The Dukes of Hazzard was just one of many 80s tv shows that were based on movies. It was inspired by the 1975 film Moonrunners, also created by Gy Waldron, who took many concepts and characters from his original creation.
Our heroes are two all-American cutie-pie cousins named Bo and Luke Duke. Sometimes, their cousin Daisy Duke gets in on their adventures. These two fellas hightail around Hazzard County (Georgia) stirring up trouble in their muscle car, which is a customized 1969 Dodge Charger christened the General Lee.
The Duke boys’ main objective is to thwart the county commissioner, Boss Hogg and his half-witted cohort, the country sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane. They get a lot of help from their wise old Uncle Jesse, who’s not a big fan of the law.
80s TV Shows
In the 80s, TV shows were just like everything else — a new fad every year. Only the cream of the crop rose to the top and stayed there for the entire decade. Sadly, The Dukes of Hazzard sunk to the bottom of the barrel long before the 80s ended. But when the show was at its peak, it was crazy popular. I remember watching it religiously for at least an entire year. I had a tee shirt that declared “I *heart* Bo” and in third grade, I proudly toted my Dukes of Hazzard lunchbox to school every day. Oh yes, I was a little fangirl. But unfortunately, it turned out that Bo really wasn’t my type and the following school year, I left my lunchbox behind and found some other 80s TV character to worship.
The Dukes of Hazzard Backstory
Our two 80s TV hunks were on probation for transporting moonshine and got in trouble with the law. Rather than see his nephews go to jail, Uncle Jesse struck a deal with county officials — he promised to stop making moonshine in exchange for the Duke brothers’ freedom. One of the conditions of the agreement stated that the Bo and Luke couldn’t carry firearms, which is why they use combound bows, often tipped with dynamite, which gave them more fire power than any gun. Also, they couldn’t leave the country.
Meanwhile the shady, corrupt, and squat little Boss Hogg had his black crusty heart set on apprehending the boys and tossing them in the can, mostly because the Duke family had a penchant for screwing up the Boss’s crooked scams.
This sets the stage for plenty of hilarious hi-jinks as Boss Hogg and his cohorts practically chase their own tails trying to catch the Duke boys (and the rest of the Duke family for that matter) at anything illegal. Plus, Boss Hogg was always trying to take away Uncle Jesse’s farm. Taxes! Taxes! It’s one sham after another in Hazzard County, y’all.
Bad for Business
You know, the arrogance of big business was playing heavy handed even back in the 80s. Although the show was always a top-rated 80s TV series, the bigwigs decided to shortchange the actors. I guess they didn’t know back then that the actors make the show! In 1982 before they filmed the fifth season, John Schneider (Bo) and Tom Wopat (Luke) walked off the set in a contract dispute over salaries and merchandising royalties. Instead of eating some delicious humble pie, the show claimed that Bo and Luke had gone off to join NASCAR. But lookie here! We’ve got two lookalikes, Bo and Luke’s long-lost cousins…
It was an utter failure. Fans cried “foul!” and before the season ended, our adorable good ole’ boys were back. Unfortunately, the entire debacle caused the show to lose its zest. We have a phrase for what happened: Dukes went and jumped the shark. And I mean totally jumped the shark. Fans couldn’t forgive, so the show faded away a couple of years later.
Waylon Jennings wrote and performed the mighty memorable theme song from The Dukes of Hazzard, which was called “The Good Ol’ Boys.” Credited as “The Balladeer,” Mr. Jennings also narrated the show.
Dude, that brings back some memories.
- Daisy Dukes are short-shorts, usually jean cut-offs, and they are named after the one and only (YES I went there, the remake movie SUCKED) Daisy Duke, played by Catherine Bach who sported the shorts in most of her appearances on the show.
- If you go to buy the theme song, prepare to be disappointed. The one available for purchase is not the same one that was used in the show’s opening credits. The lyrics are different and most notably, the YEE HAWWW is missing from the end. And that, my friends, is just plain lame.