I could go for some rural dirt beneath my fingernails right about now. Big city life woes gettin’ the best of me these long, sleepless days. Nothing that a cold beer and some Don’t Look Back from Tom Wopat can’t fix. Tonight’s spin. Cheers.
1982 was a good year for several, obvious reasons. The Dukes of Hazzard saw a bit of a ruckus when Warner Bros. refused to pay actors Tom Wopat and John Schneider their due royalties. This resulted in the Duke brothers’ 17-episode hiatus / protest. Warner Bros. finally struck a deal which finally ended the Vance and Coy era (“cousins” filling the lead rolls left vacant by two smart actors speaking up when they weren’t being paid what was contractually theirs).
Let’s see, what else happened… Tron, E.T., Tootsie and Blade Runner were released… The stupid-ass St. Louis Cardinals beat the Milwaukee Brewers in game 7 of the World Series… Grace Kelly, John Belushi and Ingrid Bergman died… I moved from sunny Southern California to the frigid tundra of Wisconsin… OH! And the Beastie Boys released their first record, a hardcore EP titled Polly Wog Stew.
8 tracks released on both 7” and 12” formats, the Polly Wog Stew E.P. would be the first, last, and only official release from the band as a hardcore unit, next releasing Cookie Puss which saw the Boys Beastie bow more towards a new form of hip hop (well, at the time).
Yeah, ’82 was decent, and oh so long ago.
The biggest, brightest marquee names in TV / movie pop culture, according to Alvin and the Chipmunks circa: 1982 are as follows: 9 to 5, Grease, The Greatest American Hero, Fame, Annie, The Dukes of Hazzard, Chariots of Fire, ET, Arthur, and Rocky.
It’s comforting to acknowledge how prolific and timeless The Chipmunks Go Hollywood still remains, given the immortal impact of these groundbreaking examples of visual brilliance. Why, just the other day while shopping for Boston Baked Beans at the corner 7-Eleven (the ‘Sev), I overheard a youth (a shaggy-haired runt in knee-high tube socks) exclaim to his dopey-eyed, sugar-pack-hoarding cohort, “You know Sly, I’ve been thinking, The Greatest American Hero is, in my humble opinion, the greatest American television show of all time. Wouldn’t you agree, good chap?” To which the sweaty wingman replied something inaudible, just before knocking over a wicker basket full of week old fruit.
The youth, like the Chipped Munks of 1982, got it, and The Chipmunks Go Hollywood still remains one of the most important works of modern day artistic expression, but that, of course, goes without saying.
The law might get ‘em, then again the law might not get ‘em too! I must admit, that the motivation behind the inclusion of John Schneider and Tom Wopat’s pop-country work into the fold (Bo and Luke Duke respectively), is purely, and without shameful hesitation, based solely upon their prominent involvement with The Dukes of Hazzard.
That being said, it’s about hot damn time for the yearly Dukes of Hazzard marathon. (More of a reminder for me, than anything else… let’s be honest.) Pour yourself a hefty cup of bootlegged moonshine, weld the doors of your mound-jumping coupe, and pray to the heavens that Rosco Purvis Coltrane isn’t hot on your daisy dukes.
There seems to have always been trouble a’brewin’ in Hazzard County. Uncle Jesse must have been puttin’ something wacky in that moonshine of his because there appears to be a lot more trouble in Hazzard than in any other county south of the Mason Dixon. Lucky for the good ol’ folks of Hazzard (and TV Land circa: 1981), two modern day Robin Hoods by the names of Bo and Luke Duke were always in the right place at the right time to thwart potential evildoers. Granted, more times than not, it was the Duke boys causin’ all the ruckus, but when picking the lesser of two evils, it helps to have a badass muscle car to tip the odds. With corrupt politicians, wayward cops, and the occasional out of town bandit, the down-home citizens of Hazzard would find themselves in quite the sticky predicament if it weren’t for Bo, Luke, Daisy and Uncle Jesse. Moonshine may be outlawed in Hazzard County, but sometimes it takes an outlaw to set the law straight.
The Dukes of Hazzard was my very first “favorite” television show (fitting, considering it’s basically a show about bootlegging moonshine). For me, the classics Fraggle Rock and HBO’s Braingames would follow in the 1969 Dodge Challenger sized Hazzard wake. Classic country, classic cars (often crashing and running into things… no wonder I used to draw muscle cars with smashed front ends as a kid… again, fitting if you know me), and the good ol’ “don’t let the bad guys get away with it” motif. What’s not to love, I ask you?!
Featured on this time capsule of a comp is Johnny Cash, The Hazzard County Boys, the vocal talents of Bo, Luke, and Daisy Duke (John Schneider, Tom Wopat, and Catherine Bach), and of course, Rosco Purvis Coltrane (played by the unforgettable James Best). For fans of the show, owning this album is a no-brainer. For casual Hazzard watchers, pour yourselves a mason jar full of your favorite brown or clear liquor, and leave the rest up to the Dukes of Hazzard County.