Who hasn't had a crush on Daisy Duke, or on one of her cousins? Sexy men, a beautiful and feisty girl, great car with an iconic horn, and a rebel yell all stirred together made one of the campiest shows on television something great. Yankees do not understand this. The plots were lame, the villainous Boss Hogg like a cardboard cutout, and the basic idea behind the show was one big car chase interspersed with a moonshine still, sexy girls in daisy dukes shorts, and tricked law enforcement officials.
It should have been lame as a three-legged mule. Yet it wasn't, not to the redneck. Start with the name: Dukes. The name calls up several things: the Duke himself, of course, John Wayne, a member of the royalty, the scampy Duke of Bilgewater in Huckleberry Finn. But in the end, you have redneck royalty: a stick-together family filled with life and energy, an unbeatable car (that could run shine or kick butt on Nascar as easy as it outran the law), a patriarch who made moonshine, and a villainous overlord to fight.
It also, if you look at it right, is a retelling of an old story that is much loved in the South: Robin Hood. Think about it: the Dukes of Hazzard used a compound bow, they were always running from and outsmarting the sheriff, and though they didn't have a king to put in place (unless you count Uncle Jesse, who certainly would work), they were always fighting Boss Hogg, who is a perfect analogy for Prince John Lackland. It is also a ton of fun to watch.
The South was built on moonshine in a lot of ways; it helped many families endure hard times. During prohibition, the refusal of many 'shine makers to quit selling liquor may have been the foundation of the South's new rising. The fast cars that ran 'shine became a Southern tradition too, with their mechanics and drivers the Robin Hood heroes of the good ol' boy, eventually morphing into Nascar teams. Watching OUR boys winning against a clear bad guy, and often against carpetbagger clones, was thrilling and pride-inspiring. Where is there an equal in the television of today? Anyway, the show was canceled in 1985, and the movie, though Jessica Simpson looked mighty nice in those Daisy Dukes, did not live up to the show.
But the Dukes are not dead. Although the show was set in fictitional Hazzard County, Georgia, you can look in Hazard, Kentucky, for the living embodiments of Boss Hogg and Roscoe P. Coltrane, a fleet of 1969 Dodge Chargers, and plenty of Daisy Dukes and their admirers. This tiny mining town is tucked way up in the Appalachians close to the Cumberland Gap, but it's worth driving out for their Black Gold Festival (named for the coal mined in the region) in late September. Citizens of Hazard used to dress like the characters, all the way to the mayor dressing like Boss Hogg in fat suit and everything.
They still have a great street rod show, with lots of General Lees, and cast members from the show are known to show up. Or look on Amazon and eBay. There's a hot economy around buying and selling Dukes memorabilia, from model cars to the hard-to-find reunion movies. If you can't pick up the movies, you can get boxed sets of the first seasons of the Dukes of Hazzard. The show will look great on your big screen, and you'll get a chance to see the General Lee hovering giant-size over your couch if you have one of the really big plasmas.
The Daisy Dukes, on the other hand, will look really nice on your girl as she sits and watches the show with you. Remember, girls: Daisy Dukes will always be in style.
Fred Morris is the owner of RedneckandSingle an online community of over 18,000 single rednecks seeking romance, friendship, adventure, hunting, camping and fishing partners, and NASCAR buddies. Lots of Dukes of Hazzard fans, too. Visit http://www.redneckandsingle.com/ and find your own redneck