The Dukes of Hazzard - The Complete First Four Seasons
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(Aug 02, 2005)
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The Dukes of Hazzard was part of America's redneck fetish in the mid-to-late 1970s, otherwise evident in popular songs, movies, and television shows highlighting fast cars, truckers, citizens' band radio, moonshine, irreverent hicks, and clueless lawmen. Created by writer-producer Gy Waldron and inspired by his own 1975 bootlegging comedy, Moonrunners, Dukes milked seven seasons of material from the tale of a Deep South family of reformed whiskey-makers and their running feud with a greedy impresario and his chief lackey, a buffoonish, venal sheriff. At the center of the action is Sheriff Coltrane's nemeses, cousins Bo Duke (John Schneider) and Luke Duke (Tom Wopat), a couple of wild boys buzzing through the backwoods in the "General Lee," a souped-up Dodge Charger. Bo and Luke are good at heart but have to behave themselves while on indefinite probation, complicating but not halting their efforts to vex Roscoe and his patron, diminutive bigwig Boss Hogg (Sorrell Booke). The enmity runs both ways: Roscoe and Boss Hogg, with the aid of witless Deputy Enos Strate (Sonny Shroyer), dream up ways of eliminating the Dukes--including their wise old Uncle Jesse (Denver Pyle)--but their efforts always backfire.
While every episode is a variation on the previous one, predictability is a virtue. The series pilot, "One Armed Bandits," finds Luke and Bo, with help from their sexy cousin, Daisy (Catherine Bach), diverting slot machines (smuggled into Hazzard County by Roscoe and Boss Hogg) to sundry watering holes where they can raise money for Bo's girlfriend's charity. In "Money to Burn," Boss Hogg tries to frame Bo and Luke for robbing an armored truck, while in "Deputy Dukes," the unarmed guys are forced by Roscoe to escort a deadly prisoner from one town to another. The Dukes hit back in "Daisy's Song," investigating a scam that took Daisy for $50 and implicates, of course, Boss Hogg and Roscoe.
By season 2, the show, originally shot on location in Covington, Georgia, was permanently produced on a backlot in Burbank, California. While a couple of cast members (Ben Jones, who plays mechanic Cooter Davenport, and James Best, who portrays Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane) briefly boycotted the series in its second year, the actors relaxed into their now thoroughly cartoonish characters. Highlights include a funny fan favorite called "The Ghost of General Lee" (also co-star Schneider's favorite episode), in which Bo and Luke are assumed to have drowned when their stolen car ends up at the bottom of a pond. NASCAR legend Cale Yarborough makes an appealing guest in a story about the development of a secret turbo charger and Hogg's effort to steal it, while Loretta Lynn turns up as herself in a damsel-in-distress tale, featuring the country superstar as a kidnapped hostage. "Witness for the Persecution" introduces a recurring theme on Dukes: Occasions in which the vile Hogg must be protected from his enemies by hiding out with (gasp) the Dukes. The best of the season, however, may be "Days of Shine and Roses," in which Hogg and Uncle Jesse, after watching a film of their old moonshine-delivery exploits with the Ridge Runners Association, get into an argument about who was best and decide to resolve the question with a grudge race.
The predictability of the show in its third year by no means makes the series anything less than shameless, tongue-in-cheek fun. Booke's cartoonish villain remains an outlandish self-caricature, chortling over every (doomed) opportunity to nail the Dukes and/or take Uncle Jesse's farm through a crooked boxing match ("And in This Corner, Luke Duke"), a bank robbery set up (by Hogg) to appear that Bo and Luke pulled off the crime during the wedding of Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane (James Best, in "Mrs. Rosco P. Coltrane"), and even by pretending to be amnesia victim Bo's father ("My Son, Bo Hogg").
Fourth-season highlights include "Mrs. Daisy Hogg," with guest star Jonathan Frakes--destined to play Commander William T. Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation--as a counterfeiter who falls for, and thus endangers, poor Daisy. "Double Dukes" finds Boss Hogg hiring two thugs to disguise themselves as Bo and Luke, but the real fun with this episode is a recent commentary track with Wopat, Schneider, and Bach kidding around and reminiscing like naughty siblings. "Diamonds in the Rough" concerns out-of-town gangsters searching for stolen diamonds stuffed in a Bugs Bunny toy that made its way from the Dukes' hands to Boss Hogg's Cadillac to Roscoe's hound. "Ten Million Dollar Sheriff" is a two-parter in which Roscoe inherits a load of money, and--for a time--becomes a kingpin even more dangerous than Boss Hogg. Comedian Jeff Altman makes a comeback as master-of-disguise villain Hughie Hogg, who implements grand plans to eliminate the Dukes and salt-of-the-earth tow truck driver Cooter Davenport (Ben Jones). Sprinkled throughout the season are musical performances by Buck Owens, Mickey Gilley, and other country artists. --Tom Keogh
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I was SO excited when the First FOUR Seasons arrived that I immediately opened it and began watching them (without commercials!)!! It was like stepping back in time! My children now know what Daisy Dukes are, have picked their favorite actor, and questioned how can the General Lee stay in such good shape despite all the wrecks, jumps, and car-to-car slamming! I absolutely love hearing my 10 year old yell, "Yeeee Hawwwww!"
The DVDs arrived quickly and nicely wrapped in their own commerative cases by each season. Each case has 4 DVDs with approximately 6-8 full length episodes on each. I highly recommend ordering this collection and bring back great family TV!!