Thursday, July 2, 2015

EXTRA: Will ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ become the new ‘Song of the South?’

The ongoing flap over the Confederate battle flag may have taken down a television show from my childhood – the TV Land channel that shows many old sitcoms and dramas has cut out its twice-a-day showings of the “Dukes of Hazzard.”

BACH: Puts Jessica Simpson to shame
You show, the show about a pair of good ol’ boys who run illegal liquor and are constantly being chased about by a batch of bungling boobs of local cops who make Barney Fife look like a dedicated law enforcement official.

OF COURSE, THE car they used in their chases was a bright red Dodge Charger with a battle flag painted on its roof. The merchandising done off the show included toy car replicas of that vehicle.

So with many people amongst official southerndom deciding they now will do what should have been done a half-century ago (do away with the battle flag in any official context), the channel apparently didn’t like that flag appearing repeatedly each and every day.

Personally, I don’t miss the show. I thought it was nit-witish when I was a kid, and other than checking out actress Catherine Bach’s long legs and tight tush I’d have no interest in ever seeing it again.

But I’m wondering if the show is going to wind up becoming glorified in the public eye for something it never was – some symbol of southern culture. If anything, if I were a southerner I’d want to sue someone for portraying the “land of cotton” as being so buffoonish.

WILL PEOPLE START missing the show and attributing to it cultural traits that it doesn’t deserve? Such as what has become of the old Disney film “Song of the South,” which tells the tales of Brer Rabbit and has Uncle Remus singin’ and shufflin’ along like a “good little negro.”

Just try finding it somewhere to watch these days
Sort of how actor Carroll O’Connor’s “Archie Bunker” character would describe all black people, only to be mocked right to his face by his “little goil Gloria” for talking so stupid!

The old racial line of thinking has caused theaters to quit reviving “Song of the South,” and even trying to buy a copy on video isn’t easy. Which causes some people to think the film is more deserving of praise than it actually is.

Bo and Luke and arch-nemesis Boss Hogg probably aren’t even worth the words I’m writing here. I’d hope it doesn’t get elevated to something it’s not worthy of.

Could this place 'Hillbillies' on blacklist?
BESIDES, I WONDER if this means people are going to start reviewing all the programs of the past to see which ones meet a modern sensibility.

Take “The Beverly Hillbillies,” where I specifically remember an episode where Max Baer’s “Jethro” character considers enlisting in the army, only to back away when he learns it’s the “Yankee army” and not the Confederate that he’d be joining.

I also found reference to an episode where Irene Ryan’s “Granny” character (who often touts the political abilities of Jefferson Davis) mistakes a Civil War film scene being shot for actual battle, and totes her shotgun along to get a few Yankees for herself.

Do we wipe out that one-time major hit show? Or maybe the “Andy Griffith Show,” where I recall an episode where someone tries to cash in a war bond that would financially bust Mayberry, only to find out the bond is worthless because it was issued by the Confederate government.

THERE WAS THAT whole 1960s era when CBS’ weekly lineup was filled with southern-themed shows. Do we scour “Green Acres” or “Petticoat Junction” to see which ones are bothersome?

Delightful? Or highly unsanitary?
Although I think the bigger question that rises from the latter show is one that was brought up in an episode some three decades later from “That 70’s Show” – How can they let those women swim naked in the town’s drinking water supply?

Then again, maybe if Bach’s “Daisy Duke” character had done the same in a few scenes, TV Land would be willing to keep that show on the air – regardless of what was painted on that car’s roof?


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