35 Years Ago Today: ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ Airs Final Episode
The Dukes of Hazzard had become a pop culture phenomenon by the time the iconic television show ended its run on Feb. 7, 1985 — 35 years ago today.
The Dukes of Hazzard debuted on CBS on Jan. 26, 1979, based on a 1975 film called Moonrunners. The show starred John Schneider and Tom Wopat as Bo and Luke Duke, two "good old boys," as the song's famous theme song described them, who always lived just a little bit on the wrong side of the law.
The simple, fun plots often hinged on their various scrapes with the local sheriff, Rosco P. Coltrane, and a corrupt local kingpin named Boss Hogg, their Uncle Jesse's nemesis. Catherine Bach played the Duke boys' cousin, Daisy, whose skimpy costumes were the progenitor of the Daisy Dukes jean shorts that have been popular ever since in southern fashion.
By the time the final episode, "Opening Night at the Boar's Nest," aired, the show had run through just about every plot scenario humanly possible that involved car chases in the signature General Lee Dodge Charger, spectacular car jumps, fistfights and tight costumes. Schneider and Wopat were even replaced for one season over a contract dispute, when CBS brought in two other actors to portray two long-lost cousins in a not-too-successful power play.
The cast talked to Entertainment Tonight on the set of the 149th and final episode, looking back with gratitude at an astonishing run of success.
"It's just been a great experience for me," Bach said wistfully.
"As actors, your job usually lasts six weeks .. maybe a couple months in a show on stage," Wopat reflected. "And to have something that runs seven years is just phenomenal."
"It's the only thing in my life, other than of course my immediate family, that has been around for that long, and I'm going to miss it," Schneider said.
The ensuing decades have held their ups and downs for the cast of The Dukes of Hazzard. While several of them have gone on to other successful roles, their personal lives have held their share of sorrow. Both of the show's lead actors have spent time in jail in recent years, and another cast member lost a spouse to suicide. One cast member went on to a seemingly unlikely career in U.S. politics, and we've also lost several of the stars since The Dukes of Hazzard went off the air.
See the Cast of The Dukes of Hazzard Then and Now: