Cooter from Dukes of Hazzard Battles CMT’s “Party Down South”
Jones is the owner-operator of the Cooter’s Place Dukes of Hazzard museums and gift shops that have locations in Nashville and Gatlinburg, Tennessee—dedicated to preserving the legacy of iconic television show. Aside from being an actor, Jones has also been a playwright, once penning a one-man play about baseball player Dizzy Dean, and is also known as a political essayist. And then of course there was that little thing when he was a member of the United States House of Representatives from Georgia’s 4th District from 1989 to 1993 before being displaced through redistricting.
Ben Jones is a music lover as well, and has been putting his heart into hosting and helping to organize The Shenandoah Jamboree at the Yellow Barn at Shenandoah Caverns in Virginia that holds forth the first Saturday of every month, March through November, and features traditional country talent like Tommy Cash and Barbara Fairchild. “It’s a wonderful show,” says Shenandoah Valley resident Bob Rimel. “Ben “Cooter’ Jones is trying very hard to keep country music alive, especially here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.”
Jones is also the frontman of “Cooter’s Garage Band” that plays classic country, rock and roll, and 50’s doo-wop. “They are a band full of talented musicians, and they let me sing; but really I am just an actor pretending to be a singer,” says Jones. “We have been performing together for fifteen years now.”
As if Ben Jones didn’t have enough on his plate, he has also decided to join the voices of dissent again CMT’s new reality show Party Down South. Incidentally, reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard also air on CMT, and the confluence has created a showdown between CMT and Cooter. As a former actor on a Southern-based television show, Ben “Cooter” Jones’ opinions seem especially poignant, and like Saving Country Music, was shocked at the content of simply the ads for the show. Jones told rockingodhouse.com,
I am not pleased with the commercial that airs during our show’s time slot called “Party Down South.” The Dukes of Hazzard is a family-friendly show, and people watch it with their children and families. They have no place showing a commercial that promotes smut, drunks, and filth in-between commercial breaks of The Dukes of Hazzard. The show Party Down South makes the South look stupid, and not all of us Southerners act like that. It is from the same people who produced Jersey Shore; it’s a load of trash, and I don’t like it. Now, people have the right to watch whatever they want, and I am a grateful to be back on CMT. I just don’t believe that they should show dirty, filthy commercials during the breaks in our show. Nobody of decency and in there right minds would care to see that load of junk anyway!
Ben Jones waged a battle with CMT to get the ads running during The Dukes of Hazzard pulled, especially during a 35th Anniversary event, and apparently won. On Monday (1-27), Ben Jones released this message:
If I’m not mistaken, and I sure hope not, it looks like Hazzard Nation has won
another important victory for good clean fun. Yesterday’s Dukes 35th Anniversary Marathon
was free of those sleazy commercials for the pathetic “Party Down South” show.
Dukes fans let CMT know in no uncertain terms how they felt about this insult to
family viewers and how they felt about their kids being exposed to this trash.
They don’t want to admit it, but I’ve got a feeling our message got through. I think it
would be a good idea to thank them for their response to our concerns. (And I also
think it would be a good idea to “keep their feet to the fire” on this one.)
Some folks have written to me thanking me for taking a strong stand on this. But it wasn’t me,
it was a whole lot of y’all standing up for what is so obviously right. CMT and their sponsors
have hopefully seen their mistake and have corrected it.
By the way, they are claiming “Party Down South” is a “hit”, even though it didn’t finish in
the top 100 shows playing last Thursday night. Some “hit”! They don’t measure old syndicated re-runs like
“The Dukes”, but I’ll bet you a dollar we whipped them.
Thanks for all of your support of our show for all these years. America loves the “Dukes”!
Ben Jones aka “Cooter”
It looks like decades later, Ben “Cooter” Jones is still fighting for what’s right in the South.
January 27, 2014 @ 6:47 pm
I’ve been in a hotel with limited channels. I had both CMT and Spike TV on and every 3rd or 4th commercal was the preview of this show. I happened to be in last Thursday evening and you could not pay me to turn on that channel. We can hope this goes away but they will probibly just revamp it and try again.
Also a few folks from the Association of Bluegrass Disk Jockeys are not impressed either
January 27, 2014 @ 7:03 pm
I watched a few episodes of Dukes on CMT within (at most) the last 2 weeks and saw a LOT of commercials for that garbage.
January 27, 2014 @ 7:32 pm
Same here. Real nice to Mr. Ben speaking out about this.
You could really say the same thing about CMT music videos, the Reba Re-Runs and the “family friendly” movies they air during the day.
On a side note, I did see a lot of “family friendly” anger articles about the Grammy’s Last night (The Beyonce slut routine (the great role model Obama likes having for his daughter), the Katy Perry Satan ritual and then the mass Gay/Lesbian ceremony at the end). Last year they made a big deal about the dress code for the Grammy’s. I guess this year the forgot about that? It would be nice if someone could sit down with their children and watch the Grammy’s. Beyonce’s performance at the beginning was the cause for a lot of parents changing the channel at the start.
January 28, 2014 @ 8:18 am
The Grammys were on??? huh… I’ll be dipped.
January 28, 2014 @ 10:54 am
Oh, for pity’s sake.
The fact that a wedding upset so many commenters on this site makes Country Music look just as ignorant as all the trucks, dirt, chicks, and beer songs do. You’re the exact demographic they are singing to.
January 28, 2014 @ 11:02 am
And the fact that you are so incensed by normal people’s reaction to a public orgy of Sodomite propaganda, shows that its worked on you….
January 28, 2014 @ 11:39 am
Orgy? So people you don’t know and never will getting married is now an orgy? I think you may need to chill just a little lol
January 28, 2014 @ 12:03 pm
Okay folks, let’s try to keep this about the topic at hand. Thanks!
January 28, 2014 @ 12:58 pm
That you, RD?
January 28, 2014 @ 12:01 pm
Can aonyone give me one good reason why a wedding was performed during the Grammy awards?
I don’t give a rat’s ass who got married, or what gender they are; if anyone needs any evidence that the promoting music is no longer the primary objective of the recording industry, here it is.
January 28, 2014 @ 12:11 pm
I wish nothing more than to avoid the whole message of the wedding and the fracas that ensues when you talk about it. But to this specific point, I agree. It was just a different version of explosions, lasers, and scantly-clad choreographed dancers. Of course, if you agree with the message, you probably don’t see it that way. But yes, it was just another distraction from the music. If I want to engage with politics, I will watch the State of the Union tonight. That is not what I tuned into the Grammy Awards for, whether I agree with it or not. I understand their message was universal love, but the result was a political fracas.
January 28, 2014 @ 1:03 pm
” Of course, if you agree with the message, you probably don”™t see it that way.”
I think it is possible to agree with the message or cause (gay marriage) and see it that way.
Enjoy Every Sandwich
January 28, 2014 @ 7:33 pm
That’s the only thing that bugs me. As I understand it some major awards were given out “pre-telecast”. I suppose they didn’t have time for them, because they were too busy with nonsense like this “wedding”? I think they should re-think their priorities.
January 27, 2014 @ 7:58 pm
Yes sir Cooter, we Southern folks have had enough of the trash, fake and phony garbage they lay at our feet as if to tell the world we are stupid and ignorant. THEY being the stupid and ignorant kind of folk that continues to lead the way in a downward spiral of filth and vulgarity.
I, like you have stood against these type programming for decades, it has gotten me into more trouble and has cost me lots of bookings on shows where I would have otherwise been performing. But I couldn’t care less!
I still speak out when I feel it is a disgrace to good people and especially ladies and children. I have been an Outlaw in this business for well over forty years, challenging the system when they don’t respect the rights of decency in family programming. Have many friends who are and were well known major acts and names who Like me, when playing the bars and honky tonks perform many songs that we refuse to perform when playing before groups that are family oriented.
Thank you for not backing down as most do when it challenges their chance at making another dollar. There are just some things we won’t do regardless of the cost, shows, airplay or financial loss. You are and will always be one of our favorite superstars. Thank you. (and thank you also Trig).
Bigfoot is Real (but I have doubts about you)
January 27, 2014 @ 8:49 pm
You do realize that The Dukes of Hazard was the gateway drug of stupid that lead to the crap he’s crying about. Did the show ever portray anyone with more than single digit IQ? It played to the most demeaning family friendly images possible… that southerners are just simple minded bumpkins. This latest outrage is just another step down the trail to the bottom started by his crap show. Aren’t cutoff jeans that show the family friendly part of a woman’s ass hanging out called Daisy Dukes. And Cooter has long been slang for a woman vagina. Cooter seriously? Sorry but I am calling BS on this jackass.
January 28, 2014 @ 6:48 am
The creators and writers of the show were all northern carpet-baggers. I saw a special with Tom Wopat and John Schneider where they said that the actors constantly complained to the writers about how stupid and demeaning the dialogue was, but that the show was so popular, they just kept dumbing it down…
Bigfoot is Real (but you? Not so much)
January 28, 2014 @ 7:44 am
Oh sure it did! It bothered them so much they refused to take the money and quit. But how could they with those mean old Yankee carpet baggers holding a gun to their heads. Always somebody else’s fault isn’t it?
January 28, 2014 @ 10:40 am
What the hell are you talking about? I related what I heard them say in an interview. Actors disagree with writers all the time over scripts, etc. Do they all quit, or pick that as their hill to die on? Its not as if Wopat and Schneider were Brando and Newman and could demand changes to a script. I don’t agree with everything I have to do at work, but I have to feed my family. Stamping out all the world’s hypocrisy is a fool’s errand.
If you can’t detect the major media’s disdain for the South and traditional culture, then you are truly beyond help. For over 100 years, the northern-dominated media has lampooned, disparaged, and stereotyped the South.
January 28, 2014 @ 7:02 am
If I remember correctly, the simple minded Dukes always seemed to come out on top and win out over the weekly antagonists, most of whom were not from the South. You have a somewhat valid point though, but good clean fun is mostly what it was.
January 28, 2014 @ 8:32 am
Oh Boy….. Really? It was a show that started based on the storyline of the movie Moonrunners and they quickly found out the demographic following were for the most part kids. They changed the series to apeal to those who were watching and it became a clean, fun, slapstick cartoon. It was brilliant. …..That lead foul mouth whores getting drunk how??? I blame todays country music and todays country music fan if that show makes it past year one.
Hee Haw carries far more weight as to painting southerners as hicks, simple minded, dumbed down than any show in Country Music history and it was still great.
January 28, 2014 @ 11:44 am
You do realize cooter actually is a name for turtles right? Just because you refer to it in another way doesn’t mean the whole world does. I watched Dukes as a child and it isn’t anywhere near the trash they are airing now. Go back and watch an episode and look at her “daisy dukes” , they showed no butt cheek and were the length of any other pair of shorts. The way they are worn now is a completely different look than how she was wearing them.
January 28, 2014 @ 12:15 pm
Valid point Bigfoot, and don’t think that ran through my head when writing this. However like many others have said, the vileness of how Southerners are being portrayed in “Party Down South” takes it to such a new level, it makes The Dukes of Hazzard look like PBS. In fact I think the fact that someone like Ben Jones who was involved in a show that arguably played to Southern stereotypes is coming out against “Party Down South” is even more damming. I think it speaks to just what an extreme and troubling version of the South the show portrays.
January 28, 2014 @ 12:43 pm
Daisey rarely had much hanging out the back of her shorts and more often than not was in jeans.
I always took “Cooter” to be a play on “Turtle” (as in he was the slower tow truck driver). I seriously don’t remember it being used as a slang term for vagina until after the show had been on for awhile.
I also don’t remember the dukes ever being made to be look stupid. Even Ennis and Rosco were made out to be more innocent and gullible than stupid.
I think you’re over-reaching there Bigfoot. I’ll be waiting on your next comment explaining how Urkel wrongly portrayed middle class black people as annoying nerds and directly led to Atlanta House Wives.
January 27, 2014 @ 10:11 pm
Wow, gotta LOVE how much of a pounding Cooter gave CMA executives in his message following their decision not to air the advertisements during their 35th annual marathon! 😉
January 27, 2014 @ 10:15 pm
“Dukes of Hazzard” WAS directly inspired by the mid-70’s film “Moonrunners”, after all! 😉
I will admit that while I mostly agree with your assertion, “Dukes of Hazzard” has a semi-saving grace in that 1) it had interesting, colorful character profiles and 2) I do enjoy some of the dialogue based on a handful of syndicated episodes I did get to see in my childhood. At least the program had that going for them.
“Party Down South” has NOTHING.
January 28, 2014 @ 12:17 pm
Yeah, he’s pulling no punches. He seems to have had the same reaction I did, which was sheer horror on how far this could set back the pursuit of eroding Southern stereotypes.
TX Music Jim
January 28, 2014 @ 7:55 am
Will I wil admit Bigfoot is real has a valid point. The Dukes of Hazzard may have been “the gateway drug” to BS like party down south. Would we rather people take a toke or two now and then and listen to a little Waylon. Harmless fun in my eyes. Or smoke crack cocaine and listen to Colt Ford which is a mind rotting activity, to say the least.I stand with Cooter ! CMT shame on you! We had know idea how good we had it in the old TNN days.
January 28, 2014 @ 12:22 pm
I agree The Dukes of Hazzard may have helped to perpetuate negative Southern stereotypes to an extent. But to call it a gateway drug? I strongly disagree. Simply on approach, The Dukes of Hazzard was a scripted show that had every episode end with a moral, with the underlying theme being the fighting of governmental corruption. “Party Down South” is simply sticking a camera in a house full of people being paid to be unemployed and get fucked up and do stupid stuff for the camera.
Look, The Dukes of Hazzard was a silly show. But we all loved it as kids, and kids still love it today, and they should be able to enjoy it without having promos for “Party Down South” interjected into the experience. That is all Ben Jones is saying, and I completely agree.
TX Music Jim
January 28, 2014 @ 1:45 pm
ok maybe the term gateway drug is too strong and yes I loved it as a kid as well. It was indeed silliy but for the most part good clean fun. I do wonder much like bigfoot is real said if they silly southern sterotypes and the shorts that coined the phrase “daisy dukes” could not at the very least the format that opened the door for the evolution of TV shows that give us drivel like partyin’ down south. I do think that is a fair assesment.
January 28, 2014 @ 10:32 am
CMT, Vh1, MTV, none of these stations are what they used to be. They air one crappy reality show one after the other. No music whatsoever except for the wee hours of the morning. The Dukes has been a breath of fresh air to get to watch again but it doesn’t really belong on CMT I’m afraid. As a parent, it is very hard to find family entertainment nowadays for sure. Long live the Dukes!
January 28, 2014 @ 12:15 pm
I just watched an episode of Dukes on lunch and they’re still showing those commercials during Dukes as of today. Those commercials even had the prime commercial spots of showing up at the end of commercial breaks and right up against the end of the show.
Nothing has changed yet.
January 28, 2014 @ 12:29 pm
I believe what Ben Jones was speaking to was the airing of the commercials during the 35th Anniversary marathon, though I’m sure if it was up to him, they would be eliminated altogether, along with the show it self.
Something that I think is VERY important to this issue is not just the show itself, but the ads. In my first article about this, the ads are what I focused on. They are really what is making this issue go from bad, to critical. As Cooter said, if people want to watch this show, that’s their prerogative. But the ads themselves for the show are so bad, it is absolutely inappropriate to show to a family audience.
Seriously, look at this: https://twitter.com/CMT/status/426557146575032320/photo/1
January 28, 2014 @ 1:41 pm
Yes sir, I read the whole article. I was thinking more along the lines of attention being brought to the issue and the fact that CMT seems to have positioned itself as a family friendly channel. I’m talking about running Dukes episodes for a while now along with re-runs of Reba, Home Improvement and family friendly movies.
I Just thought maybe someone at CMT would wise up because of the attention and realize commercials like this need to only exist in prime time if they’re going to carry a show like ‘Party Down South’ in prime time. The network is having an odd duality in identity.
BTW, I want for HeeHaw re-runs. This is a really good watch:
January 28, 2014 @ 1:05 pm
Maybe GAC will take over and CMT will fall completely off the map
January 28, 2014 @ 2:00 pm
Now that they’ve partnered with Clear Channel and have gone to the reality show concept which is way more financially lucrative than music videos, my guess is CMT’s future has never been brighter.
January 29, 2014 @ 2:58 pm
Relax folks, dolts and stupid people are part of comedy. They have been for as long as there’s been comedy.
Archie Bunker, what was he a stupid Bostonian?
Three’s Company? Denver wasn’t it?
What about al and Peg Bundy? complete clowns, from California maybe?
They aren’t’ picking on the south. They make fun of stupid people from all over.
January 29, 2014 @ 3:09 pm
Archie Bunker was Queens, New York. Threes Company was Santa Monica. The Bundys were Chicago.
April 2, 2014 @ 4:13 pm
Boyman XIV here and I want to say get it when the orange county starts to mess with yee all’s merchandise and tells y’all to get up out the mornin’ and put on ya britches.