Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer talk about their "Dukes" days

Christopher "Chip" Mayer, who is a BRBTV double-shot as Vance Duke on "The Dukes of Hazzard" and T.J. Daniels on "Santa Barbara," was back in action this past weekend at the Hollywood Show in Burbank. BRBTV couldn't be more pleased, as this marks the actor's return to the spotlight after many years away. Mayer appeared with his Duke cousin, Byron ("Coy Duke") Cherry, at the event, and the two also got with Retro Radio Live for a fresh interview on the show floor. BRBTV has some highlights of the interview for you:

- Mayer on acting: "For so many people, it becomes like a rhetoric. Like we're standing here right now, you know, acting becomes listening. People think it's just like bawk-bawk-bawk-bawk, and I spit out my lines. Even Spencer Tracy says, 'Look them in the eyes, tell them the truth and don't bump into the furniture.' It's really acting like life. And acting like life is being in the moment. Be here right now. ... To listen, and then to respond. To take your moments, and not just regurgitate."

- Cherry told the story of originally auditioning for the role of Bo Duke back in 1979, when John Schneider was actually thought to be too young and was put on the "no-see" list. Schneider showed up later, essentially crashing the auditions, six-pack in hand and "introducing" himself as Bo Duke. "Sometimes as an actor you really have to go the extra mile," Cherry said.

- The boys were asked if they felt their time on the "Dukes" set was limited. Cherry said, "We met at the screen test, and I figured if we did one, or maybe got one or two shows in, it would be really good. So we ended up doing a whole season." Mayer added, "When we went to the screen test, they put like five brunet guys and five blond guys in a van, and they take us out to Valencia where they do the exterior shots, then you're doing your screen test with Cathy Bach, with Daisy, while these other #$%^& are sitting there watching you do your work. And eventually they made the call, and we got on the show. But you also had a feeling like, in a way, we're keeping like 35 families in life, because they're like text editors, sound guys. ... There was a tenuousness to it. ... We had a lot of guys that were very cool and a lot of other people that felt they couldn't really align themselves because it would kind of be betraying their allegiance to the original guys."

- Cherry remarked how he has witnessed the fan sentiment changing in recent years toward these "replacement Dukes." Now people come up to them and tell them they saved the show, etc. Mayer said, "It's like in football, if somebody goes down, the star quarterback goes down. And I come off the bench, and I win the Super Bowl, but he's still No. 1. And so those guys came back, and it was like the two girls at the prom with the same dress on. So, they were cool, and the environment, and the executive producers were cool. ... It was fun just being something that was such an icon, culturally. Like 'Gilligan's Island' or whatever. And yet, like right before Christmas break, Paul Picard called us into his office with pink slips and he goes, 'You guys are doing a great job,' and this and that, 'The boys are coming back, merry Christmas.' ... But dude, I'm in L.A., and I'm an actor, and I'm in the land of lost dreams, and for me to come out here and get my feelings hurt, and be in show business is a paradox. That's an oxymoron."

- "Whoever drove the car got more fan mail," Cherry mused, quite seriously! "That was the thing, so they made it 50-50. We split the driving."

- Mayer commented on his overall time on the show, "We came in there with good attitudes. We were humble. We worked hard. ... We had people cutting attitude on us, but we didn't give the attitude back. ... 'He who humbles himself will be exulted.'" Amen!

- When Cherry was about to get the role of Coy Duke, he explained, John Schneider actually advised him not to tell the producers that he knew him, so it wouldn't hurt his chances, as Schneider and costar Tom Wopat were out on their contract dispute.

- Cherry's favorite NFL team: Atlanta Falcons. Mayer's: Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers.

Cherry is booking appearances for these two good ole Duke boys. He might even give you a ride in his General Lee. Contact him at coyduke@myway.com.

Look for BRBTV's own interview with Christopher Mayer soon here on the BRBTV News Blog ...


Betzi said...

Hello author I had query whether this story is from the novel "Mayer of Casterbridge".

BRBTV.com said...

We're thinking no on that ...