Dukes Of Hazzard – Synopsis, Cast, Why Did The CBS Comedy Show Get Canceled?

Dukes Of Hazzard
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Dukes of Hazzard is a Hollywood action-comedy TV show that was televised by CBS from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s. It was one of the most rated TV series of its time and constantly drew in viewers every week. The show follows the lives and activities of the Duke Family, especially cousins Bo Duke and Luke Duke, in rural Georgia.

The show goes on to depict the lives of the cousins, who are out on probation after going to prison for engaging in moonlighting in the first place, and their run-in with the quite corrupt law enforcement officials responsible for bringing law and order to their Hazzard County. The show premiered on CBS on January 26, 1979, and was distributed by Warner Bros. Television.

Dukes of Hazzard had an adventurous plot

The show was centered around the Duke cousins Luke and Bo Duke who live on their family farm, which is located in Hazzard County, with other relatives, including female cousins, Daisy Duke, Vance Duke, Coy Duke, and their uncle, Jesse Duke. At the beginning of the series, we witness Uncle Jesse arranging a plea agreement with US government officials in order to get his nephews Luke and Bo out of prison.

The pair had been sentenced to prison for distributing moonshine illegally. The agreement, which would see their uncle stop distilling moonshine, saw them released on a five-year probation, denied access to firearms, and not allowed to leave Hazzard County without the permission of their probation officer, Boss Hogg. The terms of their probation differ from episode to episode and would sometimes allow them to leave the county, but also required to meet strict time conditions.

As previously mentioned, the Dukes have to contend with corrupt officials, including their parole officer, Boss Hogg, and subsequently other characters like the resident mechanic, Cooter Davenport, who ended up becoming an ally to the Dukes, corrupt Sherriff Rosco, who is in on Hogg’s nefarious schemes, and Enos Strate, a naive deputy who is inadvertently roped into the criminal activities of Hogg and Rosco despite his best intentions. Subsequent seasons saw the inclusion of another not entirely willing participant in Hogg’s criminal endeavors, Deputy Cletus Hogg.

The fundamental goodness of the Dukes means that they are sometimes compelled to come to the rescue of Hogg, who is often targeted for destruction by his business associates, but who still dislikes the Duke cousins because of the way they are constantly exposing his crooked schemes. There were even episodes that saw the Dukes, with their refurbished 1969 dodger nicknamed General Lee, and their primary antagonists working together for the protection of Hazzard County.

Dukes Of Hazzard ended on an interesting note

The last episode of the show before it was canceled had an intriguing aspect to it. It sees the Duke cousins as they go skinny dipping and while they are at it, General Lee gets swiped by a couple of car thieves. This unexpected turn of events prompts an intensive chase from Rosco who thinks that he is after the Duke’s cousins.

At the end of the intensive chase, the vehicle supposedly carrying Luke and Bo Duke ends up in the lake and when neither of the boys’ bodies is recovered, everyone believes them dead. Boss Hogg seizes the opportunity to announce that Bo and Luke stole his watch before the accident. He also announces a $500 reward for the recovery of the watch and collects the insurance on the seemingly valuable watch.

The Duke boys arrive at the wake that Jesse organizes in their honor to relay everything that occurred to some of the guests and hatch a plot to force the truth out of the opportunistic and corrupt Boss Hogg. When the truth is eventually uncovered, Boss is forced to repay the insurance company and also pay the $500 reward to Daisy Duke who apparently found the stolen antique wristwatch.

The Dukes of Hazzard was canceled due to racial undertones

The Confederate flag, which represents the side that fought against the abolishing of slavery during the American Civil war, was a prominent feature of the show. The flag was emblazoned on yet another popular item that has been deemed controversial. The 1969 dodge charger was painted orange with the Confederate flag adding to the brightly colored vehicle.

By 2015, there was already an ongoing debate about the suitability of the show and the significant racial factors related to it. The final nail on the coffin of the show was put there by the horrible actions of an apparently deranged individual. On June 17, 2015, a white supremacist named Dylann Roof, walked into Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Charleston, and gruesomely murdered 9 African-Americans, including the senior pastor of the church and a state senator. Roof was a staunch supporter of the confederacy and its practices.

This horrific incident ultimately reignited the debate on the confederacy symbols, such as the flag on the hood of General Lee. TV Land, the TV station responsible for televising the show’s reruns was forced to pull it off the air and Warner Bros company, the show’s original home, announced that they would no longer produce merchandise with the controversial confederate flag.

The Dukes of Hazzard had iconic cast members

Dukes Of Hazzard

The cast image source

The show in its uniqueness presented viewers with a strong cast with some of them, like Daisy Dukes, going on to gain iconic status as sex symbols in the early 1980s and subsequent years even after the show ended. Below is a list of the cast and the characters they play in the show:

  • Tom Wopat as Luke Duke
  • John Schneider as Bo Duke
  • Catherine Bach as Daisy Duke
  • Denver Pyle as Jesse Duke
  • James Best as Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane
  • Sorrell Booke as Boss Hogg
  • Ben Jones as Cooter Davenport
  • Sonny Shroyer as Deputy Enos Strate
  • Waylon Jennings as The Balladeer
  • Rick Hurst as Deputy Cletus Hogg
  • Byron Cherry as Coy Duke
  • Christopher Mayer as Vance Duke

Read Also: My Little Life Cast: Facts You Didn’t Know About The TLC Show

Ernie Lively from The Dukes of Hazzard has passed on

Actress Blake Lively’s father, Ernie, was one of the many iconic faces to grace the show with their presence. However, he recently died on June 3, 2021, from cardiac complications. The actor who was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1974, had enjoyed a 50-year career and appeared in a variety of TV shows, including, but not limited to, The Dukes of Hazzard.

He was cast in more than one role on the show. First, he played the role of Dobro Doolan, a friend to Luke and Bo in the opening episode of the show, and was credited as Ernie Brown, before appearing in his most prominent role on the show as Longstreet B. Davenport, Cooter Davenport’s cousin who stood in for him at the garage in his absence in a lot of season 2 episodes. Finally, Ernie was cast in the role of a guard named Clyde in season six.

Ernie is survived by his wife, Elaine, his five children, including popular Hollywood actress, Blake Lively, and a sister named Judith.

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