The Dukes of Hazzard is the greatest theatrical production of all time and this is the greatest book of all time!
There! Only the maximum praise can be given to this incredible tome! This book is not only a must have for Dukes of Hazzard fans, but a must have for the human race! We are not advancing properly as a species if Renaissance Books does not translate this great work in to ALL languages, so that every human culture of the world can properly enjoy and digest the story of the greatness, no, awesomeness, no, HUMAN PERFECTION THAT IS THE DUKES OF HAZZARD!
Hofstede tells tales that any fan of years gone by or the ever developing new fans that follow the show on TNN had to have wondered when they watched the show from 1979-85 or over six months in re-runs. The dumbing down of Rosco Pervis Coltrane. The change of the show from what I honestly believe were the five greatest episodes of television ever in the very beginning to the eventual dumbing down. There are so many tales around the Dukes. Hofstede explains almost all of them.
First up, there is the Jerry Rushing/Gy Waldron feud. Waldron, the writer credited for saving One Day at a Time and the guiding force behind "Billionare Boys Club" created the show, and relied heavily on many stories told to him by Rushing, a North Carolina bootlegger in the '50's and '60's who made an appearance in the Dukes' third episode as Ace Parker. If you listen to Rushing, many of the show's characters were taken from his own life. Waldron, however, did meet with 12 bootleggers. I have enjoyed great conversations with both gentlemen. Waldron does admit he used Rushing's stories, but not to the extent Rushing believes. Rushing claims that Waldron couldn't sell his stories until meeting with him, and doesn't respect Waldron's writing ability. Norman Lear, the driving force behind television comedies of the 1970's, believes Waldron is a good writer. If you think this is a difficult tale to weave, you're right. And Hofstede does it with class and accuracy, reporting not a "he said, she said" story, but an accurate tale that leaves both men coming off well, as they should.
You read how Dukes went from being a show based on Waldron's life experiences and research of moonshiners, to a Hollywoodized version of a country comedy written by the driving force behind such unfunny "think pieces" as Gilligan's Island, McHale's Navy, Good Times, and McDuff, the Crime Dog.
After a gradual dumbing down of the show for the first four seasons, we learn how talented the actors and actresses on the show really were. For it was Waldron's characters and the foundation that the actors created for them in the early episodes that carried the show, and Hofstede accurately reveals the writing staff's lack of respect for the show and for Waldron's creation, and how the cast hated them for it.
By the time Coy and Vance came in, the Scab Duke Boys, the foundation Tom Wopat and John Schneider laid out was gone, and certainly Bruce Howard and Co's writing couldn't sustain the show. Hence, the negative reactions that Dukes has developed at times. Hofstede again tastefully explains the contractual disputes of Wopat and Schneider and why they left the show, and gives the reader an understanding and appriciation of both the actors and Warner Brothers' side of the tale. And Hofstede adds poigant commentary that Dukes became a true family show after the none-to-soon departure of Coy and Vance, how the writing improved, and how the show was able to stay on for another couple of years because of that.
Oh, there are nitpicks. Devoting a chapter on the city of Hazard, KY (and native Kentuckian Waldron WAS influenced by the name of this town in naming his series) is a stroke of genius, and Hofstede does another superb job of illustrating what the series did for the local lifestyle and economy of the town. But why not also Covington, Georgia, the location of the first and best Dukes episodes, the real life Hazzard County where many of the filming sights of the show (such as the Boar's Nest on Flat Rock Rd and Oxford College campus) still stand today? And there's a major boo-boo on pg. 136. Dave, that's a Ford Torino, not a Dodge Charger that hasn't been repainted to a General Lee, chasing the Dukes in ep. 10, "Deputy Dukes". I also enjoyed how Hofstede wrote his episode guides, not revealing the entire story but rather giving us a taste so we HAVE to catch it again.
I do not ask that you buy this book. I am not telling you to buy this book. But your life will be greatly more fulfilled and happy if and when you read this work of greatness from cover to cover and feature it in your library.