Just forget the words and sing along

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

King of the Wild Frontier

You know, something happened in pop culture last week that I haven't taken the time to acknowledge yet.

Last week, Fess Parker passed away at the age of 85. To Disney fans like me, Parker will always be remembered as Davy Crockett.

I love Disney's Davy Crockett. Way back when I was but a wee lad in Entwistle, and VCRs were starting to become commonplace, and you had to actually rent VCRs and the movies, one of the movies my folks ever rented to entertain us kids was Davy Crockett and the River Pirates. I was instantly smitten. Disney's Davy Crockett tales are nothing but stories of high adventure, perfect for young boys.

I was caught an interview with Buddy Ebsen, who played Crockett's best friend and sidekick George Russel, in which he talked about the series. "People think it was this huge series that ran for years, but we only made 5 episodes!" And that's correct. The five episodes are thus:

Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter - Crockett volunteers to help settle an Native American uprising.

Davy Crockett Goes to Congress - Touching upon Crockett's political career, as he makes a name for himself as a congressman.

Davy Crockett At the Alamo - Chronicling Crockett's final days as he heads to Texas to assist in the fight for independance.

Davy Crockett's Keelboat Race - Crockett crosses path with ruthless keelboat skipper Mike Fink and they engage in a race.

Davy Crockett and the River Pirates - Crockett allies himself with Mike Fink to take down some ruthless river pirates.

Even though all TVs were black and white back in the 1950s, Walt Disney had the foresight to film all these episodes in colour. That way, he could edit these episodes into movies and release them to theatres. The first three episodes were edited into the film Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier. The latter two were edited into the aforementioned Davy Crockett and the River Pirates.

Disney released the complete series on DVD as part of their super limited edition Walt Disney Treasures collection back in 2001. The movie versions have been released on DVD and are available "wherever DVDs are sold," as they say on TV.

As for Fess Parker after Davy Crockett, he had pretty good career. In the 1960s, he played another frontier hero, Daniel Boone, on the same-named TV series for 6 seasons. And then, in the 1970s, he retired from acting, bought himself a vineyard, and made "some mighty fine wine," as the song says.

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