Wednesday, February 22, 2017
The Elusive Arco Dukes of Hazzard Playhouse Cooter's Garage Tent
Behold! I've added another Holy Grail to the Collection! Gaze upon the esteemed Hazzard County Garage Tent, officially known as the Dukes of Hazzard Playhouse tent. Though it did not come with the box, it is in perfect condition with all pieces present and not a single flaw on the tent.
The Playhouse tent was released in 1982 by Arco Industries, LTD. Arco is the same company that produced the Inflatable General Lee and Boss Hogg Bop Bag. I never had a bed tent when I was a kid, but I remember seeing them in all those great toy catalogs from the '80s. This Dukes of Hazzard tent is very similar to those bed tents in that it is constructed to have no bottom and is very lightweight.
The top of the tent has a huge graphic of the General Lee jumping over the logo and also includes a rebel flag. The "roof" shies away from the theme of the tent and kind of reminds me of the Ben Cooper Halloween costumes that included the show logo in the middle of the costume; even though you are using your imagination, we still want you to know what show this toy comes from.
The rest of the tent is styled to look like Cooter's Hazzard County Garage. What a perfect theme for the Dukes tent. I'm glad it wasn't made to look like a more generic farmhouse.
The Gen'ral was probably parked inside Cooter's Garage getting repaired just as much as it was parked outside the Duke farm. The only other theme Arco could have used that would have worked as well for the tent would have been the Boar's Nest, but I bet parents wouldn't be too happy about buying their tiny Dukes fans a make believe bar, though it would have been funny to see the miniature "Cold Beer Good Eats" printed on the side.
The playhouse is a good representation of the Hazzard County Garage in tent form. Arco used the correct font for the word "Service" and the color and lines really remind you of the iconic scene from Hazzard County.
The "door" on one side of the tent lifts up so you can either get in or drive your Gen'ral in. There is just enough space for a General Lee pedal car in there, or about one full grown Dukes Collector.
The door features good ol' Flash waggin his tail. (There is a debate as to whether Flash was a girl or boy. Rosco refers to him as both on several occasions, but my favorite Flash mention is the song "Flash" on the Dukes of Hazzard album where the lyrics go "My old dog, his name is Flash, I don't know why cause he ain't too fast." So my go-to reference is to call Flash a "he.") I really like this artwork and enjoy the fact the toy manufactures in the '80s were inclined to include Flash in their products. The plush Flash toy is a great addition to the Dukes of Hazzard array of toys and I'm surprised no Rosco action figure ever came with a tiny Flash.
Each side of the tent has the same image of the General Lee parked under the Service sign. The artwork is very nice and mostly accurate, except for the blue 01s. Blue 01s show up on a lot of golden era products and don't look that bad. I like that they even took the time to include a roll bar inside the Gen'ral.
Opposite the "door" is another wall of the tent that includes another Hazzard County Garage sign and an office door.
This side is the most accurate representation of the Garage we all know and love. It even has different colored panels of "glass" above the office door. Nice detail!
There is a window above the sign that would be nice for parents to keep an eye on their little Dukes fans or for full grown collectors to make sure no one is hiding inside with plans to poach any holy grails.
I really like the inclusion of the candy machine beside the office door. When you're waiting for your General Lee to be fixed, grabbing a pretend Reese's Peanut Butter Cup is a great way to pass the time.
The tent is easy to construct. There are 10 larger poles and 16 smaller poles. There are also 21 yellow connectors. If one pole or connector were missing, the tent would not stand. I'm lucky that every piece is there. This tent made it to my collection after a nearly three year conversation. I came close to buying one from a friend of the blog, Adam, in 2014 but it didn't work out. Adam contacted me again recently and we were able to make a deal. Thanks, Adam!
There are two different Dukes of Hazzard tents from the golden era. Besides Arco's Dukes of Hazzard Playhouse, there is also the Dukes of Hazzard Fun Tunnel from Outdoor Venture Corp. I added that one to the collection in 2012, just a few months after I started blogging.
The Fun Tunnel is complete and I have the box. It has a very different construction format. You have to insert the poles through the liner of the tent and connect them in the middle. I planned on putting it together to feature the two tents together, but then I remembered that putting the fun tunnel together meant bending 35 year old plastic poles and that might not be the best idea. I think if I do ever put the fun tunnel together, I will get some replacement poles for it and keep the originals in the box. Here is a picture of the constructed Arco Playhouse and the deconstructed Outdoor Venture Fun Tunnel for your viewing pleasure.
Sitting beside the empty apartment bedroom above my office happened to be the rarest, most wonderful Dukes of Hazzard Holy Grail in existence, the Dukes pool. I thought maybe placing the super rare Arco Hazzard County Garage Playhouse Tent inside the super super rare Coleco Dukes of Hazzard Children's Swimming Pool might conjure up the Ghost of General Lee. I think maybe I need to have the Leadworks Pencil Cup and Children's Tennis Shoes involved and say a special incantation containing both Waylon and Johnny Cash lyrics for that to work. Oh well.
Adding holy grail items to the collection is so special. I would never have had an opportunity to find either tent, the pencil cup, one of the pairs of shoes, and so many other items if it weren't for this blog and the great people who read and share my posts. Thank you to everyone who reads my Dukes inspired ramblings and contacts me about items. I've said it before so many times and it is so true, I've been collecting Dukes of Hazzard stuff my whole life, but it's been so much more fun once I started sharing everything with the world through DukesCollector!