard" got a big screen remake in the '00s. Jessica Simpson was chosen to don the short shorts of Daisy Duke, while Johnny Knoxville and Seann William Scott played Luke and Bo. Burt Reynolds played the mean Boss Hogg, and Willie Nelson was brought on in the role of Uncle Jesse.