Waylon Jennings was the narrator of the 1975 film Moonrunners which starred James Mitchum and Kiel Martin as two cousins running bootleg liquor for their Uncle Jesse. Warner Bros hit up writer and director Gy Waldron to see if he'd be interested in turning his story into a TV comedy.
Fast forward four years and The Dukes of Hazzard quickly became one of the highest-rated shows on CBS, running for seven seasons.
Waldron kept many of the same concepts from his original film, including some of the names (Uncle Jesse!) and the bootleg liquor theme (Bo and Luke Duke are cousins on probation for distilling moonshine). But most importantly, he brought Waylon Jennings with him to narrate the show as well as write and perform the theme song, "Theme from The Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol' Boys)."
- Similar to his role in Moonrunners, Jennings played the Balladeer throughout the series.
- He narrated each episode as well as provided playful commentary on the plot before the commercial breaks.
- Jennings also took the theme song (with a few tweaks) and released it as a single.
- It may come as a surprise at just how many General Lees were destroyed in the making of the TV series. Upwards of 300 Dukes of Hazzard cars were used through the TV series that ran from 1979 to 1985. It is said that more than one was used for each episode on average.
- During filming prior to the show's debut, the General Lee with its stunt driver (presumed Craig R. Baxley) made a jump that sent it right into the record books. The epic jump was 16 feet high and 82 feet long. The stuntman drove off a makeshift ramp and right over a cop car.
- That record-breaking jump and that specific 1969 Dodge Charger is a featured scene in every episode; making it the only Dodge Charger in The Dukes of Hazzard to be in more than one episode.
- As for the many other stunts in the TV series, hundreds of pounds of either cement or sandbags were packed into the trunk of the Dodge 1969 Charger. Why? Well, it was to stop the General Lee from leaning forward and nose diving.
- The infamous Dukes of Hazzard horn: The dixie horn has a pretty cool story behind it. Two directors of the show heard a car drive by with this horn and they actually chased the car down and bought the horn from the driver for $300.
- In the later seasons of the show, there was a Dodge Charger shortage. So much of a shortage that they had to use orange AMC Ambassadors and some fancy shooting techniques to make them look like the General Lee. As the shortage continued, the producers of the show went out and put notes on the windshields of 1969 Dodge Chargers asking the owners if they could buy them.
- 2005 when The Dukes of Hazzard movie came out. While the movie itself was questionable... to say the least, the Dukes of Hazzard car was still just as awesome as it was in the original American comedy series. During the making of the film, 26 Dodge Chargers were used.
- Those 26 Dodge Chargers were either 1968 or 1970 models that were modified to look like the General Lee from the 80s show. The same license plate number of "CNH 320" was used as well.