“The Dukes of Hazzard” premieres
On this day in 1979, “The Dukes of Hazzard,” a television comedy about two good-old-boy cousins in the rural South and their souped-up 1969 Dodge Charger known as the General Lee, debuts on CBS. The show, which originally aired for seven seasons, centered around cousins Bo Duke (John Schneider) and Luke Duke (Tom Wopat) and their ongoing efforts to elude their nemeses, the crooked county commissioner “Boss” Jefferson Davis Hogg (Sorrell Booke) and the bumbling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane (James Best).
“The Dukes of Hazzard” was known for its car chases and stunts and the General Lee, which had an orange paint job, a Confederate flag across its roof and the numbers “01” on its welded-shut doors, became a star of the show. The General Lee also had a horn that played the first 12 notes of the song “Dixie.” Due to all the fast driving, jumps and crashes, it was common for several different General Lees to be used during the filming of each episode.
The General Lee also had a CB (Citizens Band) radio and Luke and Bo Duke’s CB nicknames or “handles” were Lost Sheep #1 and Lost Sheep #2, respectively. “The Dukes of Hazzard” (along with the 1977 trucking movie “Smokey and the Bandit”) helped promote the CB craze that swept America from the mid 1970s to the early 1980s.
Among the other cars featured on the show were Boss Hogg’s white Cadillac Deville convertible, Uncle Jesse Duke’s (Denver Pyle) Ford pickup truck and various tow trucks and vehicles belonging to Cooter Davenport (Ben Jones), the local mechanic. Bo and Luke’s short-shorts wearing cousin Daisy Duke (Catherine Bach) drove a yellow Plymouth Roadrunner with black stripes and later a Jeep with a golden eagle emblem on the hood and the word “Dixie” on the doors.
The final episode of “The Dukes of Hazzard” originally aired on August 16, 1985. The show spawned several TV specials and a 2005 movie starring Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott and Jessica Simpson.