Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dennis Haskins talks "Dukes of Hazzard" at New Jersey appearance

Special thanks to fellow author Brian Lombard, once again, for this great report from the field ..

This past weekend saw the return of the Chiller Convention to Parsippany, New Jersey. The stars always come out in full force for this event, and this weekend was no exception.

As with most Chillers, I always look for actors who might have spent some time in Hazzard County. This go-round there was only one to be found, Dennis Haskins. Haskins will always be known primarily for his role as Mr. Belding in the long-running NBC series "Saved by the Bell," a role that he admits would not have been possible were it not for "The Dukes of Hazzard," a show he became involved with during its initial production in Conyers, Georgia. Eagle-eyed fans will remember Haskins from the premiere episode “One Armed Bandits,” in which he played Moss, a customer at the Boar’s Nest who got a little too friendly with barmaid Daisy.

A native of nearby Chattanooga, Haskins (shown above left, with Brian Lombard) was heavily involved in music promotion and management prior to becoming an actor.

“I was working for Greg Allman at the time and somebody suggested that I go audition for the part,” Haskins said of his first entry into the "Dukes" universe. “After doing the pilot, I decided to move to Hollywood and become an actor full-time.”

After moving west, Haskins would make two additional appearances on the series, which itself had just relocated from Georgia. He played a barbershop customer whose car is stolen in “The Late J.D. Hogg,” then later played one of the visiting heavies in “Cale Yarborough Comes to Hazzard” (shown below, with fellow actor Al White).

“That was fun, chasing Cale around. Being from the South, I was a big fan of his.”

Those parts would lead to others, which would eventually lead to his being cast as Mr. Belding, in "Saved by the Bell"’s first incarnation, "Good Morning, Miss Bliss."  Though it would be retooled into "Saved by the Bell," Haskins remained the only adult actor in the cast to survive the transition. And once the cast of teens graduated fictitious Bayside High, Haskins would remain as principal for several seasons of "Saved by the Bell: The New Class."

“All possible because of Dukes,” Haskins admits.


Brian Lombard is an avid fan of classic TV, and the author of the "Bradypalooza" guide to "The Brady Bunch."

Photos courtesy of Brian Lombard; please do not copy without permission.

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