Category: 80’s

Dukes of Hazzard Videopalooza

We’re continuing on with Dukes of Hazzard week here at Retro Ramblings, and today, we thought it would be fun to take a look at some footage of the stars of the show in various other ways, as well as other interpretations of the show.  So here are some fun videos of the icons outside of the confines of their familiar Hazzard County.

First up, check out these couple of videos where the stars of The Dukes of Hazzard competed on the iconic game show Family Feud against the stars of The Waltons and The Jeffersons.

Bo and Luke were pretty talented outside of acting, driving cars, and shooting bows.  Turns out, they’re both pretty good singers, and you can see that in the video below as they sing the theme song, Good Old Boys in Nashville.

Robot Chicken’s version of The Dukes of Hazzard

Auto Trader got on The Dukes of Hazzard band wagon with one of their recent commercials

In this modern age of over political correctness, you probably won’t see The Dukes of Hazzard on television anymore.  Matter of fact, if you did, it would probably look a lot like this.

The very first General Lee, known as Lee 1, was found in a junkyard and restored.

One more video for today, as we find out if Bo Duke still has it or not.




Looking Back at Dukes of Hazzard Merchandise From the 80’s, Part 1

Growing up, and still today, I was a big fan of The Dukes of Hazzard television show.  As I got old enough, I would watch the new episodes on Friday nights, and beyond that, it was shown in syndication on my local station every afternoon after school, so I had plenty of opportunity to watch.

 What I didn’t realize until recently was just how much merchandise I had that came from the show.  A while back, I mentioned having a Dukes of Hazzard TV tray that I would eat dinner off of occasionally. That sparked several other memories in me of stuff that I had that tied into the show that I had completely forgotten about. So today, I just want to review some of that stuff and relate some of my memories of those things.
Dukes of Hazzard TV Tray

Dukes of Hazzard TV Tray

We’ll just start with the first item that spawned the floor of memories, and talk about the TV tray for a moment.  As several of you may remember, my Dad traveled a lot when I was younger.  My brother was eight years older than me, and as soon as he was old enough too, he got a job working evenings and nights at the local grocery store.  This left just me and my mom at home at night for dinner.
She would usually make one of our favorite “just us” meals like tomato soup with cheese sandwiches, or Sloppy Joes, or some other simple dinner.  We rarely ate at the table since it was just the two of us, and instead we would eat dinner in the living room while watching TV.
I would usually sit on the living room floor, with my Dukes of Hazzard TV tray set up in front of me holding my dinner while we watched Batman (1966) on the Family Channel, and whatever would follow on the original Nick at Night.
Much like everything else on this list, I don’t know what happened to that TV tray, but I still have vivid memories of it and those times alone with my Mom as we bonded over dinner and classic TV.
Dukes of Hazzard ERTL Cars

Dukes of Hazzard ERTL Cars

What red blooded American boy who was a fan of the show didn’t have the Matchbox size replica cars?  I know I sure did.  Between my brother and I, we had a couple of the General Lee, four of the white Hazzard County police cars, Boss Hogg’s car, Daisy’s jeep, Uncle Jesse’s truck, and the rare golden Chickasaw County Police Car.
Of course the General Lee was the fastest in our Matchbox/Hotwheels collection, and not only could it out run those Hazzard County police cars, but also the Hotwheels City cop cars and anything else that tried to chase it down.
Those cars were the perfect licensed product for that show, since one the biggest attractions were the car chases featured, as well as the incredible stunts those Duke boys would pull off in the General Lee.  The little cars made it so easy to replicate whatever you had just watched on the show, and provided countless hours of play time fun for my brother and me.
Dukes of Hazzard Happy Meal Boxes

Dukes of Hazzard Happy Meal Boxes

This is one of the stranger items on this list, but maybe one of the coolest as well.  I’ve not taken the time to research exactly when these were issued or anything, but at some point in the 80’s, a deal was struck with McDonald’s to feature the vehicles from the show as boxes for Happy Meals.
They were made of a thin, molded plastic, two piece construction….a bottom and top…that held your Happy Meal inside.  They came with a decal sheet that you would use to decorate it and make it look like the vehicle from the show.
Now why that may have been cool enough, let me tell you the real magic of these things.  The plastic would crinkle just like the fender of a real car in a wreck!  So I would spend hours playing with these things…having car chases and such, but sure enough, most chases ended with the vehicles crashing into each other and causing significant body damage.  But fear not, because you could open it up, push out the dents, and start all over again.
I’m not sure how long they lasted until they were too beat up to repair, but I know I pushed them to those limits before I would let my Mom throw them out.
Dukes of Hazzard Wrist Racers

Dukes of Hazzard Wrist Racers

I came across a picture of these the other night, and it was like a lightning bolt striking me.  My mind had lost all traces of the memory of having these things, but once I saw them, the memories came flooding back.
This was such a cool toy, as you had a small (smaller than Hot Wheels) General Lee car or Police car that would wind up so you could let it go and it would take off.  You wound up the car and attached it to it’s “wrist” base, and left it there until you were ready to set it off on it’s journey.  On the front of the base, was a pull out ramp that made it possible to lower your arm to the floor, and have the ramp ON the floor so when you launched the car it didn’t wreck once it left your wrist.  One push of a button released the wound up car and it would zoom across the floor!
This was such a genius idea, and it was made all the better by the fact that it was built like a watch so that you could wear it around everywhere you went, and be ready to launch it at any time.
There’s a lot more merchandise to cover, but we’ll cover it later this week..  Next time around we’ll be looking at some of the Color Forms and other merchandise like the Dukes of Hazzard Big Wheel!

The Dukes of Hazzard

Dukes of Hazzard

“Just two good old boys, never meanin’ no harm… Beats all you never saw, been in trouble with the law since the day they was born…”

Everybody loves a car chase. From Bullitt to The French Connection to Smokey and the Bandit, speedy vehicles have thrilled viewers on the big screen for years. CHiPs proved the same thrills were possible on the small screen, so it was only a natural progression to continue the concept of the chase-driven show.

Unlike CHiPs, The Dukes Of Hazzard took the side of the “outlaws” as it followed the adventures of the Duke cousins, Bo and Luke. The boys were reformed former moonshiners whose career ended when they were caught making a moonshine run for their Uncle Jesse. Jesse made a deal with the law to keep the boys out of prison, involving a promise from the boys never to run moonshine again, not to cross the state line without permission, and not to use any firearms.

However, none of this could keep the Duke boys down. To get around the firearms ban, the two were strictly bowmen, though their arrows often had a bit of TNT-fueled kick. They also built a car with the help of their buddy, Cooter Davenport. They took out a loan to finance the venture while their other cousin, Daisy (who wears short shorts? she wears short shorts!), worked at the Boar’s Nest to pay off the loan (“Free drinks on the house!”). This hangout was owned by Boss Hogg, the local politico who ran Hazzard County and the major nemesis of the Duke clan.

Continue reading “The Dukes of Hazzard”

Looking Back at Big Trak

Bog Trak

November of 1979 was the moment the future finally arrived in the American living room. When the holidays arrived a month later, many American children (mostly boys) were treated to the toy of their dreams, lovingly realized in injection mold plastic and the invisible world of internal chip technology.

Imagine the revelatory shock that spread like miniature mushroom clouds of excitement through your nervous system when underneath the torn wrapping of a holiday gift lay a bright, shining box containing Big Trak, the first artificial intelligence robotic vehicle made expressly for children. The mind raced with evil genius delusions of grandeur, fantasizing about all the limitless applications of your new six wheeled, programmable domestic assault vehicle.

Big Trak, the brainchild of an electronically minded Milton Bradley Company (who released Simon and Microvision during the same period), looked like a toy version of the futuristic armored RV from Damnation Alley. The squat, low and sturdy appearance of the truck had an almost militaristic feel, which was heartily reinforced by Big Trak’s ability to fire “Photon” lasers (actually a focused high wattage light bulb behind a red filter). The toy retailed for about $43.00, a price high enough that it was often marooned it to the envious land of “toys” other people have in their homes.  Big Trak also had one “trailer hitch” accessory that, for anyone who saw Big Trak commercials, was an absolutely necessary purchase. The trailer sold for $12.00 and could be used to haul cool stuff around the house. In the commercial, a kid giddily programs his Big Trak to surprise his father with a cool, refreshing drink, perhaps thanking him for spending so much on this techno-wonder.

Big Trak

In the end, remotely serving your father his evening gin & tonic was about the limit of Big Trak’s practical applications. The plastic multi-colored numeric directional keypad located on Big Trak’s back was just complicated enough to make navigating the hallways and rooms of the average family home a daunting task at best. There was a difficult system of pressing numbers and arrows in sequence in order to command the vehicle to “go forward,” “turn left,” “go forward again,” “fire photon,” “retreat,” etc. This was made more problematic by the fact that each time the forward arrow was pressed in the sequence of commands, the Big Trak would move approximately 13 inches. This was not a particularly helpful formula for precise driving, and a lot of living room furniture suffered as a result.

Even if Big Trak was eventually proven ineffective as a toy, its lure and appeal were supreme. While the electronic aspects were particularly hypnotic, the idea that Big Trak offered an element of control to a child that had very little power over the world around them was like entering the realm of magic. A child’s environment is often dominated by schedules, rules and parameters designed by someone else’s hand. Big Trak promised a child his own agency in decision-making. Move here. Turn there. Fire weapon. Bring me a drink. Obey me, Big Trak, for I am your god.

Making My Christmas Wish List From the 1986 Sears Christmas Wish Book

Now that we’re past Halloween, it’s time to start turning our attention to Christmas!  I know to some it may be early, but ever since I was a kid, you always had to get an early start on the Christmas season.  That’s because back then, the annual Sears Christmas Wish Book would arrive in the mail in mid-October.  I’d spend days on end pouring over all of that years offerings and circling all the cool stuff I wanted.

So in that grand tradition, let’s take a trip back in time to 1986 and re-visit the pages of that years Wish Book, and make a list of all the cool stuff I would have liked to receive that holiday season!


What better way to stay warm in the coming winter than with a sweater showing your support for your favorite NFL football team?  I imagine these looked nice back in their day, but I can also see the word “tacky” written all over them in the mid-90’s.  But these days, they have a cool retro look and I would happily parade around town sporting one of these.  Add this to my list this year honey.  Let me get a 49ers one in XL.

As for whats available these days, I kind of dig these intentionally ugly NFL team sweaters.



Boy, did my parents ever regret getting me a drum set like this.  For probably 12 solid hours after getting it for Christmas, I banged away on it.  But unfortunately for me, the quality of the drum faces were just thick paper, and I busted all of them within two days of getting the set for Christmas.  Honey, add this to the list as well so I can relive those glory days.

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Vintage Ad for McDonald’s Salads from 1987

McDonald's Salad

C’mon McDonald’s, of all the products and deliciousness you’re known for, salad isn’t one of them.  Spend your advertising dollars on something like a Happy Meal, or the Big Mac.  I can’t speak with certainty about anyone else, but I have never intentionally made a trip to McDonald’s to get a salad.  But kudos to them for trying I guess, as they stated their case in this ad to try and reel in the health conscience crowd of 1987.

The Beginning of My Comic Book Fandom in the 90’s

Comic Books

Ever since I was young, I’ve enjoyed comic books.  Although I’ve never been a hardcore comics buyer or reader, I have dabbled in them from time to time, and my collection has expanded and retracted a lot through the years.

In the beginning, my older brother had a large collection of comic books that were kept under a table on our carport in the house I grew up in.  During the summer months, I would pull out random issues and read through them.  In his large pile of comics, there was Justice League America, Unknown Soldier, Sgt. Rock, Fantastic Four, Batman, Incredible Hulk, Mad Magazine, and Cracked.

Rainy days were whiled away kicked back on a sofa we had on the carport, watching and listening to it rain and reading issue after issue.  Since they were kept on the carport, they ended up drawing moisture and thus any monetary value they had vanished.  But that didn’t matter to me.  What mattered was the content inside.

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Monday Night Football Ad from Sept. 10, 1984

You know I’m a big fan of old TV Guide ads, and this being a Monday, I thought I would share this old TV Guide ad from 1984 for the game on September 10 of that year between the Washington Redskins and the San Francisco 49ers.  The 49ers beat the Redskins in a 37-31 thriller in a battle between Hall of Fame QB’s Joe Montana and Joe Theismann.

You’ll also notice how liberal the advertising for alcohol was back in the days before the government intervened and put the kibosh on it.  Bud Light was the official sponsor of Monday Night Football, and took almost half the page with their beer ad.