The third season of The Dukes of Hazzard opened with a memorable two-part episode called “Carnival of Thrills.” When Dukes fans talk about favorite episodes, this one is always near the top. The automotive stunts, fistfights, humor and family angst add up to one of the best-written stories of the series.
Carnival of Thrills could be described as a coming-of-brains story for Bo Duke. After receiving flattery from pretty stunt-show owner Diane Benson, Bo eagerly signs up for the chance to commit what seems to be public suicide in front of a grandstand audience, committing to a 32-car jump. The near-fatal wipeout of the previous stunt driver is no deterrent.
Concerned for Bo’s safety, the rest of the Duke family attempts to stop him. Boss and Rosco also want to stop him for their own reasons, which leads to a rare cooperation by Luke with one of Rosco’s most brazen impound excuses. As the General’s impound turns into a date with a car crusher, free-for-all fisticuffs ensue at the junkyard. The General is saved, but Bo nurses a grudge all the way home.
Irate at Luke’s well-meaning betrayal, Bo shoots off his mouth until Luke’s own temper responds with a challenge. The first battle royale between the cousins Duke is memorable for its swift eruption and realism. The fight is broken up by Uncle Jesse who tries to restore peace to the family, but to no avail. Bo leaves the farm while his emotions are raw, falling further into Diane’s arms.
When the Duke family learns that the prior stunt driver’s accident was the result of sabatoge, they race the clock to stop Bo from making the jump. But the General Lee is primed and ready, and Bo is making his final preparations in front of a roaring crowd. Can anyone stop Bo before something stops him for good?
Carnival of Thrills ushered in the best ratings season that The Dukes of Hazzard would enjoy during it’s run. See why by watching it this weekend on CMT! Part One airs Friday Sept 16 at 2:00 a.m. Eastern. Part Two airs Saturday Sept 17 at 1:00 a.m. Eastern. Check your local cable listings. It’s the weekend, so go ahead and pull an all-nighter with The Dukes of Hazzard!