The “good ole boys” are hitting the road.
“The Dukes of Hazzard” stars John Schneider and Tom Wopat are reuniting to celebrate the show’s 40th anniversary with the “Good Ole Boys Tour,” a car show and concert series kicking off on April 13 in Bakersfield, Calif.
“The Dukes of Hazzard,” which chronicled the adventures of “the fast-drivin’, rubber-burnin’ Duke boys of Hazzard County,” aired from 1979 until 1985. And while the castmates have stayed in touch over the years, Schneider, who starred as Bo Duke, said he was eager to kick off the celebration with his TV family.
“I’m looking forward to the whole thing,” Schneider, 58, told Fox News. “The whole trip, getting to reconnect with friends and family — I’m very excited about it all. I always look forward to getting together because a lot of our healths are getting up there and it seems like every couple of years we sadly lose one.”
“We just lost Sheriff Little,” he continued. “Don Pedro (Colley) passed away most recently. I have on my phone a wonderful picture from an event in Virginia with Don Pedro and I and I’m delighted that I have that. I miss him. And I miss Denver Pyle (Uncle Jesse). When we started the show, I was only 18 so Denver was in many regards my surrogate dad out there in Los Angeles, so he had a great effect on me.”
Wopat, who played Luke Duke, told Fox News that originally he wondered if his time on the series would typecast him as a performer. But now, Wopat said, he happily embraces the legacy of “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
“If you’re typecast, there’s not a hell of a lot you can do about it except take stuff that takes you out of type,” explained the 67-year-old. “And fortunately for me, I got back to work on Broadway right away and I’ve had some interesting film things that I’ve been able to do. It never really was a problem per se. … I’ve always kind of felt it was up to me to determine what the heck I did. And I’ve been lucky enough to be able to do what a like to do.”
Over the years, both Schneider and Wopat have been able to successfully pursue their passion for music. And even after “Dukes of Hazzard” came to an end, loyal fans embraced their many transformations as performers.
“In order to avoid that whole typecast thing, you have to take control of your own career,” said Schneider. “Those who don’t, those waiting for the phone to ring, I’ve got a message for them — it won’t. Or if it does, it will be something directly related to what you are best known for. Naturally, that’s going to lead to some sort of typecasting but neither one of us has really ever been waiting for the phone to ring. We do our own music, we do our own films. … You have to take control of your own destiny.”
Schneider and Wopat said they still have fond memories of filming “Dukes of Hazzard,” which was a hit among viewers, but critically panned.
“We had a lot of fun with it,” said Schneider. “It is was it is. The show was never meant to be incredibly serious entertainment. It was always meant to be fun. And people really, really enjoyed it and they still do. They still think it’s a lot of fun and it’s something that the whole family can watch.”
Both Wopat and Schneider are aware that the announcement of the "Good Ole Boys Tour” comes after the duo has been on the spotlight for more personal reasons.
In June 2018, Schneider’s fans were surprised when he went to jail for five hours out of his three-day jail sentence in Los Angeles for unpaid alimony. The actor said at the time that he couldn’t afford the alimony payments after he said he spent a bundle repairing his movie studio in Louisiana following a March 2016 flood. At the time, a lawyer for his ex-wife, Elly Castle, did not return Fox News’ multiple requests for comment.
Schneider and Castle have been estranged since she filed for divorce in 2014.
As for Wopat, he announced in September 2017 he would be taking time to address his ongoing struggles with substance abuse following his arrest in Massachusetts on indecent assault and battery charges. At the time he expressed “his deepest regrets to friends, family, and his many loyal fans for the unfortunate events” but denied any wrongdoing. Wopat said he hoped his “good name will be restored” after his team investigated the allegations.
In 2018, he was sentenced to a year of probation after pleading guilty to two counts of annoying and accosting a person of the opposite sex. He also received a continuance without a finding for one year after admitting to sufficient facts on the charge of cocaine possession.
“I think the thing that comes along with being a public figure is that certain things involved in your private life are going to get blown out of proportion,” said Wopat. “Fortunately for me, all of that stuff is resolved and I’m actually with a new manager, bringing a new album out and getting back into focus on what’s important to me. I think a lot of the things the way that social media is now is really kicking everything and just grabbed it and made it huge. Back when we first started there was no social media and it took a while to get to Enquirer. It was a different day and age.”
Schneider said he doesn’t hesitate to set the record straight about his life.
“If I get wind of [bad news] I want to put it right up front and center on all my social [media accounts] so it doesn’t appear that I’m hiding anything,” he explained. “So that’s what I continue doing. I’ve gotten mostly support by doing that. Most people come to the table and say, ‘Wow, it’s nice for somebody to be up front and center about this.’ … I use social media to get the word out [about my life] and I don’t think I overuse it. I think personally I’m using it pretty darn well now.”
While Schneider and Wopat are looking forward to what the future holds for them personally and professionally, they can’t help but reflect on their past. Schneider can still vividly recall his memories with Pyle, who passed away in 1997 at age 77.
“He would always ask if I was happy,” recalled Schneider. “If I’d met someone and if I was happy he would then said, ‘Did you make her laugh?’ If it took me more than about half a second to answer the question he would say, ‘Good luck with that.’ Laughter was really embroidered on us because it’s what we have. I know it’s what Wopat and I have. And it still holds true.”
“We’re still the boys,” added Wopat. “Always.”
Fox News' Sasha Savitsky contributed to this report.