TBR RADIO’S DIXIE HERITAGE HOUR March 8, 2019 – Rick ‘Cletus’ Hurst

TBR Radio's Dixie Heritage Hour

In this week’s TBR Radio Presents: The Dixie Heritage Hour Dr. Ed calls iconic television and movie actor Rick Hurst to talk about his acting career and, specifically, what it was like to portray Deputy Cletus Hogg on The Dukes of Hazzard.  

Rick tells Dr. Ed about his college days, why he started as a pre-med student but changed his major to psychology, and how that psychology education would later help him as an actor. Before appearing on Dukes of Hazzard, Rick had roles in movies as well as on popular TV shows including The Partridge FamilySanford and SonThe Bob Newhart ShowThe Doris Day ShowLittle House on the Prairie, Kojak, M*A*S*H, CHiPs, Kung-Fu, The Six-Million Dollar Man, Gunsmoke and Happy Days. Rick talks about his time on these shows as well as what it was like to work with some of Hollywood’s legends such as John Rich, Redd Foxx, Demond Wilson, Doris Day, Denver Pyle, Andy Griffith, Jim Neighbors, Burt Reynolds, Telly Savales, David Caradine, Bob Newhart, the cast of Happy Days, Michael Landon, Johnny Carson and, of course, the entire cast of The Dukes of Hazzard.

Actors and actresses have a “natural generosity,” according to Rick, and the excessive generosity of the cast of Dukes is one of the reasons that, more than 40 years later, it is still a very successful show.

Rick’s character on Dukes, Cletus Hogg, was supposed to be a one-episode character. But when Sonny Shroyer’s appendix burst, his medical recovery time followed by his moving to a spin-off show of his own left a hole in the cast, and Deputy Cletus ended up becoming a permanent character.

Rick talks about his off-camera friendships with several of the Dukes of Hazzard cast members, but he speaks at length about his dear friendship with the late Sorell Booke (Boss Hogg) and gives many interesting insights into Booke’s personality and life story. 
Also discussed are Bea Arthur’s divorce and political activism, and an explanation of how the political activism of Hollywood in the ‘70s and ‘80s was very different from the agenda-driven “entertainment” of today.

Hurst is saddened by the removal of the Dukes of Hazzard and the iconic General Lee car from television and believes that the Dukes example of a loving family that always could be counted on to do the right thing should be returned to TV. 

Uncle Jessie, he said, had a strong moral code that was taught by example and the Dukes characters were great role models who do not deserve to be the victims of “political correctness” gone too far. 

Both of Rick’s sons have followed in their father’s footsteps. His younger son Colin is appearing in Progressive commercials and his older son Ryan is currently a star on The Living Dead. So after bragging a little on his kids, Rick talks about what it is like, 40 years later, to still be Cletus Hogg and to still be making the circuit to car shows and other events where he is always recognized and remembered as Deputy Cletus. 

Rick makes it a point to end the show thanking Dr. Ed and Dixie Heritage for keeping the truth about the South in the forefront of the national conscience.

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