Thursday, April 02, 2009

Don Schisler: An appreciation

Whew ... BRBTV is running a little slow and under the weather right now from an exhausting trip across the country in several different directions, for a total of a 108 hours in a car (and a 56-hour stretch without any sleep!). But we're not too far gone to not snap to attention at saddening news like this. The "Dukes of Hazzard" world has lost one of its shining stars, Mr. Don Schisler of right here in Metro Atlanta, who passed away last night. He had suffered a heart attack on March 12, his son-in-law Joe tells BRBTV.

If you check the October 17, 2007, August 19, 2008 and September 22, 2008 posts of this blog, you'll see a few of the moments that BRBTV had the pleasure of crossing paths with Mr. Schisler. With elder-statesman-like politeness and a continual smile, Don talked "The Dukes" wherever he went. And when we say talked, we mean taaaaalllllkkkked. Don could make 45 minutes seem like 5 with his captivating stories from his work as the transportation director for the show, as he was so instrumental in the choice and execution of the blazin'-orange Dodge Charger employed as the General Lee.

"Without Don there would be no General Lee because he's the only man who could have kept them running and looking good in those first five shows so many years ago," John Schneider said in an email blast to fans today. "Those of us who are part of 'The Dukes' will miss him. But those of us who were blessed to know him personally know that he is in a better place and that he's making it a better place still by being there. If there are cars in heaven ... They are running and looking better than ever."

Mr. Schisler had a resume that went far beyond "The Dukes," of course. He told us about working on "Dallas" in the '80s, and he worked as a driver in such movies as 2001's "Shallow Hal" and 1989's "Great Balls of Fire!"

With his friendly, easygoing demeanor, this behind-the-scenes guy was not someone who sought notoriety or to in any way draw attention to himself. In our observation, he was simply someone who loved "The Dukes" and loved the business, loved his friends and family, and loved people in general. And for all of that and more, BRBTV salutes the life and legacy of Don Schisler.

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