Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hair Dare Dukes Days: Don Pedro Colley

OK, so ... what do you do when you see the imposing, stern, lumbering Sheriff Little of "The Dukes of Hazzard" riding around on a kids' motor scooter, his legs hanging out all over the place? You laugh and take photos, that's what! And that's exactly what he was doing -- and we were doing -- at the fifth annual Hair Dare Dukes Days event in Ontario, Canada, this past weekend!
Don Pedro Colley, who told us on Saturday morning that he's 69, set up shop at the table next to BRB at the event and told all kinds of great "Dukes" stories, and other stories about the many roles he's had in Hollywood. But did you know that he also wrote an episode of "Little House on the Prairie"? Yessireee, he called the episode "The Celebration," and in it a young girl gets lost and is helped by Dr. Tain, the physician to the Indians, who is discriminated against because he is black. It's the only television Colley has written. "I got an inspiration," he said.
Colley spoke well about his "Dukes" days and his costars. Denver Pyle, for instance, was the first actor that he ever met when he began his career in 1966. Colley called Pyle a wonderful human being. He also shared some tidbits about the making of the show. Sheriff Little is remembered so well for yanking the doors off cars or kicking off the fenders. Colley explained how this was done, by taking off the nuts and bolts, then reattaching with piano wire. Someone off screen would be waiting for the cue to yank the fender off when Colley kicked. Fun!
Colley also told about a time when his Sheriff Little persona came in handy in real life. His home in Oregon was broken into by some neighborhood thugs that had been hitting a lot of houses. The police considered them longtime criminals and were trying to catch them. Colley took matters into his own hand, a la Sheriff Little. He actually got a double-barrel 12-gauge shotgun and went over to the thieves' house. "Sheriff Little went to work," he says with a smile. He asked them who their fence was. A bit of a shootout ensued. "I didn't shoot at anyone," Colley clarifies. "I did it to scare them. They were avoiding being brought out of the shadows."
Colley also talked about the creation of the Sheriff Little character on the show. "The producers said the reason they were developing Sheriff Little was as the antithesis of Boss Hogg," he says. The kind of sheriff who has a presence without saying a word, he adds. "That's the kind of presence that I tried to project into the character."
He says he sure had a lot of fun with the lumbering lawman. "Sheriff Little is based on a lot of people I've seen in my life. This head is like a card file -- I've got all kinds of stuff I can pull out if I need it."
The local TV news station interviewed Colley as he signed autographs at Hair Dare. In the midst of all his other roles on movies such as "THX 1138" and "Beneath the Planet of the Apes," Colley sure didn't mind reminiscing to the TV audience, or the myriad fans at the event, about his co-starring role as the stern sheriff of Chickasaw County, Georgia. "You don't mess with him. He's a good guy, but he's a cop. ... He's a real person. I try to bring that into him."

Photos by Billie Rae Bates / BRBTV

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