Actor Fess Parker, star of TV’s (and Disney’s) Davy Crockett sensation in the 1950s, passed away today at the age of 85.
What a huge piece of my childhood he was! “Davy Crockett” hit the airwaves in 1954 and dovetailed perfectly with my infatuation with the American West, pioneers, Indians, and wilderness adventures. I could sing every word of the show’s theme song, and did, at the top of my lungs. In every episode, I was there in Davy’s shadow, stalking game, gliding silently through the woods on moccasined feet, living as one with the forest and everything in it.
I never owned a coonskin cap, although most every other kid in the country did. And I never got that beautiful fringed buckskin jacket I always wanted. But I did have moccasins, and jeans, and a huge imagination. And my dad even gave me a .22 rifle for my 12th birthday.
CNN just did a piece on Parker, and played a few clips from his late 1960s stint as Daniel Boone. I guess it was pretty easy for those young whippersnappers at CNN to completely overlook Parker’s earlier work as Crockett, and easy for them to confuse two frontiersmen, both of whom wore buckskin.
Actually, I bet I could still sing the theme songs from both shows (funny the things that stick in your memory forever):
Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee,
Greenest state in the land of the free,
Raised in the woods so’s he knew every tree,
Kilt him a b’ar when he was only three.
Davy, Davy Crockett
King of the Wild Frontier
Daniel Boone was a man,
Yes, a big man,
And he fought for America
To make all Americans free
Thank you, Fess Parker. R.I.P.