This past March I turned 38, and if you’re a guy anywhere near my age then you probably grew up watching “The Dukes of Hazzard” on CBS.
The show was a big hit for the network, and for four consecutive seasons, “The Dukes of Hazzard” finished in the Nielsen top 20. The good old boys would probably have stayed a top rated show had actors Tom Wopat and John Schneider not decided to sit out the 1983 season because of a contract dispute.
When the two actors left, CBS tried to cast replacement cousins Coy and Vance, a decision that was not welcomed by fans. Tom Wopat and John Schneider eventually returned, but by then the show had plummeted from the top 20 and it never made it back.
What I didn’t know at the time was that Wopat and Schneider filed a lawsuit against the studio feeling that they had shortchanged them on royalties from the millions of dollars worth of Dukes toys, games, and clothes sales. Looking back now, I can’t say I blame for suing Warner Bros. because their face was on EVERYTHING back then.
I, like many of the kids I knew, had plenty of Dukes of Hazzard toys. I remember having several versions of the General Lee. the Dukes’ car came in all shapes and sizes and I always begged my mom to get me the latest version. One of my favorite Dukes of Hazzard was related to the General Lee, but it wasn’t a car at all. I’m of course talking about the Dukes Of Hazzard “Fuzz Detector” dashboard.
I don’t remember when exactly this toy was released, but it had to be in the early 1980’s because I was still a little kid. The dashboard was maybe about a foot wide, complete with a steering wheel, a radar detector, two-way radio, horn, and transmission shifter. Seeing this thing that Christmas made me squeal with joy.
I played with this toy before school, after school, and any other chance I got. I loved the dashboard because when two “D” batteries were inserted, the fuzz detector light would light up, and when the transmission lever was shifted it made a fantastic shifting noise. The only issue I had with the toy was the horn, which squeaked rather than beeped. And it certainly wasn’t close to the real horn on the General Lee.
I can’t recall how long I played with the Dukes of Hazzard Dashboard, but it muts have been a while. Eventually the horn stopped squeaking and the steering wheel fell off. Even the battery cover went missing at some point.
I vaguely remember getting a similar dashboard toy for a birthday, but it wasn’t the Duke one. All I remember about the second toy is that it was white, but for the life of me I can’t remember from what movie or tv show it came from. Oh well, what matters is that I still have fond memories of my Dukes Of Hazzard “Fuzz Detector” dashboard.