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An Army of General Lees Charges Into Nashville

From a NY Times article of the same title by Dave Itzkoff:

…100,000…loyal fans…[attended] DukesFest, a two-day celebration of "The Dukes of Hazzard," the down-home comedy-adventure series that was broadcast on CBS from 1979 to 1985. The annual gathering (held this year on June 3 and 4) is an opportunity for viewers to mingle with the show's stars, trade memorabilia, dress in kitschy T-shirts or simply watch fireworks or eat pork products named for the show's corpulent villain, Boss Hogg. But among this crowd there is a smaller, more dedicated group for whom DukesFest is a kind of mystical calling, a sacred convocation for those who can find transcendence in an event as simple as a car leaping over a ditch. Their high priest is Ben Jones, the actor who played the character of Cooter Davenport, a garage mechanic, and went on to serve two terms representing Georgia's Fourth District in the United States House of Representatives. After moving to Rappahannock County, Va., Mr. Jones and his wife, Alma, opened a "Dukes"-theme general store called Cooter's Place in the summer of 1999, and staged outdoor festivals there, honoring the series. "The show had sort of flown under the radar for a long time," Mr. Jones said in a telephone interview. "It's timeless, except for the doofus haircuts. But a lot of people I know have doofus haircuts." Then "The Dukes of Hazzard" underwent a resurgence on cable television and DVD. Mr. Jones relocated his store to Gatlinburg, Tenn., and the DukesFest itself to the Bristol Motor Speedway, a racetrack in Bristol, Tenn. This summer, as he prepared to open a second Cooter's Place in Nashville, he brought DukesFest with him, as well as an official sponsorship from the cable channel CMT and all the surviving members of the "Dukes of Hazzard" cast: including John Schneider and Tom Wopat, who as Bo and Luke Duke were the show's hunky young stars, and Rick Hurst, who played the bumbling deputy Cletus.

What little boy in the 70's and 80's didn't love them Dukes (and Buck Rogers too). I did. If I remember correctly, it was a Friday night favorite. I haven't seen it, but I hear the movie was terrible. You can see a bunch more from DukesFest at Cooter's Place.

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