Ask anyone named Larry and he will confirm it: it's a special treat to unexpectedly find things that you like in random places (seriously, ask any person named Larry. Know someone named Larry? Ask 'im! Then you'll see...). These discoveries come in many forms; you might stumble upon an out-of-the-blue reference to something you love in a movie or a book, or you might see someone at a ballgame wearing a familiar emblem on his or her shirt. And sometimes these take the forms of giant marquee signs along the road in Phoenix, Arizona. Y'know, just as an example.
After spending five days in San Diego for Comic-Con (a great time, let me tell you), my wife and I drove east for the sizzling deserts of the southwest in Scottsdale, just outside of Phoenix. While we were less than four miles from our hotel, we saw the above and below sign jutting out of the pavement along East McDowell Road, and I knew that I'd have to see what was going on at the Daisy Dukes Saloon.
As we can see in the picture, the logo for the establishment prominently features the signature Dodge Charger from the show, though the "01" has been replaced by a "DD" that kind of looks like the Daredevil emblem...though I suppose that using interlaced letters of the alphabet is not exactly a new idea, at any rate.
If Western movies have taught me anything, it's that saloons in the American southwest must feature swinging wooden doors, spittoons, a piano player, 10-gallon hats, whiskey, and someone who looks a lot like Biff Tannen. As you can see by the above picture, the definition of the word "saloon" has become more broadly adopted since 1855.
I went into the Daisy Dukes Saloon in hopes of finding some references or nods to the show, but it looked like most other bars that I've ever been to, in that it had a bar, and you could go to that bar and order things like food or booze or, in a pinch, foodbooze. The bartender on duty at the time was very nice and accommodating (someone you could, say, tell all of your work and relationship-related troubles to), and I had a nice chat with a patron about the Pirates and how they just might not spiral out of control into another record breaking losing season this year. I was able to leave about 30 business cards at the bar, which was one for the win column.
If you're ever in Phoenix and want to stop by, the address is 5122 E. McDowell Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85008.
Seeing this bar at the branding thereof got me to thinking about the licensing issues that are involved in something of this nature. I don't know this for sure, but I'm willing to bet that this saloon does not operate with the blessing of Warner Bros., which, of course, owns the Dukes of Hazzard property, and as such, the saloon did not have any trademarked images present in the sign or elsewhere. But what about the name "Daisy Dukes"? Is this something affiliated with, say, Catherine Bach, or is it just something that a little bar outside of Phoenix can use and just fly under the radar, not worth the time of the WB legal department?
I did a quick web search and found that this saloon is not the only one in operation; the Google tells me that there are at least two more within the confines of the United States: one in Pembroke Pines, Florida, and one in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It's unclear if these three establishments have anything to do with each other, as there's a lack of similar branding (and an overall minor web presence for each).
A teaching job had me living in the Myrtle Beach area for almost four years. If the above oversexed commercial is correct, the Daisy Dukes Country Saloon opened less than a month after I moved away, and only a few months after Larry flew down for a week-long visit. This saloon is located along the touristy South Kings Highway and, at first glance, looks more to be emulating a Hooters-type atmosphere than the low-key feel that the saloon in Phoenix had. Oh, and here's a fun fact: the Jessica Simpson lookalike who appears throughout is one of my former students.
Finally, there's supposedly a Daisy Dukes Saloon located in Pembroke Pines, Florida, but judging by the associated website, I'm not entirely sure that the place is up and running (the online menu features such tasty items as "this is the place for the menu this is the place for the menu this is the place for the menu"). It's a bit ironic that the picture on the website features a woman wearing long jeans and not, well, you know, but since she is also nearly topless save a cowboy hat, I suppose I can let it slide.
This establishment is the most intriguing, though, based on a short description from the online Miami Herald:
Why cough up a small fortune for 50 Yard Line seats when you're going to spend most of the game gawking at cheerleaders? Hold on to your hard-earned cash and take a seat at this sports bar where the drinks are served by bartenders who sport the trademark short shorts and gingham patterned half-shirts. Catherine Bach, the actress who played the original Daisy Duke on TV, is one of the owners and the finishing touches - Southern rock 'n' roll seeping from outdoor speakers, door handles shaped as gas station nozzles and a playing card sized sticker on the door proudly displaying the "01", the number of the General Lee - are pure Hazzard County.This saloon, apparently, has aspirations to be something of a sports bar, which again is at least slightly different from the other two locations. And Catherine Bach seems to be involved, at least partly, in the ownership structure of this saloon.
So what's the deal? Does Catherine Bach own parts of each saloon? Is each operating separately, in different states? Is the Daisy Dukes Saloon a chain, or just a good idea that different people have decided to cash in on? Perhaps some of the readers of this blog can shed some light on the issue.
- Jeff McClelland is a friend of Larry who sometimes gets to eat rigatoni at his house on Wednesdays. You can find him on the web at teddyandtheyeti.blogspot.com and www.franksandbeansonline.com.