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 as a naive & stupid man. In reality Booke was an Ivy League graduate who spoke several languages fluently and had done military intelligence work during the Korean War. The character was humorous and almost like a human cartoon, 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.
In Waylon Jennings' album version of "The Good Old Boys", there is an additional lyric at the end of the song: "You know my mama loves me... But she can't understand why they keep 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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-5 This was also one of the episodes that Ben Jones, Cooter, was absent due to his dilemma about shaving.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Enos and Cooter were the only regular characters with no familiar 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.
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.
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 Roscoe 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).
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.
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.
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.
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 Author Hunnicut as Uncle Jesse Hagg.
In season 6 the episode intitled Cooter's Confession and through all of season 7 toy and model vehicles were used for the big stunts. Even reused film jumps. Miner stunts were still used by real cars. This was due to the expense of buying or repairing of the vehicles. On top of the fact the show had dropping ratings.
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).
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.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The exact location of Hazzard was never revealed. Many fans have suggested the show takes place in the hills of Northern Georgia since the first season was filmed in Covington, GA a town about 30 miles to the east of downtown Atlanta. A number of Georgia state road signs are seen in the backgrounds of various shots.