Put Up Your “Dukes”: James Best’s Three Twilight Zones
James Best is best known for playing Rosco P. Coltrane on The Dukes of Hazzard. But he’d much rather be remembered for the three episodes he did for The Twilight Zone — “The Grave,” “The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank” and “Jess-Belle.”
“The Twilight Zone was probably one of the best showcases for future stars. It was terribly enjoyable to me because generally they had good sets, which they used from major feature pictures. I was a big fan of the show. I think I enjoy The Twilight Zone as much if not more than anyone.
“I did The Dukes of Hazzard series for seven years and we had a chain of writers over there — there was so much nepotism they wouldn’t have allowed any good writers to come in other than their own, which is unfortunate. So consequently, I worked seven years for writers who had the imagination of a banana. The material was so hackneyed we did the same show for seven years.
“Now on Twilight Zone, it was really a pleasure working on something that had the quality and the marvelous writers. I was very fortunate that I got to work on The Twilight Zone three times.
“I am going to go to my grave with ‘Rosco P. Coltrane’ on the headstone. I’d much rather go to my demise with ‘He’s in The Twilight Zone‘!”
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Posted on 07/09/2011, in Twilight Zone and tagged James Best, Jess-Belle, The Grave, The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank, Twilight Zone. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.
Well put, Wendy — thanks. There are legions of TZ fans, and I believe they’ll always remember the episodes that Best starred in. He took excellent material and really helped bring it to life. Interesting, too, that he acted in three different TZs, and while all are fan favorites, not one was written by Rod Serling.
Wow, I didn’t even realize those roles stared the same actor. He was much better in the Twilight Zone.
Yes, it’s great to have a career-defining role, but I think even Hazzard fans have to agree that playing Rosco didn’t exactly push Best’s talent to the limits. Hey, nothing wrong with a fun role, but I’m glad he got a chance on TZ and elsewhere to show he had more range.
You’re my best girl, Comfort! You are not afraid of me, are ya?…..Well, I guess you ARE after all!…..I knowed it! I got a man killed!…..And of course, two women wanting him in Jess Belle…..They are ALL excellent TZ episodes, Paul!
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