- John Schneider Talks About Dukes, Fans and a Celebrity Speed Trap
What is the ongoing appeal of The Dukes of Hazzard to its fans?
There is truly something for everybody to enjoy on The Dukes. The difference is that -- whether you're 7 or 70 or anywhere
in between -- it really is entertaining. Not like ... shows that parents want their kids to watch. It's a show that
they really want to watch with their kids. And it's been proved time after time, every time the show runs. It's family
viewing. People sit and eat their dinner and watch The Dukes of Hazzard together as a family.
Kids today have so many distractions in their lives, like playing video games or being on the computer. What would make
them want to watch the Dukes?
I think it has to do with Bo and Luke -- adults -- being really cool. (laughs) We're cool -- because of the way we
drive the car, because of the way we jump the barn, because of the way we have a fistfight in the boar's nest. Because of
my right hook. (laughs) We are really cool. And I watch my kids play video games, and they love games where there's a really
cool character who drives well, who fights well, who has some sort of a moral code to live by. And we have all of that in
the show. And it seems to have captured all of that at the same time -- unlike any other show, I think, that's ever been on.
Do you participate in social media like Facebook and Twitter?
Yeah! Yeah, I do. I wind up getting inundated with requests, so I invariably wind up slowing down on it, but I am on Twitter
and I am on Facebook. And the way you can tell it's me on Facebook is there's a black-and-white picture of my daughter and
I. And that's how you know. A bunch of other Facebook people are saying that they're me, but they're not. (chuckles)
If you could write an episode of Dukes, what would it be about?
I did, actually. I wrote the last episode of Dukes ever. So there. Yeah, I wrote "Opening Night at the Boar's Nest."
And I directed it!
When I was growing up, one of the hobbies I had was guitar, but another one was magic. So I was always fascinated with magic,
and always practicing with cards, and making birds disappear, and jumping into the pool with chains on to scare my mother.
So I wrote an episode of Dukes about a talent show at the Boar's Nest called "Opening Night at the Boar's Nest." And
one of the things that I think was wonderful about the show, was Jimmy Best playing Rosco -- was silly, but he had a great
appreciation and respect for Uncle Jesse and the Dukes. And he loved Boss Hogg. So I wrote an episode where Rosco -- "The
Great Coltrano" (chuckles) -- made Boss Hogg disappear from a big box at this show at the Boar's Nest. And, what he didn't
know was, that Boss went through the trap door, and then the bad guys, of course, kidnapped Boss Hogg. But we spend a lot
of the show with Rosco lamenting the fact that he has lost his little, fat buddy. So I was thrilled with that because I wanted
the audience to understand the relationship between Boss Hogg and Rosco. It wasn't just silly, and it wasn't just funny, and
Rosco trying to grab a morsel of food and Boss Hogg hitting him on the hand. I wanted them to see the friendship that those
two guys had. So if you watch that, it's going to be on CMT -- it's called "Opening Night at the Boar's Nest." You'll see
all of that, and I think you'll see what I'm talking about.
A lot of country music artists appeared on the show. How did that come about?
The first country music star we had was an episode called "Find Loretta Lynn." And Loretta came and did the show and acted
on the show, and it was great. What a delightful woman Loretta is. And that sparked interest in the producers and also at
CBS, to think, "Well, this could be a device we could use occasionally in the show." It was hard to schedule a week for Loretta
to come and shoot. So it went from -- other than Waylon, Waylon did a two-hour episode -- but we wound up having what they
call the "Celebrity Speed Trap." So the story was that a tour bus was coming through Hazzard County, and Boss Hogg had Rosco
set up a speed trap, and in order to pay their ticket they either had to wait until Monday -- which means they would miss
their concerts -- or they could do a free concert to pay off their ticket at the Boar's Nest. (chuckles) So we had -- the
first time the Oak Ridge Boys sang the song "Elvira" was in the Boar's Nest. Johnny Paycheck was in the Boar's Nest. Tammy
Wynette was in the Boar's Nest. Mickey Gilley was in the Boar's Nest. Roy Orbison sang "Pretty Woman" in the Boar's Nest.
(chuckles) Freddy Fender was in the Boar's Nest. Dottie West was in the Boar's Nest. So it was really a great thing. And it
was a wonderful way for me, who played the guitar so much when I was a kid, to really get my feet wet with regard to meeting
these legendary country music folks, which helped me later on when I started recording and releasing records through MCA in
Speaking of country music, you've had four No. 1 songs on the charts.
Yep, four No. 1 songs, the good old days. I just redid the theme from Dukes, and I'm hoping that song will spark interest
once again in my music. 'Cause I've got some songs on iTunes, but there's no label and you know, the music business is an
entirely different thing right now, with downloads rather than inventory. So I'm hoping to get back into that 'cause I miss
it. I miss it. I used to work there in Nashville, and lived with Johnny Cash, and sang with Harlan Howard and Sonny Curtis,
and a bunch of really terrific folks. I toured with Dottie West and Conway Twitty, and Alabama and the Oak Ridge Boys. So
I miss that part of my life, and I'm hoping that perhaps having Dukes back on and having a video on CMT might actually
bring that back.
Fans at DukesFest have waited in line for hours to meet you. Who are you a fan of? Who would you stand in line to see?
Who am I a fan of? WOW. Well ... once you've lived with Johnny Cash, it's hard to be impressed. (laughs) But I would stand
in line ... I miss Dottie West so much. If given the opportunity, I would stand in line for a week to go to another
Dottie West concert. I think she truly was the greatest, gutsiest, most true female country singer. So that's who I'm
a fan of. As far as today goes, I'm a big Montgomery Gentry fan. I'd love to go see them play. I knew Tim McGraw before, so
I'd very much like to see him play. I'd stand in line for a Tim McGraw concert, but I'd like to hope I'd have a pass. (laughs)
I heard that you fix up General Lee cars.
I do. I haven't done it in a while, but I'm thinking about doing that again, as well. The last one I had, I sold at the Barrett-Jackson
auction in Scottsdale, Ariz. So that was fun. But now that the show is back -- you know, everything changes when the show
is back on the air. I've got the itch again. I might go somewhere and find a '69 Charger and, much to the chagrin of my wife,
I'll start restoring it in my garage. (laughs)
What other projects do you have coming up?
I just did a movie called Doonby -- we shot it in Smithville, Texas -- where I play a blues-guitar-playing bartender
who drifts into town and tries to the right thing. The town is having some issues, and he tries to help out. And it's really
good because it was a great opportunity for me. It's a terrific script, but I got to play the guitar and bring my music back
to the screen, which I hadn't really done before. I've kind of kept them separate. So this is a great opportunity for me and
to get to sing some terrific songs. I play a character named Sam Doonby, who's a mysterious sort. That comes out in February.
That's really it for now. I'm always doing different things. I'm going to Alabama next week to film a movie called October
Baby with the Erwin brothers, who win all kinds of awards for their music videos. So I'm doing that, but I don't know
when that's coming out.
Do you have anything else you'd like to say to fans of the show?
Thank you for keeping the General Lee flying high! (laughs) It's ... just ... amazing. I'm thrilled that the show is back,
and I am applauding the folks who have watched it all these years, because if it weren't for them, nobody would care. Nobody
would be putting Dukes back on. So I'm excited about it.