There are a few items in the Dukes of Hazzard world that I qualify as Holy Grails. I've even made claims the these other items are the holiest of Holy Grails. These items include the tennis shoes and pencil cup. But this item, my friends, is the rarest, hardest to find commercially produced Dukes of Hazzard item out there. I have had many discussions with fellow collectors over the existence of this item. First there was a debate over if it ever existed. Then the debate turned to a discussion of whether any remained. All of the debate can be laid to rest. I have now added a Dukes of Hazzard Children's Swimming Pool to my collection!
The reason for the question of whether any survived the early 80's is because it's huge and incredibly flimsy. This thing could brake at any moment. It would be especially susceptible to breakage if, say, you were to fill it up with water and let some toddlers splash around in it. I bet 90% of these things were in the trash after about three outings. This is a product that certainly was not made to last. How this one survived is nearly a mystery. It came from a farm in mid-Iowa. The former owner, Nate, said it was in the barn, forgotten since the Golden Era of the Dukes. Barn finds aren't just for collector cars. It took quite the effort to get this prized item here. Nate really helped out.
Nate constructed a very sturdy crate to ensure safe travel for the relic. The size and weight made it nearly financially impossible to ship using a standard carrier like the post office or UPS. With some help from my pal Mark, I was able to track down a local shipper that was very helpful and brought this behemoth to me without breaking the bank.
I needed a little more than the standard box cutter to open this package.
This was my first glimpse of my new collection centerpiece.
Remember that moment when they opened the Lost Ark in Indiana Jones? It was kinda like that, but without all the flying ghosts and with a little less face melting. I swear I heard the same dramatic music though.
I feel like a big game fisherman with his prized catch. All I need is to clean it up a little.
Once wiped down, the pool really shines. The printing is only on the inside. The outside is a solid yellow.
The pool was made by Coleco. Coleco also made a number of other Dukes items from the plastic pedal car to the video game for their ColecoVision system. Ride-on toys, pools, and video games: that is a broad range of toys. Colceo was everywhere. Their logo is in the middle of the pool.
There are five repeated designs throughout the printed surface of the pool. The main color used was blue and their is slight shading with some brown. My first thought was that it was faded, but upon proper inspection, they didn't use orange or any other color. The pool is not faded at all, which is surprising for its age. That makes me very happy. None of these designs are unique to the pool; they have all been used on other products. The first is a logo shot with our three favorite cousins. They made a minor faux pas by giving Bo a blue shirt and Luke a yellow one. At least they have their hair color correct, which some items don't. For a swimming pool, the likeness is really good.
The next design is of the General evading Rosco by "skiing" which means driving on two side wheels. They performed this stunt a few times on the show, but not as many as you would assume by looking at the number of products that use this image. This image was the main one used on the Dukes of Hazzard bed set and curtains.
Next we see another logo shot with the name written in the familiar font. The Gen'ral is jumping over the words. This is also a very commonly used image. It was used on T-Shirts, stickers, trading cards, and other items. There are stars all over the pool.
Next up is a General Lee text image. For a product from the 80s where the fine details of the car like the text were often ignored, this is surprisingly accurate. Good job Coleco.
The final shot is the General Lee doing what it does best, flying. Again, we've seem this illustration before; it's a classic. I always loved the way the dirt is flinging off the wheels. This is a great picture of the General. They chose some good ones to decorate the pool.
The pool was most likely mass produced and then certain ones were sent to be "Duked Out." I bet they had other popular licenses like Barbie and Cabbage Patch Kids. The pool has a molded design that includes several outlines of fish in it. I bet there are other Coleco pools out there molded the same, but decorated differently. Or at least there were at one time. When I first saw these designs, I was looking at it sideways and thought it could have been a Barbie design. I thought it was an outline of her head, but Jeff pointed out it was a fish. Can't get much by Ol' Jeff. It sure is a happy fish.
Here is another fish that happens to have a star around its eye. Kinda looks like Jem, or Longshot. Those are some deep 80s references there.
There are two different fish designs in the pool. This smaller one isn't as happy as the big guy.
The smaller fish travel in schools.
The pool measures just over a foot off the ground.
And just under 5 feet across. It sure is big, and flimsy. It is difficult to move around. I have no idea how I am going to display it. But when I do get everything out and displayed the way I envision it, this will be a centerpiece. Maybe I can hang it from the ceiling or something. Seems like that's the only thing I could do.
Now you may be asking, "Larry, did they make any other swimming themed Dukes of Hazzard items way back in the Golden Era?" to which I would answer "Why yes, DukesCollector Reader, they did make other Dukes items that provided poolside summer fun." I'm sure that's exactly how the conversation would go.
Though not made by the same company, there were two Dukes of Hazzard beach towels released back then. Some people think there were three, but I declared long ago that third towel that is printed horizontally is a bath towel and belongs in the bath set. The first beach towel features Daisy in white Daisy Dukes above the General Lee. It has great artwork on it.
The second shows Bo and Luke with similar font and a different shot of the Gen'rel. Boys and girls sure were cool carrying these around the beaches in the early 80s, or around their Dukes kiddie pool.
The final item in the Dukes of Hazzard swimming collection is the incredibly rare (though not as rare as the pool) Dukes swimming trunks. My trunks came from fellow Dukes aficionado Rush. These trunks are definitely high on the grail list. (I should probably write a blog post just about Holy Grail items)
Together again for the first time. I love completing min-collections. This is all four Dukes of Hazzard swimming items. They look great together. I am so excited to add the pool to the collection. I wasn't sure I'd ever find one. Thanks to our new pal Nate in Iowa, the pool has a new home. Mark and Jeff also helped getting the behemoth here, thanks guys. I love my new Dukes of Hazzard Swimming Pool!