Thirty-five years ago this week, the world got to know a trio of Duke cousins from Georgia and an bright orange car called the General Lee.
The Dukes of Hazzard premiered on CBS and WBTW-TV13 the week of Jan. 25, 1979 at 9 p.m., later moving to 8 p.m just before the incredibly popular Dallas to create blockbuster Fridays for CBS.
The show went on to run 7 seasons – even including the dreaded “replacement cousin” years when Bo and Luke Duke disappeared leaving a pair of other “cousins” on the show with the stunning cousin Daisy Duke.
In between, the show had many changes, but it always featured a jump or two by “The General,” scheming by Boss Hogg or Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane, narration by Waylon Jennings (“The Balladeer”) and car chases through woods on red-clay dirt roads.
The show left many cultural marks, with Daisy Duke pants popping up in a hit song in 1993. The General Lee (minus the Confederate battle flag) appeared in a Bare Naked Ladies video in 1998. And who could forget the Duke's movie in 2006 with Jessica Simpson as Daisy?
The show started production in late 1978 with the intention of just nine episodes being produced, to be used as mid-season filler on CBS. After 5 episodes were filmed in Georgia, TV executives saw the show before it aired on TV and the bosses decided to move production to California – with an increased budget.
The TV show featured “Modern day Robin Hoods” Bo and Luke Duke as a pair of cousins who had been placed on probation for running moonshine.
Their Uncle Jesse made a plea deal with the U.S. Government to stop brewing moonshine in exchange. As a result, Bo and Luke are not allowed to carry firearms (instead, they often use bows, sometimes with arrows tipped with dynamite)
Most episodes dealt with Boss Hogg, a shady leader of Hazzard County, trying to double cross the Duke cousins. Other folks on the show included Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane and his dog Flash. Enos was a deputy that went on to star in his own TV show.
Cooter, a key ally of the Duke Boys, was a tow-truck driver and the owner of a garage where the General Lee was born.
Vance and Coy Duke were the replacement cousins brought in during the 1982-83 season when there was a contract dispute involving Bo (John Schneider) and Luke (Tom Wopat).
Every single episode featured Uncle Jesse and Boss Hogg. Cousin Daisy Duke was missing from just one of the 145 episodes.
The series was packed with guest appearances by country stars including Loretta Lynn, the Oak Ridge Boys, Tammy Wynette, Buck Owens, Dottie West, and many more.