Thursday, February 26, 2015

New Dukes Stuff - 2/26/2015 - Framed Picture, Shirts, 45 Record

More Dukes of Hazzard items to add to the collection!  I love writing these blogs.  I have as much fun sharing my stuff as I do getting it.

First up is a 45 record by the band The Untamed Youth.  The song is called My General Lee.  The artwork is taken directly from the the Dukes album released in 1981.

I really didn't know what to expect with this single.  I've seen it on ebay a few times and never paid much attention to it,  But when I find something for a good price, I buy it.  The record is in perfect condition.  Wikipedia tells me The Untamed You was a popular garage rock and surf rock band that was around from the mid '80s to the late '90s.  I wasn't sure if the song would be vulgar or disrespectful to the Dukes.  I listened to it on youtube and was pleasantly surprised.

I've embedded the song above.  Give it a listen.  It has a real '60s Beach Boys vibe to it.  You can tell the band really loved the Dukes and the Gen'ral.  The synthesized Dixie Horn kind of hurts my ears, but other than that, it is a fun song and I'm glad I have it on vinyl.

The flip side of the record has a song called Tidewater Jack by Southern Culture on the Skids.  They seem to be a similar surf rock band.  I don't think either side of this record was ever played.

Next, I got a couple of shirts from our pals at  If they get new Dukes shirts, I buy them immediately.

The first one also has the artwork from the original album on it.  This shirt is very similar to one released two years ago.  It has the same artwork, but the other one is a lighter blue.  Both of these shirts are produced by Ripple Junction.

These shirts have very nice tags on them.

The other shirt is the same color blue and has a familiar picture of our favorite flying orange clunker car.

This image was used on a gray shirt that was released by Target that had the movie logo behind it.  This one obviously has the show logo.  This image was also used on many promotional shots for the movie.  In fact, it is the image I use for my phone background, and have for quite some time.   The image has been made to look vintage.  One thing I noticed is whoever made this shirt pays attention to detail and knows their Dukes.  The tires on this picture have been edited.  We all know that they didn't change the General Lee much for the movie, but one thing that differentiates the show and movie car is the white lettering on the tires.  Last time we saw this image used, and every time before that, it had the white letters.  This shirt is clearly a show shirt, like all the items released in the last nine years, and it was edited to represent the show General Lee.  Great job Ripple Junction.  I appreciate your eye for detail.  

This shirt has the same tags.

Inside, the shirts have a printed Dukes logo as well as Ripple Junction.  I really love seeing products with the 2015 copyright year on them.  Let's hope we get several this year.

My last addition today is a gem.  This is a 12" by 15" picture of the cast in the original frame behind glass.  This is a rare piece and I was super excited to find it.

I expected the back to have the National Picture and Frame sticker on it like a few other Dukes pictures have, but this one is blank.

This is a big picture.  Here is a standard CD (that happens to be the movie soundtrack) compared to the picture.

The bottom of the picture has a Dukes logo as well as Warner Bros. Inc. 1981 and the rebel flag.  I also included a good shot of ol' Flash in the picture.  He doesn't look too happy, but he never really did.

This is my favorite group shot of the cast.  They look like they are genuinely laughing at something.  Especially Daisy and Rosco.  There are a few different shots from this photo shoot on other products.  This is the best one.  I really love this picture and I'm very happy to add it to the collection.  It will be hung in a prominent place.  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Dukes of Hazzard Character Swaps

The Dukes of Hazzard did a lot of things right.  It was a hit television show that was universally loved.  It spawned an array of collectibles that I discuss daily.  Launched its cast to super stardom. Created a huge number of devoted Dukes fans.  Inspired a remake movie.  And still entertains millions today.  It did a lot of things right, but the Dukes of Hazzard really messed up when it came to treating the characters, and actors who portrayed them, with respect.  Throughout the show, the producers swapped characters with little regard to continuity or fan reaction.  The moves made during production would never happen on today's television.  Let's look a little deeper at these swaps.

The most notorious swap came in season five.  If you even know a little about the Dukes of Hazzard, you know about Bo and Luke being replaced by Coy and Vance.  The abbreviated story is John and Tom weren't getting their rightful share of the merchandising money from the show.  It's funny to think that these items I blog about are the reason Bo and Luke left.  John and Tom said "Bo and Luke wouldn't be cheated, and neither will we."  They went on strike and assumed the show couldn't go on without them.  The show shouldn't have gone on without them, but Warner Bros. had other plans. They believed the true star of the show was the General Lee and its drivers weren't important.  In a huge insult to the cast and fans, they simply wrote Bo and Luke out.  The first line of the season five opener from balladeer Waylon Jennings informed us that Bo and Luke left Hazzard to drive NASCARs and they weren't mentioned again.  Coy and Vance were introduced as "Dukeyer" Dukes that Boss Hogg was even more worried about.  Uncle Jesse and Daisy were happy to have the new Dukes fighting the system with them and Cooter was excited to see them.  There was no mention of Bo and Luke breaking parole or why Coy and Vance didn't use guns.  The producers just slipped them in, thinking no one would notice.

We all noticed.  It had to be a hard situation for everyone.  Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer were thrown in to the deep end.  With no warning, they were the stars of a hit show.  The scripts were just changed from Bo to Coy and Luke to Vance.  They even wore our Duke Boys' shirts.  It was a mess.  The remaining cast couldn't be happy about their friends being treated that way.

Imagine today if you tuned in to see Sons of Anarchy and a different scruffy faced blonde was at the head of the table.  This new guy wasn't named Jax, but Dax and all the other characters just accepted him.  Or Jesse Pinkman's brother was helping Mr. White cook up a few batches while Jesse was in rehab.  Or how about Adam and Barry leave Jenkintown to pursue their hair band dreams.  While they're gone Jacob and Alan get snuggled by their "smaunt."  It wouldn't happen today.  The producers don't have the power.  The stars are the stars and have at least enough control to stop it. Toward the end of season five, John and Tom settled with Warner Brohers and Bo and Luke returned. Perhaps they could have given a little closure to Coy and Vance, but they just sent them on their way and Bo and Luke were back at like nothing ever happened.

The Duke Boys were the most infamous swap, but not the only one.  Not by far.  They actually did one successfully.  We met Cletus Hogg early on in season 1.  He had a natural back story where he was Boss's third cousin, twice removed.  First he drove an armored car, but filled in for Enos when he was getting his tonsils taken out.  Enos left the show because his character seemed popular enough to lead his own show.  He went to Los Angeles to join the LAPD and Hazzard needed a deputy.  Cletus fit in nicely.  He didn't try to emulate Enos and was his own character.  There was an episode where he fell for Daisy, but everyone fell for Daisy.  Enos eventually returned to Hazzard.  In another misstep by the producers, they put Enos and Cletus in the same patrol car.  To keep the formula going, they couldn't add another patrol car and have three cars chase the General.  It was also during season five when Coy and Vance where behind the wheel.  By the time Bo and Luke got back, Cletus was gone with no explanation.  We didn't see him again until the reunion.  Even though they botched the end of Cletus's run, he was the only successful character swap on the Dukes.

You painfully remember Coy and Vance for not being Bo and Luke, and you fondly remember Cletus for is contribution to the Hazzard County Police Department.  But it didn't stop there.  There are other character swaps you may not even remember.

Ben Jones had his issues with the production of the show.  The story goes that he felt Cooter should have a beard and WB wanted him clean shaven.  WB did what WB used to do and swapped Cooter out.  There were two other Davenports that ran the Hazzard County Garage.  First B.B. Davenport drove the tow truck.  His name was on the decal on the tow truck and everything.  B.B. was played by Mickey Jones.  He has been in a lot of things, most recently he appeared on Justified.  A couple episodes later, B.B. was replaced by L.B. Davenport.  Again, no explanation as to where Cooter was, or why the tow truck decal now read "Hazzard County Garage L.B. Davenport Proprietor."  L.B. lasted three episodes.  He was played by Ernie W. Brown.  Ernie played Dobro Doolan in the pilot episode.  Weird.  Thankfully Ben settled his differences with Warner Bros. and Cooter came back.  I guess the reason they kept pulling these shenanigans is because they worked and the actor always came back.

Bo and Luke, then Cooter, and Enos, why stop there?  Everyone's favorite inept sheriff got swapped out too.  James Best's disagreement with the producers should have been fixed right from the beginning.  He wanted a decent dressing room when they were shooting outside of the WB sets. Rosco would often be seen getting out of his car in the mud after he didn't make the jump that the General Lee did.  Poor James just wanted decent working conditions.  WB wouldn't give it to him so he went on strike.  Just like before, they replaced him.  In the story lines, Rosco had to go back to the police academy for training.  Boss hired new sheriffs, but none could fill Rosco's Patrol Car.

They started off with Grady Byrd.  He was a familiar face.  Oddly enough, he had replaced Dick York on "Bewitched" years before.  After two episodes, Grady was replaced with Sheriff Buster Moon.  He was played by the dad from Teen Wolf, James Hampton.  One episode later Sheriff Lester Crab was chasing the Dukes.  He was played by Clifton James.  None of the characters brought anything new to the department.  Rosco was such an important part of the show and his chemistry with Boss Hogg was unparalleled.  James Best and WB settled their differences and Rosco came back to Hazzard with an adequate trailer.  Season two of the show was a weird one.  They also filmed episodes and showed them out of order.  Hughie Hogg, Boss's scheming nephew, was introduced in the episode "Uncle Boss" that was fimled during season two, but wasn't aired until season three.  After "Uncle Boss" was shot, Hughie was a replacement Sheriff in season two.  The first time you actually saw him on TV, he was filling in for Rosco, and didn't wear his signature white suit.  

But speaking of Hughie, he was swapped too.  After his reputation was set as a recurring character who came in occasionally, had a fool proof scheme to rid Hazzard of the Dukes, failed miserably, and was kicked out of town by Boss Hogg, he was swapped.  Hughie was in several episodes.  But before his last scheme, he was replaced with Dewey Hogg.  Now there isn't a well known story behind this one.  Mabye actor Jeff Altman was unavailable, or maybe the producers legitimately wanted to introduce a new character.  Dewey was very similar to Hughie in that he dressed like Boss and came into town with a scheme to get rid of the Dukes.  The episode was called "How to Succeed in Hazzard."  Dewey was played by Robert Morse who starred in the Broadway play and movie adaptation "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" in the '60s.  It seems to me WB was making a parody of that show.  Maybe they brought in the star of the play and movie as a nod to it. They did something similar with the episode "Cool Hands Bo and Luke" in season 7.  The actor who played the Colonel in that episode also appeared in the 1967 movie "Cool Hand Luke."  I wonder if they based other episodes from '60s movies.  Time for more research.  Hughie came back for one more episode in season 7.

Dukes was a great show.  Sure, it was formulaic.  There wasn't much character development and things didn't change much in Hazzard.  But that's why we loved it.  But trying to keep to that formula too rigidly resulted in some major blunders.  Character swapping was at the top of the blunder list.  I'm happy none of the swaps lasted (with the exception of Cletus who should have stayed until the end.)  I think the show would have gone on for several more seasons if the Coy and Vance incident had never happened.  But we'll never know.


Monday, February 9, 2015

New Dukes Stuff - 2/9/2015 - Pristine Radio, Headlites, Error Card, & 1/64s

I love sharing my new Dukes of Hazzard acquisitions as much as I love getting them.

This is a fleet of well loved original 1/64 Ertl Dukes cars.  I'm not exactly sure where they came from.  I think someone bought them for me from a local antique store and forgot to give them to me as a gift and then just gave them to me out of the blue.  I think.  They just kind of showed up recently. Perhaps the best kind of Dukes merchandise is the mysteriously materializing variety.  I don't know where they came from, but I love 'em.

This assemblage of affectionately assaulted Ertls consists of two Generals, three Boss Hogg Caddys, two Hazzard patrol cars, one Dixie Jeep, and a Cooter's Pickup Truck.  Man, I wish that line up included more alliteration.

All of these cars were played with hard at one point in their lives.  Both Gen'rals look like the after effects of real car jumps.  The left car has been flattened and the right car's wheels are crushed in.

Two of the Caddy's are probably the best cars of the bunch, condition wise.  The third might be the worst.  Two of them have the "Boss Hogg" lettering only on the driver's side, and the other doesn't have any.

The patrol cars look up to par with Rosco and Enos' driving.  They are a little beat up, but can still get the job done.

The Jeep and pickup are in decent condition.  I like the tow hooks on these two cars.  I don't know where these 1/64s came from, but I'm glad they are in the collection.

Next up we have some unique knock-off Duke cars.  These are Headlites by Galoob.  The word Galoob takes me back to watching toy commercials during cartoons.  I watched a lot of cartoons. Galoob made A-Team action figures, Smurf wind-ups, Nintendo Game Genie, and most memorably Micro Machines.  Remember the fast talking Micro Machine guy?  I'll pause here so we can all go reminisce and watch those ads on youtube.

Back?  Good.  So these cars are a little bigger than 1/64s and the basic gimmick is they have, obviously, head lights.  This is a nice gimmick and very much unique in the early '80s.  We're talking about a time when a few blinking lights constituted a handheld video game...Mattel Football

I always feel the need to defend these Dukes knock-offs and explain that they are Dukes and not just a random car that accidentally resembles our cars.  Well, the 04 and rebel flag should be the giveaway.

The fact that the two cars in the set consist of an orange muscle car and a police car also lends credence to my argument.

The fronts of the cars act as the headlights.  I would guess, as well as hope, that the police lights also light up.  Would feel cheated if they didn't.  The tail lights also light up.

I'm glad the creators of the toys made sure to explain that is was acceptable to play with these cars any time, not just in the dark.  Galoob!

Next up is a standard 8 inch Mego Boss Hogg figure.  Wait a second, did Daisy put on a few pounds?

Nope, this is a rare factory error.  This is a Boss Hogg figure on a Daisy card.  It is in great shape too. Someone had it on ebay for a rather high, but not unreasonable, buy-it-now price and was accepting offers.  I was intrigued and decided to start negotiating.  I threw out my first, extremely low pitch, and surprisingly, they accepted!  Score!  I got this bad boy for less than what regular 8 inch Mego Dukes go for in comparable condition.  Ha, I used an appraisal term.

The artwork for the Mego line was beautiful.  I wonder if the originals are out there somewhere.

Though I got it for a good price, someone somewhere once paid under six bucks for it.  Lucky dog.

Mego really did a great job on the packaging for this line.  It's some of the best of any Dukes packaging.

The final item in this bunch is a doozy.  This is the Dukes of Hazzard Portable AM Radio by Justin Products.  I have another in the collection, but this one comes in its original box.  I would consider this a part of the "white glove collection."  I don't have anything else in the "white glove collection" yet because I just came up with the term.  Items that belong in the "white glove collection" are so perfect in their condition that they must be handled with white gloves.  I have a lot of silver and modern era items in perfect condition mainly because I've been buying two of everything since the mid '90s.  "One to play with, and one to keep."  But to find something from the golden era in this condition is a rarity.

The edges of the box are only just slightly misshapen.  This thing is nearly perfect.

Opening the box only consists of lifting the lid, no need to tear anything.  The radio is still in plastic.

Of course, the most noticeable thing on the radio is the switched shirt color on the Duke Boys.  Luke is wearing Bo's signature yellow, while Bo has one of Luke's non-plaid blue shirts on.  Maybe they were in a hurry that day and grabbed the wrong shirt, maybe they wanted to switch it up, or maybe the designer of the radio thought there was no way anyone would be discussing these shirt colors thirty some years later.

The strap on the radio is perfect.  This thing seems like it was never been touched.

It is obvious that it never came out of the plastic.

Underneath the radio are the instructions and repair slip.

The instructions are very literal.  It is interesting how much thought was put into the instructions.  It's as though the writer believed the radio buyer never used a radio before.  I like the line about the "desired level of loudness."  I wonder how many people sent their Dukes of Hazzard AM Raido away to get repaired.  Now I gotta figure out what else belongs in the "white glove collection."