Thursday, January 31, 2013

New 1/18 Scale Diecast Cooter's Chevy Camaro from Johnny Lightning

The "Fall Season of new Dukes diecasts" has extended into winter and finally wrapped up with the release of the 1/18 Johnny Lightinig Cooter's Chevy Camaro.  This is one nice diecast.

This is the first 1/18 Johnny Lightning Dukes diecast that is not a re-release and is also the first time Cooter's #99 has been released in this scale.

The car was seen in the season 1 episode "Luke's Love Story."  It is a lot of fun having a new 1/18 and not having to compare it to an old version.  This car has been released several times in 1/64 scale, and Auto World also released a slot car version of it.  Some of those releases had a white stripe on top, and the slot car had no numbers.  This version is the most screen accurate version.

Inside the car is more detailed than the 00 Mustang or the Rosco's Police Car.  It also has a roll bar which the General Lee needs.

The car wasn't featured that much in the episode, and little details like the license plate number weren't seen. The diecast has a blank plate.  The car had a huge hood scoop and Johnny Lightning had to make a custom plastic hood for this car.

It took some shimmying, but I finally got the hood off.  It really didn't want to pop.

This is the most detailed engine I have seen on any Ertl/JL/Tomy Dukes car.

The level of detail the JL took to recreate the unique features of this car is surprising.

They even added the numbers over the headlights.  Cooter couldn't race this bad boy at night.

The box uses the same design we have seen on all the recent Dukes products.

Yep, same blurb.  Feel like I've said that a few times.

This is a great diecast and I am very happy to add it to the Dukes collection.  Releases like this are great because they add depth to the Dukes line.  There are rumors of Daisy's Road Runner Satellite/Road Runner coming out soon.  I can see other cars from the episode "Luke's Love Story" released in the future like the #13 Lucifer.  They seem to like releasing cars that belong to Cooter so why not his purple Road Runner?  I love these seldom seen race cars, but seeing the mainstream cars like Daisy's Jeep, Boss's Caddy, Jesse's Pickup, and Cooter's Tow Truck would be great.  But I know they usually need to have the cast of the car already available to them, and classic muscle cars are much more common in the scale than other cars.

The four cars that have been released in the last year are the Auto World General Lee, Rosco's Police Car, the incorrectly labeled Cooter's Ford Mustang (which is actually Buzz's 00 Mustang), and Cooter's Chevy Camaro.

These are great looking cars.

I got them all out.  Did you think I wasn't gonna have some fun with them?

The first annual DukesCollector over-carpet front office race is about to start.  The racers include Rosco in his patrol car, Cooter in his Camaro, Buzz in the Double Zero, and Bo and Luke in the crowd favorite General Lee.  The race begins.

Early on it looks like Boss Hogg paid off Buzz and and he is trying to take the General Lee out of the race. Cooter takes an early lead.

After the turn, Cooter and Buzz are battling it out for first place, while Rosco is now trying to get those Dukes boys.  But the General narrowly missed the Police car by going on two wheels.

At the finish line, the General Lee jumped over the competion to win the race.  Cooter came in second, Buzz in third, and Rosco crashed before he finished.  What a race!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dukes Family Festival in Hagerstown, MD - June 22, 2013

This is very exciting.  This summer the Hagerstown Speedway in Hagerstown, MD is hosting a big Dukes event and they will have five cast members signing autographs and meeting fans.  This is the closest a Dukes event has ever been to me.  I can jump on Route 68 and be in Hagerstown in a little over two hours.  Cooter, Daisy, Rosco, Enos, and Cletus are all going to be there.  They are also going to have music, racing, and wrestling.  I have been in contact with the organizers and they are true Dukes fans, our kind of people.  They have specials planned for General Lee owners as well.  If you have a General (you lucky dog) and plan on taking it, they ask that you call the speedway, 301-582-0640, starting February 4.  Any other questions or comments about the event can be sent to me or the speedway.  This should be a very special event.  I can't wait.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Django Unchained - A Dukes Fanatic's Review

Ok, so I am a little late to the party.  I finally saw Django Unchained over the weekend.  It was an excellent movie.  It depicts one of the darkest periods of our nation's history, but it has a great message and very strong characters.  If you can handle a large amount of profanity and gore, you should really see it.  It also has quite a few little additions that a Dukes fan might might find interesting.

Quentin Tarantino has a small history with the Dukes.  He studied acting under our own James Best.  Whether these aspects of the movie are actually related to love for the Dukes of Hazzard or purely a Dukes fanatic (me) digging for connections between the movie and the Dukes may never be fully divulged, but it's fun to think they are there intentionally.

The first and most obvious connection is Luke Duke himself. Tom Wopat is in the movie!  He plays a U. S. Marshal and  marshals in film and TV are some of the coolest law enforcement officers. (One of the coolest is Raylan Givens on Justified.)  Mr. Wopat plays Marshal Gill Tatum.  During his brief screen time, his marshal is nearly as cool as Raylan.  It's always great to see Dukes cast members on the big screen.

The second is our pal M. C. Gainey.  He played Rosco in the Dukes movie.  He has a brief but memorable role in Django as Big John Brittle.

Here's a picture of me and M. C. at the Premiere of the Dukes movie. He's a big guy.  He was also in Lost.  I met him right after his character was introduced on Lost.  It was fun to talk to him about that.

Walton Goggins was also in Django.  This is not a picture of him in the movie, but it's from Sons of Anarchy.  I couldn't resist posting it.  Walton doesn't have direct connections to Dukes, but he plays the son of M. C. Gainey on Justified, and while playing Shane on The Shield, he was often made fun of for being a hillbilly and a few of those jokes included Dukes references.

The other references weren't as obvious.  But, I believe they were intentional.  There were two characters named Rosco.  One was a horse, but one was a human.  Maybe that was a nod to Quentin's acting teacher, hopefully not the horse.  The final two are locations where the movie took place.  The main characters traveled to Gatlinburg, the home of Cooter's Place, and the entire third act of the movie took place in Chickasaw County.  On the Dukes, Chickasaw neighbored Hazzard.  I realize these are popular southern locations and having them in the movie probably has nothing to do with Dukes, but a fan can dream.

I have a personal story about Quentin Tarantino and the Dukes.  In June of 2005 I was invited to the premiere of George A. Romero's Land of the Dead in Pittsburgh.  The zombie movie takes place around the Steel City, like most of his movies do.  Tarantino is close friends with Romero and also attended the premiere.  At the after party, I met Quentin in the bathroom, of all places.  I talked about how the beginning of the movie took place in my home town, Brownsville, and the characters joking about the area being dead even before the zombies arrived.  Fast forward to July 28, 2005, one of the greatest days of my life.  I was in the Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood for the Dukes of Hazzard movie premiere.  Before the movie started, but after the red carpet experience, I was walking around the historic theater taking in the atmosphere.  I was in awe of all the stars.  Quentin Tarantino was sitting in the last row with Seth Green.  Quentin actually stopped me, recognized me, and asked what I was doing there.  I explained to him the whole story about my love for the Dukes, my role as an extra, and about being a guest of director Jay Chandrasekhar.  He was very happy for me.  He couldn't have been nicer to me.  I even told Seth that I liked Robot Chicken.  That was just one of the many amazing things that happened to me that day.  I'll eventually get them all here on the blog.

Go see Django Unchained.  You won't regret it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dukes of Hazzard Video Games - 100th Post

The Dukes of Hazzard is a popular property.  It has had its ups and downs, but it has remained popular since 1979.  Video games have become increasingly popular over roughly those same thirty-four years.  Of course the two would have to intersect.  This is my 100th blog post here on DukesCollector.  I thought it would be fitting to celebrate with a discussion on all of the Dukes of Hazzard Video games that we have been treated to.  This post will include pictures of the game cartridges, discs, and boxes as well as video of each game in action.  Please enjoy my 100th post: Dukes Of Hazzard Video Games.

The first Dukes video game came out in 1984. It was released for the ColecoVision Family Entertainment System by Coleco.  It was also compatible with the Adam system, though I don't know what that is.  This game was the only Golden Era of Dukes video game.

I have one game with the original box and one French language version of the game.  

The game follows an original story about Jeremiah Stinge, a scheming financier and his dastardly plot to capture Daisy and hit the road.  You play as Bo and Luke and you must chase him down while keeping an eye on your rear-view mirror and not let Boss Hogg catch you.  I find it interesting that they would introduce a new villain just for the game.  It is also strange that Boss chases you and not Rosco.

Playing this game proved to be a challenge.  Not that game itself, but gathering everything needed to make it work.  Jeff happened to have a ColecoVision at his house.  The first time we hooked it up, we thought we could play Dukes but found out we needed the above pictured Expansion Module 2.  Jeff didn't have one, so we spent some time playing Dig Dug, Smurfs, Centipede, and Q*bert.  I searched the internet for one, but couldn't justify paying for something I would use for about 10 minutes tops.  I ended up at the Video Game Vault in Uniontown, PA and they were nice enough to loan me the module so I could play the game.  I was surprised the the module had a gas pedal included.  I don't think newer steering wheel add-ons have that today.

The story is in no way portrayed in the game.  You just drive and try not to crash or get caught.  But I was surprised with the graphics and controls from 1984.  I don't remember anything on Nintendo being like this.  It certainly had a Pole Position arcade game feel to it.  I also like the digital dixie horn sound effect.

You have to install the standard ColecoVision controller into the module and the joystick acts as a gearshift.  You have to drive with your left hand, shift gears with your right, and accelerate with your foot.  That's a lot of coordination for an early 80s video game.  It isn't easy either.

Here is a video of Jeff playing the game.  He was better at it than me.  Notice how much you have to turn the wheel for the car to turn.  As expected, the game was fun for about 10 minutes.  I'm glad I got to play it once, but I don't need to ever play it again.  I am very grateful to the Game Vault for loaning me the steering wheel and of course Jeff for having the console in his basement.  Video games have come a long way since 1984.

The mid to late 80s saw the explosion in popularity of the Nintendo and later the Sega Genesis.  But of course this was the Dark Ages for the Dukes and there were to be no video games.  But the silver Era sure brought a wealth of them.

The Dukes of Hazzard: Racing for Home came out in 1999 for the Sony Playstation.  It was an immediate success.

The box featured new artwork that had not been used on any other Dukes merchandise.  This game again introduces a new villain.  This time around, Black Jack Perril kidnaps Daisy to get revenge on Uncle Jesse.  Poor video game Daisy, she needs to duke it out.  This game featured the voice talents of all of the living cast members except John Schneider.  Waylon Jennings also reprised his role as Balladeer for this video game,  something he did not do for the reunion movies when he was still alive.  You got to drive the General Lee and other cars from the show.  For some reason, the General is not a Charger in this game, it's close, but just not right.

The game was a world of difference from the Coleco game.  In 1999, I was at a point in my life where I didn't think I needed to buy another video game console.  The last one I had was a Sega Saturn and I hadn't played it in years.  But if Dukes was coming out for PS1, I needed to own a PS1.  I have had every Playstation since.  Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in, to video gaming.

The game was a huge hit.  It was later rereleased as a Greatest Hit on Playstation.

It was also released for PC.  The box for the PC game was huge.  The box says the Playstation was a top ten game.

The PC version came out a year later and is the same game as the Playstation.  I loaded it on to my work computer, and it works just as well.  It's fun to have the game at work.

Racing For Home was also released for the Game Boy Color.  Again, I had a Gameboy back when they first came out, but I had to play this game so I bought a Gameboy Advance when this game was released.  Given the limited capabilities of the Game Boy, this game is quite different from the PS1 version.  It features a top down view of the cars and a limited version of the story.  You do get to drive different cars other than the General, including Daisy's Jeep and Uncle Jesse's Pickup.  This is what a Dukes game would have been if it was released for Nintendo in the 80s.  Maybe Super Nintendo.

The original Playstation game was such a success that it was quickly followed up with a sequel.

At the same time the Gameboy and PC versions of the first game came out, Dukes of Hazzard II: Daisy Dukes It Out was released for Playstation.  About time video game Daisy got some revenge.  This time around, John Schneider was also a part of the cast, along with everyone else.  The game was very similar to the original, but had a deeper story, and more gameplay.  Daisy was the center of this story, and she didn't even get kidnapped this time.

This cardboard stand-up display that I was lucky enough to get my hands on promotes the release of Daisy Dukes It Out for Playstation as well as the original on Playstation Greatest Hits, Gameboy, and PC.

Shortly after the release of the second game in the series, the Playstation 2 was released in 2000.  Video gamers were taken to another level of gameplay.  It took a little time for another Dukes game to come out, but fans were treated with the Dukes on the next level in 2004 with The Dukes Of Hazzard: Return of the General Lee.

This game was released on both consoles of the time, Playstation 2 and X-Box.  At this point, I already had a PS2.  It finally featured a General Lee that was the correct Charger and was much improved from the previous versions. Inspiration came from Grand Theft Auto III, letting the player free roam through Hazzard completing side missions, as well as the main story line.  The only limit to the game was the inability to leave the cars.   

The box, once again, featured original artwork.  It also advertised the release of the show on DVD.  

Boss Hogg was the main bad guy in this game.  It also featured the 00 Mustang.  The story followed the Dukes trying to save the local orphanage from Boss, who was trying to foreclose on it.  Boss was trying to raise money from the foreclosure to build a statue of himself in Hazzard square.  Now that is a scheme befitting of ol' JD.

The final Dukes video game is a lot of fun to play.  Preparing for this blog post, I put them all on my Playstation 3.  I plan on playing this one entirely again soon.  The cut scenes really captured the feel of the show.  The game starts with the boys driving a black Charger and the first mission is gathering parts and orange paint from the junkyard to create the legend.  The voice actors hired to portray Boss and Uncle Jesse did a good job.  This is the last time the actors played their roles from the show, and the interviews, which were extras on the game, showed that they had a lot of fun doing it.  The Playstation 2 version works on the current Playstation 3, though the X-Box version is not compatable with the X-Box 360.  If you have a console that will play the game, it would be a lot of fun to play for the first time, or revisit.

The Dukes aren't as popular as they were in the early 80s, the late 90s, and mid 2000s, (Golden Era, Silver Era, and beginning of the Modern Era) so there are no more Dukes video games planned.  That isn't to say we won't get one in the future.  Every time WB realizes Dukes are popular, they release new products.  We have seen new items like the tin signs, and pint glasses.  Maybe soon we could see new video games.  I can imagine a General Lee driving app being huge.  Time will tell.

Thanks for reading 100 blog posts here on DukesCollector.  We are only getting stated.