A lot of cars were crashed during production. Replacing the police sedans was easy, but replacing the "General Lee" was much harder because Dodge stopped making the Charger. It got to the point where if producers saw a Charger on the street they would approach the owner and offer to buy it on the spot.
There were many life-not-imitating-art aspects to Sorrell Booke's casting as J.D. Hogg, an ineffectual bad guy. Although he played a corrupt Southern politician, Booke was actually a Jewish actor from Buffalo, New York. He was an Ivy League graduate, with degrees from Columbia and Yale, who had done military intelligence work during the Korean War and spoke several languages fluently. (Cast member Rick Hurst recalled hearing Booke and another actor rehearsing a scene in fluid Japanese.) The character of Boss Hogg was humorous and cartoon-like, while Booke was well-established as a serious actor before accepting the role. Hogg appeared grotesquely overweight, and Booke in real life had to wear a huge fat suit to achieve the comedic dimensions sought. And while Hogg was a rightfully hated fictional character, Booke was well-liked by the cast and crew; in fact, the 1997 reunion movie came about after the main cast members went to Booke's funeral in 1994 and ended up talking to each other afterwards.
Ben Jones (Cooter) actually owns a small chain of stores called "Cooters Place" in Gatlinburg and Nashville, Tennessee, dedicated to all things related to the show.
James Best based the "coo coo" sound that Rosco made whenever he got excited on noises he used to make when he played with his children. He did this to make Rosco more childlike and therefore less of a threat to the Dukes.
Waylon Jennings provided the voice of "The Balladeer," the off-screen narrator of each episode. He also sang the show's theme song, "The Good Old Boys", which became a hit single record in 1981. In the single version, there is an additional lyric at the end of the song: "You know my mama loves me... But she don't understand, they keep a-showing my hands, and not my face on TV!" This refers to the fact that it is indeed Waylon Jennings' hands playing the guitar in the opening credits, while his face is not shown. Jennings' mother had complained to him that she watched the show regularly, waiting for her son to appear, but he never did. This was finally remedied in Season 7, when Jennings made a guest star appearance as himself in the episode, The Dukes of Hazzard: Welcome, Waylon Jennings (1984).
On the CMT "Inside the Dukes" special, Catherine Bach said she offered to walk out along with Tom Wopat and John Schneider, but they convinced her to stay, with Uncle Jesse. The reasoning was that if she left, then there would be no show to come back to.
When Tom Wopat and John Schneider returned to the show after their season five walk out, it was originally announced that the replacement Dukes would stay on the series. However, it was quickly determined that four Duke boys would be too much, and the replacements were fully written out upon Wopat and Schneider's return. Despite the unpopularity of the replacements, many fans expressed disappointment that Bo, Luke, Coy and Vance couldn't have shared at least one adventure together upon Bo and Luke's return.
Uncle Jesse's CB handle was "Shepherd," Bo and Luke's handle was "Lost Sheep," and Daisy's handle was "Bo Peep."
The General Lee's famous "Dixie" horn wasn't originally planned; when the producers were driving in Atlanta during the first few episodes, they heard a car pass with a "Dixie" horn and chased the driver down and convinced him to sell the horn. They later realized that it was a novelty horn which could be purchased at any auto parts store for a third of what they paid for it. The horn was only used in the first five episodes. Once filming moved to the Warner Brothers lot, the horn was edited in during post-production.
According to Catherine Bach in an interview on E! True Hollywood Story (1996), her famous "Daisy Duke" shorts almost didn't make it onto the show. When network executives saw her wearing the shorts, they had a fit and told the producers she couldn't wear them. After arguing back and forth, the executives allowed her to wear them on one condition: she had to wear pantyhose beneath them so nothing would accidentally be revealed. Instead of diverting attention from her outfit, as the executives hoped, the hose highlighted her long, shapely legs, making Bach a '70s TV sex symbol.
Sorrell Booke wore padding under his suit, to appear chubbier, while playing overweight "Boss" Jefferson Davis Hogg.
While most fans were negative about the replacement Dukes from the start, both Tom Wopat and John Schneider claim neither had any ill will regarding Christopher Mayer and Byron Cherry. In fact, Wopat and Schneider reached out to help and encourage their replacement actors.
Somewhere between 256 and 321 "General Lee" cars were created and mostly destroyed during the series. Less than 20 in various states of disrepair still exist. Despite popular belief, there were no 1970 Chargers used in the series according to all the car builders.
Five of the lead actors directed 25 episodes: Denver Pyle directed 12, Tom Wopat directed 5, Sorrell Booke directed 4, James Best directed 3, and John Schneider directed 1.
The "General Lee" is a 1969 Dodge Charger. 1968 Chargers were also used, but their round tail lights and front grill were replaced from those on the 1969 model on the otherwise nearly identical model years.
During one of the famous jump sequences, recorded before the series debuted on Friday, January 26th, 1979, the stunt crew actually set a world record. The jump's height was 16 feet and length was 82 feet long, and it occurred on Saturday, November 11th, 1978. Stuntdriver, Craig R. Baxley is believed to be the successful driver of this historic jump.
During the 1981-82 season, John Schneider and Tom Wopat demanded pay raises, claiming that they earned and were owed a lot of royalties from the show's extensive line of merchandise. They ended up walking out, and the producers replaced the characters of Bo with Coy and Luke with Vance for the 1982-83 season, which resulted in a big fall in the show's ratings. The dispute with Schneider and Wopat was eventually settled, and they returned for the final four episodes of the season, with the "clone" Dukes being written out in the same episode, never to be mentioned again.
The original Georgia location of Ace's Used Car Lot The Dukes of Hazzard: Repo Men (1979) was torn down in 1998 to make way for a church expansion, and the original Boar's Nest is also now a church.
In several interviews, John Schneider admitted that he lied about his age in order to get the part of Bo Duke. He told them that he was 24, when in reality, he was just a teenager at 18. He also showed up in a t-shirt and blue jeans, carrying a six pack of beer, and pretending to speak with a Southern accent, when in reality he was from New York City.
Much of Rosco's personality traits, notably the "Coo Coo" and middle initial P were created and improvised by James Best. In addition, Rosco's dog Flash was also taken from a suggestion by Best.
Sonny Shroyer had it written into his contract that if his spin-off, Enos (1980), didn't last a full season, he could return to The Dukes of Hazzard (1979). Enos only lasted 17 episodes, after which Sonny Shroyer returned to the The Dukes of Hazzard (1979) series.
According to creator Gy Waldron, Uncle Jesse raised Bo, Luke, and Daisy after their parents died in a car crash. If this was actually true, then that would mean that there would have been 3 different sets of parents who died in the same car crash. Bo, Luke & Daisy were never referred to as brothers and sister. They always referred to each other as cousins and were never known to be anything but throughout the entire run of the series.
The show premiered as a mid-season replacement for Reb Brown's failed series, Captain America (1979).
In some early episodes, when viewed closely an additional Confederate flag design can be seen on the General Lee. The logo shows small Confederate flag in a crossed flag design with a checkered racing flag. The design can be seen on the back end of the General, located between the rear windshield and trunk.
The first five episodes of the series were filmed in Georgia, before filming was moved to the Warner Brothers set in Burbank, California, where filming stayed for the rest of the series & final 141 episodes. The original Georgia locations are to this day often visited by fans.
During the first season of the series, the Hazzard County Sheriff's Department was much larger, with at least 5 to 6 additional deputies in addition to Roscoe and Enos. These additional deputies were often seen during car chases. When the series re-located back to the Warner Studios in California, the police force was reduced to just sheriff Roscoe and deputy Enos.
According to the "Unofficial Guide to The Dukes of Hazzard (1979)", Gy Waldron wanted Hazzard "to be in a location like Chatsworth, Georgia." Chatsworth, in northwest Georgia's Murray County, has a strong "bootlegging" history.
Upon beginning their work on the show, James Best and Sorrell Booke found an immediate bond, and would become lifelong friends. Chemistry between Booke and Best was such that the two regularly improvised most of their scenes together.
Denver Pyle (Uncle Jesse) and Sorrell Booke (Boss Hogg) are the only actors to appear in all 146 episodes of the series.
Luke's full first name was Lucas, and Bo's full first name was Beauregard. The only mention of this was in the episode, The Dukes of Hazzard: High Octane (1979), though Cooter at times nicknamed Luke, with a rhyme as "Lucas Dukas."
Sheriff Rosco Coltrane stated he was an honest law enforcement officer for 30 years, then they changed the budget, taking away his retirement, which forced him to change into the type of sheriff he was.
Daisy was originally intended to resemble Dolly Parton. Catherine Bach's audition was strong enough to change the producers' minds about the character, and cast her as Daisy on the spot. In pilot, Daisy is described as knowing the lyrics to all of Parton's songs. Early episodes imply that Daisy is looking to start a music career.
When Tom Wopat and John Schneider briefly left the show during their contract dispute, their absences were explained by having Bo and Luke leaving Hazzard to try their hands on the NASCAR circuit.
The General Lee's jump, (in the opening credits) was registered as being 16 feet high, in the air and 82 feet, in length. Evidence: History.com's www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-general-lee-jumps-into-history. This event occurred on Saturday, November 11th, 1978, stunt-driver, Bob Orrison is believed to be the driver of the General Lee Dodge Charger, while the series was still being picked and created for replacing Captain America.
Bo and Luke Duke occasionally used a bow and arrow (usually fitted with a stick of dynamite) instead of guns because the Duke boys were on probation for moonshine running, and any use of firearms would be a probation violation.
Boss Hogg had a twin brother (Sorrell Booke in a dual role), who appeared just once in The Dukes of Hazzard: Baa, Baa White Sheep (1980). He had a completely opposite personality of Jefferson Davis Hogg. He was completely honest, law-abiding, wore black, and his name was Abraham Lincoln Hogg. James Best also did a double role of opposite personalities, in The Dukes of Hazzard: Too Many Roscos (1983).
During season two, Ben Jones walked off the set temporarily, over a dispute over whether or not he should cut his hair and shave. He was replaced temporarily by Cooter's cousins B.B. Davenport, played by Mickey Jones, and Ernie Lively, as L.B. Davenport.
CBS initially ordered only nine episodes as they were looking for a temporary series to fill mid-season programming holes. CBS' staff liked what they saw of the show's production, and decided to make it as a new weekly series.
Part of the ratings decline during the second half of the series run was attributed to the debut of the TV series Knight Rider (1982). While not airing directly against each other, both shows vied for the attention of a largely younger audience with an interest in souped up cars. As a result producers began to increase stunt and jump sequences featuring the General Lee. The rivalry between the series was played up in a satirical cross over story between the two shows in a 1983 issue of Cracked magazine.
J.D. Hogg's last name may have been inspired by Jim Hogg, governor of Texas from 1891 - 1895. Jim Hogg had a daughter named Ima Hogg.
The show's theme Good Old Boys by Waylon Jennings was released as a single in August of 1980. The single version had an extra verse, and an extended musical bridge midway through the song. The song peaked at Number 21 on the Billboard Pop Chart, and hit Number One on the Country Chart.
Boss Hogg, Uncle Jesse and Daisy were the show's only original or regular characters not to be replaced in any way during the show's run.
Coincidentally, while Burt Reynolds played Boss Hogg in The Dukes of Hazzard (2005), Rosco states in The Dukes of Hazzard: Hazzard in Hollywood (2000) that if Boss gets his life story turned into a movie, that Rosco wants to be portrayed by Reynolds.
Before Tom Wopat was chosen for the role of Luke, among the other actors who were considered for the part were Dennis Quaid and Gerald McRaney.
When Sonny Shroyer returned for Season Five a year after the cancellation of Enos, his replacement Rick Hurst continued his role as Deputy Cletus. Midway through that season, Hurst left when cast for the short lived series Amanda's (1983), and Cletus was first said to be on vacation, with no subsequent explanations of his absence. Hurst would not play the role again until the reunion movies.
P.J. Soles auditioned for the part of Daisy Duke. Her husband, Dennis Quaid, was considered for the part of Bo but he turned it down.
James Best (Rosco P. Coltrane) and Denver Pyle (Uncle Jesse) had previously appeared together in The Left Handed Gun (1958) and Shenandoah (1965). They also had roles on The Andy Griffith Show (1960). Best played Jim Lindsay and Pyle played Briscoe Darling.
Daisy Duke's original yellow Plymouth Roadrunner lasted less than a year, after the series debuted on Friday, January 26th, 1979 with The Dukes of Hazzard: One Armed Bandits (1979) to its destruction and replacement, in The Dukes of Hazzard: The Runaway (1980), on Friday, January 11th, 1980. 50 weeks (350 days) differ among the 2 dates. Daisy's yellow Plymouth Roadrunner lasted the first 26 complete episodes of the series. It was destroyed in the 27th, The Dukes of Hazzard: The Runaway (1980), replaced with a brand new 1980 Jeep CJ-7 This was also one of the episodes that Ben Jones, Cooter, was absent due to his dilemma about shaving.
Waylon Jennings's band, The Waylors, provided the in-episode music for early episodes.
Extremely short, form-fitting, denim cut-off shorts worn by women are often referred to as "Daisy Dukes" referencing the character from this show, which popularized this item of clothing.
James Best also left the series temporarily during season two over a dispute regarding the dressing rooms. He was replaced by Jeff Altman as Hughie Hogg, followed by Clifton James as Lester Crabb, Dick Sargent as Grady Byrd, and James Hampton as Buster Moon. Altman and James were listed as guest star sheriffs, while Byrd and Hampton were actually listed in the opening credits. Dick Sargent as Grady Byrd also was the only one that was Hazzard County's sheriff, twice.
During the seven season run, James Best appeared in almost every episode (141 of the 146) of the series, except five, during the second season. They were The Dukes of Hazzard: Arrest Jesse Duke (1979), The Dukes of Hazzard: Treasure of Hazzard (1980), The Dukes of Hazzard: Officer Daisy Duke (1980), The Dukes of Hazzard: Jude Emery (1980) & The Dukes of Hazzard: Return of the Ridge Raiders (1980).
J.D. Hogg's nickname of "Boss" and his shady dealings and criminal activities are a reference (albeit a comical one) to what is known as the "Southern Fried Mafia". Unlike major criminal organizations (like the Italian Mafia, Japanese Yakuza, Russian "Red" Mafya, etc.) which control criminal operations on a national or international level, the Southern Fried Mafia controls criminal activities such as gambling, prostitution, and distilling and bootlegging moonshine (in dry counties or states) on a smaller level wherever they can corrupt officials (like Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane) in small towns and Southern cities (like Atlanta, Mobile, Montgomery, Memphis, etc.). A more serious example of this criminal group's function can be seen in films like White Lightning (1973) and Walking Tall (1973).
Christopher Mayer, who played Tom Wopat (Luke)'s replacement Vance Duke, had originally auditioned for the role of Luke.
The initial, P. in Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane's name was added during the second season. P is for Purvis. Complete name: Rosco Purvis Coltrane.
Two episodes involving Texas Ranger Jude Emery, from The Dukes of Hazzard: Jude Emery (1980) and private investigators Mason Dixon and his girls from The Dukes of Hazzard: Mason Dixon's Girls (1980) were test pilots for possible spin-offs.
The casting of Don Pedro Colley in the recurring role of Sheriff Little was intended to bring racial diversity to the series. Producers intentionally cast African American Actors for key or prominent guest roles for the same purpose and equal rights to all races.
Jerry Rushing was not credited for the biographical details he claims were recreated in both works, and sued for royalties, receiving an undisclosed settlement. Rushing claims thirteen characters from the film or series were modeled on himself or people he knew.
Most of the Sheriff Department cars were actual police cars formerly used by the Los Angeles Police Department and California Highway Patrol.
Enos was often implied to be close in age to Bo, Luke and Daisy. In real life, Sonny Shroyer was actually closer in age to Sorrell Booke, James Best and Denver Pyle.
Enos and Cooter were the only regular characters with no familial relationships to any other regulars on the series. (Though Cooter was an "honorary" member of the Duke family, and his cousins appeared in his place during Ben Jones' walk off). Boss and Rosco were Brothers-In-Law, and Cletus was a cousin of Boss Hogg.
1980's adult film actress Karen Summer worked on this show for three years as a stand-in and production assistant.
Sorrell Booke drew inspiration for Boss Hogg's voice and southern accent from that of US Senator Strom Thurmond.
During the show's run, Sorrell Booke would often make personal appearances as Boss Hogg, wearing his white suit and hat, and speaking in a Southern accent. Fans of the show, especially children, were often surprised to learn that he was really a kind and courteous gentleman.
Of the guest-star sheriffs during James Best's second season temporary walk-off, only Dick Sargent (as Grady Byrd) made two appearances.
Ben Jones AKA Cooter Davenport was a real-life congressman from Georgia who also ran for the House of Representatives.
Many of the scripts for season five were written for Bo and Luke, and then just changed to Coy and Vance. Coy replaced Bo & Vance replaced Luke.
J.D. Hogg's official government title is County Commissioner. Among his appointed duties is to assess and allocate county funding for whatever Hazzard County needs such as funding the police department, road repair/work, and providing funds for other government run operations/departments. Of course, being crooked, Hogg uses the funds to finance his illegal operations.
During season seven, most car stunts consisted of either stock footage or the use of miniature models.
Tom Wopat's character of Luke Duke was a former Marine Force Recon Sergeant. Thirteen years after the series was canceled, John Schneider aka Bo Duke played a former Marine Force Recon Sergeant in the JAG episode JAG: Mr. Rabb Goes to Washington (1998).
Country singer Mel Tillis played a character in one of the episodes, and then later reappeared in another episode as himself, who was a victim of Rosco's "Celebrity Speed Trap."
The series aired three two hour TV movies, which originally aired as part of CBS's Movie of the Week. All three were each re-edited as two part episodes when the series was sold into syndication. In order, the three were The Dukes of Hazzard: Carnival of Thrills (1980), televised on Sunday, April 20th, 1980. The Dukes of Hazzard: 10 Million Dollar Sheriff Part 1 (1981) & The Dukes of Hazzard: 10 Million Dollar Sheriff: Part 2 (1981) originally televised on Friday, November 20th, 1981. The only two-part is The Dukes of Hazzard: Undercover Dukes Part One (1984) on Friday, February 3rd, 1984 and The Dukes of Hazzard: Undercover Dukes Part Two (1984), on Friday, February 10th, 1984.
In the first episode, "One Armed Bandits", a second General Lee can be spotted in the town square as the Dukes are being chased by the cops.
The Dukes Of Hazzard show was a actually a movie that came out in 1975 called Moonrunners. With Waylon Jennings as the balladeer. Ben Jones "Cooter" in the TV show but as Agent Fred from Chicago. Bo, Luke and Uncle Jesse did not have the last name Duke but instead was Hagg. James Mitchum played Grady Hagg (Luke), Kiel Martin as Bobby Hagg (Bo), Bruce Atkins as Sheriff Roscoe Coltrane, Bill Gruber as Cooter Pettigrew and Arthur Hunnicut as Uncle Jesse Hagg.
A 1969 Charger borrowed from this show appeared (without the 01 and flag) on the season 1 episode of Knight Rider; "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death"
The show premiered on Friday, January 26, 1979, on CBS at 9:00 PM EST/8:00 PM PST, which aired, immediately following The Incredible Hulk (1978) and proceeding Dallas (1978), for a few years, until the show moved it to 8:00 PM EST/7:00 PM PST, in late 1981, which proceeded Dallas and new show Falcon Crest (1981) and would stay there for the entire run.
Years after the show ended, James Best starred alongside John Schneider and Rick Hurst in Best's last movie, Return of the Killer Shrews (2012), which was a sequel to The Killer Shrews (1959). On this one, Best played a man who was employed by a reality television crew to return to the island in question, while Schneider played an outdoor hero.
Waylon Jennings sings about the Duke boys' acting as "modern day Robin Hoods", and indeed they are shown to be expert shots with their bows and arrows.
After James Best's death in 2015, Sonny Shroyer is the only mature surviving cast member.
Despite the show taking place in the south, Tom Wopat's portrayal of Luke often didn't mask his Wisconsin-native accent.
In the season 6 episode Cooter's Confession, and through all of season 7, toy and model vehicles were used for the big stunts, as were reused film jumps. Minor stunts were still performed by real cars. This was due to the expense of buying or repairing of the vehicles, and the fact that the show's ratings were dropping.
In 2015, due to controversy surrounding the Confederate flag, the TV Land network cancelled its reruns of the show because the General Lee car driven by Bo and Luke Duke has a Confederate flag painted on its roof.
While John Schneider was auditioning for the role of Bo Duke, he had borrowed a dilapidated pickup truck, who also had to learned to drive the Dodge Charger in the show.
When James Best was Gy Waldron's first choice, for one of the lead roles as Rosco P. Coltrane; he didn't want to do a program about gags and crazy things; when Waldron wanted him to be friendly with the many unfamiliar/familiar actors there. Best was surprised, later happy when he accepted the role.
James Best was living in Conyers, Georgia, when cast for the series. When the show first debuted (in its initial year), he didn't have to travel that far from his house every week and on other breaks to be with her family. By the time the show relocated to Burbank, California, he'd have to fly to and from the set.
When Rosco and Enos wanted pay raises, Boss wouldn't give it to them, therefore, Jesse became the sheriff once.
In many interviews, in order for James Best's real-life daughters not to see him play a ridiculous sheriff, they sought him to play a incompetent, funny sheriff.
James Best was Gy Waldron's first choice, as Rosco P. Coltrane, because Waldron saw him in the movie Hooper (1978).
Roscoe's dog, Flash, was never seen walking in the entire series. He was either sitting or laying down, or being carried by Roscoe.
Houston, TX rapper Slim Thug was nicknamed Boss Hogg since he usually drove a Cadillac convertible; the namesake later became the name of a rapper's collective known as the Boss Hogg Outlaws. The slang 'Boss Hogg' in the Houston, TX hip-hop scene, is a 1969-76 Cadillac DeVille or Eldorado convertible (during the TV series, J.D. Hogg's convertible was a 1970 Cadillac DeVille).
The 1968 Chargers used are identifiable from the side and rear: when No side markers or reverse lights are present; it is a 1968 Charger. When side markers and the round reverse lights in the valance panel on the rear of the car are present; it's a 1969 Charger.