John Schneider talks about his life, acting career, music and the show that still defines him to many -- the Dukes of Hazzard -- during a radio interview in Marksville earlier this month. {Photo by Raymond L. Daye}

John Schneider shares a few 'Dukes' facts

During his recent visit to Marksville, actor/singer John Schneider shared facts about his life, tragedies and triumphs -- and some behind the scenes tidbits about those rascally Duke boys from the television series that gave him his big break in show business, the Dukes of Hazzard. Here are a few of those.

His favorite Bo Duke quote: “I choose this life, not because I don't KNOW no better, but because I believe it IS better.” From season 1, episode 1.

Schneider was 18 years old, working as an actor in New York City and was raised in Mount Kisco, N.Y. Producers of the show wanted Bo to be played by someone in their mid-20s, from the “sticks” and who was not an actor. He said he had to convince the producers he was the right guy for the job.

Schneider and co-star Tom Wopat (Luke Duke) stood up for their characters in a reunion movie after the show was cancelled. In the movie, the Duke boys go to Los Angeles, where their friend Enos has moved.

“The writer had this Beverly Hillbillies idea in his head,” Schneider said. “That’s not what the Dukes were about.”

One scene had the Duke boys setting a campfire under the Hollywood sign and Enos coming up and having to explain to them that they couldn’t do that in the big city.

“We went to the writer and director and told them there were a few things wrong with the way it was written,” Schneider said. “First, we’re not stupid. Second, we’re not stupid. Third, that’s not how the Dukes would handle that situation.”

Schneider told the bigwigs that it would be a betrayal of the show’s fans for the two men who “used their country smarts to make the city folks look stupid” to be reduced to that kind of country-come-to-town joke.

The scene was reshot with the boys still setting a fire under the Hollywood sign, but when Enos arrives the boys greet him by saying “What took you so long? We thought you’d never show up.”

“That’s the way the Dukes would have played that,” he said. “Since they didn’t have cell phones to call Enos, they decided they’d build a fire -- under the Hollywood sign -- and let HIM find THEM.”

About the lasting popularity of the show he noted, "There has been a Dukes of Hazzard calendar every year since 1979. There’s no Barney Miller calendars, no Police Story calendars, but the Dukes of Hazzard has not skipped a generation.”

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