The Dukes of Hazzard was an unexpected success for CBS. The show had an impressive run of 147 episodes, spanning seven action-packed seasons. Gy Waldron and ex-moonshiner Jerry Rushing are the creative minds behind the iconic piece of television. It airs from January 1979 to February 1985.
The brothers’ Duke, Bo, and Luke were certainly known for their crazy antics. The good old boys from the very fictional Hazzard County Georgia are in jettisoning. Over rivers and valleys in General Lee while narrowly escaping the grasp of the malevolent Boss Hogg.
And of course, we could never forget about the voluptuous sweetheart Daisy Duke and those scandalously short shorts.
Take a ride on the back roads with us as we explore some of the Dukes of Hazzard’s biggest secrets.
Facts Verse Presents: The Dukes of Hazzard Wardrobe Malfunction with Daisy Dukes
But before we crack open another jar of shine, make sure you hit the like button and subscribe to our channel if you haven’t already. Tap the bell icon to turn on notifications so you can stay in the loop with all of our latest videos.
Stick around for the whole video to find out what almost went wildly wrong in all the right ways with Daisy’s famously skintight apparel and how her denim shorts ended up in one of the world’s most famous museums.
Dukes of Hazzard: John Schneider wasn’t even a real redneck
But he certainly played a great one on TV.
He is only 18 when looking for his first big break in show business. He stumbles upon auditions for a new show involving a couple of good ol’ boy cousins on the wrong end. They get themselves into the kind of trouble that fancy car stunts flying through the air can get them.
Who wouldn’t want a role like that?
So young Schneider decided to pull all the punches to try and get the part. Even though he’s a New Yorker he put on his best Southern accent. Then he shows up for the audition in faded blue jeans and a cowboy hat. He even brought a six-pack of beer to seal the deal.
He made a couple more false claims that impressed the producers enough to give him the part. Claiming he’s 24 and that he’s a professional stunt driver – Spoiler alert: neither of those things is remotely true.
Dukes of Hazzard: Bo and Luke met in the loo
Yup, you heard that correctly. The two on-screen cousins and stars of the show meet while they’re taking care of their ‘business’ in the bathroom.
Actor and singer Tom Wopat calls to the studio for a screen test and Schneider is about to meet him. They’re in the bathroom, they’re in a conversation through the stalls after Tom notices that Schneider has a guitar. Why he has a 6-string in the bathroom stall, however, we never know.
The two hit it off before they ever saw each other. So when both of them flushed and left the bathroom, they soon found themselves on set with each other. This chance encounter in the lavatory adds the boost that the two need to sync up their on-screen chemistry.
Daisy Duke was initially inspired by Dolly Parton
Producers really were pining for Daisy to essentially be a carbon copy of the busty country music icon. They envisioned her as an aspiring country music singer that would always be decked out in glitzy turtlenecks, absurd go-go boots, and a larger-than-life blonde wig.
Catherine Bach on the other hand had other ideas. She decided to pick a few items out from her own wardrobe to see what would happen. Barely-there short-shorts, a tight t-shirt, and cowboy boots became the look that she would be remembered for generations.
So instead of a cut-and-paste Dolly Parton clone, she became a character that was uniquely her own with the folksy charm and dazzling injection of personality that only Catherine Bach could have conjured up.
The show wasn’t expected to make it
It definitely seemed like a long shot at the time for the CBS executives to sign on to. They had only expected it to be a short-lived fill-in for slot left open by the Captain America series that had just bit the dust. William Paley, chairman of the network at the time in fact had a very vocal disdain for the show, going as far as calling it “lousy”.
Jokes on him though. The show exploded in popularity. At its peak, it was seeing 46 million views per episode and the show lasted for an impressive 7 seasons. Oh yeah, then there’s all the merchandise and spin-offs, films, and even video games that were inspired by the franchise. But yeah….lousy…..right.
The Dukes of Hazzard was a true story – sort of
Or at least it was inspired by one. The popular series was based upon a film from 1975 called Moonrunners which was in itself a true story about moonshining brother Jerry and Johnny Rushing.
The brothers took their illicit liquor to the road in a custom 1958 Chrysler 300D. Their car was named after Confederate general Robert E. Lee’s horse “Traveler” and was equipped with a special piece of machinery that would dump an oil slick behind them to help escape the police.
Nope, that doesn’t sound familiar at all.
The most popular character wasn’t even human
The 1969 Dodge Charger affectionately known as the General Lee stuck a chord with audiences despite employing the controversial symbolism of the confederate flag and being named after a Confederate general.
In 2015, Warner Brothers would place a ban on the production of toys and other merchandise that included the Confederate flag so that obviously included the General Lee. Despite the controversy surrounding the vehicle, viewers sent over 35,000 pieces of fan mail to the General Lee a month – far more than any other cast member – Yes, even Daisy.
They put the General Lee through a beating
Whenever you saw that orange streak going through the sky plummeting over rivers, ravines, and on one occasion even a moving train, it was the real deal. They didn’t have fancy-schmancy CGI like we do today.
Fortunately, no performers were ever injured in the production of the show but the General Lee sure took one heck of a whopping. It’s rumored that they had to obtain over 150 different Chargers throughout the show’s tenure.
That wasn’t a problem until Dodge Chargers got harder to come by. By the mid-’80s, the car had become drastically less common. Not only did the production of the Dukes of Hazzard itself put a strain on the supply chain but the model that they needed stopped being in production for over a decade, thus they became harder and harder to obtain.
The solution? Whenever the crew saw Chargers driving around town, they would stop the driver and attempt to purchase their car outright. Even still, for the final season, they would be forced to use remote control miniatures for many of the show’s stunts.
Daisy Dukes wardrobe malfunction
Well before you get your hopes up, we should probably clarify that there would be more wardrobe malfunctions involving the Southern Belle if it weren’t for the input of the show’s producers. Catherine originally wanted to wear much shorter shorts than the ones she would eventually come to wear.
The network would have totally censored that if she went through with it. So they made some stipulations about her wardrobe if she wanted to keep the look she was already rocking.
They requested that she wear skin tone pantyhose underneath her shorts to prevent any wardrobe mishaps.
Fortunately, however, the denim shorts she was so well known for wearing would go on to bear her name.
Getting an article of clothing named after you is nothing short of leaving behind a legacy.
The first hood slide was an accident
What looks cooler than gliding gracefully over the hood of a car just to slip into the driver’s seat to make a speedy getaway? Even though this move would take root as legendary status and be emulated in action movies for years to come, the very first slide was actually a total fluke.
When Tom Wopat first pulled the move off, he was actually directed to jump cleanly over the hood but his foot came down too soon and he ended up sliding across the hood on his knee. He even broke the antenna off in the process and injured himself a bit – because of this they would nix the antenna on all the other future General Lees.
The Other Duke Boys
In 1981 during the shows 5th season, merchandising alone brought in over $190 million dollars for the studio. Schneider and Wopat, who had only received 25 grand a piece in royalties over the years, were wondering where their piece of the pie was.
So they figured it was in their best interest to file a lawsuit again Warner Brothers in 1982. The studio put their feet down and refused to pay up. The Duke boys threatened to hi-tail out of there and quit if they didn’t get fair pay.
Instead of immediately yielding to their demands, CBS decided to replace their characters with Coy and Vance Duke played by Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer respectively for season 6. Fans of the show were furious and the show’s ratings took a nosedive. CBS was forced to strike a deal with Schneider and Wopat and cede to their demands if they wanted the show to keep making money.
Smooth move CBS. Way to alienate your fans.
Daisy Duke’s Daisy Dukes went on display at the Smithsonian
It’s no secret that the show’s success was somewhat aided by sexy Daisy’s alluring attire. But apparently they were more than just iconic, The Smithsonian Institution deemed them to be a crucial piece of American History.
The shorts were displayed alongside other famous props from the entertainment industry including Indiana Jones’ whip and hat and Dorothy’s ruby slippers.
Yes, those Daisy Dukes became a national treasure.
Well, we certainly hope you enjoyed taking a closer look at the many secrets of the Dukes of Hazzard. Now we would love to hear from you. Who do you think was the bigger star of the show? Daisy Duke and her skimpy shorts or General Lee? Sorry, Luke and Bo, it’s nothing personal.
Let us know what you think in the comments section. Feel free to tell us about your favorite episode as well if you feel like it.
Before you move on to something else, do us a little favor and tap the like button and subscribe to our channel if you haven’t already.