The Dukes of Hazzard, a family TV show which followed the adventures of two Southern US cousins getting in and out of scrapes with the law, premiered on American television on this day in 1979.
The escapades of Luke and Bo Duke, their Uncle Jesse and their pretty cousin Daisy in avoiding crooked county commissioner JD ‘Boss’ Hogg and inept Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane would prove a huge hit, both in the US and abroad.
Created by Gy Waldron and based on his 1975 film Moonrunners, the series featured Tom Wopat as Luke and John Schneider as Bo, two rednecks on probation for the illegal transportation of moonshine, in the fictional Hazzard County, Georgia.
In each episode, the pair would normally be blamed for a misdemeanour, and spend the rest of it trying to clear their names – something that would inevitably involve a high-speed chase in their 1969 Dodge Charger, nicknamed the General Lee after the Confederate Civil War hero.
Almost all the episodes were narrated by country music star Waylon Jennings as ‘The Balladeer', who regularly interjected his dry comedic asides on the action – as well as singing the series’ theme tune, Good Ol’ Boys.
With its homespun Southern charm, guileless leads, attractive co-star and comedy villains, the show became enormously popular with family audiences – and in its third season, would be the second-most popular TV programme in America, behind Dallas.
Spawning merchandising and spin-offs, the series ran for seven seasons and 145 episodes before coming to an end in 1985.