Friday, August 30, 2013

I Won a Major Award!

In not at all Dukes related news, I won a video contest.  Aside from being a Dukes of Hazzard fanatic, I am also in the real estate profession.  I am a Realtor and Real Estate Appraiser at Larry A. Franks Real Estate Agency.  The Pennsylvania Association of Realtors held a video contest asking for entrants to create a video explaining what the Realtor Code of Ethics meant to them in 100 seconds or less.  I decided to stray away from the standard "talk to the camera" format and get a little creative.  I recruited Jeff and my mom to help. This is what we came up with:

I thought the superhero theme would make it stand out.  I am really happy with the result.  It wasn't obvious, but I wonder if anyone noticed the Realtor pin I was wearing.  The prize was a choice between an iPad and a Samsung Galazy Note 10.1.  Of course I went with the Galaxy.  Who likes apple stuff?  Not this guy, Android all the way!

I'm very excited to use this bad boy to catalog my collection and post blogs.  And of course Duke it up with 01 wallpapers and dixie horn notifications.

Of course, if you'd like to see more video featuring myself and ol' Jeffrey, you can check out Franks and Beans (on which we own, and always will).  Most of them don't include me flying and directly trying to win a prize, but some do.  Some also feature my mom.  And they are slightly funnier, slightly.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Hunt Is Back On! - New White Lightnings and a Few Other Things

Be on the look out, there are new White Lightnings in the wild!

As we all know, the newest 1/18s, the Camaro, 00 Mustang, and the Rosco Patrol Car, had White Lightning versions that included gold wheels as well as white tires.  The previous 1/25 White Lightnings and Lightning Strikes  had standard silver wheels inside the white tires.  And of course, there was never a WL of LS 1/18 General Lee.  That has all changed.  Johnny Lightning has mixed things up and released all new chase versions of our favorite car.

The new cars match the other non-General Lee Hazzard cars and have gold rims.  I was lucky enough to get one in 1/25.  There is also a 1/18 version this time around.  I just knew it would come out sooner or later.  I have seen a 1/25 Lightning Strike version (orange wheels) with gold rims, but cannot confirm if there is a LS 1/18.  My guess would be no, because there was no LS version of the other 1/18s, but you never know.  I'm still searching for the WL 1/18 and the LS 1/25, fingers crossed.

In other Dukes news, I had the fortune to pick up a couple Silver Era 1/18s.

This is the "Race Day" General Lee.  It is unfinished.  It has a primered hood and an orange 0 along with other details.  I honestly don't know what the passenger side 01s look like, I've never seen one open.  This is my second one and the box is in amazing shape.

The other car I got is the standard Barris General Lee.  I never picked this car up back in the day because I was against the idea of George Barris having his name on our car.  He didn't create the General.  I once ask Ben Jones why George claims to have made the General, and he told me George is so big in the industry, you let him say what he wants.  Ben is a wise man.  This car has gone up in value quite a bit in the last few years.  I was lucky to get it at the price I did.  I may be against this car (not as much as I used to be) but if it weren't for this version, we wouldn't have the crown jewel of all Dukes collectibles, the Gold General Lee. It is also a part of the Barris line of 1/18s.

This version has Barris' crest on the box.

It also comes with a certificate of authenticity.  I have no idea what it says, as I don't usually open these higher-end variants.

Most of the variants just have differences on the box.  This version has a crest printed on the car.  I wonder if it is on both sides.  The world may never know.  

And I got another copy of the Dukes album on cassette. This is one of those items I can't let slip through ebay at a small price.  It seems I always buy these things if they are cheap.  Not really sure why.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The complete Johnny Lightning Dukes of Hazzard line: Series 7 and Beyond

Let's take this thing home.

Back in March I started a journey to write about the entire Dukes of Hazzard line released by Johnny Lightning throughout the second half of the 2000's decade.  I consider this line one of the most important aspects of Modern Era Dukes of Hazzard collecting.  It shows how popular the franchise still is with the large number of different cars released.  In the last few years, the prices of these cars have really spiked as they continue to grow in popularity.  In this final post of the series, I will look at the last four cars to be released in the line, as well as four others.

Series 7, the final series in the line, was released in late 2008.  Like Series 6, it only had four cars in it, two of which were new to diecast and also one monster truck.  The package design is similar to Series 6.  The only difference is the additional item.

The back of the package no longer has a check list of the cars in the series, but neither did Series 5 or 6.

After the last few releases of scuffed, dirty, movie, and ghost versions of the General Lee, Series 7 has a standard General Lee.  It is almost exactly like the version from Series 3, which was perfect, expect this one does not have tiny black dots in the center of the wheels.  So, basically, this one or Series 3 is the perfect rendition of the greatest car in the history of mankind in 1/64 format.

Series 7 finally saw the addition of Lucifer to a Dukes line.  Lucifer was driven by Amy Creevy in the season 1 episode Luke's Love Story.  It raced against the General, as well as Cooter's Camaro and Enos' Race Car.  Those two cars were released in Series 1 and 3 respectively.  With Lucifer, you could now reenact that race.  We have already seen Cooter's Camaro in 1/18 scale.  It is my guess that this car gets the 1/18 treatment before long.  I may have mentioned that once or twice before.

Next in the series is Cooter's Chevy Pickup.  Cooter was seen driving this truck in the season 2 episode Grannie Annie as well as others.  Looking back on the line, Cooter has gotten a lot of love.  There are four cars dedicated to him. Nice job, Ben.

The final car in the line is another beast called "The Dukes of Hazzard Monster Truck."  They already did a General Lee monster truck in Series 5.  This is is more like what a Dukes fan would do to his monster to show his love for the show.  Or maybe the studio would promote the show at a monster truck rally using this big guy.  I like the show logo front and center on the hood.  Having two monster trucks in the line is a little overkill.  But I won't complain about getting another Dukes car out in the world.  This monster truck is the only car in the entire line not to come with a pack-in extra.  I guess there was no room for it.

Speaking of the extras, the three standard size cars in this series came with production design cards.  They show all the angles of the car, the colors used, and the decals.  They even have insider information like the design department, DoAllSer Artwork Design Department and made by Tom Zahorsky.  Tom is a bigwig at JL and has been building diecast cars for years.  I read that he worked on nearly all the 1/64 General Lees.  These additions are quite different than the magnets and stickers from the other series.  They are a cool look into the production of the cars.

When the line was finished, it was feared JL was done with the Dukes.  But I don't think JL/Tomy/Ertl will ever be done with our favorite franchise.  There have been several cars released after Series 7. 

We all know Cooter's Place is the center of the Hazzard Nation.  They sell more Dukes items than anyone else.  They have several exclusives and this is one of them.  Released in 2010, this Cooter's Garage Panel Delivery truck is packaged as part of Johnny Lightning's standard series 7.  The package makes no mention of Dukes.  But you could only pick up this version at Cooter's Place.  It was available for a limited time, and wasn't cheap.  Probably one of the rarest Dukes JLs that is not a white lightning.

The car used throughout the line for the Hazzard County Patrol Cars just wasn't right.  The correct car is a 1977 Dodge Monaco.  JL finally planned on making the correct car and made a big deal about announcing it.  They held an event and invited Ol' Rosco, James Best, to attend.  They sold this preproduction model at the event.  It was too far for me to travel, but I was able to get my hands on one.  A nice low production number too, 8 of 60.  The car says "James Best" on the back fender and includes an autograph in the package.  It is a really cool piece.

The actual car came out later in 2010 as a part of Johnny Lightnings's JL2.0 line in Series 2.  It came on a card designed like those in the Dukes line, but in standard blister packaging, not clam-shell.  It is by far the best diecast of Rosco's Patrol Car.  The lightbar looks great, and the body is perfect.  As soon as it was released, it became hard to find.  The price has gone up steadily since.  I'm not sure why it is so rare and worth so much, but I'm glad I bought several when they first came out.

I guess you can't have Rosco in your standard line and not have the General.  This car came out in 2011 in Series 8 of the JL2.0 line.  It has the same package as Rosco's.  It is nearly identical as the release in Series 7 and 3 of the Dukes line, but the wheels are all wrong.  In the Dukes line, the wheels got better and better as the line progressed leading to as perfect as 1/64 wheels can be for the General Vector Wheels.  But these took a huge step backward.  It is disappointing that JL let this happen.  If you only want to buy one JL General Lee, skip this one and go for Series 3 or 7.

In the last few years, Johnny Lightning has made TV and movie cars that are not labeled as such and are sort of snuck into thier lines.  Examples of this have been Joker's purple Goon car and the cars from Deathproof. They slid a Dukes car into their standard Forever 64 line in 2011 with Hogg's Hellcat.  Though not exactly like the car seen in the season 7 premiere, it was four-door. This is obviously a representation of the car the Boss drove against the Duke Boys in "Happy Birthday General Lee."  It is a lighter diecast and does not feature rubber tires, but it is a welcome addition to the collection.  I hope JL slides a few more cars like this into their other lines.  

With nearly fifty different cars in the Johnny Lightning Dukes of Hazzard line, it is truly one of the most important aspects of all Dukes collecting.  We are fortunate that JL dedicated so much effort to our hobby. With the newer JL 1/18s being released, the Dukes diecast world hasn't slowed down.  Let's hope we get more 1/64s in the future.  But it is a little hard to believe we got all these cars, and no Boss Hogg's Cadillac.

Previous JL Dukes Series:
Series 1
Series 2
Series 3
Series 4
Series 5
Series 6

This has been a fun series of blog posts.  Let's see what other Dukes things I can write about....  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Daisy Dukes Saloons

Ask anyone named Larry and he will confirm it: it's a special treat to unexpectedly find things that you like in random places (seriously, ask any person named Larry.  Know someone named Larry?  Ask 'im!  Then you'll see...).  These discoveries come in many forms; you might stumble upon an out-of-the-blue reference to something you love in a movie or a book, or you might see someone at a ballgame wearing a familiar emblem on his or her shirt.  And sometimes these take the forms of giant marquee signs along the road in Phoenix, Arizona.  Y'know, just as an example.

After spending five days in San Diego for Comic-Con (a great time, let me tell you), my wife and I drove east for the sizzling deserts of the southwest in Scottsdale, just outside of Phoenix.  While we were less than four miles from our hotel, we saw the above and below sign jutting out of the pavement along East McDowell Road, and I knew that I'd have to see what was going on at the Daisy Dukes Saloon.

As we can see in the picture, the logo for the establishment prominently features the signature Dodge Charger from the show, though the "01" has been replaced by a "DD" that kind of looks like the Daredevil emblem...though I suppose that using interlaced letters of the alphabet is not exactly a new idea, at any rate.

If Western movies have taught me anything, it's that saloons in the American southwest must feature swinging wooden doors, spittoons, a piano player, 10-gallon hats, whiskey, and someone who looks a lot like Biff Tannen.  As you can see by the above picture, the definition of the word "saloon" has become more broadly adopted since 1855.

I went into the Daisy Dukes Saloon in hopes of finding some references or nods to the show, but it looked like most other bars that I've ever been to, in that it had a bar, and you could go to that bar and order things like food or booze or, in a pinch, foodbooze.  The bartender on duty at the time was very nice and accommodating (someone you could, say, tell all of your work and relationship-related troubles to), and I had a nice chat with a patron about the Pirates and how they just might not spiral out of control into another record breaking losing season this year.  I was able to leave about 30 business cards at the bar, which was one for the win column.

If you're ever in Phoenix and want to stop by, the address is 5122 E. McDowell Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85008.

Seeing this bar at the branding thereof got me to thinking about the licensing issues that are involved in something of this nature.  I don't know this for sure, but I'm willing to bet that this saloon does not operate with the blessing of Warner Bros., which, of course, owns the Dukes of Hazzard property, and as such, the saloon did not have any trademarked images present in the sign or elsewhere.  But what about the name "Daisy Dukes"?  Is this something affiliated with, say, Catherine Bach, or is it just something that a little bar outside of Phoenix can use and just fly under the radar, not worth the time of the WB legal department?

I did a quick web search and found that this saloon is not the only one in operation; the Google tells me that there are at least two more within the confines of the United States: one in Pembroke Pines, Florida, and one in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  It's unclear if these three establishments have anything to do with each other, as there's a lack of similar branding (and an overall minor web presence for each).

A teaching job had me living in the Myrtle Beach area for almost four years.  If the above oversexed commercial is correct, the Daisy Dukes Country Saloon opened less than a month after I moved away, and only a few months after Larry flew down for a week-long visit.  This saloon is located along the touristy South Kings Highway and, at first glance, looks more to be emulating a Hooters-type atmosphere than the low-key feel that the saloon in Phoenix had.  Oh, and here's a fun fact: the Jessica Simpson lookalike who appears throughout is one of my former students.

Finally, there's supposedly a Daisy Dukes Saloon located in Pembroke Pines, Florida, but judging by the associated website, I'm not entirely sure that the place is up and running (the online menu features such tasty items as "this is the place for the menu this is the place for the menu this is the place for the menu").  It's a bit ironic that the picture on the website features a woman wearing long jeans and not, well, you know, but since she is also nearly topless save a cowboy hat, I suppose I can let it slide.

This establishment is the most intriguing, though, based on a short description from the online Miami Herald:
Why cough up a small fortune for 50 Yard Line seats when you're going to spend most of the game gawking at cheerleaders?  Hold on to your hard-earned cash and take a seat at this sports bar where the drinks are served by bartenders who sport the trademark short shorts and gingham patterned half-shirts.  Catherine Bach, the actress who played the original Daisy Duke on TV, is one of the owners and the finishing touches - Southern rock 'n' roll seeping from outdoor speakers, door handles shaped as gas station nozzles and a playing card sized sticker on the door proudly displaying the "01", the number of the General Lee - are pure Hazzard County.
 This saloon, apparently, has aspirations to be something of a sports bar, which again is at least slightly different from the other two locations.  And Catherine Bach seems to be involved, at least partly, in the ownership structure of this saloon.

So what's the deal?  Does Catherine Bach own parts of each saloon?  Is each operating separately, in different states?  Is the Daisy Dukes Saloon a chain, or just a good idea that different people have decided to cash in on?  Perhaps some of the readers of this blog can shed some light on the issue.

- Jeff McClelland is a friend of Larry who sometimes gets to eat rigatoni at his house on Wednesdays.  You can find him on the web at and

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New Dukes Stuff - 8/7/2013 - Dukes Playset

Slow goings here at Dukes Collector HQ.  But that's the way summer goes.  The new items I have to share are some nice ones.

First off is a promotional shirt from the '05 movie.  I really don't know much about Rhino Linings involvement, or maybe I forgot.  But they had something to do with the movie, and released a shirt to celebrate.  It uses an image that was on all kinds of promo material for the movie.

The back has an alright 01 on it.  It isn't perfect and is blue, not black.  Apparently there was a General Lee tour.  There were a lot of Dukes things going on in the Summer of 2005.  I guess I was oblivious to some.  I was sure a huge part of others.  This is a cool shirt to add to the collection.

Sheila Forsythe was in charge of the Dukes Family Festival in Hagerstown, MD in June.  She did a great job and it was a  fun event.  I helped spread the word a little and she took very good care of me while there. She sent me a letter of thanks and a poster from the event.  This was a very nice gesture and I am proud to add it to the collection.  Thanks Sheila!

I have been hunting for this Dukes of Hazzard Playset still in the box for some time.  It is a staple piece for any Dukes collection, and it should be in mine.  I finally found it a good price.

As labeled, it contains and official (Boss Hogg) Dukes hat, a plastic General Lee, a Dukes belt with buckle, a CB unit, and a photo.  It also comes with an ID card and a CB talk reference card.

The set is made by HG.  They made puzzles and playsets for many popular licences in the '70s and '80s including CHiPS, Godzilla, Superfriends, Voltron, Barbie, and others.

I already have this set in its mail-away form.  It shares the same box with the Barbie set.

Here is everything in and out of the box.  The mail-away seems to come with a couple more items.  This plastic rebel flag isn't in the packaged set, and there are also plastic handcuffs that I didn't include in the picture.

The General Lee in the set is a pretty nice toy.  It looks much more like it should compared to the Mego version.  But, oddly enough, just like the above pictured shirt, it has blue 01s.

It doesn't have a push bar, but it is a very nice General.

The CB Talk reference card is interesting.  I've never heard of a "Plain Brown Wrapper" or an "Egg Beater."

Now let's talk about this picture.  First it's obvious that these are all prototype items.  The General looks horrible.  The logos on the belt and CB are very different than the items we got.  The same goes for the hat. But what is up with the kid's shirt?  I can't even explain.  What are they going for here?  I don't remember any shirt like that on the show.  Very odd choice.  This kid looks like he is around five years old.  This set came out around '81 so the picture was taken around '80 or so.  The kid was a perfect age to really love the Dukes.  I wonder if he still does.  Wouldn't it be cool to know you were on a Dukes item?  I would love to talk to this guy.  He'd be in his mid to late 30s now.  Let's find him.