Cousins Bo and Luke Duke live on a family farm in Hazzard County, Georgia, with their attractive female cousin Daisy and their wise old Uncle Jesse. The Duke boys race around in their customized 1969 Dodge Charger stock car, dubbed General Lee, evading corrupt county commissioner Boss Hogg and his bumbling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane and his deputies. Bo and Luke had previously been sentenced to probation for illegal transportation of moonshine; their Uncle Jesse made a plea bargain with the U.S. Government to refrain from distilling moonshine in exchange for Bo and Luke's freedom. As a result, Bo and Luke are on probation and not allowed to carry firearms or to leave Hazzard County unless they get permission from their probation officer, Boss Hogg, who is forever angry with the Dukes for foiling his crooked schemes.
The series was developed from the 1975 film, Moonrunners. Created by Gy Waldron in collaboration with ex-moonshiner Jerry Rushing, this movie shares many identical and very similar names and concepts with the subsequent TV series. Although itself essentially a comedy, this original movie was much cruder and edgier than the family-friendly TV series that evolved from it.
In 1977, Waldron was approached by Warner Bros. to develop Moonrunners into a television series. Waldron reworked various elements and devised what would become The Dukes of Hazzard. Production began in October 1978 with the original intention of only nine episodes being produced as mid-season filler. The first five episodes were filmed in Covington and Conyers, Georgia, and surrounding areas, including some location work in nearby Atlanta. After completing production on the fifth episode, "High Octane", the cast and crew took a Christmas break, expecting to return in several weeks' time to complete the ordered run of episodes. In the meantime, executives at Warner Bros. were impressed by the rough preview cuts of the completed episodes and saw potential in developing the show into a full-running series; part of this plan was to move production from Georgia to the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California, to simplify production as well as develop a larger workshop to service the large number of automobiles needed for the series.
Rushing appeared as shady used car dealer Ace Parker in the third episode produced, "Repo Men" (the fourth to be broadcast). Rushing believed this to be the start of a recurring role, in return for which he would supply creative ideas from his experiences: many of the Dukes characters and situations were derived from Rushing's experiences as a youth, and much of the character of Bo Duke he states to be based on him. However, "Repo Men" would turn out to be the character's only appearance, leading to a legal dispute in the following years over the rights to characters and concepts between Rushing and Warner Bros., although he remained on good terms with cast and crew and in recent years has made appearances at several fan conventions.
As well as its regular car chases, jumps and stunts, The Dukes of Hazzard relied on character familiarity, with each character effectively serving the same role within a typical episode. The only major cast changes through the show's run were Deputy Cletus replacing Deputy Enos in Seasons 3 and 4, and Coy and Vance Duke temporarily replacing Bo and Luke (due to a salary dispute) for most of Season 5. Ben Jones and James Best both left temporarily during the second season due to different disputes with producers, but both returned within a few episodes. Of the characters, only Uncle Jesse and Boss Hogg appeared in all 145 episodes; Daisy appears in all but one, the third season's "To Catch a Duke". General Lee also appears in all but one (the early first-season episode "Mary Kaye's Baby", the fourth to be produced and the third broadcast).
It was largely filmed in Hidden Valley in Thousand Oaks, California, with scenes also shot at nearby Lake Sherwood and also at Paramount Ranch in nearby Agoura Hills.
- Enos (show)
- The Dukes animated series
- The Dukes of Hazzard Reunion!
- Hazzard in Hollywood
- The Dukes of Hazzard (2005)
- The Dukes of Hazzard The Beginning