Catherine Bach As Daisy Duke: How The Jean Shorts Got Their Name
Catherine Bach on the set of the television show, 'The Dukes of Hazzard,' July 1980. (Photo by Fotos International/Getty Images); IMDB
Catherine Bach as Daisy Duke wasn't billed as the main attraction of The Dukes Of Hazzard, but audiences who watched the show came to appreciate her just as much as her cousins Bo and Luke. Those cousins (yes, Bo and Luke and Daisy were all cousins) entertained boys and young men with their muscle car antics on the back roads of Hazzard County, ripping out a "yee haw!" as the General Lee flew through the air. Daisy spent her days waiting tables at the Boar's Nest and breaking hearts in her cutoff jean shorts -- a style today known as Daisy Dukes. You know you're a cultural icon when the style of hot pants you wore are now named after you. It's hard to find The Dukes Of Hazzard on TV these days, but everyone knows what Daisy Dukes are.
Bo and Luke Duke regularly wreaked havoc, driving their '69 Dodge Charger all over Hazzard County, Georgia -- Daisy had a pretty sweet ride herself, a yellow 1972 Plymouth Road Runner. They all lived on a farm with their Uncle Jesse Duke. The Duke boys were notorious for finding trouble although their intentions were mostly admirable. They were Robin Hood-like characters always trying to thwart County Commissioner Boss Hogg’s dishonest schemes and in turn, helped people in need. One thing we could always count on was that their iconic car, the General Lee, and Daisy were usually involved in some way.
Daisy Was Always In The Right Place At The Right Time
As the story went, the three cousins were orphaned and sent to live with their Uncle Jesse. Daisy worked as a waitress at the Boar’s Nest, a local watering hole, owned by Boss Hogg. The fictional Hazzard County was rural, without a lot of options -- so the Boar's Nest was one of the only social gathering places around. Although her character was a waitress, Daisy aspired to be so much more; a singer/songwriter and a journalist.
A Very Good Girl In Very Short Shorts
Daisy Duke was an outgoing, curvy, adventurous and most often skimpily clad Southern belle -- an intriguing combination to be sure. She usually meant well but was always finding herself in some sort of pickle because she, like her cousins, endeavored to "do the right thing." She had that down-home, innocent look about her but was quite capable of coming through in a pinch!
Daisy Duke's Car Was Just As Cool As Her Cousins'
She was well known for her superior sharpshooting, horseback riding and archery abilities to name a few. At times, she rivaled Bo and Luke with her driving abilities. She was known for her '72 (later, a '74) Plymouth Road Runner, and she also drove a Jeep CJ-7 at times. She was the ultimate tomboy and looked oh, so cute doing it. Bo and Luke used the CB handle "Lost Sheep," and Daisy replied as "Bo Peep." Uncle Jesse, of course, is "Shepherd."
Daisy Duke Was The Hottest Thing In Hazzard County
Although Daisy could play coy and naïve at times, she had an energetic and outgoing personality. She always had men trying to woo her and win her affection but she just couldn’t be tied down like that. Daisy was good at reeling them in and letting them go! She was the ultimate tease, especially if there was an ulterior motive involved. Unfortunately, Deputy Enos Strate had a running infatuation with Daisy that was never reciprocated.
Daisy Duke Was The Duke Boys' Secret Weapon
In the course of her employment at the Boar’s Nest, she was exposed to just about everyone in town including Boss Hogg. Because he was usually the one at the center of the conflict in each episode, Daisy was constantly eavesdropping on private conversations and shared the information with her cousins. A little information from Daisy, and a plan was hatched!
The Boar's Nest Couldn't Get Rid Of Daisy
Now, any smart criminal would do away with an employee who leaked information and constantly betrayed him. In fact, just the connection to the Duke clan would have been enough for some employers. The fact is that Daisy landed herself fired a few times but always ended up getting her job back. This, despite the fact that she made no apologies for her allegiance to her family.
Daisy appeared in all but one episode of The Dukes of Hazzard. Producers originally had a little something different in mind for her character. Catherine Bach asked permission to bring her own costume to the audition for the role and they were pleasantly surprised when she showed up in those short shorts. Although producers loved the look, they were afraid it might be a little too racy. Throwing all caution to the wind, they took a chance on it anyway -- though Bach often wore flesh-colored pantyhose under them to keep the look slightly less revealing. Bach is responsible for what we still refer to, today, as “Daisy Dukes.” She never let us down and definitely kept the viewers tuned in.
The Empowering Miss Duke
In a 1997 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Bach explained that she saw Daisy as empowering:
Whatever she did, she could shoot better, drive better, do everything better than a guy. Whenever the guys were in trouble, she stepped in. She wasn’t acting tough, she just was.
She also shared some insight about the Daisy Duke getup -- for those who think it was too skimpy or sexy, it could have been worse:
[The hardest thing about the shorts was] Keeping them zipped. Originally they wanted me to wear a checkered skirt to match the checkered tablecloths at the Boar’s Nest, and white vinyl boots that were up to my knees. I said, 'You guys are nuts. That’s not only dorky, it’s kind of degrading.'
Tags: Catherine Bach | Daisy Duke | Fashion In The 1970s | Hot Pants | The 1970s | TV In The 1970s | What They Are Known For
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