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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Interviews with The Dukes of Hazzard cast: James Best, Sonny Shroyer and Rick Hurst

In Awe of the Law
by Jennifer Squires Biller

Above: Sonny Shroyer (Enos) greets fans at DukesFest.

It wouldn’t be Hazzard without the lawmen. And Rosco, Enos and Cletus upped the fun factor at DukesFest to General Lee gravity-defying levels. These guys were so nice to fans and the media that it’s hard to believe they’re actually in show business. James Best, Sonny Shroyer and Rick Hurst slipped into character throughout the weekend, donning their police hats and uniforms and doing their schtick as kooky cops, much to the fans’ delight. I tracked down the trio for interrogation, Hazzard style, to see what they’ve been up to, and along the way, uncovered some shocking facts.

Above: Rick Hurst and Sonny Shroyer entertain fans at DukesFest.

Below: Tube Talk Girl has a blast interviewing James Best (Rosco.)

James Best
What he’s been up to: Taught acting classes and still writes, produces and acts. Currently working on a film with his daughter and starring in her film, Hot Tamale, a crime-comedy also starring Jason Priestly, Randy Spelling and Carmen Electra. Best is also a talented painter and continues to make personal appearances.

Fun facts: Best was nominated for a Grammy in the spoken word category for his poem Summer Storm a Comin'. Quentin Tarantino credited Best for teaching him how to act. Best was a familiar face in westerns, films and television in the ‘50s and ‘60s starring in shows such as Gunsmoke, Bonanza, Rawhide and The Andy Griffith Show. Best ad-libbed much of his dialogue as Rosco on The Dukes of Hazzard. “Whenever you saw Jimmy and Sorrell Booke (Boss Hogg) doing that classic comedy, they were improvising,” Ben Jones (Cooter) said.

Web site: www.jamesbest.com and www.jamesbestart.com

Below: Tube Talk Girl interrogates Rosco during an interview and shares a laugh with the always- entertaining James Best.

Interview transcript:
Jennifer: How long have you been painting James?
James: About 30 years.
Jennifer: So you were painting when the show was on?
James: Oh yeah, I had a captive audience. Even before the show, I used to make pictures with Burt Reynolds and Jimmy Stewart and all those people, and I’d go in my dressing room for lunch and paint. Burt Reynolds would buy a new one of my paintings every time he got a new girlfriend. So I’d say Burt, aren’t you tired of that girl yet? (Laughter)
Jennifer: (laughing) I know there are a lot of fans interested in your artwork. Where can folks go to buy your paintings?
James: www.jamesbestart.com
Jennifer: What is it that you like to paint specifically?
James: Actually the southern landscapes. I’m an old country boy I was born in Kentucky. I found out the Everly Brothers were my first cousins. I was adopted. I don’t know why I can’t sing. Thank God I can paint. (laughing) I’ve gone off your question, what was it?
Jennifer: What specifically do you like to paint?
James: Strictly southern landscapes. As you notice. I love to fish. In my paintings, you’ll see water and the trees reflecting in the water. I do European paintings too, beautiful landscapes. And buildings in Paris and Italy. But I’m better known for my landscapes.
Jennifer: Are you doing any acting projects now, James?
James: Yes. I’m getting ready to go to Canada and make a picture for my daughter and my son in law. My daughter Janeen Best wrote and produced the picture. Michael Damien, who was on the Young and the Restless for about 15 years, is my son-in-law. So this is my third movie I’ve made with him.
Jennifer: What’s the name of the movie you’re currently in?
James: Its called Hot Tamale. It’s adorable.
Jennifer: Are you starring as the hot tamale?
James: (Laughter.) Oh no. (more laughter). No, I’m a cold potato!
Jennifer: Thanks so much James.
James: Thank you!

Below: Enos (Sonny Shroyer) autographs a car for a fan.

Sonny Shroyer
What he’s been up to: Working in television and film, including roles in the critically acclaimed motion pictures Ray, Forrest Gump and The Rainmaker. He played Coach Bear Bryant in Forrest Gump. He recently completed the film A Tale About Bootlegging, in independent comedy.

Fun facts: Played football at Florida State University with Burt Reynolds and later starred with Reynolds in The Longest Yard and Smokey and the Bandit. Shroyer became so popular as Enos on The Dukes of Hazzard, Warner Brothers gave him his own series titled Enos which ran for 17 episodes and was nominated for two People’s Choice Awards.

Web site: www.sonnyshroyer.com

Below: Tube Talk Girl chats up Enos (Sonny Shroyer)
Interview transcript:
"‘Possum on a gum bush," if there was an award for the sweetest guy at DukesFest, Shroyer would win it, in my opinion. I was so comfortable chatting up the bumbling, deputy “dipstick” that I forgot to turn on my digital recorder. (Commence mocking now.) It turns out his father’s hometown is the very same one I live near now, and we talked about his memories of West Virginia. So, while I can’t bring you the transcript of my chat with Shroyer, I can tell you he’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. I can also give you these comments from Ben Jones about everyone’s favorite dipstick. “He’s a good ‘ol boy with a great gift for acting,” Jones said. “You see Sonny all the time (in movies) and not know it’s him because he’s so good. You’ll never met anybody who has a bad word to say about Sonny.” Here, here, Cooter. I couldn’t agree more.

Below: Rick Hurst (Cletus) and his younger son at DukesFest.

Rick Hurst
What he’s been up to: After the Dukes, he worked in films, including Steel Magnolias and The Karate Kid, Part III, as well as television including Melrose Place, The Guardian, The Wonder Years and M*A*S*H*.

Fun facts: James Best “Rosco” nicknamed him “Lugnuts” to Enos’ “Dipstick.” Ben Jones teased Hurst, at the press conference, that the cast is waiting for his son, TV and movie star Ryan Hurst, to land his own show so they can all “get some work.”

Below: Tube Talk Girl poses with Cletus (Rick Hurst.)

Interview transcript:
Jennifer: Where can we catch Rick now? What projects are you working on?
Rick: Well, you can catch Rick in Los Angeles. I’m working with my son Ryan on developing some projects. We have about five different things in development now. I’m also working with my younger son and his acting career. He’s doing shows out in California. My older son you can see him on Medium.
Jennifer: Who does he play on Medium?
Rick: He plays (Patricia Arquette’s) brother, who also has the gift and they’re trying to decide how to work out storylines involving his gift. And he starred in Remember the Titans
Jennifer: What’s it like seeing all your former co-stars again?
Rick: For me, it’s been the most amazing and beautiful experience. I’m thankful that we’re all together again.
Jennifer: Thank you Rick.
Rick: You’re very welcome!

Below: The lawmen of Hazzard prove they're still "Good 'ol Boys" and bust a move at the concert at DukesFest, and Rick Hurst and Sonny Shroyer catch up.

Above: James Best entertains the crowd, as Rosco P. Coltrane.


TVFan said...

These guys are a riot! I really enjoyed these interviews. I watch Medium every week, so I definitely know Ryan Hurst. He was in an excellent episode this season.

tube talk girl said...

Thank you TV Fan. I tried to watch the Medium pilot, but I was alone and got so scared/freaked out I had to turn it off. Yes, I'm a sissy. It's a shame because it looked really good.

TVFan said...

The song/opening credits of Medium really freak me out! I completely understand. :-)

Becky said...

I enjoyed reading the interviews. Even though I am only 16, I grew up watching the original Dukes of Hazard. I would of given anything to interview everybody from the show.

tube talk girl said...

Becky, I'm a little older than you, (stops to chuckle) but I grew up watching them, too. There was no better way to spend Friday nights. And I can honestly say interviewing these folks was one of the best times I've had in my career.

manuel said...

I am the nephew of James Best aka Jules Guy. He was my father's brother, Walter. My names is Manuel Guy.

i can be e-mailed at
tennwildman@aol.com are

would like to meet my Uncle

Manuel Lewis Guy

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