Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Celebrity Toons: The Dukes (1983)

As The Dukes of Hazzard was a mid-season replacement when it debuted in 1979, it seemed fitting that a Saturday morning version of the series would start the same way four years later. Thus, The Dukes was added to CBS' Saturday lineup in the winter of '83, during the period when the second set of Duke cousins, Coy & Vance (Byron Cherry & Christopher Mayer), were the stars (John Schneider & Tom Wopat had left in a contract dispute). When the series was renewed for the fall '83-84 season, Schneider & Wopat had by then returned to the parent Dukes of Hazzard, and thus joined the cartoon while Cherry & Mayer departed and were hardly heard from again. Here's the open & close to seasons 1 & 2, with Uncle Jesse (Denver Pyle) narrating the opens:

Now, I didn't watch the cartoon as regularly as I followed the live-action Dukes, but one has to assume that Pyle was the show's narrator, subbing for country singer and Dukes of Hazzard narrator Waylon Jennings. I can picture that, if you will. Catherine Bach, James Best, & Sorrell Booke also lent their voices to their toon likenesses. Unfortunately, the animated series ended a year before the live-action one did, as the shelf life of most cartoons is more cyclical than that of their live-action counterparts. The singular, simple premise of a road race around the world to save the Duke farm smacked of a ripoff of Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days", and as the Dukes were gradually losing popularity, well.....!

Rating: C.

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