The Dukes Of Hazzard Ride Again
E-commerce at its best, or worst

Cooter was a two-term Georgia Congressman. When Ben Jones' role as the dim-witted mechanic on The Dukes of Hazzard ended, he set his sights on Capitol Hill, serving from 1988 to 1992. Then, after a brief hiatus, he ran again -- and lost to Newt Gingrich in 1994. Pause a moment, if you would, and imagine what the world would be like if the man who brought us the "Contract With America" had been defeated by the man who brought us Cooter. Unbelievable, isn't it?

See also...
... by Jenn Shreve
... in the Dirt section
... from October 26, 1999

Chances are, if you were a cognizant, TV-watching child during the late '70s and early '80s, you were a fan of The Dukes of Hazzard. My all-American, rodeo-town upbringing would have been less rich were it not for my Friday night romps with Bo, Luke, Daisy, Cooter, Uncle Jesse, and that white-suited nemesis of nemeses, Boss Hogg. Dukes, with its seven-year run, was honky TV at its very finest. (We'll just try to forget the last season with cousins Coy Duke and Vance Duke ever happened, OK?) It was Mama's Family, but with sex appeal and a healthy dollop of hootin', hollerin' whup-ass.

The show was also, it turns out, made for the Internet. Think about it. It's a kitchy cult hit that resonates with childhood-obsessed, wired-to-the-gills Net slaves. The stars are famous enough for everyone to remember them, but far enough off the radar to elicit curiosity. Curiosity, we all know, leads to Web searches. Search for "Dukes of Hazzard," and you will not be disappointed.

Cooter, Rosco P. Coltrane, Bo Duke, Luke Duke, even Deputy Enos Strate all have personal Web sites. (Uncle Jesse and Boss Hogg are dead, otherwise I'm sure they'd be online too. Daisy, shockingly, has no excuse for not uploading those sleek, tan gams of hers.) Smarter than the characters they once played, the former Dukes have quickly sized up and harnessed the power of the Web for money-making and self-promotional purposes.

Take James Best's "Rosco: In his Own Words." In conversational prose and amateurish font, Best talks about Catherine (Daisy Duke) Bach's new baby, why there should be more shows like The Golden Girls and Sanford and Son (egad, man!), and takes on a few false rumors: "This is a letter to all those who read somewhere on the Internet that I died. It was very funny to me when some nut, or would be poster child for the criminally insane, put out a false letter on the Internet claiming that I had a massive heart attack, and died in an automobile accident. Well if I did, I certainly do not know anything about it."

Most telling, however, is this little graph: "Nel [Best's Webmaster]... has helped keep me informed what is happening on the Internet. She has made me totally aware of the interest of the fans and what they think and desire in the way of more information. That includes almost any subject about the movie or television industry, past or present."

What is happening on the Internet? Well, a little thing called e-commerce, for one. What fans "desire in the way of more information" is moderately priced Dukes memorabilia, and Best is selling not only his paintings (yes, Rosco paints), but also autographed photos for $5 and $10 (or you can pay more for them on eBay, if you like).

Cooter's Place is a Dukes of Hazzard memorabilia store Ben Jones set up after Newt sent him packing. The site promotes his retail endeavors and boosts events like Cooter's Country Jamboree, with special musical guest John Schneider! Sorry, kids; it was October 23rd and 24th.

In addition to recording 11 solo country albums, John Schneider (Bo Duke) co-founded the Children's Miracle Network and had a role on Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman. He's hawking used cars on his Web site. Tom Wopat (Luke Duke) is selling Dukes color keychains and confederate flag bandanas. And on Sonny Shroyer's Web page you can get information on booking him for a personal appearance as Deputy Enos and order boxes of "Crunchy English Toffee with a Southern Twist" -- made by his sons' company.

The Dukes of Hazzard are the Dukes of e-commerce. And why shouldn't they be? They've got the stuff; people are willing to buy it; everybody's happy. If only the casts of The A-Team and Hawaii Five-0 could have gone on to enjoy such post-career success!

And for those who can't get enough of those crazy Duke Brothers and their un-PC car, the General Lee, a second The Dukes of Hazzard reunion movie starts shooting November 1st.


Jenn Shreve is a freelance writer in San Francisco and a media columnist for

Celebrity Web site reviews run every Tuesday on GettingIt.