Rumors about the Confederate Flag being removed from the roof of the General Lee, the Dukes of Hazzard’s 1969 Dodge Charger, have been making their way around the blogosphere for a few days.
True fans of the series and the thousands of pieces of collectible merchandise the show inspired will be happy to know the rumors are untrue.
“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.”
The hubbub began when member of the HobbyTalk.com forum posted a message saying a sales representative for Tomy, owner of Ertl diecast, a Dukes licensee, had told him that all licensed General Lee models must stop using the Confederate flag by Jan. 1, 2013.
Ben Jones, a former two-term congressman from Georgia the who played Cooter in the TV series, released a statement last Wednesday. “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. This is a new level of ‘P.C.’ idiocy. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of being insulted by morons.”
When the “Dukes of Hazzard” premiered in January 1979, back in the days of CB radios and 55-mph speed limits, little was said about the flag, which is not the “Stars and Bars” but the second Confederate Navy flag. In fact, throughout the show’s 145-episode run that ended in 1985, there was no significant protests as apparently very few people thought much about it at all.
In the intervening years, the Confederate flag has become more controversial, especially during the flare-up over the Georgia state flag in the 1990s.
There is a second “The Dukes of Hazzard” in the works, but Warner Brothers it was nowhere near ready to enter production, so no decisions have been made about the General Lee’s paint job. This means models and toys will continue to wear the flag.