November 11: The General Lee makes its first jump on this date in 1978

November 11, 2013

Lots of TV shows were into car stunts in the late '70s and early '80s — thanks to the pioneering work of stuntmen/directors like the late Hal Needham, who invented the techniques for doing them safely and cheaply. And yet no car has ever garnered more fame from a single jump than a 1969 Dodge Charger painted orange with a Confederate flag on its roof. Scholars of "The Dukes of Hazzard" — a thing, that exists — debate whether the jump filmed on this date in 1978 at Oxford College of the General Lee leaping 16 feet high and 82 feet long was in fact the first. But it became the most famous; it's the jump shown in the opening credits flying over Roscoe P. Coltrane's Dodge Monaco police car (except in the Coy and Vance season, which is non-canonical.) As many as 200 '69 Chargers were destroyed by the show, since every jump basically totaled one, but the original was recovered and restored. And most of them hold up well, in this era where computer graphics make such backwoods metal bending seem extravagant.