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Home Exclusive John Schneider, star of ‘Dukes of Hazzard”, cancels culture
'Dukes of Hazzard' star John Schneider on General Lee, cancel culture: 'We don't belong in that country club'

John Schneider, star of ‘Dukes of Hazzard”, cancels culture

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John Schneider will soon be on the road.

Actor Bo Duke, who is most well-known as the star of “Dukes of Hazzard”, keeps busy during the holiday season. Two new movies will be premiering simultaneously. For starters, he’s rolling the dice with “Poker Run,” where he served as writer, director and leading man. It’s a sequel to fan-favorite “Stand On It,” a “Smokey and the Bandit” tribute that was released in 2020. Reba McEntire and the 61-year old star are also featured in “Christmas in Tune”, a Lifetime movie. They share the same stage.

Schneider still wants to look back on the past and remember his time as one of those good boys. The series “The Dukes of Hazzard”, which starred Schneider along with Tom Wopat, Catherine Bach and Catherine Bach, aired between 1979 and 1985. The series attracted as many as 20,000,000 viewers each episode in its first run and by the third season had been the number two-most watched TV show, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Still, the outlet noted that the show has been criticized for its use of the Confederate battle flag painted on the roof of General Lee, a ’69 Dodge Charger. There was renewed interest to remove the Confederate flag from the series in 2020. It has served as a symbol of Southern pride for some, and hated by others.

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Schneider spoke to Fox News about the show’s legacy, how he feels about cancel culture and what it was like to work with McEntire, 66.

Fox News Many people will remember you as “Dukes of Hazzard”. What’s one memory from your time on set that’s been on your mind lately?
John Schneider: Denver Pyle as Uncle Jesse is the reason I fondly remember my “Dukes of Hazzard” best moments. His mentorship was invaluable to me. Whenever I had a new girlfriend he would say to me, “You’ve met somebody, haven’t you?” I’d say, ‘Yes, sir.” And he’d say, “Does she make you laugh?” He would stare at me sadly if I took more than a minute to reply.

Denver Pyle (seen here with John Schneider) passed away in 1997 at age 77.

It was obvious to Denver that he had found someone at the end of our run. You can just tell when someone’s in love. So I said, “You’ve met someone, haven’t you?” He replied, “Yes, she has.” He said, “Yes, I have.” I smiled back at him and he said, “All the times.” I’ve carried that with me. That’s why I call [my wife] Alicia my smile. She’s my laughter. Every time I think of that, my mind turns to Pyle and the great relationship we had.

Fox NewsWhat would you say about your current relationship to Tom Wopat or Catherine Bach?
Schneider: Tom and I have a lot to talk about. Tom and I share music, so we chat about it all the time. We always catch up and see what we’re up to. Sadly, I haven’t seen Catherine in maybe two years. The whole COVID issue has caused people to be isolated, especially with regards to quarantine. We used to meet up at events quite often. This all ended, of course. [with the pandemic]. However, it appears that they could be back.

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I’m not sure how Catherine is doing, but I hope to catch up with her soon. As for Tom, he’s doing great. He’s been one of my best friends since the moment we met and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. We’re both theater brats. He was a community theatre performer. So did it. It is a shared love for theater, crowd noises and all things related to them. We’re joined at the hip forever.

From left: John Schneider, Catherine Bach and Tom Wopat in a promotional portrait for the TV show 'The Dukes of Hazzard', circa 1980. They play Bo, Daisy and Luke Duke, respectively.

Fox News“Dukes of Hazzard,” a 2020 series, was the subject of controversy. It was not surprising to you that after so many years, the present generation decided to take down the flag.
Schneider:This was an older generation with less education that wanted the show to be removed. There’s a group of people that seem to base their values on removing what they’re against. I’ve always placed people’s values on what they are for. 

… It had been attacked maybe 20 years ago. The attack was stopped. It seems that the critics have found another pastime. So no, it didn’t surprise me. My wife and I are dirt track runners. We are out among people from coast to coast all year round… And there are still children playing with General Lees in the dirt regardless of cancel culture trying to cancel it. And I think it’s because parents save their General Lees and pass them down to another generation.

John Schneider autographs a miniature "General Lee," and poses with a fan at the Motor City Comic Con at Suburban Collection Showplace on May 16, 2015 in Novi, Michigan. 

It’s funny. The “Dukes of Hazzard” are still relevant and out of date. You should see how kids react when they realize I’m Bo Duke. It all depends on where you live, but I believe that cancelling the show will not diminish the value of what it has meant to the families who watched it. It brought together families. There was no division. For years, I’ve had people from all walks of life come up to me and say how the show brought their families together. It was watched by generations. It’s still a popular topic.

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John Schneider and Tom Wopat perform onstage during the Agency Group Party at at IEBA Conference Day 3 at the War Memorial Auditorium on October 9, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Fox News How do you view cancel culture?
Schneider:I was asked by a friend what my thoughts were on all the cancel culture. And I quoted Groucho Marx. Simply, it’s not fair for me to be a part of a club where I would feel like a member. Cancel culture is very short-sighted and it’s very much against everything I believe in concerning freedom of speech and freedom of expression. I’m looking forward to the day when the wind finally comes out of the sails of all that nonsense.

Fox NewsThis sounds as if you’d want to cancel cultural events.
Schneider: Absolutely. They would hang themselves, as my grandparents said. It was amazing to see this Facebook post. One person put in a Bible verse that had praying hands, just like what your grandparents kept. The caption above the picture said “Some might find these words offensive and this image objectionable.” To see the image, you will need to click it. The prayer hands were pointing to God. It is impossible for a free society to permit this to continue. This has become a major problem.

That day is one I’m looking forward to. We do what we want, until then. We tell the stories that we love every day. They are distributed in whatever way they want. We don’t belong in that country club. Our shovels, buckets, and other tools were taken out of their sandbox so that we could build our own. There we go every day.

John Schneider (as Bo Duke) in the made for television movie, ‘The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion!’ circa 1997.

Fox News You have spoken out before about how important the National Anthem is and its impact on us. Are you proud of being an American citizen?
Schneider: You have the opportunity or ability to live your life in happiness. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – they are at the foundation of our country. That’s why people from all over the world are trying to come to this country. It is a city that sits on a hill. Our society is a living example of freedom. That’s why I believe we have to go against the notion that we are not a free society. It is not permissible to hold a prayer hand or use the term “God”, on public platforms. We’ve got to eliminate that.

‘DUKES OF HAZZARD’ STAR CATHERINE BACH REVEALS WHY SHE ALMOST TURNED DOWN DAISY DUKE, WHETHER SHE EVER DATED HER CASTMATES

The final lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner’s” song are: “And the star-spangled flag in triumph shall wail, over the land that is free and home to the brave.” That is what I say to people. It’s not going to happen on its own. Freedom is something I believe can be maintained and achieved. The national anthem is a reminder of this. It is our duty to fly the flag over the Land of Freedom and Home of the Brave. It’s up to each one of us to make sure that remains. That is what the world depends on. As a society, we are what many people regard as a free country. America is a nation of freedom, opportunity, love and life. That’s what’s so great about America. This gives everyone in the world something to aim for.

Fox News Why was it that you wanted to make a movie like Poker Run now?
Schneider: Last year we made a movie called “Stand On It”, which was a tribute of “Smokey and the Bandit”. It was a huge success. So I’ve been trying to create a new franchise that would make people want to get in their cars and go a little faster – safely, of course. It felt just like “Stand On It.” I was ecstatic when that movie became a success. This one, I am able to say with absolute certainty that it is even better.

Fox NewsIt has received very positive comments. A commenter suggested that it was a combination of “Smokey and the Bandit,” and “Dukes of Hazzard”.
Schneider: I think that’s great. I’m very encouraged by that. And the real proof for me is that people who’ve watched the movie have said they all made a dash to their cars to hit the dirt roads.

I’ve seen “Smokey and the Bandit” at least 50 times now. When I was first in the theater, that’s what I did. And I know that’s what people do when they watch “Dukes of Hazzard.” It’s just a great idea to drive down dirt roads and cause a bit of dust behind you car.

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I’m not talking about reckless driving. But there’s no other feeling like it. I feel like that whole kind of filmmaking has been ignored or forgotten, which doesn’t make sense because it was popular. And it made Burt Reynolds king of the world… I know I love being the guy behind the wheel of a fast car.

Fox News You’re also starring in a Lifetime holiday film titled “Christmas in Tune” with Reba McEntire. How was it?
Schneider: Oh, I’ve known Reba for 30, maybe 35 years. It’s a great relationship. We have a wonderful chemistry. We finish each other’s sentences and each other thoughts. It was great to sing three duets, as I believe, together. She’s an amazing singer and a wonderful friend.

Fox NewsYou can tell that there was more work than play on this set.
Schneider: Always. A good time is what I value. I’m somebody that will always find joy in everything. Working with Reba was easy. It was a fun time. This movie was a Christmas movie. We made it seem like it was freezing, but it was actually July. It was very hot. However, it was fantastic. I’m very anxious to finally see it. 

The DVD version of “Poker Run”, which will also be streamed at CineflixDOD.com, will go on sale November 26th. Christmas in Tune will premiere Nov. 26 at 8. ET is available on Lifetime

Source: FoxNews.com

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