Spawned from the success of a movie called Moonrunners which came out in 1975. The movie’s creator, Gy Waldron felt that there were many more tales to explore about a bootlegger family. So, he reused many of the same ideas from the film to create a TV series about the Duke Family, the Dukes of Hazzard.
The Dukes of Hazzard focused on two brothers from the names-sake family: Bo and Luke. Their antics occurred in Hazzard County, Georgia, which was the source of the second half of the name. Aside from the two brothers, there was also their cousin, Daisy Duke, and uncle, Jesse.
Aside from the Duke Family, the Dukes of Hazzard also featured multiple side characters. For instance, the area’s local mechanic, Cooter Daven, served as one of the brother’s close friends. Then, there was Enos Strate, whose position as both a friend of the Dukes and a county deputy left him conflicted.
Before the series began, these brothers had been sentenced for their illegal moonshine activities. However, the series began with them under probation, where they could not carry firearms nor leave the county. Despite the constraints of their probation, the duo still got themselves into multiple antics, especially when they evaded the county commissioner, Jefferson Davis “Boss” Hogg, in the General Lee, a 1969 Dodge Charger.
The conflict with Boss Hogg went deeper than animosity from their less-than-honest past lifestyle. Boss Hogg was one of the most corrupt characters in the series. He would hire criminals to assist him in money-making schemes. Thus, the Duke family was justified in antagonizing the county commissioner. Unfortunately, Hogg’s deputies, like Enos Strate and Cletus Hogg, became reluctant parts of the commissioner’s schemes.
The Dukes of Hazzard remained on air from 1979 until 1985. Its seven-season run ended with a total of 147 episodes. Aside from these episodes, the Dukes of Hazzard also had two made-for-television movies. First, there was the Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion which aired in 1997. This movie featured most of the same actors and characters from the series, with the largest notable exception being the absence of Boss Hogg. Then, the series gained one final tv movie in 2000, The Dukes of Hazzard: Hazzard in Hollywood.
Along with the television show, Mego created a small line of Dukes of Hazzard action figures. These toys included figures of Bo, Luke, and Daisy Duke. There was also a toy for Boss Hogg. As with most Mego toys, these articulated action figures stood at 8 inches high and had wearable clothes.
However, in the year following, Mego downsized the Dukes of Hazzard action figures to the new industry standard, 3 ¾”. This new scale of toys featured the same characters as before in 1980. When the second series came out, Mego included new characters: Cletus, Cooter, Roscoe, and Uncle Jesse. Along with the decrease in size, the new Dukes of Hazzard action figures had clothing molded into plastic.
Expecting the new 3 ¾” action figures to be a hit, Mego designed multiple playsets, vehicles, and accessories for the toy line. The Dukes of Hazzard could drive in Boss Hogg’s Caddy, Daisy’s Jeep, the General Lee Car, and a Police Chase Car. Otherwise, players could set the Dukes on an adventure with Cooter’s Garage Playset.
While the Dukes of Hazzard television series continued for many years, Mego’s toy line did not. Mego discontinued the toy line in 1981 since they could not compete against the likes of Star Wars.
Other than Mego, there were a few other companies that created toys for The Dukes of Hazzard. ERTL was one of the most notable, for they created a few different die-cast toys for the show. They even released a 3-car set. ERTL also created a 1:25 scale version of the famous Dodge Charger.
In 2005, the series returned to its cinema roots as a Dukes of Hazzard movie hit theaters. Along with this new movie, companies like Joyride produced new toys for collectors. They specifically created a 1:25 scale model of the General Lee.
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