23 Facts About The Dukes Of Hazard And General Lee’s Last Jump
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John Farrier put together the following interesting facts about the Dukes of Hazard show…I grew up with crushes on both my good ole’ boys and disliking Daisy because I couldn’t fill out MY short denim shorts like she could!
1. The basic story of the show can be traced back to Jerry Elijah Rushing, an actual moonshiner in North Carolina. At the age of 12, he began making deliveries, eventually using a modified 1958 Chrysler 300D for the job. The car, named “Traveller” after General Lee’s horse, was rigged to dump oil on the road to impair law enforcement vehicles in pursuit. Rushing was often joined by his brother Johnny, and sometimes by his female cousin Delane. But they just delivered the moonshine, which was actually made by Rushing’s Uncle Worley. Rushing eventually left the business and became an accomplished hunter, especially with a bow. His stories about his adventures inspired the 1975 movie Moonrunners, which in turn led to The Dukes of Hazzard.
2. Producer Gy Waldron created the show because he saw that one sixth of all music record sales were country, but there were no television shows aimed directly at the country market. Episodes were written in the country music narrative style, or as Waldron put it “…when you get through watching an episode, replay it in Nashville, and somebody should be able to write a pretty good country song about it.”
3. John Schneider (Bo Duke), a New Yorker, presented himself as something of a redneck when he auditioned for the role of Bo Duke. He grew stubble, carried a can of beer, put a wad of chewing tobacco into his mouth, and claimed to be from a small town in Georgia. Schneider also knew that driving skill could be useful, so he claimed to be a graduate of the Georgia School of High Performance Driving, which didn’t exist. He got the part.
4. Tom Wopat (Luke Duke) has made some success in the music business, releasing albums and touring since 1981. When the show was canceled, Wopat held the #1 slot in the Billboard country chart.
5. Sorrel Brooke, who played Boss Hogg, was a great intellect. A classically trained Shakespearean actor, he was a graduate of Columbia and Yale and fluent in five languages. Brooke was especially accomplished at replicating dialects, and based his character’s accent on that of South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond. His belly was also fake — Brooke wore a padded suit to give him the extra girth that he needed to play the rotund Hogg.
6. James Best grew up in poverty and from a broken family to become a phenomenally successful actor by the time that he was cast as Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane. He worked as an accomplished acting teacher for decades and provided instruction to, among other actors, Burt Reynolds, Clint Eastwood, Farrah Fawcett, and Quentin Tarantino, as well as less famous students while serving as a professor at Mississippi State University. In his spare time, he acquired a black belt in karate and now paints (warning: auto-sound).
7. Ben Jones (Cooter Davenport) was a member of Congress from 1989 to 1993. His writings have appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, and The Weekly Standard. Like some other cast members from the original show, he disapproved of the 2005 movie and referred to it as “sleazy”. In an interview with Billy Rae Bates, Jones said:
I don’t know what they were thinking (with the movie). They totally missed the whole point of the show. Our show was sort of like a western, a 1940s western. The Old B westerns, the Roy Rogers ones, they weren’t realistic; they were fantasies; you could fall off a cliff and not hurt yourself. There were values and a good sense of right and wrong…The reason people watched this show and encouraged their kids to watch it is it’s a good old-fashioned American show. These Duke boys are heroes; they risk their lives to do the right thing. If I hear it once, I hear it a thousand times a day, ‘Thank you for making a show that our kids can watch.’ You don’t take that audience and that show and do what they did to it.
8. Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke) herself came up with her character’s denim short-shorts, leading to the garment being dubbed “Daisy Dukes”. The original plan was to have Daisy wear a miniskirt.
9. The first five episodes were shot in northern Georgia. Street scenes for the county seat are actually from Covington, Georgia, which has a small Dukes of Hazzard museum in the back of the A Touch of Country cafe. The rest of the show was filmed in California.
10. During the filming of the pilot episode, two directors were eating breakfast in the town square of Covington when they heard a car drive by that played the opening bars to “Dixie” as the horn. This, they thought, must be in the show. They chased down the owner, bought the horn out of his car for $300, and installed it in a General Lee.
To see the rest of the list visit the article by John Farrier on Neatorama.