General Lee, Bo, Luke and Daisy Duke return to Livingston for ‘family reunion’
“I guess there was a rabid fan base when it was first around. And you know, there’s a few shows like Star Trek, The Andy Griffith Show, that still has its advocates, things like that. They’re few and far between, the ones that strike a chord like that ... There was no blood and no sex and no cussing. Just good, clean fun.” Tom Wopat, ‘Luke Duke’
It’s been 28 years since there’s been a new episode of The Dukes of Hazzard , but fans haven’t forgotten the CBS comedy/adventure series that followed the escapades of cousins Luke and Bo Duke in fictional Hazzard County, Ga. Thousands will be heading to Livingston on Saturday to meet the stars of the show during the second annual Dukes of Hazzard Reunion & Car Show.
Series star Tom Wopat will take a brief break from his role in Broadway’s A Trip to Bountiful for the trip to Louisiana. The actor, who played Luke Duke, will be joined by the rest of The Dukes of Hazzard gang. Last year’s event, which Wopat also attended, drew 22,000 people.
“I guess there was a rabid fan base when it was first around,” Wopat says of the show’s perpetual popularity. “And you know, there’s a few shows like Star Trek, The Andy Griffith Show that still has its advocates, things like that. They’re few and far between, the ones that strike a chord like that, but I can’t really tell you what it is. I think maybe part of it is that fact that it was small-town, and kind of a Robin Hood situation. There was nothing to be offensive. There was no blood and no sex and no cussing. Just good, clean fun.”
Similar reunions are held each year in other locales including Georgia and Nashville. Due to his work schedule, Wopat says he’s made a few of the reunions, but not as many as the rest of the cast.
All day Saturday he’ll visit with fans, who always have something to say.
“They want to know historical stuff about the show,” he says. “I always learn stuff about the show, just from people bringing different things. And the weird thing is that we’re seeing more merchandise, stuff that was never merchandised before.”
Wopat has been to Louisiana on other projects. The 2010 movie Jonah Hex, which shot in several Louisiana spots, brought Wopat to the state.
And, while Wopat played U.S. Marshall Gill Tatum in the 2012 feature film Django Unchained, partly shot in Louisiana, his scenes were filmed in Los Angles.
He’s been working on A Trip to Bountiful since March, and the play will continue until the beginning of October. Wopat co-stars on stage with Cicely Tyson, Vanessa Williams and Cuba Gooding Jr.
Broadway is where the actor, 61, says he can get a good deal of work, and he has a getaway not far from the city.
“I’m in north Jersey, about five miles from the Appalachian Trail,” he says. “I have a little log cabin in north Jersey.”
Wopat, who’s performed in several Broadway musicals as well, has a new record, “I’ve Got Your Number,” released in February.
A vinyl double album by the same name is due out in October.
At the reunion, Wopat is scheduled to join the rest of the show’s surviving cast members — John Schneider (Bo Duke), Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke), James Best (Rosco P. Coletrain), Ben Jones (Cooter), Sonny Shroyer (Enos) and Rick Hurst (Cletus Hogg). Sorrell Booke (“Boss” Hogg) died in 1994, and Denver Pyle (Uncle Jesse) passed away in 1997.
“We have really worked hard to work out the kinks from last year, and we are very excited about our new layout for the event this year,” co-organizer Scott Innes said. “We will move the car show portion to across the street at the fair grounds, and parking will be free this year. This will allow us to move more cars in much quicker.”
The Dukes of Hazzard cast and other television personalities and sports stars will start signing autographs at 10:30 a.m. The celebrities do charge a small fee for their autographs. Also scheduled to appear and perform are country music artist Doug Stone, Ben Jones ( Cooter) & his Garage Band, a tribute to the Blues Brothers with the “Brief Case Blues Brothers,” James Linden Hogg, CJ Solar and the house band, the Doug Owens band and Sizzlin’ featuring Claude Bryant.
Television personalities scheduled to appear also include Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), members of the cast of History’s Cajun Pawn Stars, Tim “Mountain Man” Guraedy of A&E’s Duck Dynasty, Glenn Guist, Liz and Kristi Cavalier and Bruce Mitchell from History’s Swamp People, and some of the cast of Discovery Channel’s Sons of Guns. Some current and former New Orleans Saints and LSU football players are also expected.
There will also be a midway of kiddie and adult rides, and enlarged food court. No alcohol is allowed. The title sponsor is attorney Sherman Mack, and Jim Hogg is co-organizer.