How did you get on set?
Well, I’m not sure I am supposed to really say this because we did have highly unusual access to the people on set (and a few other sets at Warner Brothers including Falcon Crest). In general, a close family member worked with some people on the business side of WB. The Dukes was the only show that had active filming going on that day.
Were you a fan of the show then?
Heck yeah! What 3rd grader wasn't? (I might have been in 4th grade. We can’t remember. I was around 8 or 9 years old.)
Was it a special occasion?
We took a family vacation from Maryland to California, and this was one of our stops.
Who all did you interact with on set?
We interacted with the production crew quite a bit. They were great, and some of the prop staff showed me some cool stuff related to the cars. As far as actors go, we interacted with Coy (Byron Cherry), Vance (Christopher Mayer), Cooter (Ben Jones), Enos (Sonny Shroyer), Cletus (Rich Hurst), Rosco (James Best), and Boss Hogg (Sorrell Booke). I’m pretty sure my Dad was disappointed Daisy wasn’t there that day. Coy and Vance shook hands with me! And then afterwards, Boss Hogg asked us to stay and watch them film a scene with him in the Cadillac, and then he’d take us around the lot. Enos, Cooter and Boss Hogg were the ones who were the friendliest with us, and who made an extra effort to talk. It seemed like it was fun for them to meet us. I think they were told what a fan I was, which seemed to add to the experience.
Did you get to talk to Boss Hogg? I'd always heard he loved to stay in character around kids. Did you get to see that?
We sure did. I don’t remember being introduced to him, but I do recall that we were inside and watched one of his scenes. It was a standard close-up shot of him driving, talking on the radio, complaining about the Dukes.
The crew explained and showed us how they made it look like the car was actually moving. Pretty low-tech stuff - they had a bunch of men with lumber angled under the car, manually rocking it back and forth gently while Boss Hogg was sitting in it pretending to drive. They did a few takes, and then did a few more without the car rocking, just for audio purposes.
Then we got to ride in a golf cart around WB with Boss Hogg giving commentary about everything we saw. Being the perfect age for this, I got to sit next to him as he drove. My parents were in another golf cart behind us.
It’s funny what details stick with me 3 decades later. I remember that Boss Hogg gave me a bag of corn nuts. Perhaps it jumps out in my mind because a) he’s cool and gave me something and b) I hated them and have not eaten corn nuts since. He was probably in character with me, although I really didn't notice anything unusual at the time. To me, he wasn't Sorrell Booke, he was Boss Hogg. So it was normal to me that he talked kinda loud with a “silly” accent (sorry, I’m from Maryland) and started nagging Cooter when we drove up to his garage. But yeah, thinking back now, he was in character and was showing off for me.
Did you have a chance to see the General on set?
Any stunt work?
What episode did you see filmed?
Lawman of the Year
What was it like watching the episode?
My parents and I were really excited to watch the episode. We couldn't believe how many weeks (or was it months?) we had to wait to see it on TV, though. But we kept checking the TV guide for the listing and were excited to watch. We had the script they gave us and kept checking against it to see when “our scene” was coming up. We were excited to watch it, but our excitement overshadowed the entire episode. I really don’t think we noticed the story, we were too busy cheering and talking about all the nice people we met. And we were just so excited when we heard Boss Hogg recite his lines that we knew by heart by then, and disappointed that it ended up being about 30 seconds of TV time when it took much longer to film.
Have you continued to be a fan of the Dukes?
I have very positive nostalgic memories of that trip, and get a big smile whenever someone talks about the show. I think it is one reason why I briefly worked in entertainment & the media because it left such a lasting impression on me. I will always be a fan, although I don’t watch reruns. I actually don’t watch much television anymore. But if I did, I’d watch the Dukes. I love hot rods and I love car chases. Come to think of it, I’m now considering buying a copy of Lawman of the Year on Amazon to watch tonight!
Thank you so much Lauren for sharing your story with us. I don't think I've ever had a corn nut, but I'd eat 'em if Boss Hogg gave them to me. It sounds like you had a wonderful experience. I'm sure jealous. You can follow Lauren on Twitter @LaurenFaith or visit her facebook page. Be sure to thank her for the great story.