It was 35 years ago today that The Dukes of Hazzard first aired. I was just a youngun and I fell completely in love with the show, the car chases, the adventures, the close-knit family, the values, EVERYTHING. For seven years, I followed the adventures of the Dukes, Boss, Rosco, and the other citizens of Hazzard religiously. Then one day, the show was gone. I didn’t understand why and was frankly very upset. It was like I’d lost some good friends.
Then in the mid-90′s, TNN started airing the show again and my interest in the show was re-kindled. The World Wide Web was in its infancy and I started a website that eventually became HazzardNet.com. It was one of the first Dukes of Hazzard websites online and it’s the only one still around from those days.
The show is still popular today and I give credit to the close-knit family and their values (not to mention the car chases and stunts) that made it popular back then. Hazzard County is a place where all of us wanted to live. We wanted a wise Uncle Jesse to raise us right, with love and a strong sense of right and wrong. We wanted cousins like Daisy, Bo, and Luke to confide in and share good times and bad. We wanted good friends like Cooter who would help us out of a jam and who we could count on when times got rough. We may have even wanted some good times messin’ with fairly harmless adversaries like Boss and Rosco, who would even occasionally come to our aid when things were dire. Hazzard wasn’t perfect, but despite all its problems, it was full of happy endings, a simpler life, and most of all family. For many, Hazzard was better than real life, and that’s why it was so appealing.
To some, Dukes of Hazzard was “just a tv show”. For some of us, it has had an impact on our lives that we could never have imagined. My spouse and I met because of our mutual love of Dukes of Hazzard and Rosco P. Coltrane. That led to us finding out how much more we had in common and eventually marriage. I’ve met plenty of friends because of the show and grew closer to friends that I found out loved the show too. I’ve had the chance to meet all the surviving cast and watch filming on the two reunions. (My only regret is that I never got to meet Sorrell, Denver, or Waylon.) I’ve learned a lot from the show, the cast, and fellow Dukes fans… life lessons (good and bad) that will stick with me.
Dukes of Hazzard is more than just a tv show. It’s a way of life. It’s a global phenomenon. It’s family. Happy Birthday to the cast, the crew, the stuntmen, and everyone who had a hand in making this show and bringing it to us every week for years. The impact you’ve had can be measured in more than ad dollars and Nielsen ratings. But I think you all know that.