Thursday, March 18, 2010

Farewell Davy Crockett -- RIP Fess Parker


By Ruth Ellen Gruber

The actor Fess Parker, who immortalized Davy Crockett, "king of the wild frontier," on TV in the 1950s (and became one of my first media heroes) has died at the age of 85. As this obituary says, he and his character (to me they were inseparable) became an icon for us baby-boomers....and he was so handsome! I well remember sitting with the whole family on the sofa watching the show --and somewhere at home there are photos of my brother Frank in his coonskin cap.
The first installment of "Davy Crockett," with Buddy Ebsen as Crockett's sidekick, debuted in December 1954 as part of the "Disneyland" TV show. The 6-foot, 6-inch Parker was quickly embraced by youngsters as the man in a coonskin cap who stood for the spirit of the American frontier. Boomers gripped by the Crockett craze scooped up Davy lunch boxes, toy Old Betsy rifles, buckskin shirts and trademark fur caps. "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" ("Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee...") was a No. 1 hit for singer Bill Hayes while Parker's own version reached No. 5. The first three television episodes were turned into a theatrical film, "Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier," in 1955
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  I myself had a fringed leather jacket, plus cowboy clothing. And of course we all know the song....

Here's the full version -- with lyrics.

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