They’re now doing George Orwells 1984… in real life. And you’re all taking part in it.
Literally stopping making the “general lee” duke of hazzard car!
This country deserves to get the karma it has coming.
You can’t delete or omit TV shows that were NOT RACIST….
Idiots calling for the banning of a flag are not freedom lovers, and not real Americans by any means.
Say goodbye to the General Lee as you’ve always known it.
In the wake of the deadly South Carolina shooting and the decision by several major retailers to stop selling merchandise featuring the Confederate battle flag, the toy spawned by the hit TV series “Dukes of Hazzard” that became a Southern icon wearing those colors will no longer be produced.
While the car hasn’t been in front of a camera since 2007 — a direct-to-video sequel of the 2005 movie starring Johnny Knoxville — the General Lee remains a popular die-cast and model toy, widely available online. (One of the original cars used in the series sold for $110,000 at auction in 2012 to PGA golfer Bubba Watson.)
Following the move by Walmart, Amazon, eBay and others, and the steps by political leaders in South Carolina, Virginia and elsewhere to remove the flag from state capitols and license plates, Yahoo Autos reached out to Warner Bros. Consumer Products, the branch of the movie studio that licenses toys from the series, asking about the General Lee’s status. This was the official reply:
Warner Bros. Consumer Products has one licensee producing die-cast replicas and vehicle model kits featuring the General Lee with the confederate flag on its roof–as it was seen in the TV series. We have elected to cease the licensing of these product categories.
At the time the “Dukes of Hazzard” premiered in 1979 on CBS-TV, the placement of the Confederate flag and the naming of the 1969 Dodge Charger driven — and often flown — by Bo and Luke Duke after the South’s most famous general drew few if any protests, a state that persisted through the end of its original run in 1985. The show was based in part on the real-life exploits of bootlegger Jerry Rushing, who had named his old Chrysler “Traveler” (with one “l”) after Lee’s horse.
Only in recent years has General Lee’s Confederate flag, and its associations with the defense of slavery and white supremacy in America, drawn more backlash. In 2012, Warner Bros. shot down rumors that it was removing the flag from the car, and fan clubs where replicas gather remain adamant in their display of the original.
But with the closing of most commercial outlets to Confederate-emblazoned merchandise, it was somewhat inevitable that the General Lee would meet a hurdle it couldn’t clear. Warner Bros. added that it would not license a General Lee product sans the stars and bars, but the lost sales will likely be minimal; while the show continues in reruns, there’s not been much movement toward another movie or TV series out of the “Dukes of Hazzard” universe. Much like that flag on its roof, the original General Lee has jumped into history.
Additional reporting by John Pearley Huffman
SAN DIEGO — A scheduling conflict kept Bubba Watson from answering the call from President Clinton to play in last week’s Humana Challenge outside Palm Desert. Clinton, with his deep-fried Southern roots, might have given Watson his blessing if he had known how Watson spent the weekend.
He was at the Barrett-Jackson automobile auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., bidding on the General Lee, the modified orange 1969 Dodge Challenger Charger that was the real star of the 1970s television show “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
Watson, a Florida native, fulfilled a childhood dream when he acquired his “dream car,” as he described it, for $110,000, which was considered a steal. The car was wrecked in the jump featured in the show’s opening credits. But, as Watson can attest, it has been restored. He drove it from the auction to his Scottsdale home, stopping along the way to fill the gas tank and grab a bite at In-N-Out, a burger place that traffics in nostalgia.
“I pulled in and about 40 people asked if they could sit in it and take photos,” Watson said. He was happy to oblige them, but reminded them to take care stepping over the roll bar.
An impulse purchase, it was not. Watson said he has “loved the show forever” and has a collection of Dukes of Hazzard DVDs to prove it. His wife, Angie, also can testify to his devotion, Watson said.
“At the time we met she knew that I loved that car and wanted one,” he said.
“We made a deal back then that if I ever won a golf tournament, she would let me get one.”
Watson is the defending champion this week at the Farmers Insurance Open. He has two other titles: the 2010 Travelers Championship and the 2011 Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
The confederate flag painted on the roof was an issue for Watson’s wife, he said.
“I said it’s not about the confederate flag, it’s about the show and what it stands for,” he said. “It’s the most recognizable car. So years and years of persuading her, it didn’t help. Then finally we’ve never been to the Barrett-Jackson, because I’ve always played the Hope, now the Humana. So I took it off this year. So a friend asked us to go and it was just sitting there.”
And the price was right.
“I wasn’t going to go much more money than that,” Watson said. “Because they were predicting a lot higher numbers, but for some reason it just fell in my lap.”
He added: “After I bought the car, we figured out that six days after I was born, that’s when the car jumped for the first time. So now I own it, so that’s pretty cool.”
Contradicting rumors that circulated through fan forums, film Web sites and other corners of the Internet this week, the orange, incredibly air-worthy 1969 Dodge Charger from “The Dukes of Hazzard” television series, known as the General Lee, is not expected to lose the Confederate flag from its roof.
“We were not and are not planning to change design of the General Lee on merchandise,” Warner Brothers Consumer Products, the division of the entertainment conglomerate that oversees licensing of merchandise related to its theatrical titles, said in a statement. “All reports to the contrary have been inaccurate to this point.”
Though a second film based on “The Dukes of Hazzard,” a film adaptation released by the studio in 2005, is in development, Warner Brothers said in its statement that it was nowhere near ready to enter production. Consequently, no creative decisions have been rendered about the appearance of the General Lee, meaning replicas and toys made by Warner Brothers’ various licensees would continue to be produced with the flag on the roof.
In 1978, when “The Dukes of Hazzard” entered television production, little sensitivity was paid by the show’s producers to the meaning and history of the Confederate flag. When CBS aired the first episode on Jan. 26, 1979, there was little, if any, protest. And when CBS aired the series’ 145th and final episode in 1985, there was still no organized objection to the Confederate flag on the General Lee’s roof.
Though the show’s popularity has diminished, fan clubs are active, and large get-togethers featuring ceremonial jumps of Dodge Chargers have been held across the country. Beyond the show, fan groups have also organized around the General Lee itself. Building replicas of the car has become something of a cottage industry.
So when a commenter on the community forums for the Web site HobbyTalk.com said that a sales representative for Tomy, owner of the Ertl brand of die-cast toy cars, had told him that all licensed General Lee models must cease to be produced with the Confederate flag on its roof by Jan. 1, 2013, an Internet-fanned phenomenon was sparked.
HobbyTalk.com is a site for collectors of die-cast, radio-control and slot cars. The Times left a message for the commenter, who went by the handle Mark #10, on the site, but did not receive a reply. A representative for Tomy referred all inquiries about the General Lee and its design back to Warner Brothers.
Responding to the rumors, Ben Jones, the actor who portrayed Cooter in the television series, weighed in on Wednesday with a fiery press release. “Some unnamed genius at the company feels that the flag is ‘offensive to some’ and therefore it has no business on a classic TV comedy about a bunch of good ol’ boys and girls in the Southern mountains,” Mr. Jones, a former two-term Democratic congressman from Georgia, wrote. “This is a new level of ‘P.C.’ idiocy. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of being insulted by morons.”
By Wednesday night, online petitions were cropping up. On Thursday morning, “The Today Show” put up an online poll on its “The Clicker” blog asking if the flag should stay. At the time this report published, there were 1,614 votes cast for the flag to be removed and 16,951 for it to remain.
By Friday, the statement from Warner Brothers also was spreading across the General Lee fan community, prompting Mr. Jones to release another statement claiming victory. “This is not only a victory for those who love the show, but a victory for the voice of the people, and in my opinion, a victory for mutual respect among people of different ethnicities and backgrounds,” he wrote. “We should now be gracious and thank the folks at Warner Brothers for changing this misguided policy.”
In the same statement, Mr. Jones, who organizes theme events around the franchise and sells related merchandise online and through his store, Cooter’s Place, in Nashville, also claimed that there were “reliable and verifiable reports from WB car licensees with whom we do business that as of Jan. 1, 2013, the Confederate banner on top of the General Lee would be removed because some people ‘found it offensive.’” Calls to Mr. Jones through his Nashville store to discuss his assertion went unanswered.
Correction: September 2, 2012
The headline in an earlier version of this post referred to the flag design on the roof of the General Lee as the stars and bars. The flag depicted was actually the second Confederate navy jack. The stars and bars refers to the first national flag of the Confederacy.