Monday, October 26, 2015

M.C. Gainey, Noel Guglielmi, Kim Richards reminisce about their time in Hazzard County

Guest blogger and avid "Dukes of Hazzard" fan Brian Lombard may seem to be on a mission to meet each and every one of the folks involved in the "Dukes"! He's making great progress, following up his October 7 report with this one from a show in New Jersey this past weekend.

The Chiller Theatre con is the biggest on the East Coast. Held twice a year in Parsippany, New Jersey, each show offers more than 100 stars and draws thousands of fans. If you go, don’t even bother looking for parking.

With that many stars in attendance, it’s hard to NOT find someone associated with "The Dukes of Hazzard." And this weekend, I found three.

First up was M.C. Gainey. Gainey is a member of a very unique fraternity – one of only two actors to have appeared in both the original television series and the 2005 feature film. So his is a unique perspective. I asked him what he remembered about filming the 1982 episode “Bad Day in Hazzard,” in which he played a hired gun holding the cast hostage at the Boar’s Nest.

Actor M.C. Gainey, left, and author Brian Lombard.

“I was using Daisy as a human shield when Bo and Luke first walked in. I picked her up and swung her around, and the director yelled ‘Cut.’ Catherine Bach ran off the set in a hurry, and I found out that when I was swinging her, her top had come undone! That was one of my first acting jobs ever, and I was afraid that they were going to fire me.”

He needn’t have worried. More than 20 years later, Gainey would be cast in the remake as none other than Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane, a character he had tormented in the original series (see Gainey in his original role below).

“Warner Brothers, they wanted me to play him goofy, just like James Best had," Gainey said. "Now, Best was a friend of mine, but I made the decision to play him tough. I modeled him after a police officer who used to pick on me when I was in high school.”

When asked what he remembers about the film, Gainey added, “that dog (Flash). We were shooting the courtroom scene on a Friday. The script called for the dog to yawn, but he just wouldn’t do it. The trainer assured us that when we returned to set on Monday, the dog would yawn on cue, and sure enough he did. I don’t know what he did to make that happen.”

Next up was Noel Guglielmi. In 2000, he appeared in the second made-for-television movie "Hazzard in Hollywood."  It was an early role for the actor, one for which he wasn’t even credited. In fact, he has no lines in the film at all. But he is almost always seen standing side-by-side with Amaury Nolasco’s character of Cypriano, one of the many folks who befriended the wayward Dukes.

Eagle-eyed fans may recall that in the previous film, 1997’s "The Dukes of Hazzard: Reunion," all of the General Lee’s jumps were recycled from the original series, due to the unavailability of 1969 Dodge Chargers. By 2000 however, enough had been procured to shoot an original jump for the second film, and Guglielmi (shown below) was on hand for the fun.

“It came down hard!" he said. "It was done. They jumped like 1,500 of those on the TV show, Bro." (Most actually estimate this number at around 300.) "But once it’s jumped, you can’t use it anymore. Ever.”

When asked what it was like working on the film, Guglielmi offered nothing but praise.

“It was the final film with the original cast. It was a great to be a part of that.”

Finally, I got to speak with Kim Richards. These days, she’s most famous for "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" and for being the aunt of Paris Hilton. As a child star, she made a name for herself in the classic Disney film "Escape to Witch Mountain," and was a regular on the television series "Hello, Larry."  But it was her role as Nancy Lou, Cooter’s estranged daughter in “Cooter’s Girl,” that I most wanted to talk to her about. We didn’t have that much time, as an aggressive handler was moving her line along as quickly as possible. She did, however, say that it was a fun experience, and she was surprised that I remembered it. I suspect it’s not a role that people often mention!

Actress Kim Richards with author Brian Lombard.

Brian Lombard is the author of "Bradypalooza: The Unauthorized Guide to TV's Favorite Family."

Images are courtesy Brian Lombard; please do not copy without permission.


Jason G Jason said...

Brian is on a awesome mission. Id love to meet and have a 5 minunete chat witn M.C. Gainey. Hopefully Brian and I can share some stories on our Dukes quests! Way to go! said...

Yea, maybe a future Hazzard Run, or we will have to talk Brian into visiting Michigan again! Lol