CARNIVAL OF THRILLS,
A pair of unscrupulous Stunt Show owners persuade Bo to make a potentially lethal 'leap of life' in the General, thus causing a rift in the Duke family.
This feature length story (shown in 2 parts in many countries) is quite simply the best episode of the entire series, as well as being an
absolutely smashing start to the third (and strongest) season.
It's hard to find fault with it anywhere and the depth of characterisation is quite superb. Bo's growing rift with the Duke family is slow and quite painful (the moment when he strikes Luke to the ground is actually rather shocking) and the performances are exceptional all round.
The identity of the villain is not as obvious as one might think and the supporting characters are all well played (Robin Mattson is especially good; villain, temptress and victim). Perhaps the 'leap for life' isn't quite as spectacular as the build up to it would suggest, but this is offset by the triumphant pay-off and resulting reconciliation.
(For some brilliant inside information on the making of the episode and Hollywood life in general in 1980, read Richard Jensen's entertaining "Trespasser in Hazzard County").
ROSCO MOMENT attempting to emulate the General's flight over the creek.
BEST STUNT The two car somersault, amid flame, with the girl standing between. Extraordinary!
ENOS STRATE TO THE TOP
The Dukes inadvertently photograph a gang of crooks and have their lives
endangered as a result. Enos is determined to be the
hero of the day and use the opportunity to resign, in order to leave Hazzard and join the
Another well-remembered episode and certainly one of the better instalments. The Dukes use of an old Box-Brownie camera is a clever way of ensuring that they don't notice the all important details of the photograph they've taken until it's too late, although why they would want to photograph the front door of a Bank is puzzling. The character moments (especially between Rosco and Enos) are genuinely touching and the complimentary spells of humour are well handled. To cap it all, the action sequences are all fast moving and often stunning!
ROSCO MOMENT His arresting Cletus for the Deputy's own good is a lovely touching moment; and one which illustrates that even Rosco was able to use his brain once in a while.
BEST STUNT Undoubtedly the General flying through the air and landing on the roof of the baddie's car. This was not faked in the editing process. This was done for real!
THE HAZZARDVILLE HORROR
Crooks engage in their criminal activities inside a spooky old house in order to deter people from finding out what they're really up to.
It's Scooby Doo in Hazzard and as embarrassing as the storyline sounds. Although the action sequences are fine, the entire set-up is utterly implausible, cringe making and predictable. The only surprise here is the villains (at the point of capture) failing to say "And we'd have got away with it too, if it wasn't for you meddling kids!” Please do not show this episode to those who have never seen the series before; you’ll lose all credibility.
ROSCO MOMENT Reacting to his Patrol car's changed appearance.
BEST STUNT Rosco loses his 'top'. Very well done.
AND IN THIS CORNER, LUKE DUKE
Luke is unavoidably persuaded to fight an unbeatable opponent in a Boxing match.
An extremely interesting change of formula and one which should have been perpetrated far more often (particularly in the creatively bland Fourth season); this episode shows just what the series was capable of, if given half a chance. The scenes of Luke's training are superbly staged and his dilemma and subsequent suffering are very well handled. Paul Baxley was unquestionably the best Director for this type of story and he rises to the occasion with absolute aplomb; even incorporating a fantastic car-stunt as the episode's crowning glory. If Carnival of Thrills was Bo's finest hour, this must surely be Lukes!
ROSCO MOMENT He’s not so dominant in this episode (there is no chase sequence involving him, for a change), but his scenes in the Boar's Nest at the beginning are fun.
BEST STUNT The General flies through the Barn's roof. Fantastic to behold; just fantastic!
THE LATE J.D. HOGG
Boss believes himself to be dying and attempts to give all his money away to good causes in order to be allowed into Heaven. He's not too happy when he finds out it was all an error.
As funny as the synopsis sounds. Sorrell Booke is truly wonderful and Denver Pyle compliments him extremely well. The early scenes could have been mawkish, but the two actors cleverly dilute any excessive sentimentality with well-timed humour. At the point where Boss learns of the error, the story then transforms itself into a "get the money back, or else" plot and is fast and frantic; but it lacks the character moments of the first half of the episode. A little classic, all the same.
ROSCO MOMENT He’s somewhat dwarfed in this one by Boss' predicament, but the scene of Flash in control of his Patrol car is funny.
BEST STUNT Bo's landing on top of the baddy car's roof. Literally smashing.
Boss Hogg's equally crooked nephew, Hughie, frames the Dukes in a Jail Break using a Video camera.
Now, what’s all this, then? The Roadrunner is back in action and so is Enos! Clearly, this was an episode saved over from somewhere near the beginning of Season Two (presumably for just such an emergency as the writers strike which potentially delayed the beginning of this season). Why such a show should ever have been put on the shelf is puzzling, becasue it's a very strong entry. Hughie is a delightfully comic villain (and there is good chemistry between him and Booke) and his scheming ineptitude is very amusing. The 'big chase' is well handled and the final pay-off is funny and rather clever.
ROSCO MOMENT Caught snoozing on camera.
BEST STUNT Hughie’s car becomes "a big ol' Yo-Yo".
BAA, BAA WHITE SHEEP
Boss Hogg's identical (and saintly) twin brother comes to town, claiming a share of an inheritance.
Although this episode brazenly turns into the old-fashioned Vaudeville farce of one man pretending to be two different people (and Booke is simply a genius at this sort of thing), the story itself doesn't actually work. The 'opposite double' theme is apparently ubiquitous in US TV and seems a rather forced excuse for high comedy in this case. The sub-plot of the unfortunate forger seems a little out of place, as well. Although the 'gag' involving the General at the episode's Finale is amusing, it’s too obviously faked to be completely successful and Bo's absence is also notable. Another one of those episodes that seems to think it's far funnier than it actually is.
ROSCO MOMENT His scenes with Flash and the two Hoggs are wonderful.
BEST STUNT The final jump is a fake; the jump over the flatbed Truck is re-used footage from 'High Octane’; so that leaves the leap over the Patrol Car...which is still impressive.
MRS. ROSCO P. COLTRANE
Rosco is duped into marrying an attractive woman, so that her husband can rob Hazzard Bank during the 'wedding' ceremony.
This is another contender for 'best episode' honours. It's always enjoyable to see a 'Rosco Episode’, but James Best surpasses himself in this one with a performance of real pathos as well as comedy. We know he's being duped; the Dukes have a very strong suspicion; but he sincerely believes it's the real thing and the heart-break and humiliation he experiences at the episode's end is something far more profound than you would ever expect from such an apparently throwaway TV series. More than anything else, Best succeeded (not just in this instance, but throughout the series as a whole) in making this likeable buffoon a real three-dimensional character. This is probably Rosco's finest moment and certainly one of the finest episodes.
ROSCO MOMENT The whole episode! But, especially, the "you took me for a fool, didn’t you?" moment.
BEST STUNT To top it all, this episode doesn't stint on action; but succeeds in incorporating it at wholly appropriate moments. In particular, the General crashing at the start is unexpected and truly spectacular.
THE GREAT SANTA CLAUSE CHASE
A shipment of Christmas trees is hijacked and the Dukes get the blame.
Seasonal 'episodes rarely work out of context, but this would be pretty insipid even if viewed after a few drinks on Christmas Eve! The story's so slight, that you're never in doubt as to it's outcome; it’s not particularly thrilling; and the 'Christmas Carol' re-enactment (although rather charming) is obviously included only as blatant padding. Ho-ho-ho-hum.
ROSCO MOMENT His reaction to Flash' apparent abduction is splendid.
BEST STUNT The General jumping the parked cars is actually rather good.
GOOD NEIGHBORS DUKE
The Dukes help a member of the Government Witness programme.
A potential 'thriller' plot is given a none-too-thrilling treatment. The action is fairly lame and the comedy sequences seem a little forced at times. As with many episodes of the third and fourth season, the storyline has to be shortened considerably in order to fit in a musical number at the end - in this case, Hoyt Axton (acceptable). This passes the time, but it's all rather unexceptional.
ROSCO MOMENT His whole 'Bird Sanctuary' routine is worth watching.
BEST STUNT The General gets forced off the road. A slightly perfunctory stunt, but it works well enough.
STATE OF THE COUNTY
The Dukes have to contend with a terrorist in their midst; and Daisy falls in love with a handsome stranger.
Another episode that had to be shortened in order to fit in a musical concert at the end, but in this case it's probably for the best. The identity of the terrorist is blindingly apparent from only a few minutes in and it's quite obvious how the story will progress. Nonetheless, it moves along at a decent pace (the two 'incidents' are well staged; the first, especially, is quite unexpected) and the action scenes are good; the 'not very good wheelie' nearly cost James Best his life when the two Patrol Cars collapsed against each other during his “Dipstick!” speech, almost trapping his head.
But Daisy really should have seen it coming!
ROSCO MOMENT Flash 'sneaking a snooze'.
BEST STUNT Rosco and Cletus attempt to emulate the General's wheelie. The episode's highlight.
The Widow of Jessie's old friend comes back to Hazzard to retrieve her husband's legacy.
Despite Rosco's (one-off) absence, this is an entertaining and fast-moving episode. Wilbur Fudge is a good enough one-episode replacement (the producers wisely deciding, after the debacle of Season Two, not to attempt a 'look-alike' lawman), Jan Clayton is a well-portrayed and attractive character and the Moonshining story is a welcome return to the original series concept. Nice to see the dependable Gregory Walcott, too.
ROSCO MOMENT He's not in this episode, but the scene of Cletus/Wilbur's patrol car falling in two is hilarious.
BEST STUNT The final fifteen minutes is very fine, with a whole string of interesting stunts. The most unusual is the Motorcycle and Sidecar incident.
DUKE VS. DUKE
The Dukes enter the first Annual Hazzard Derby.
This season's obligatory 'Race Episode' is a triumph; not least for Paul Baxley, who manages to stage some quite astonishing action sequences. There's never a dull moment here, with character comedy sharing equal billing to the copious action. The Harper's are a terrific comedy Southern family (and should have appeared again); the conflict between Bo and Luke is interesting (but not dwelt on too heavily, seeing as how it was dealt with quite comprehensively in the Season's opening episode) and the race itself is a Roadrunner cartoon splendidly come to life.
Although it's obvious that neither Bo nor Luke will be allowed to trounce one another, the method in which they both win is funny and clever and brilliantly staged.
ROSCO MOMENT Taking off at the race Finale. Watch Flash' ears!
BEST STUNT So very many to choose from that it's pretty much impossible to select just one. Possibly the final 'pay off' is the best, as it's also the funniest.
MY SON, BO HOGG
Bo loses his memory and becomes convinced that Boss is his Dad..
Another well-remembered episode; and one where the story concept is so strong that it's easy to forget that, on the whole, it’s all a bit average. Although the first twenty minutes or so are indeed very funny, the story somewhat fizzles out in a none-too-exciting chase sequence that doesn't actually go anywhere.
However, the scenes with Bo, Rosco and Boss are absolute classics; and it's great to meet a well-conceived character (Sheriff Little) who would go on to be a (deservedly popular) series regular.
ROSCO MOMENT His scenes as Uncle Rosco are excellent and his pursuit BY Luke makes a fun change.
BEST STUNT The "Duke vs. Duke" sequence is very good and the action highlight of the episode.
TO CATCH A DUKE
Rosco loses his job after Boss becomes convinced that he's a thief.
Once again, a glorious Rosco episode. It doesn't quite have the strength of plotting that "Mrs Rosco P. Coltrane" enjoyed, but the set-up is brilliant and the development of Rosco's situation is excellent. Once again, it’s the unexpected and utterly disarming poignancy behind the 'clown' facade that really makes the story work and James Best proves (yet again) that he's one of the finest ' all-round' actors.
There are so many memorable scenes here (Rocoe's speech to Cletus; his awful realisation that Boss suspects him of thievery; his first confrontation with the Dukes after his sacking; the 'osculating in public' sequence) that it's easy to overlook the fact that Daisy is entirely missing.
ROSCO MOMENT The scene where he gives advice to Cletus (his successor) is beautifully played and lovely to watch.
BEST STUNT The final leap is a highlight, but so too is the collision with Boss' Limo.
ALONG CAME A DUKE
The Dukes are entrusted with Stonewall Jackson's sword, but Boss frames them for its theft.
An interesting attempt at a 'historical' Civil War concept, but much of the episode is flat, mainly due to the contrived appearance of a (apparently much-loved) long-lost family member (Jeb Stuart Duke) whose existence we were entirely unaware of (as, indeed, would be the case with Coy and Vance later).
Despite this, Paul Baxley keeps things moving as best he can and contributes a smashing 'big chase' Finale to match anything we've seen before!
As a point of trivia, near the end of the episode, watch the left side of the screen when the Duke's scramble down the embankment to pick-up Jeb. John Schneider accidentally falls head-over-heels down and attempts to make it look intentional!
ROSCO MOMENT Failing to understand Boss' verbal cue during the 'switching the swords' sequence.
BEST STUNT The General and the Motorbike fly past each other, while the baddies car passes underneath. As dangerous as it looks!
BY-LINE, DAISY DUKE
Determined to prove herself as a journalist on the local paper, Daisy investigates a spate of Tractor thefts; and inadvertently incriminates her cousin's in the crime.
Daisy's journalistic leanings come as rather a surprise, as we've received no hint of them before. Indeed, considering we never hear about them again, this comes across as a rather strained plot contrivance. But it's slightly academic, because what we have here is an action episode, pure and simple. There is little opportunity to contemplate story contrivances when you're bombarded with a rapid succession of crashing cars and frantic chasing, all very well handled. Once again, however, the events feel rushed, as everything has to be brought to a conclusion five minutes ahead of time in order to cram in another musical performance at the end; this time from a certain Dottie West, who was presumably quite well known in the US at the time.
ROSCO MOMENT Slowing his pursuit when Boss orders him NOT to catch the Duke's!
BEST STUNT Having two stuntmen stand their ground while a Truck comes tumbling down the hill toward them is impressive.
THE RETURN OF HUGHIE HOGG
Boss’ nephew returns to Hazzard and this time
contrives to depose his Uncle as
A really splendid story and quite the best Hughie Hogg episode. This is a very well plotted tale of greed, gullibility and the truth behind the 'better the devil you know' maxim. Boss' reliance on the Duke family to get him out of a nasty predicament is quite telling; and Hughie's scheme is clever and believable. The action sequences appear when needed, but don't get in the way of the storytelling nor the performances, while the episode builds to a superb and death-defying action Finale. Hugely enjoyable.
ROSCO MOMENT His attempts at whistling are brilliant.
BEST STUNT Several really solid stunt sequences early on are dwarfed by the amazing mid-air collision at the climax of the episode. An astonishing action sequence.
BYE, BYE BOSS
Boss is kidnapped by a crook out for revenge.
A curiously flat episode, with leaden direction by Denver Pyle (who was either brilliant when directing, or very poor; never anything in-between!), which never manages to get out of first gear. The depiction of Lulu is rather patronising; the comedy is heavy handed; the General rarely appears; putting the Dukes on horses lacks the same power as seeing them behind the wheel of a fast car; and the musical 'star' at the end (Freddy Fender) is annoying, especially as everyone inexplicably seems to find him uproariously funny. Only the chase involving the 'in-the-way Van' is entertaining.
ROSCO MOMENT His falling off the parapet is comical, since you know very well it's going to happen!
BEST STUNT Not much here, but the final chase between the General and the horses is well choreographed.
THE GREAT HAZZARD HIJACK
When part of a $1 million haul is discovered in
This is a really good, solid episode; with really good. solid performances; really good, solid stunts and for once a really good, solid musical star at the show's end.
Luke's romantic involvement is inevitably doomed as soon as it begins, but the villains are a well-drawn bunch and their back-story is quite believable. The action sequences, though not plentiful, are very well put-together and exciting, while Roy Orbison performing 'Pretty Woman' is the icing on the cake.
ROSCO MOMENT His camouflage is amusing, mostly because it's quite unnecessary.
BEST STUNT When the General needs a special ramp in order to fly; you know the jump is going to be impressive. And it certainly is!
THE HACK OF HAZZARD
Crooks chase after a valuable item, which keeps moving around from person to person before they can catch up with it.
The same plot as 'The Canterbury Crock' but not as well realised, this is nevertheless a fun and fast-moving episode. Once again, the plot contrivance (this time an old Taxi which we never previously knew existed) somewhat gets in the way, but the saving grace of typically fast-moving direction from Paul Baxley prevents it from becoming too obvious. Rosco is used really well and the theme of characters chasing themselves around in circles is entertainingly developed. Especially fun is the sequence in the upholstery shop.
ROSCO MOMENT His misinterpretation of Boss' command to start stripping is expected, but hilarious nonetheless.
BEST STUNT Undoubtedly the use of Rosco as a weight for his car's bonnet. Quite inspired and rather impressive.
Crooks chase after a valuable item, which keeps moving around from person to person before they can catch up with it.
Yes, it’s exactly the same storyline as the previous episode; but this succeeds completely as the item in question is unusual enough to draw the viewer in. The plot-development (which is carefully thought-out) is clever and well conceived; the stunts are impressive but never intrude on the story; and the performances, especially from the guest characters, are very fine.
Especially commendable is the fact that this never feels like an 'end of the series' episode (as 'Southern Comfurts' did) and even manages to build up to an impressively big final chase involving many vehicles, drivers comically exchanging places and a terrific multiple pile-up (surprisingly rare in the series) as the final pay-off.
Boss' inadvertent breakage of the valuable object is funny, as it was his own greed, which brought it about.
ROSCO MOMENT His counter-bidding Boss is a lesson in comic timing.
BEST STUNT A good selection, but the final pile-up has to take the award.