21 August 2007

Bo & Luke Vs. Coy & Vance

Sitting on my shelf is the Dukes of Hazzard, Season 5, DVD set. This is the only set of Dukes of Hazzard DVDs you will find in this house. Why, you may ask? Because, season 5 gave us Coy and Vance Duke. Coy and Vance?!? Who the...?!? You, of course, remember Bo, Luke, Daisy, and Uncle Jesse. There was also Boss Hogg, Sheriff Rosco, and Deputy Enos. But Coy and Vance, well they were my favorite Duke boys!

John Schneider and Tom Wopat were in a snit over their share of merchandising dollars, or rather their lack of share in the merchandising dollars. You see, back in 1982, they were rather ticked that no money was making it to their bank accounts from the sale of Dukes of Hazzard lunch boxes, action figures, books, and so on. So, they went on strike, left Hazzard county without even a "Kiss my..." Well, you know. Anyhoo, those know-it-all network execs decided they didn't need Bo or Luke. They were just a couple of nobodies that could easily be replaced with a couple more nobodies. So, Bo and Luke went on the NASCAR racing circuit and cousins Coy Duke (Byron Cherry) and Vance Duke (Christopher Mayer) took their place. They would come to be known as the "replacement Dukes" and be reviled throughout history.

Even though these two swaggered like Bo and Luke, slid across the General's hood like Bo and Luke, and battled Boss Hogg's shenanigans like Bo and Luke, they were unnecessarily panned by fans and critics. Hey, they couldn't help it! Get off their backs! They were doing a difficult job made even more difficult with four years of character chemistry they had to overcome.

By season 5's episode 19, aired in February, 1983, it was all over. Tom Wopat and John Schneider had successfully re-negotiated their contracts and Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer were unceremoniously shown the front door of the Boar's Nest. Coy and Vance drove off, never to be seen or heard from again. Their names were never mentioned, nor did they show up in any of the subsequent reunion specials.

I am probably the only Dukes of Hazzard fan who is a fan because of season 5. I could never get behind Bo or Luke. For some reason, sitting around with my fellow 4th grade classmates, I couldn't admit to a Bo or Luke crush, because I didn't have one. When 5th grade dawned and Coy and Vance came onto the scene, I had crushes on both. While my fellow 5th grade girlfriends lamented the absence of their sweethearts, I was as happy as a lark that Coy and Vance had replaced the dull, not-so-good-looking Bo and Luke. I was in heaven, until episode 19. Then, my world ended. I gave up on Dukes of Hazzard after that, not because the story lines sucked or because the car chases were getting old and overdone, but because they took away my Coy and Vance.

Byron Cherry did some TV episodic work until 1990 and Christopher Mayer did the same until about six years ago. Byron owns a bar/pub in California and he and Christopher remain friends to this day. Even though Hazzard county shafted them, I'm quite proud to say that I was of fan of Coy and Vance Duke. I can only hope that one day, when all the Hazzard county characters are old and gray, using walkers and wheelchairs, collecting Social Security and complaining about their dentures, that the penultimate Dukes reunion will take place WITH Coy and Vance. Sigh. One can dream....

1 comment:

JB said...

OK I'd like to help... But I can't. They just sucked.
i didn't have a crush on them either. Daisey now that was a diffrent story. She was hot. But my true dukes of hazzard love was that 426 Hemi! SWEEEEET! I'd rather have the Hemi than Daisey any day. Plus Daisey now looks like five and a half feet of old leather.