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R. I. P., Fess Parker

R. I. P., Fess Parker

Like millions of other kids, I idolized Davy Crockett and the man who played him, Fess Parker…so this is a sad day for me and other lifelong fans, even though I know he lived a good life for more than 85 years.

One of my clearest memories from childhood is donning a coonskin cap and singing one line of “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” in a nursery school assembly. I believe I was four years old. Many years later I got to meet Fess Parker, and spent an unforgettable day with him at his beautiful winery in Los Olivos, California. That’s where I shot an interview for the Davy Crockett DVD I hosted and co-produced as part of the Walt Disney Treasures series.

Meeting a childhood idol is a risky proposition, but Fess—

—didn’t let me down: he was charming, candid, and generous with his time. He had great recall of the days surrounding his ascent to stardom, from doing bit parts in TV shows and movies to his hiring for the role of Davy. He spoke warmly of colleagues like Crockett costars Bill Bakewell, who introduced him to the charitable Motion Picture and Television Fund, and veteran Basil Ruysdael, who gave him common-sense advice about acting.

And while Parker had his share of differences with Walt Disney, early on over a cut of the merchandising rights, and later, when he was told that Walt stood in the way of him making movies for other studios (including Bus Stop and The Searchers, according to the actor), he was sensible enough to realize that there was no point in grinding an axe after so many years. Ultimately, he was grateful for the opportunity Disney gave him. And he was much too polite a man to speak ill of his longtime boss.

For those of you who don’t know, or don’t recall, folk hero Davy Crockett was the subject of a three-part series during the first season of Walt Disney’s Disneyland TV show. In those days of three networks—long before cable TV or home video—the audience was enormous, and almost literally overnight, the coonskin-capped backwoodsman became a national phenomenon. His catchy theme song became a best-selling record that remained on the charts for months, and every red-blooded boy in America memorized the lyrics about the man “who killed him a b’ar when he was only three.”

As proof that Disney and company didn’t expect Davy to take off, there were no plans for merchandising when the shows went on the air! The studio’s licensing department scrambled to prepare Crockett caps and paraphernalia, and by the time the shows were rerun later that season—and a feature-length version of the program played in theaters the following year—there were plenty of Davy Crockett toys, games, and products on the shelves. (Not long ago, Fess donated his original coonskin cap ensemble to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.)

Fess (strumming a Davy Crockett guitar) and Walt Disney, wearing some sort of headdress, pose with Governor Frank Clement of Tennessee, Davy’s fabled home state, on the eve of the Davy Crockett feature film’s release in June of 1955

Parker made several feature films for Disney, including Westward Ho! The Wagons, the underappreciated The Great Locomotive Chase, and the unforgettable Old Yeller. But his career, and his personal fortune, blossomed when he produced his own TV series, Daniel Boone, in the 1960s, and made a series of canny investments, including a great deal of real estate, mostly in Santa Barbara county. Eventually he opened a hotel in Santa Barbara and an inn in Los Olivos, along with his winery and its visitor center. (The roses that line the fence surrounding the property, Fess proudly told me, were planted by his wife Marcy.)

After we finished our interview, he invited my wife and me to stay for lunch, which was served on the shady veranda of his winery. Then he gave us a personal tour of the property, explaining how, as a total novice, he became involved in the wine business, and how his son Eli studied to become a vintner. Having this as a family operation gave him great pride, and while he wasn’t one to live in the past, he recognized that everything stemmed from the worldwide fame he achieved as Davy Crockett. That’s why, if you visit the Fess Parker Winery and purchase some of his (quite delicious) wines, you can also buy a unique accessory: a miniature coonskin cap to slide over the bottle.

And if you really want to take a measure of the man, read this message he posted on his website not long ago: “Some of you may have surmised that the last year or so have been a little rough on me healthwise. Even as I write this, I happen to be in the very capable hands of the team at Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital in Santa Barbara. I can assure you that I am in no great danger; in fact, I haven’t felt as good as I do today in quite some time. I appreciate your e-mails and letters very much…thank you for taking the time to write.

“As a bonafide octogenarian I can tell you that with each passing day your family will become more and more important to you. Work at those relationships and make the time to spend time with those you love. I can assure you that you won’t be sorry.”

For more info, go to www.fessparker.com and for more of my movie reviews, go to www.leonardmaltin.com.

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Comments

Suzy

Wow just loved watching Daniel Boone in NewZealand as a kid..Thank-you for the memories.

RICHARD BEAN

R.I.P, FESS PARKER – Thanks for memories Fess Parker!

Mitch Anderson

Can you believe they left him off the In Memorium piece last night on the Oscars? How much more of a contribution does one actor need to make to be recognized?

Don A.
Andrew McCarthy

My friends and I were lucky enough to hear Fess Parker sing the Davy Crockett song at the Hollywood Bowl. It was a treat to see the man in person.

Doug Preston

A very nice tribute to a fine man. As a lifelong railroad buff, I’m especially pleased that you mentioned “The Great Locomotive Chase” AND referred to it as “underappreciated.” Truer words were never written. As a kid in the 1950s, I enjoyed all the Davy Crockett stories on “Disneyland” – especially for some reason, “Davy Crockett and the River Pirates” – but my favorite Fess Parker role has to be that of Union spy James J. Andrews in “TGLC.” I recall an episode of “Disneyland” devoted to the making of the movie, and couldn’t wait for it to be released. However, when it reached Smalley’s Theater in my hometown of Cooperstown, NY in the summer of 1956, we were away on a family vacation, so I never got to see it in a theater. (One compensation, however, was the opportunity to see the still-all-steam-powered Nickel Plate Railroad in action, my only exposure to Big Steam in everyday service.) It wasn’t until about 1980 that I finally got to see a 16mm version of “TGLC.” Then, try to find a video of it! For years it wasn’t available, and when I finally obtained a copy a few years ago, it didn’t even have the word “Disney” on it anywhere. From what I’ve read, it was a great flop at the box office, so maybe the Disney organization kind of disowned it. Nevertheless, it was recently included in a special issue of “Trains” magazine devoted to the “100 Greatest Railroad Movies of All Time” along with Buster Keaton’s “The General” (the far better-known but far less historically accurate) version of the story. Disney’s “The Great Locomotive Chase” is not a perfect telling of the actual events of April 12, 1862 – as has been detailed in books about the original Andrews Raid – but it’s still a fine and – yes – “underappreciated” film.

George Kling

I remember Fess Parker and the Daniel Boone TV series from
the 1960s and have enjoyed reading all the tributes and anecdotes
about him. Before his death I had viewed his website several
times thinking I would love to see the winery and maybe meet
him if I was lucky when I travel next to California. Sadly I will not
have that opportunity. I still intend to go and see the winery and
maybe, just maybe meet his son Eli or daughter Ashley. If I just
get to taste the Chardonnay at his winery that will be okay too.
Thanks for memories Fess Parker!

Steve Crum

A wonderful piece, Leonard, with great remembrances. I am nearly 63 now, so I was one of the millions of kids swept into the Crockett craze, loving every minute of it. Please visit my tribute to Fess and Davy, along with a 1955 photo of yours truly in Davy Crockett regalia: http://crumonshowbiz.blogspot.com/

Keith Lightfoot

Your comments about Fess Parker were spot on and in many ways similar to the day I spent with Fess and Marcy a couple of years ago. Although I was a distant cousin, I had not seen Fess in 30+ years and that had been a breif visit. While planning a business trip to LA I contacted his office to see if he might have a few minutes to see me. In a quick response from his personal assistant she said the Parkers would love to host you for lunch at the Wine Country Inn at 11 AM on Saturday. I drove up from LA expecting a nice hour lunch to catch up and that being it. After a two hour lunch they insisted on touring the tasting room and several of their vinyards. As soon as we entered the tasting room the patrons started lining up for photo ops and autographs and since I was standing nearby minding the dogs Fess would introduce me to each one as his Texas cousin. He must have greeted at least 50 fans taking time to visit with each one. Over the course of the day we talked about Hollywood, hotels, grapes and especially family. As I left their house after dark that evening I realized what a truly genuine and humble man I had the honor of knowing.

Keith Lightfoot
Sherman, TX

Tony Dorf

Thank you Mr Maltin for writing such a great story. I too remember the TV Series. I was 7, 8 years old. I have been too the winery in Santa Barbara, but it has been many years. I am planning trip to Oregon later in the year, I will make a point to stop in Santa Barbara and visit the winery. I do believe I too once had a Coon skin cap.

Take care and thanks again.

Paul Puckett

Leonard,

Thanks for the memories. Coonskin cap, real fringed buckskin suit and moccasins, powder horn, toy musket and rubber scout knife, etc…I had it all. Living in a house in a new development in the 50’s in Rome, Georgia, I had ample piney woods to launch my explorations. Performing the Davy theme song led to a twenty-year career in music…singing and playing the guitar. However, although this piece is about Fess, let’s not overlook Davy’s sidekick Georgie Russell. Georgie, played by Buddy Ebsen, of Beverly Hillbillies fame, had a long career in showbusiness before and after the Disney productions. The exchange between these two best friends was all important in the success of the Davy Crockett series. The wholesome relationship helped to set an example for friendships that exist with today’s “baby-boomers”. Members of my 1963 high school graduating class still enjoy monthly dinners together. We all have fond memories of Fess Parker.

Paul Puckett
paul@paulpuckett.com

Blaiser

All true. Today’s kids can’t imagine just how big Davey Crockett was. Everybody knew the song, everybody had the coonskin cap, he was bigger than Elvis!

Both he and Davey were true American hero’s, where have they all gone ?

Dinah Lee

This is a wonderful tribute and I am so glad Mr. Parker was able to let go of the difficulty with the disney company and not be bitter about it. I always Enjoyed watching Daniel Boone, my mom would remind me tho that before he was Daniel Boone he was Davy Crockett! My parents sent my older sister to Sunday school to teach her “values”, she came home from church singing the Davy Crockett theme song!!

Jennie

I’m very saddened to hear about the passing of Fess Parker. He was such a great man to watch on the t.v. in both the series “Davy Crockett” and “Daniel Boone” that I used to watch as a kid. I fit into the “baby boomer” stage described here, I was born in the 1950’s and grew up with his shows. He was always a hero as far as I was concerned. Knowing now that he has a winery in the Santa Barbara area, when I go up to that area to visit a friend who lives in Santa Maria, I will definitely make it a point to visit his winery. I will raise a “toast” to this great man the next time I drink a glass of wine! R.I.P MR. FESS PARKER !!

Gale

Coonskin caps and fringed jackets were everywhere. All those kids, and in the 50’s there were many of them, tried to imitate their hero. Why?

You didn’t have to meet Fess Parker to know he was an honest, hard working, and decent man. His personal integrity came right through the TV set. This was a man you could count on and every kid knew it.

Carole

Shortly after my mother’s death, we visited Fess Parkers inn and winery. It was a Thursday night and he and his wife Marcy made it a habit to play the piano and sing in the lounge/living room area for their guests. That evening, the room was crowded with many of their friends (talented ones to say the least) because an old friend of theirs had passed away and they were in town for his memorial. What an incredible unexpected evening for us…the warmth, talent, and love in that space was unbelievable. Marcy sang and gave a tribute to their friend. I spoke to her and Fess and thanked them….somehow it helped me in the mourning process after losing my Mom only a few weeks before. He was so down to earth and a warm compassionate human being…our generation will sadly miss him and always remember him.

George W

Fess Parker was an early hero of mine. Talked straight, shot straight, and also showed when you gave your word you kept your word.

He will be sorely missed. They don’t makem like him no more.

I had followed his career after Daniel Boone and he had made some good investments.

One of the few actors that made money outside of being an actor.

George W.

don paly

R.I.P, Fess Parker

Harvey

Fess Parker was Davy Crockett. He was so convincing and such a bright light in my childhood. I wore the tailed hat proudly.
I didn’t have the chance to meet him or visit his winery, but some day I will. What a nice tribute to a wonderful person.

Harvey

Robert Wright

I always knew from the theme song Daniel Boone was a man, a big man, brave and fearless. I felt that, because it appears he was that in life away from the screen. Thanks for the memories of yesterday

Bill Reinhart

Sorry to see an excellant actor and childhood hero.
I watched Davy Crockett, Daniel Boon, and several dvds/movies with Mr, Parker in them.

“BE SURE YOUR RIGHT, THEN GO AHEAD!,” quoted from Davey; made my dicision to join the military, and I have an acculmulated 20 yrs retirement.

He is missed.

Pat

I am a woman of 85yearsold. It wasn’t just the kids who loved Davie Crocket.. We older folks also loved him. I think Davie Crockets death was very shocking to me. A lot of the actors are dying off and while it sets me back every time I hear of the death of a movie star it really set me back when Fess Parker died. May God be with his family at this time. He brought us all enjoyment. Okie

Jim Moore

I am very sad to hear about the passing of Fess Parker. He was a kind and gentle spirit of a man and gave the USA something to be proud of during his portrayal of Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. To me he represented a better country and people back then, things were vastly different and not so “hard core” and mean sided. We have come a long way down in my opinion and I think it is sad that he and all those like him are passing on now to I hope a better place. We may have made giant leaps in technology but we have lost our humanity in the rush and I am not so sure it was worth it. Jim Moore

Dwayne

Although I wasn’t born until the late 50’s, I remember my Mother telling me the story how my brother idolized Davy Crockett and he insist on wearing his coonskin cap at bedtime. No matter how hard my Mom tried to get him to remove his hat, he managed to sleep with it on. I only wished my parents has taken a picture of him with it on. I watched Davy Crockett in the early 60’s when it was repeated on TV and still have good memories watching the show.

Angela

I agree, you’ve written a nice piece Leonard.
It brought back so many memories of when I was a child. When I knew the show was about to start I would run in the house, slid on the floor like I was sliding into home base and land right in front of the T.V. I started singing the theme song, ‘Davy Crockett’, along with the starting of the show. Not long after that I too watched the Daniel Boone series. I’m happy to have such memories of a great actor. It is sad to hear of his passing. My condolence to the family of Mr. Parker.

ryan ellis

i just heard the heard the news about fess parker i grew up watching his movies they were awsome he was really my idol he was a hero to me i always looked up to him in a way that i look at my grandfather in the same way so i really enjoy his movies i wish today that they could make more movies like that with out bad sex and bad lanuge but they can have action in the movie instead of the other stuff that people see on tv these days my regards to fess parker and his family i am one of his biggest fans i am 29 years and love to watch the old movies from way back the days when i t was a lot fun to see a movie.

Jim

Turning 67 here pretty soon, I remember the show quite well. My grandmother was a full blood Iroquois Indian and she told me storys handed down thru her side of the family, some about the original Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone & others and with her storys and this show it all seemed to fill in some of the gaps. There was alot of history going on back then, to bad more of it wasn’t documented better. Fess Parker was a big man w/ a soft voice and a huge smile. He made growing up, fun and advenuresome. When that show came on tv every kid had to have a coon skin cap, and the toy flintlock rifle.

Jim

As a twentysomthing child of the 90’s, I got to see Fess on The Magical World of Disney and absolutely fell in love with the the old-school adventures of a very remarkable man. Parker’s unflappable attitude in those shows are as much fun now as they were 60 odd years ago. Bravo Leny for writting such a lovely tribute to a terrific generational hero!

dan reid

Met Mr.Parker at L.A. airport .The week before I returned from Vietnam and was going home after eing discharged from the Marine Corps.He was at the ticket counter and I walked up to him and said aint you Davy Crockett and he said no im Fes Parker.Well I got on the plane feeling stupid when just after takeoff the stewardess came back and said I could sit in first class.So I followed her and she sit me next to Mr.Parker.We talked just about all the way to ST.Louis and he was as nice a guy or down to earth guy you ever want to meet.May you rest in peace knowing you put many smiles on young and old alike.

malik

Just another dead white man. The character he portrays represents a time in America when African Americans were slaves. He may be a hero to you lilly white folks but he isn’t to the people of our communities. I’m glad this country is getting darker by the day, with my dark skinned brothers coming accross the border and with us breeding you out. Your white women don’t want your white babies. they want a Strong Black Man. Even your own people want a Man of Color to lead you instead of that old white man mccain. Your mother land europe is being taken over by people of color as well. A few more generations and white folks won’nt be around. Hope that adds to your depression of this old white man who just died.
.

FirewindII

No one should underestimate the impact of Old Yeller, which hasn’t gotten the attention at Mr. Parker’s passing.

As Walt Disney, the Mousekateers, Zorro, Spin & Marty, and yes, Fess Parker yanked us out of our small, parochial worlds, and thence into the world of color TV, so Old Yeller yanked us across the threshold of death in our lives. Yes, Fess Parker was right in the middle of it all…

Funny how we get barked at by the people trying to set us and our world straight nowadays, yet this man, with the sheer force of character in his most appropriate roles, probably influenced a generation far more than all the barkers combined.

jackie sferlazza

I was lucky enough to spend a week-end at the Fess Parker Inn in Los Olivos a few years ago with my daughter and her husband, and enjoyed the hospitality and excellent food in the dining room at the Inn. Mrs. Parker invited the three of us to join her at their table and spoke of the painting above the fireplace which was painted by Buddy Ebson and givin to them as a gift. My daughter and I were happy to have a picture taken with Fess Parker which we shall cherish as he was so gracious to pose with us. My condolences to his wife, Marcy, and his family. God bless.

Paddy

Although the coonskin cap repulsed my mother, an animal rights activist, even way back then, all three of us wore ours every chance we got(Mother drew the line at Church). Picture two frilly little girls, ringlets, petticoats and lace and our four year old brother in shorts, all wearing our caps to town, he singing “BABY, BABY Crockett, King of the wild Frontier” at the top of his lungs. Needless to say, we got lots of attention and smiles. The three of us always loved Mr. Fess Parker and still reminisce of that time of innocence. Mr. Parker was a great gentleman and role model.

J Bryan

I remember enjoying Daniel Boone when I was four years old. I continued to watch it in syndication throughout my childhood.

I’m curious as to how an entire article slipped by with Fess Parker as Davy Crockett instead of Daniel Boone?

Dianne H

This is a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man. Fess Parker was truly larger than life, on screen and off. I can only envy anyone who actually met this man. Thank you, Leonard, for writing this tribute in such a loving, gentle manner. It seems there are very few left of the great stars of “our time”. And this is very sad. My condolences to his family. He will be sorely missed.

Glenn Wilkerson

Fess Parker was a household name when I was a kid. He had a very smooth way of talking (almost a drawl). He was one of my heros, I thought he was david crockett.

GOD bless the Parker family and the USA.

Thank You Lenoard.

jonn Bruuce

I watched Dan’l as a kid Maybe he was a larger influence than I thought. Years later now I liveon Boonesboro road across the street from his statue. all in Kentucky. Not many bears now but I keep an eye out for Pawnee.
condolences to the family.

Roger Peterson

In the fall of 1994 I attended a Bed and Breakfast trade show at the Fess Parkers Red Lion Inn in Santa Barbara. Because of his name on the hotel I thought he might be around to sign my 1955 Davy Crockett LP album and get a chance to meet my childhood hero. At the trade show there was a booth selling Fess Parker Wine. I told the girl in the booth I was a big Davy Crockett fan to which she replied…he’s my father…would you like to meet him? I just about fell over! She gave me his number to set up a meeting. Two days later I went to his office in the woods and shook hands with Davy Crockett. He invited me into his private office and have a seat. We talked for about a half an hour. What a nice man. He shared some good stories about events in his life and talked about all the pictures on his walls. When I pulled out the old album cover he signed it “Roger, glad our trails have crossed ! Best Wishes, Fess Parker” I’m looking at it right now with tears in my eyes. A day I will never forget!
Good bye to the “King of the Wild Frontier”

Hank

Cheryl
Here’s a connection across time. Your ancestor, Daniel Boone, brought my ancestors across the Cumberland Gap from Virginia to Kentucky. When I was told that as a child, I ran to my grandfather, a very frosty old Victorian gentleman, and asked him if it was true that our ancestors had come with Daniel Boone. He put his paper down, looked down at me, and said, “Mr. Boone. No one in the family ever addressed or spoke of Mr. Boone by any other name than Mr. Boone.” As young as I was I got the point.

Ken and Debbie Maki

Leonard, thank you for your heartfelt piece on Fess Parker. I’m a baby boomer under 50 who loved Daniel Boone! I grew up idolizing Fess Parker.
My husband idolized Davy Crockett in the 50’s! Circa 1958 he had the opportunity to meet him on the set of The Jayhawkers..we still have the picture on our mantle. Back in 1999 my family had the fortune to be greeted by him at the door of his winery. I cant tell you how thrilled I was to meet ‘Daniel Boone’ after all those years. He took the time to speak with us and take another picture.
We are deeply saddened by his passing. America has lost a legend, but oh what a footprint he has left behind!

Porfirio Aguiar,jr.

Dear Mr. Maltin, A very fine tribute to a remarkable man; I was a teenager in the fifties when the Davy Crockett craze tookj hold; I don’t believe no other actor could have played the part as he did; he came across the screen just as he was in real life; a man who was honest with no airs, unasumming, who cared about people; my deepest condolences to his family..

Ann Kelleher

Lots of memories! I too was a big (well, actually little in the beginning) fan of Fess Parker and Davy Crockett………. And like so many kids, had a coonskin cap, and knew all the lyrics and proudly sang them albeit out of tune.

My thoughts and prayers to his family.

Angelia

What a great tribute to a great man, I may not be in the 50 plus group but I remember watching the reruns of the show and how my grandmother would say what a handsome man he was and my dad said he used to watch the show. Dad and Nana are both gone now and it is sad to lose another great and decent man.

Tom Allen

I can’t say anything that hasn’t already been said. But, I too remember in the 50’s whenever Davy Crockett came on I was there to watch it. It didn’t matter what else was on the other two channels, I would watch Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier. Heck, if our congressmen were like the Davy Crockett that Fess portrayed, our country wouldn’t be in the mess it is today.
Then in the 60’s, I would watch Daniel Boone whom possessed the same traits as Davy. I read back then that Fess Parker’s real character was like the two that he portrayed on tv. Nice, sensible, mello temper, courteous, honest brave and polite just to name a few. He was the perfect roll model for any child or teenager to follow and especially in the 60’s. Like millions of other kids, he was also my hero, I always wished I could meet him in person but alas, I wasn’t as lucky as Leonard Maltin.

Pat S.

When I think of those memories years growing up, my time waiting for Davey Crockett will be among those fond memories I will rememeber. The song, Davey Crockett bringsa smile to my face and Fess Parker is one of my lifelong hero’s. For me, he represents a simpler time, a more secure place, a home cooked meal awaiting my favorite tv shows. He will be missed by millions, but he will be rememebered by the love and honor he potrayed and brought to his fans around the world. He and his legacy will surely be missed…

Christian E Beck

Fess Parker as Davie Crocket and Daniel Boone was a blessing to thousands of young boys like myself and our parents! I so dearly did not want to miss an episode that I
was sure to ‘have my chores done promptly’ least my folks
would say NO TV! Growing up on a rural farming area I took to
trackin’ and trapin’ to be like Daniel. I sure wanted my own ‘coon-skin cap’! I came close when I trapped a Possum, but my dad wasn’t going to let me wear that hide on my head! Davie, Daniel
and Fess, may you all rest in peace and may God bless you all!
Chris Beck

Christine S. in San Diego

I visited the Fess Parker Winery in approximately 1997 and spoke briefly with Parker and his wife. He had a beautiful black (large) standard poodle named “Tuxedo.” They were casual, friendly and very welcoming. I also remember his trips to Rancho Mirage and dining at Wally’s Desert Turtle restaurant in winter. Fess Parker will be dearly missed.

paul meray

It’s 2:00 am 3/20/2010 and I just found out that the biggest kids hero of the 50’s has died- I cried. I havn’t done that for anyone since my dad died over a year ago. Why? I was born in 1951 and besides my dad, he was the biggest kids hero there was. I never had a Crockett hat but boy I would have done just about anything to get one. Fess Parker was just about the best example for anyone of any age, demonstrating honesty courage and how to be a good person, through his tv work and his own personal life. If you didn’t know Davey Crockett king of the wild frontier in the 50″s, then you were from another planet. Great actor and will miss him very much. I think I will look for Old Yeller and the classic si-fi thriller Them to watch today. God’s speed Fess Parker – our generation will miss you

c

Mark E White

I grew up in decatur,ill .born in 1955 loved fess parker portaying davy crockett,and daniel boone,great heroes to me .our culture needs heros this day and age,fess parker brought that about for me ,i will truly miss him,i love history ,i guess it;s apart of me .my great-grandfather was a farmer in southern il and circut-rider[preacher],visit new salem park lincolin minded a store thier outside of springfield ,il,also visited his tomb as a kid,mark twain cave as a teenager, uncle owned a lodge 8 miles from bohemian lodge in wis where john dilingier shot it out with the g-men,seen bloody clothes on the wall left some inpression!! moved to fort worth,tx in 1984,been to tombstone ,az seen the o.k correl,been to the alamo in san antonio,tx seen davy crockett rifle,been to boonesboro in kentucky love it i guess i live out of time would of loved to lived in the wild west i guess,deep love for history and the u.s.a ,GOD BLESS AMERICA< MY PRAYERS BE WITH THE PARKER FAMILY

Walter Watson

What a memory maker he made in my life too! I remember times as a kid when I played Daniel Boone with my friends. His show gave me a new courage, and at times a new vision, His acting was one of a kind to me as a child . Fess Parker was one of my childhood heroes. I loved his show so much often I would put away my homework and tell my dad “I’ll get back to my homework after Daniel Boone. OK? I think he liked it too since he watched it with me quite often. I was probably about 10 or twelve then I am now a full grown adult with three children,
We do not get those old traditional frontier movies any more but if we did my whole family would be introduced to Davy Crocket KIng of the Wild Frontier, otherwise known as Daniel Boone.

Rich

Thanks for the great tribute. My family just lost my father this past week and he possessed many of the great character traits that Mr. Parker had as an actor and man. I can still remember with great fondness watching the shows that Mr. Parker starred in with my father and hearing the good advise, caring and love both in his voice and my own father’s. Nice job.

Jo Webster

My brother, sister and I used to drive mother “crazy” with our constant singing of the “Davy Crockett” song which we did from Kansas all the way to New York on the way to the ship that would take us to dad’s new military post. We all laughed about that for many many years after. My brother went absolutely nowhere without his coonskin hat. He was a great actor and will live fondly in our memories.

My heartfelt condolences go out to his family.

SHERRY A. JONES,TUCKER,ZIEGLER

To Fess Parker’s Family, Friends and other Fans,
I was one of the few girls to watch, with great enthousiasim,respect and love both Davy Crockett and Danial Boone. I was 6 years old when Davy cam on and I got me a coonskin cap just like my big brother. We ran all over the neighborhood in them. These two shows had a big influince on us as children, as did all of the Disney Movies and Shows. I am sorry that Fess Parker has passed on. I am sure God is with him in heaven, as he was a great and good man.I will never stop watching his films.
From a female fan,
Sherry Ziegler

Phil Alpert

As a 50+ year old, I grew up on Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone and thus I always had a special place for Fess Parker in my memories. I had the great pleasure of visiting his delightful Hotel in Los Olivos a couple of years ago; much to my great delight, he was there and spent a good half an hour speaking with me about his life, the Disney experience, and his friendship with Buddy Ebsen. It was an amazing moment and he was quite generous with his time. He signed a bottle of wine (Chardonnay) which I will never open. I will miss him. Leonard thank you for your touching report.

Ronald Holst

I remember Fess Parker As Davy Crockett in some ways he inspired me to muck as a young boy at age 5 why too much Well I remember getting up early one morning about 1 am getting dressed witch included my coon skin hat or a facsimile there of getting my pop gun and started heading down Colfax ave in Aurora Colo. I remember it was cold that night but all i could think of was getting into the Mouton’s So I like my Hero Davy Crockett could kill me a bare but I was older than three so I new I could do it . I am not sure How far i got But i do remember being brought home by a taxi that saw mew walking done this main road or highway thorough Denver and I can still see the look on my Dad and moms face as the Driver ask them if i belonged to them . well All I remember is getting a hug from both my folks before I got a spanking a well deserved one I realize I never did Feel I lived Up to Day Crockett Though . I do know now as a 59 year old man just how much I will miss Fess Parker he Gave me the courage as a 5 year old boy to venture out into a cold night to try to kill him self a Bare . as crazy as that sounds I hold that memory close to my hart because of him I did find out that night ,just how much Mom and dad did care and love me . And He will; be missed greatly by me . Not To mention My sister Who Got an A in her English class write a shot story about her younger bother want to be Just Like Davy Crockett .

Gary

As did others, I too appreciated Leonard Maltin’s tribute to Fess. Fess and Marcie were at my wedding in December 1961 and my dad, Tom Blackburn, escorted Marcie Reinhart down the isle for Fess and Marcie’s wedding. Fess was always very loyal and appreciative of my dad, Tom, who was one of many writers who wrote screen treatments based on Davy Crocktett’s biography of which Disney Studios had purchased the rights. Walt and my dad had great sympatico and his was the only screen treatment to gain Walt’s approval. If you look at the screen credits you will see Tom Blackburn wrote the scripts for all TV episodes and lyrics to the songs, including The Ballad of Davy Crocket. George Bruns wrote the music. For casting, it was Tom who spotted Fess in another movie and asked Walt to view certain scenes in one of the small studio viewing rooms. From that, Walt brought Fess in for a screen test and the rest is well documented. I don’t know who found vaudvilian and dancer Buddy Ebson to play Georgie Russel, but he, Fess, and my dad remaind life-long friends until each died. Other Disney films that Tom wrote for Disney included Johnie Tremain, Westward Ho! The Wagons, and Andy Burnett. Tom’s epic Western Colt 45 helped save Warner Brothers from financial embarresment.

Dr. Parker, yes, he did have a doctorate in theatre arts, was friendly and gracious to us and his friends. My then teenage brother enjoyed part of his summer vacation with Fess’ parents on thier ranch in Texas.

I had heard that people with whom Fess had real estate dealings in Santa Barbera were not so inclined to agree with an assessment of pleasant cordiality. As a hard-headed businessman, he developed an impressive real estate presence.

The Fess Parker Winery in Los Olivos, north of Santa Barbara and not far from Solvang and his winery neighbors all produce quality wine. Fess harbored the dream of the Los Olivos Valley to rival the Napa Valley in fame and quality.

Many people will morn his passing but will be greatful of his ability and friendship.

Gary B

Hassie

I remember Davy Crocket and how he was a hero to all the kids in the 1950’s. Thank you for your personal story about Mr. Parker. It isn’t very often that our childhood heroes live up to their reputations. It sounds like he was a very gracious and kind gentleman – as well as a childhood hero to so many. My condolences to his family.

Penelle

What a loss. He was such a good actor and I loved watching Davy Crockett. We all ran around as kids pretending to be Davy.
Old Yeller was one of my favorite movies.

Its too bad we are losing so many of our older actors.
It was a whole different generation of class and talent than what exists today.

My mother knew quite a few of the greats personally. Judy Garland, Gregory Peck,. Ernest Borgnine and a few others. I loved listening to her stories about them, it made me appreciate them more.

My sincerest condolences to Fess’s family and thanks for such a nice writeup Leonard.
Fess will be missed by many who enjoyed his company and talent over the years.

Karen Elizabeth Bush

I am in mourning.

Davy Crockett is dead.

We made no distinction between Fess Parker, actor, and Davy Crockett, American hero, when we were children, and I make no such distinction now. Nor do I feel I any need to do so. As a child, I sensed instinctively that there was reality and substance to Parker’s character. As an adult I understand that it was Parker’s own intelligence and simple decency that made it so.

Walt Disney’s fictional hero was part of an era when kids knew the bad guys from the good guys. We were “safe” with Davy, who definitely was one of the good guys.

In these troubled times today, I can’t help remembering the words to the ballad of Davy Crocket., who…

“… went off to Congress and served a spell
Fixin’ up the gover’ment and laws as well.
Took over Washington, so we heerd tell,
And patched up the crack in the Liberty Bell.
Davy, Davy Crockett, seein’ his duty clear.”

We need Davy NOW. America needs to believe in heroes again. That need makes Parker’s loss personal and that much more poignant for all who ever wore a coonskin cap at play.

Lee Heins

Leonard
We met in 1996 when you were the Master of Ceremonies at the 30th Anniversary of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” dinner event honoring Academy Award winning Warner Brothers Director Chuck Jones (the man who gave Bugs Bunny his real heart and soul). The event was held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach CA and included many of the artists and production staff of the cartoon. It was a magical night whenHollywood came to Newport Beach, CA.
Thank you for your retrospective on Fess Parker. Your showed
his gentleman side for which people have admired for decades.
His legacy will live on thru his family in Santa Barbara County.
Thank you for your great memories of Fess Parker!

Kurt

Fess Parker was a class act. You do not see that quality of a person in Hollywood any more.

Jack Wright

While going on a fishing trip with my family in Utah my sister and I got to see Daniel Boone being filmed. My sister got her picture taken on the set in the mountains I was too shy. My favorite show as a kid

Thom Wood

All across America, so many of us Baby Boomer boys are saddened to hear of the passing of our earliest HERO, Fess Parker. I was 8 years old when he burst on the black and white tube back in 1955, and the impact he had on me was just phenomenal. My mother could tell that I was simply hooked. She took me to a department store in town and bought me the coonskin cap (God forbid if you didn’t have THAT!), a Davy Crockett t-shirt, the fringed top with cut-out sleeves, the matching pants (also fringed), and moccasins! (I had never worn any before!). I also had the Davy Crockett pop rifle, all of which made me the envy of the neighborhood. To say the least, I thought I was SOMETHING to be admired! And of course, just like every other kid in America, I knew all the words to Davy’s theme song. To us kids, Fess Parker was the true hero all of us could look up to and admire. It’s nice to know that he never forgot his impact on the culture of the performing arts in this country, and he will be remembered by millions of American boys and girls for the simple truths in life that he also brought to the movie screen. Thank you Mr. Parker!

Jacqueline M

What a wonderful piece and Fess was a great part of my childhood. Our family is related to Daniel Boone…so we never missed any of the episodes. He’s always been a favorite and the world is better for having known him. And you, Leonard, are a jewel in the crown of motion pictures. Your valuable insight has helped many pass on some to enjoy others…and make the right decision. Bless you and Davy Crockett (Fess) will be a part of who we are until we no longer have thoughts.

Sincerely,
J

Wm Popper

Excellent narrative tribute writing.
Thanks for sharing the memories all…
Remember The Fess Parker Alamo…Peace and vino.

Becky

I was blessed to have met Fess Parker and his family when I was 17. I am now 50. I worked at a resort in Northern California and they would come there during the summers. He was a very, very nice man and he and his family were kind, warm and personable.

Jo Ann Pedlar

“Born on a mountain top in Tennessee, greenest state in the land of the free, raised in the woods so he knew every tree, kilt him a “bar” when he was only three…Davey, Davey Crockett king of the wild frontier”…My self as well as all other “baby boomers” will truly miss Mr. Parker…Long may he R.I.P.

Claude M. McAfee

My mother grew up next to Fess Parker and spoke well of his kind nature (her name was Ethel Douglas Webb). If I remember well enough. I believe Mr. Parker’s favorite snak on his early movie sets was
peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Truely the passing of a great individual.

Emma

I was saddened to read of Fess Parker’s passing. I loved watching him as Daniel Boone when I was growing up. As an adult in researching my genealogy to my surprise I learned that the real Daniel Boone’s sister Sara was my ggggggggrandmother. I grew up in a small community named Daniel Boone, in Virginia, he made a settlement there on his way to Kentucky. I have visited Pennyslvania where it started and Boonesboro Kentucky. Yadkin Valley NC is yet to visit. So Fess Parker is really special to me, he brought my ancestor to life. Thank you for that. My sympathy to his family

SUZ

i remember fess parker as DANIEL BOONE. NOW I CAN BEGIN ON DAVY CROCKETT!!!. AT PEACE AS ONE.

Trish

I grew up loving Daniel Boone! My brother and I would ride around the neighborhood pretending we were on horses and we were part of his adventure. Shows like Daniel Boone are what made me fall in love with the outdoors and riding that horse galloping across the open meadow! I still ride, but a real horse this last half of my life but still remember the song and the adventure!

Joanne Tafoya

Thanks for your walk thru history. Daniel Boone, a good show, &
a time when television was worth watching. I feel sad that we have lost Fess Parker.

PMW

I, too, idolized Fess Parker as a boy in the 1950s. In 2001, while living in the Los Olivos area, I decided to do something special for my birthday, just for me. I drove the 3 miles down the road to Fess Parker’s Los Olivos Inn. The hostess said he had hundreds of people dropping by each year, and she gave me his weekly dining schedule. She said he loved to meet his fans, and encouraged me to come by on his dinner night.

On the night I approached him as he walked out of the dining room and introduced myself. He was super gracious, and seemed genuinely glad to see me. I told him, “When I was a little kid you were my hero!” He put his arm around my shoulder, bent down slightly to look in my face (he was 6’6″) and said “What happened?” It was funny. And I felt like a little kid again, safe in his aura. And given the height difference between us, he still felt a bit like the dad I fantasized him being over 50 years ago.

PiXaNiNNiePeTe

I hate the 1800’s – it sucked ….. davy boy – (1786-1836).

Kevin House

Thank you, Leonard, for the wonderful tribute to Fess. I knew I could count on you to post something as soon as you heard the news. I used to watch “Daniel Boone” in syndication every day after school in the mid-’70s, and now I can enjoy all six seasons on DVD. And, thanks in part to you, I can watch all of his work as Davy Crockett on the Walt Disney Treasures series. I was and will remain a huge Fess Parker fan. I only wish I had had the opportunity to meet him. Everybody seems to agree that he was just as kind and genuine off screen as his characters appeared to be on screen. May he live forever in the minds of all of his fans. Thanks again, Leonard, and please keep up the wonderful work!

Michael Nolan

Thank you, Leonard, for your caring appreciation of Fess Parker. While I was never fortunate enough to have met Mr. Parker, I too grew up with his Davy Crockett and, later, Daniel Boone. I even had a flintlock rifle and fringed buckskin jacket. Most of all, I remember Mr. Parker’s naturalness onscreen; he was not only thoroughly convincing in his two iconic roles, it was clear that he — Fess Parker — was every bit as genuine, honest, and down to earth as the characters he portrayed. This, of course, was borne out by your piece, Leonard, the personal memories shared by others, and the articles I’ve read about him over the years. Now, more than ever, I deeply regret never having met Mr. Parker personally, but I’m glad so many have had that experience. We’ve lost a wonderful man — every bit the hero that Crockett and Boone each were.

Nelson

I met Fess Parker in Ft Worth at the Stockyards Rodeo in about 1964 and got an autographed picture of him and still have it. I loved Davy Crocket and Daniel Boone shows.

Laurataylor61

Nice article, in remebrance, Tributes,
in my fondly memories,
Of The Actor, Fess Parker, as Daniel Boone,
Series, and also Davy Crockett.
And Also In Olde Yeller.
Walt Disney’s films.
By Laura T on March 20, 2010

Jerry X. Shea

Oh he 50’s. Dad went to work, mom cooked dinner. School was fun and a family drive on Sunday. No drive by shootings, drug dealers on street corners or freeway chases — just boys with a coonskin caps enjoying life as they watch their sisters with a hoolahoop.
What the hell happened?

Lonnie Nefouse

Leonard, I met Fess Parker while serving in Vietnam..Of course I grew up with his portrayol of Davy Crockett, his side kick was Buddy Ebsen..Then his Daniel Boone portrayol with Edd Ames. He came to visit trhe troops…It was a big thrill for me as it was for some of the other troops. Your article was so on the money to what Fess Parker meant to a whole generation of us in the 50’s and 60’s,,The Coonsin Caps and both theme songs..after reading your aricle..I started to sing Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the wild frontier……Our heros are leaving us….how sad that is. I’d give anything to have my coonskin cap again….

John

I am not sure what year it was, but he came to the Ky State Fair. He autographed a picture of him for me and shook my hand. As a kid that was a really big deal!

David

Very nice piece, Leonard. It.Also brought back my memories when I was one excited boy on my way to the movie theater to see Davy Crockett King of the Wild Frontier. I must have seen it 5 times. My parents bought me the first Marx Fess Parker Alamo playset and full outfit of Davey Crockett. I admired the man. Thank you, Walt Disney for giving us Fess Parker. R.I.P.

Mike Brancato

what a great american hero he has done so much for his fellow man and the state of California. His name and reputation will live on forever, I am glad he wont be around to see what the politican’s in Sacramento and Washington DC have done to this country God rest his soul.

ROBB CORLESS

IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT WHEN WE WERE KIDS –TV WAS SIMPLE-SO TO SPEAK–3 CHANNELS–SIMPLE–WHEN DANIEL BOONE CAME ON – THAT WAS ONE OUR FAMILY DIDN’T MISS– BECAUSE THERE WASN’T 125 OTHER THINGS TO POSSIBLY WATCH –DANIEL HAD A GUN –BUT HE ONLY USED IT TO HUNT FOR FOOD FOR THE TABLE –AND TO PROTECT HIMSELF-HIS FAMILY-AND FRIENDS-FROM THOSE THAT … See MoreWANTED TO TAKE FROM THEM— -I DO NOT OWN A GUN–BUT THINKING ABOUT IT –NO PROBLEM AS LONG AS YOU LIVE BY DANIEL BOONE’S ETHICS–WE SHOULD NEVER SURRENDER OUR GUNS –NO WAY–BECAUSE THERE IS STILL MORE OF US THAT LIVE BY DANIEL’S RULES THAN THE ONES THAT DON’T–AND WE NEED TO ALWAYS BE ABLE TO PROTECT WHAT WE LOVE…. ROBB CORLESS

Raye R

What can I say? I am grateful that I had such a positive role model while growing up. Fess Parker still influences me today. My memories of Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone still shine as examples of how a man can be brave, gentle, honest, wise, and truthful. What an incredible legacy.

jk

On a business note, Fess Parker will be remembered as a developer of real estate properties with the highest value, quality and integrity. His properties here in Santa Barbara changed the beachfront area and the park that he dedicated to the city will serve as testimony to his personal high standards. We certainly will miss Fess Parker and it is said, “They sure don’t make ‘um like they used to! In Mr. Parker’ life no truer words were ever spoken.

Steve

I think Davy Crocket was one of my first memories of T.V. Seems to me like it wasin color, or maybe that was a movie, an early big screen movie of DC. Davy, Davy Crocket, King of the Wild Frontier.

Helen Parker (no relation)

I am a baby boomer-61 now and a true Fess Parker/ Daniel Boone/ Old Yeller fan!!!
I loved Fess Parker in the Daniel Boone series and in Old Yeller-I was so happy that I bore the same last name as my hero of the 1950’s!!!! I watched Daniel Boone each week with my Mom and Dad in the 50’s-we all so looked forward to that show each week! My Dad died at 47 in 1960 and my Dad was my hero and so was Fess Parker and I remember just how much my Dad loved this show! I, also, rember after seeing Old Yeller, i wrote to Walt Disney on my Disneyland stationard-I was born in 1948, so I must have been about 8, asking him to please bring Old Yeller to San Francisco, my hometown.
My prayers are with Fess Parker’s wife and all his family-what a wonderful man he, obviously, was and what HAPPY memories of him I have on TV and all from MY childhood!
Helen Parker in San Francisco

ralph balltrip

a few days agol i was thinking him because of some one else had pass away . i waned to be like him when i grown up in harlan ky he was a great man. ralph

Kent

Great piece Mr. Maltin.

I am a descendent of the brother of the real Davy Crockett, and while not having had the timely opportunity to actually know my Great Great Great Great Uncle Davy, I can only hope he was as upstanding of a person that the man who played him on TV some 150 years later was. That man would be Fess Parker. Thanks for everything, Fess. No better man has filled the buckskin suit in honor of our American hero.

Rest in peace.

Roseanne Anders

Thanks so much, Leonard. What touching memories. It was wonderful to learn what a marvelous person he was, just as you would expect from some of the roles he had. What a great model he was for millions of kids (and their parents).

Helen Parker (no relation)

I am a baby boomer-61 now and a true Fess Parker/ Daniel Boone/ Old Yeller fan!!!
I loved Fess Parker in the Daniel Boone series and in Old Yeller-I was so happy that I bore the same last name as my hero of the 1950’s!!!! I watched Daniel Boone each week with my Mom and Dad in the 50’s-we all so looked forward to that show each week! My Dad died at 47 in 1960 and my Dad was my hero and so was Fess Parker and I remember just how much my Dad loved this show! I, also, rember after seeing Old Yeller, i wrote to Walt Disney on my Disneyland stationard-I was born in 1948, so I must have been about 8, asking him to please bring Old Yeller to San Francisco, my hometown.
My prayers are with Fess Parker’s wife and all his family-what a wonderful man he, obviously, was and what HAPPY memories of him I have on TV and all from MY childhood!
Helen Parker in San Francisco

Steven Loe

I enjoyed seeing Fess Parker as Davy Crockett, king of the Wild Frontier, as well as Daniel Boone.
I will miss him very much.
Thank you Leonard Maltin, for a very moving tribute.
I also purchased a coonskin cap as a child

DIM TIM

Thank you Mr. Maltin, for the tribute to the passing of Fess Parker. I grew up watching him in his Disney role, and loved him as Daniel Boone.
Just recently I came across a web site that has online videos of the show, and it was nice to be able to go back in time for a bit, even if it is only in my memories. I’m among the last of the baby boomers, and the passing of him just drives home our mortality.
But even in this, the joy that these memories bring is enough to remind us of the good things in life, even though they are just passing images on our journey.
Again, thanks to you for the wonderful tribute.

jack b :-)

my memories of him are second hand, as fess actually ‘courted’ (if that term is used anymore) my mother back in san angelo, tx. just prior to WWII. he was two years younger than my mom, iirc, and they both attended the same school. i’ll ask her about it again when i go to the ranch outside of san angelo to see her for mother’s day this year. she told several stories about him many years ago when i lived with them before i finished school and moved out on my own. he was apparently quite a guy and quite the gentleman – and my dad liked him very much, but he didn’t know him that well. i’ll ask him as well…
i wish i could have met the man, as i thought about him on my many trips to calif. from my native w. tx. throughout the years, but i just never got around to it. basically, i didn’t want to intrude on a guy who got out of the hollywood scene and led a quiet, decent life. when you grow up on a ranch you tend to pay attention to those courtesies. ronald reagan was another one of those guys you just ‘respected.’

Murray Gewirtz

The photo of Fess Parker, Walt Disney and the then Governor of Tennessee has a caption describing Fess and Walt as “wearing some sort of headdress.” They appear to be wearing child-sized coonskin caps with a round product label still attached.

I was one of the Crockett crazies back in ’54 and ’55, though relatively old at age 12 and 13. We were too poor for me to get an authentic cap fully covered by raccoon fur, so I had one with the top made of a plastic material, or one that was entirely covered in faux-fur acrylic. Of course, the real fur ones are now politically incorrect. I still have my complete two sets– with orange and green backs– of Davy Crockett bubble gum cards, as well as a scrapbook I made from newspaper articles, a serialized biography of Crockett, and additional verses to “The Ballad of Davy Crockett” which my brother and I wrote.

We recognized that Fess Parker may not have been the world’s greatest actor, but felt he was just fine for the role of an intrepid, principled frontiersman and statesman. Parker’s sincerity and earnestness seemed to shine through his portrayals. He even resembled Crockett physically, more than other actors who have played him before or since.

Kathy S

alittle bit of my childhood was lost today……oh the memories …makes me very sad

Bob Reed

Leonard;

Rather sad to think that just about all those stars that filled our TV screens back in the 1950’s and 60’s have left us. One of the mist remembered has to be Fess Parker and the Davy Crockett trilogy. To this day, I remember the excitement and anticipation of waiting for the next installment. My parents did not buy all the Davy Crockett merchandise but what they did buy, I still have — including the Alamo Playset.

Fess Parker was not one of the great actors but on the screen he came across as natural and genuine — I believe his most endearing qualities.

God speed, Fess Parker

Bob Reed, Columbia, KY.

David

Very nice tribute. As a five year old called Davey (at about the same time you had your coonskin cap, Leonard), my family used to sing the Davey Crockett theme song to me as if it were my own theme music. That was fine with me! I loved the show and had all the requisite toys. Cut to: fifty years later. As a surprise weekend date, early in our courtship, I took my girlfriend up to Fess’s lovely hotel on the beach at Santa Barbara. He always seemed to be a real gentleman who brought joy to people of all ages, whether as an actor, vinter, hotelier, or family man. Many thanks for sharing your memories and all the best to his wife and children…

Ken

I was only 14 when the Davy Crocket series was introduced on TV. I became an ardent fan of both Davy Crockett and Fess Parker. I saw all three: Davy Crockett Indian Fighter, Davy Crockett goes to Congress, and Davy Crockett at the Alamo. I also, of course watched his adventures with Mike Fink the Keelboater.

The series inspired me to read much on the real Davy Crockett and I have a deep interest in his final adventure…his almost mythical battle at the Alamo. In fact I have a large pen and ink drawing of the final assult on the Alamo on March 6, 1836 over my den fireplace.

Fess Parker and Davy Crockett will live on in the hearts and minds of all who ever saw the series…both young and old . Without the Walt Disney series I am sure most of us would have hardly known who Davy Crockett was.
.

Mary, Phoenix, Az

I watched Fess Parker with my older brothers, they wouldnt let me have much to say, but to this day, I am moved to learn of the greatest legend that ever lived, Davy Crocket!!

Mary H.

David

I have a different take on this. The Davey Crocket theme song was very traumatic for me. My name is David and I was a very little boy when the show aired. My whole family would dress me up in a Davey Crocket outfit and taunt me merciliessly knowing I detested being called Davey. This went on for years. I still cringe when I hear the song.

Frank

I remember Fred McMurray and Fess Parker from the Disney
Studio as a young boy, both were sensational and provided
a wonderful atmoshere for children all over America. I am
sure there must be millions of citizens in 2010 who have pleasant memories of both these men, Fess lived and
prospered much longer than Fred and I admire his ability to
be a Star until age 85……………….I am certain that Heaven is
delighted to have his talent for eternity ! Davey was a man of
great character enhanced by Fred playing this role, my sympathy
goes out to his family and friends ! ! !

Randy White

Yes, I too grew up with “Davy Crockett”, and a finer role model, one could have never had. Goes to show that being a truly “good man”, Fess influenced millions of kids that needed “influenced”.

The memory of a “decent man”, will not die as long as I don’t.

I look foreward to introducing my grandchildren to his movies.

Over and Out, Randy

David K. Dorward

Leonard, a heart felt tribute to a great star. As a Canadian fan I still remember the Davy Crockett craze very clearly and certainly had to have a buckskin jacket and coonskin cap or I was going to die!

David

Jacquie

Unfortunately, there weren’t much programming for American Americans to choose from back in those days so I remember him as Daniel Boone & the theme song to boot. There were a lot of western shows on during that time. Programmers must not be into westerns anymore. I haven’t seen a re-run in a long while.

David

He was certainly a hero to me as he was to many young boys in my time. Still is and always will be. This country needs more men like Fess Parker and Andy Griffith to look up to as heroes and role models. I don’t think you could ever go wrong with heroes like them.

He was truly a man among men and showed us yung’uns what honesty and decency was and how we as men should conduct ourselves.

He will definitely be missed by all.

May God grant him eternal rest and peace, and my prayers to the Parker family.

DavidLee1951@att.net

steven

I, also grew up watching Davy, and Daniel, from this, I learned to love the world of muzzleloader rifles, I too would dream of being out in the wood’s with Davy, or Daniel, but it was always Mr. Fess Parker, that I would be hunting with. Didn’t have to shoot anything, just be in the woods, and pretend to be with the boys. THANK YOU , FESS, AND DAVY, AND DANIEL. steven

Ken

I concur with Mr Maltin. I too, loved Fess Parker as Daniel Boone and more importantly Davy Crockett. Being born on March 6, 114 years exactly after the fall of the Alamo, I also loved his show, made by Walt Disney, wore the coon skin hat and sang his song as many of the boys back in the mid-50s. Back then, it was easy to idolize heros. Not so much nowadays! Sad!! Where have our heros and idols gone? Who can the children of today look up to? Sad!!

Pam

I can remember as a child watching Daniel Boone, I had the coloring books and all kinds of things to do with Daniel Boone. Actually I recently found the old series on one of my cable channels a few months a go and watch it on Saturday while I am cleaning house …..
My deepest sympathy to the family.
I know he will be missed.

Richard Landgraff

Thanks for the great article on Fess Parker. I loved all the shows he was in (and I wasn’t a kid either while working for the US Navy).

I didn’t know until now that he was his own producer of the Daniel Boone series. His selection of Ed Ames to play the half-Indian half British side kick Mingo was a stroke of genius. The two of them together really made the show.

Cheryl

He was great. Remember watching him when I was a child. Looks like he lived to be a ripe old age. I still watch him on TV when I see it is on. May he rest in peace and, thanks for sharing. The article was superb just as he was!

Justin Barnes

I’m always going to wear my Davy Crockket Fox hat…

R.I.P. Fess Parker

Dr. Jerry

“Born on a mountain top in Tennessee / The greenest state in the land of the free / Killed his first bear when he was only three / Sold the skin and bought a color TV.” Okay, I had to make up that last line because my memory failed me but I remember the song well and I remember being six years old and wearing my Davey Crockett coonskin hat. Fess Parker had a long happy healthy life. He lived to be 85 and had a nice big family. His passing now feels like another little piece of my childhood has fallen away. Rest in peace, Davey/Daniel/Fess.

Lori

“Every red-blooded boy in America”? Make that “every red-blooded CHILD in America,” because I bet I could have matched you, verse for verse, Mr. Maltin. Thanks for sharing your time with Fess. They don’t make ’em like that any more.

David Minor

I was born in the early 1940s. Because my father was a ‘David’ I was called ‘Davey’. When I was quite young someone gave me a belt with that name on it, in individual gold letters. I proceeded to pry the ‘Y’ off. Later on, after the TV series aired (I was a big Disney fan at the time) from then on I wanted everyone to call me Davy. I’ve since dropped the ‘Davy’ but still prefer ‘David’ to ‘Dave’. And I can sing some of the lyrics to “Mike Fink, King of the River”. You know – the ring-tailed roarer.

William Hollida

I remember going to Disney Studios when I was just a child and meeting Fess Parker on the set of his Davy Crockett TV show. Being just a small kid they told me that it was time to “shoot the next scene.” Well, I turned to Fess and asked him why are they going to shoot you and he laughed and told me that they were ready for him on the set. So I watched they film the scene and always will remember how nice of a man he was to me. My prayers and thoughts go out to his family and friends.

Patrick G.

My condolences to Mr. Parkers family. I worked in the Disneyland Sign Shop from 2000-2007 and lettered the Crocket & Russell Hat Co. Bldg and the Gold Leaf Window. I was there at the presentation ceremony and saw ‘Davy Crockett’ in person, a childhood idol of mine. He gave a wonderful speech and it was a one of a kind tribute to him at the Park. ‘…king of the wild frontier’. I felt honored to see him.

Sister Paule Freeburg

Mr. Parker was a generous and kind man. He made the Art Show for St. Vincent’s possible. Because of his generous gift each year I had the opportunity to meet him several times and always found him also to be generous of spirit. I liked Mr. Parker very much. Once when my sister, her husband and several of their friends and I were at the inn for lunch, he took the time to come to the table and meet each one. Whenever I had lunch with him, he always made me feel like I was the only person there. I will always be grateful for his generosity to St. Vincent’s and for his friendship to me. I will miss him

Lloyd Ellsworth

There is a great need for people to remember Fess Parker as Davy Crockett; he gave examples, even though maybe just act-
ing, that could be used by many that direct us today. I am truly thankfull for having been guided by this character in my current profession as a security guard (unarmed) trying to accomplish tasks that many find beneath their self and endevoring to do the right thing for a final conclusion.

DENNIS SETZER

I was saddened to hear of Mr. Parker’s death. He was a great role model for me and millions of my generation. I remember wearing that coon-skinned hat to Asbury elementary. God’s blessings to his family , loved ones and his fans!

Larry Horning

I had the great pleasure to meet Mr. Parker in Reno, Nv. about 15 years ago. He was in town to promote his wine at Reno’s famous, Ben’s Liquors. He epitomized the word “gentleman” as he happily signed autographs, not only on his photos,but on his “Fess Parker Wine bottle” that you could purchase at a fair price. Even sitting down behind a table and wine display, he was larger than life..when he stood,he stood tall ! He took as much time as you wanted to talk and was genuinely interested in what you had to say. It so happened that Ed Ames of the famous Ames bros. singing group was in town,but due to a severe cold,was unable to attend…what a moment that would have been. Mr. Ames portrait “Mingo” in Mr. Parkers TV show, Daniel Boone.
I sing with a chorale group known as “The Masterworks Chorale” ( the voice of Nevada) ..we have sung “the Ballad of Davey Crockett “many times and I have been fortunate to be the soloist several times..a fond memory for sure. I believe I still possess the wine bottle that he signed for me ,a very personal treasure.
May his family take comfort in knowing the impact he had on so many of us 65 + club members. God Bless his family and I know his spirit is “High on a Mountain Top in Tennesee”

Larry Horning
Reno,Nevada

Susan Altman

I remember back when I first got to watch TV. With my Father who had passed away on Feb.6, 1969 at the young age of 46 year’s old, Davy Crockett and also Old Yeller was the greatist and amazing story’s that my Father and I would watch it as many time’s as we could get by with, because my Mother did’t believe in TV’s. But Fess Parker has alway’s stayed in my heart for all theese year’s and I wondered for so long where he was and if he would ever come back and make some more great movie’s. I send Heart felt Sympathy to his Family and I will too sorely miss him. May God Bless and Keep You All in his Hand’s.

Steve Austin

I am a long time fan and will continue to watch reruns of Davy and Dan’l. They’re television at its finest and added to my list of childhood heroes like Roy, Gene, Hoppy and of course, Superman. They were all heroes, even in their private lives, that any kid could look up to without fear of learning anything bad or inappropriate from them. With the passing of Fess, I think those days are firmly buried in the past. No kid I know today would watch the shows simply because most were shot in black and white.

Remember the big hoopla that erupted when Fess brought his coon skin cap to the Boone series? The real Daniel wore a three cornered hat, not a coonskin. Fess was able to convince the show’s producers that Daniel sometimes wore a coonskin cap but I never did see Fess in a three corner hat and I don’t remember anyone complaining about it during its run. Its interesting to note that Mr. Parker lived longer than either the real Davy Crockett or Daniel Boone.

Dennis Cajas

I grew up watching Fess Parkers movies and Tv Shows. When he first opened his winery in Los Olivos, my wife and I meet him and we knew he was a down to earth person, and that was before his tasting section of the wiery was open. About ten years ago, I took my daughter and grandsons there. He told us to do what we wanted to do. Then sat with my grandsons by this big fireplace and talked with them for a good half an hour. We have been in his wine club for many yours, and we will miss this FINE GENTLEMAN.

Gina

Thank you foe the wonderful article and tribute to Fess Parker. One same correction (addition) though…They were red blooded American little girls who watched, wore the coon skin hat and sang the song, for both series Maybe his influence it why I loved living in Colorado and live in Alaska now and love the outdoors and nature!! He was my childhood
hero,next to my dad May his spirit live forever.

William Rhodes

One more of the greats are gone.They lived a life that we wished we could live in.

Alex

My thoughts and memories are both sad but good, when thinking of Fess playing his rolls in both Davy and Daniel Boone. When brought back moments when we all were growing up which were good times when we all had high standards and hopes. I can still remember the times when we has a family would sit and watch TV .

DAVID H

ONE OF THE BEST MOVIES I HAVE EVER SEEN CAN BE
SUMMED UP IN ONE WORD.

SMOKEY

I STILL DROP EVERYTHING AND WATCH SMOKEY WHEN
IT COMES UP ON TV AND STILL SHED A LOT OF TEARS. HE
TOUGHT ME THE IMPORTANCE OF TAKING CARE OF MY
ANIMALS. I AM 54 YEARS OLD NOW AND STILL RATHER
WOULD BE AROUND MY ANIMALS THEN MOST PEOPLE.

Randall P. Davis

Dan’l,

Reckon I’ll see ya on the other side. Save a b’ar fer me!

Michael Kyle

I grew up watching this wonderful man, many times I had wished he was my father but he always portrade honor, and the importanc of family. I took many of those with me in my life, I wish I could have told him how much he did for me as a child.
My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

Naomi Russell

I was a teenager when the Davy Crockett movie came out, and my brother, who is younger, and I went to see it. When the music started every little kid in the theater started singing the Davy Crockett song. I thought it was the cutest thing I had ever heard.

Steve

Any boy over 55 should be sad. I still have my coon skin hat. What will today’s kids be saving? Maybe a “RAP” tune!

Pia Kanistros

What a sad day. I remember as a very little girl watching Mr. Parker as Daniel Boone. My best friend down the street and I always wore our Crockett coonskin hats. I even have pictures of us wearing them. So sad to see such a remarkable man leave us and part of our country’s entertainment history gone. God Bless you Mr. Parker and safe journey. Daniel Boone would have been proud.

Pam

I was born in the early 60’s and I knew Fess Parker as Daniel Boone. I do remember him in more than a few of Walt Disney movies’ also. I also remember him in a prison movie, which I can not recall the name. I am sadden to here of his leaving this precious earth, and am happy to know he is in a better place. Thank you for sharing your interview. My heart goes out to his family. God Bless

tc sawyer

Leonard–thanks for honoring Fess. He contibuted so mnay happy memories to those of us who grew up in the 50s and early 60s. thank you

Peggy

I grew up watching Daniel Boone. I also feel like Mr. Parker enjoyed playing Daniel Boone and really felt like he was Danile Boone. Thank You Leonard Maltin for the personal tribute. I wish I had the opportunity you had to meet him.

Donald Kushen

I was a kid living on Okinawa ( my parnts being Military at the time) and for Christmas in 1955 my Grandparents John Ed and Marie Hester sent me a complete Davy Crockett outfit ( Coon skin cap, fringed shirt and pants with a long barrel rifle). I was quite the sight of the island. Fess Parker was a true American Hero to me and will always be. Everything I have ever read or heard of him confirms my admiration of him. I will miss his sincerity and kindness..

Harry D

Not to many people nationally know that Fess Parker is somewhat the reason for Kings Island north of Cincinnati. Back in the late 60’s early 70’s there was a story that Mr Parker wanted build a amusement park in Boone county Kentucky, just south of Cincinnati. A park named Coney Island in Cincinnati decided it didn’t want to be a 2nd rate park. So they relocated to Kings Mills Ohio naming the new park Kings Island. when that happened the finances for Frontierland dried up. What could have been.

Roger Zeimet

It was viewing the original Davy Crockett series that got me interested in history back during my Boomer childhood, an interest that ultimately led to a more than a 40 year career as an academic historian. I still vividly recall the last scene in the series depicting Davy alone atop the Alamo’s wall swinging at the oncoming Mexicans with his trusty rifle. I then realized that he was going to be killed. How could that be? The heroes never died in any of the other movies and TV shows that I had seen. That was my introduction to the real world.

yoyo dancer

As a boy growing up in the Republic of Panama in the 70s, I fondly remember Mr. Parker from Daniel Boone re-runs broadcast from one of the TV stations. That was one of my favorite childhood programs and helped to make those days fun and memorable. I’m grateful to Mr. Parker for providing us with countless hours of clean, wholesome entertainment. My regards to his family.

Esther Reathaford

I remember back, when I was a teenager. I learned every word to the Daniel Boone song. I would sing right along in the opening of the show.
I still watch, his show every day I can on channel 13 RTV in Illinois. I had such a crush on him, when I was a teenager and I must admit I still due.
I am 61 and still think of him as my hero and he is still one big hunk.

aNTHONY

WHAT A GUY HE WAS !!! HE WILL ALWAYS BE DAVY CROCKETT TO ME. GOD REST HIS SOUL.

Frederick Joseph Tremblay

Yes to me he was a legend… I was born in 1961 and my parents didn’t have a TV. I guess they did but I might have been two or three and it disapeared. I do remember some years lattter going to Grandmas and Grandpas and they had a old farm house. They had a old black and white TV too. I remember seeing the disney shows and feeling as though I was there with them. Church and the show were in conflict on Sunday and I did my best to see the show! I rember parts and pieces but it would be nice if they would run again.
Fess Parker will always be in my heart like the heart he gave me on TV…
Fred Tremblay…

burntanne

This is very sad to hear about the death of Fess Parker. We didn’t miss him when he came on TV all those years ago as either Davy Crockett or Daniel Boone. There was always something that only he could handle. Tragic about his death, and I hope and pray that God’s solace will suffice for them at this time.

Gary Gardner

Fess Parker was one of my Heros and I will truely miss him

bjohnboy1

this is a HERO F@@@ oBAMA

Fran

He was my childhood hero. Its nice to know he was a good man too. Thanks for the fitting tribute.

John Campbell

You won’t find me making comments on a website very often when it comes to the passing of someone. In fact, this might be the first time for me. So pay heed.

Fess Parker was, IS, a great American icon. He represented the good in all of us, the dreams of both adults and children, the life within all of is that we all wish could be let out for a bit of fresh air. He played the role of a free American spirit and I believe he lived it as well. As crazy as it sounds, I’m fighting back the tears welling in my eyes as I try to type this for the loss.

How many of us today have a marriage that lasted faithful for over 50 years? How many of Hollywood’s stars went there lives without every other day being a scandal? He served in war and served in peace. On top of that his conservative views never parted and in full recognition of the strength within all of us to do our best, be our best, and rely on ourselves.

I had the good fortune to visit Fess Parker Winery several months ago. Unfortunately, Mr. Parker’s health would not allow him to be there and I missed meeting the man who was so endearing to my childhood. One of the fellas at the Winery presented me with a complimentary bottle of his wine and today it sits proudly in my home, unopened, and with a picture on the label that brings back those wonderful childhood memories. I wanted so badly to take it back with me and get his autograph on it, but alas, God only gives us so much time.

My father told me when I was young that you don’t measure a mans life success by how much money or wealth was made, by having your name in the Marquee lights, nor longevity. Success is only measured after your life is done and is based in how you lived your life.

Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone, will always be Fess Parker in my eyes. I’d say that he’s keeping good company. My heartfelt thanks to God for giving us Mr. Parker and for everything he represents. May we as Americans inspire a new generation of Icons in his foot steps.

Rest in Peace, Fess Parker, and know that you’ve made a permanent mark in the world for good.
19 March 2010

Michael Kokal

Davy Crockett To Daniel Boone… yes i can never forget the fond memories watching his shows on sunday nights back in the 1960’s , and all the Disney Specials with him . he will be missed , As he stood for what America was all about …..and will always be a real American icon / hero …… Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett would be proud of …

Ronnie

great article
at 70 years i still start singing “Born on a mountaintop in tennessee every time i travel through the state
Some habits are hard to bre…let go

Harland F.

To me Fess Parker was Davy Crockett. I remember waiting in
a long line outside a theater to see the King of The Wild Frontier.
He was my hero. Couldn’t afford the official cap but still
have my Davy Crockett wallet. Two years ago I finally got
the cap to wear at mountain man rendezvous. He’s still my hero
and I’m 62. thanks for your insight

John Mackey

Enjoy everytime Mr. Parker was on TV. Big men fall hard on us all! Too bad Mr. Parker wasn’t our president for a time as we could have all learned valuable lessons!

Corey

I remember watching Davy Crockett so many times as a kid on tape, I still have my copy of king of the wild frontier and it still remains one of my favorite films of all time, damn, he will be missed.

Tony Thomas

Mr. Parker’s Family,

I grew up watching Daniel Boone, My brother and I played Daniel and Mingo a many of day’s. you will all way’s hold a special place in our hearts and history.
Thanks for the memories.
Mr. Fess Parker my you rest in Pease and god bless your soul.

melissa

Thank you for the warm tribute to Mr. Parker, Leonard.
Fess Parker truly influenced the kids of my boomer generation.
He and his coonskin cap will be remembered fondly by millions of Americans.

The photo in your article…Mr Disney is wearing the Disney coonskin cap. The caption said “some sort of headdress.” It was a famous photo-op.

Again, thank you for the memory of a good man.

Dr.Don W

Mr Maltin,,
Thanks so much for sharing your personal experience having interviewed and meeting Fess Parker,Along withBuddy Ebson, Clint Walker,Jock Mahoney,James Arness,Will Hutchins,Steve McQueen,Ward Bond,Clint Eastward,and so many childhood role models staunchly standing up for and defending the underprivileged courageously inspite of duress,and unpopular,or misguided peer pressure .Ultimately,SO OFTEN making the “Mike Fink’s “realize their errant ways .So wonderful to learn Mr Parker eschewed the same Family Values in his life as he did on screen.His role model will be missed
Dr Don W,Westport,Ct

MSpangler

I grew up with Daniel Boone, Mike Fink, Buddy, Old Yeller and the Alamo. Really will miss Mr Fess Parker better known as Davy Crockett. He was my hero growing up. Gave me values that are still used today and passed on to my son and daughters. My daughter’s birthday is the 18th of March so I will always remember Davy Crockett (Mr Parker). May the LORD richly bless the Parker Family.

Joseph Clark

This was a nice tribute Mr. Maltin. Even though I’m 20 years old, I too have very fond memories of Fess Parker. God Bless his family.

Gina

What a tribute Leonard! As a little girl I had the biggest crush on Fess Parker…or Daniel Boone, I’m not sure which. Either way, he was sooo believable. During those early years, my father was serving in Vietnam, so Mr. Parker became quite a father figure to me. I truly believe he alone influenced my preference in men. I am married to my childhood sweetheart, the finest of men who likes to hunt and fish, loves deeply, is fiercly loyal and cherishes faith, family & friends. Thanks Fess….you will be sadly missed and remembered long after these words are written…

abiselhart

thank you Mr. Maltin, thank you Mr. Parker. I had almost forgotten about the “King of the Wild Frontier” but i felt like I was sitting in front of my parents’ black and white television with my sister once again on a Sunday night. She was older – probably in kindergarten!!!! What a warm, cozy feeling in such a cold landscape. Thanks so very, very much

Vinnie

Hugh Jackman can play Daniel Boone

grover underwood

leonard thank you for the words of fess parker . it brought fon thoughts of my childhood back in california when i was a kid and i know he is an agel now

Bob Voelsing Orig.from the Bronx

Dear Mr. Maltin,,, Growing up in the Highbridge section of the Bronx, I remember my older brother taking me to see my 1st movie in the Crest theater on Ogden Av. I was 5 &1/2 years old.
It was “Davy Crockett” A 10 min bus ride up to the ‘Ogden’ to see
it again 2 weeks later & a 15 minute ride down to the ‘Earl’, on
161st,near Yankee Stadium,,to see once more,,back in the days of 2 features ,1 short & 2 cartoons for 50 cents. I also had
a coon skin cap & a toy flintlock named ,,you guessed it,,Ol’Betsy

Thank you for a great tribute to one of our childhood heros,,for there are so few of them left.

Dani Baxter

Amazing piece, Leonard. My parents were the ones that actually showed me the old series. My mother and father were big fans back in the day. haha

Aside from that, I’m actually related to Davy Crockett by marriage. He was an amazingly strong man, and it gives you a lot to live up to(family wise)

Binnie Syril Braunstein

Mr. Maltin –

Thanks so much for your lovely piece on Fess Parker. I also grew up with the Davy Crockett series, as well as with Daniel Boone. i remember something particularly from the Davy Crockett series: Fess Parker, as Davy Crockett, had a mantra: “Be sure you’re right, then go ahead. ” I’ve used those words as my own mantra all of my life. And I’ve never forgotten the man who said them. I will remember Fess Parker with great affection, and send my prauer tp jos family.

Dale S

I love your shows I grew up with them and as a child I always wanted to be like Daniel Boone. It feels like I knew you even though I didn’t. goodbye my friend

Linda Hayes

When I heard that Mr Parker passed, it was as if another piece of my childhood died with him….Oh the days of playing Davy Crockett…singing that great song with my neighborhood friends…I had no idea what a great time it was growing up in the 50’s…Mr Parker exuded “goodness ” on screen, it is of no surprise that he held those virtues in his heart and being in his life…
Good Journey Mr Parker…Another Angel is going home…
Thank You Mr Maltin for your generous article.

Linda Hayes
San Diego,CA

Rol

I remember almost everything Fess Parker did with great fondness. He was an icon for the American early frontier. I think his movies and TV series had an impact on my love of American History and especially for the early years of the ever-moving frontier.

I wish his memeory a long life and his family the same with the addition of happieness.

michael

Thanks for your story about Fess Parker. I attended a wedding at his vineyard a few months ago and also visited the inn. I remember my 6th birthday was all Davy Crockett items. No coonskin cap though. He was a big part of my early childhood. ( I also attended your courses on movie comedy at the Museum of Modern Art and cartoons at the New School. I also had a subcription to Film Fan Monthly. Congratulations on having a lifetime career on something that started out as a childhood interest.

David

It is with a sad heart that I read of Mr. Parker’s passing. My wife , my mother and I were fortunate to have met Mr. Parker in june 2008 at his Los Olivos Inn. We were staying in Solvang and made a day trip thru the surrounding areas. We were told that one night a week Mr. Parker and his wife would gather in the lobby of the Inn to have singalongs. His wife, Marcella, had been ill and that night was her first appearance since her illness. We dined in the restaurant, across the room from Mr. Parker, his wife and another couple. You could tell by the way he doted over his wife that she was the love of his life and vice-versa. As we were waiting in the lobby for the nights entertainment to begin. As Mr. Parker was walking past he stopped, extended his hand, asked if we had enjoyed our dinner and thanked us for coming that night. A real gentleman and a class act. God Bless.

Sue

Somewhere around 1966 our father was part of the General Motors family that hosted the ‘Soap Box Derby’ in Akron, Ohio.
Because of the fact that Dad was one of the directors, we had the privelege of meeting celebrities. I was 12, and my brother was 8. Fess Parker was one of the celebrity headliners that year. My brother shook his hand and stated how “cool” Fess was, and Fess gave him his coon skin cap (one of many I’m sure for this publicity deal), but he also reached down into his boot and gave Rusty his Bowie knife.
My brother is now 52, and that knife holds a place of honor in a glass case in his home with many other wonderful items recieved by being the fortunate children of such an incredible parent.
Long live the people that chilhood dreams are made of!
Rest well Davy.

Jaime Hernandez

I notice that your posts only present one agreeable perspective. I thought this was a free country? Where is my freedom of speech, where is my initial post???

Patti

Fess Parker was truly a “man’s man”! Represented all that a gentleman could be without all the Hollywood-hype that we are smothered with today….one of my “first loves’ and a true role model for all men to aspire to and women to look up to! He and his type will be surely missed.

Diego Flores

Tengo 35 anos y cuando era un nino miraba el programa Daniel boone. Mi preferido.

Casi llore cuando supe que fallecio que pena lo senti en el alma por que fue parte de mi nines que recuerdo con mucho carino.

Apuesto que fue un gran personaje en la vida real tambien una pena no haberlo conocido en persona algo que me hubiese facinado.

jtfee

About 5 years ago, I visited a large sporting goods store near Kansas City, KS, called (I think) “Cabelas.” They had full size Davey Crockett hats at modest prices. I occasionally wear mine with immense pleasure.

H. Jones

I met Mr. Parker also. My Aunt worked for Walt Disney and she knew Fess well. He visited her when I was a child and I got to meet him. He gave me a signed picture (wearing his full outfit) holding the barrell of his rifle. If anyone has seen that same picture, it has a flaw. It shows his watch band under the sleeve of his longsleeved shirt. He was a giant of a man and will be missed by an entire generation. Sadly, tomorrow I will have to inform my Aunt of his passing.

Les S.

What fond memories of this man. Many of us as children lived through him. What a tremendous role model we had growing up during the 50’s, the golden age of television. Although it is vivid in our memories, it is now like a dream. Fess Parker was a great one. He will be fondly remembered and greatly missed.

STEVE DANISH

Fess became my idol as he portrayed Daniel Boone.
Thank you Fess ! God Bless you.

H. Jones

I met Mr. Parker also. My Aunt worked for Walt Disney and she knew Fess well. He visited her when I was a child and I got to meet him. He gave me a signed picture (wearing his full outfit) holding the barrell of his rifle. If anyone has seen that same picture, it has a flaw. It shows his watch band under the sleeve of his longsleeved shirt. He was a giant of a man and will be missed by an entire generation. Sadly, tomorrow I will have to inform my Aunt of his passing.

charlie beck

he filled my boyhood days with joy and wonder. i assumed the role of davey in hundreds of adventures. thats when tv inspired fairness and honesty. he had a clear and real effect on my life!i i love the job you did with your stories. thank you for your fine effort!

Ian Potash

As a child, me and my brother loved Davy Crocket as well as Daniel Boone, may he rest in peace.

Dahong Palay

I’m gonna miss my idol not only in my childhood days but up to now. He has shown how to be a “survivor” with a heart . I love his mild manner and gentle disposition. I sure gonna miss him very much.

Betty

In my formal living room, where only the dog sits. On the Grandmother clock hanging from one side is my Daniel Boone coon skin cap. My sons when they were little use to steal it, and now as they are grown men, they just shake their head. But that is my piece of childhood that I will always treasure, and one day I will give it to my granddaughter and tell of the tall man named Daniel Boone that I watched on the TV sitting on the floor as a little girl.

Andrea

I too felt like I knew him. My girlfriend and I met him on a wine tour thru Santa Ynez. He was sitting in the winery as big as life., shaking hands and talking to everyone. He was very gracious, and didn’t object to us coming up to him. We loved his wines, and joined his wine club. It is a great loss, but I’m sure he will live on thru his wines. Tonight, I opened a bottle of his wine to enjoy with our pizza. And toasted him. May you rest in peace.

Jaime Hernandez

All Fess Parker did was perpetuate a Hollywood lie about Texas and the Alamo. And he made money doing so. One has to remember that Hollywood does not care about “presenting history correctly”. Its sole purpose is to present a myth that will make them money! Going against the lore, will result in empty seats at the theater!

RMM

SADLY THE PEOPLE WHO WE LOOK AT AND TO THESE DAYS ARE NOTHING MORE THEN SLUG IN A CESSPOOL. I GREW UP IN THE 50’S AND THE TIME’S WERE SO DIFFERENT AND SO MUCH BETTER THEN THE WORLD TODAY. GOD BLESS YOU MR.PARKER, NOW GO FISHING IN THE RIVER OF LIFE IN HEAVEN.

Bill Simons

Leonard, Much enjoyed your tribute to Fess and I’m sure his family appreciates it as well. I was 5 when the Davy Crockett movie came out. He was my older brother’s and my hero to this day. Luckily, my 2 son’s hero as well…they still have their coonskin hats! Just like the quote you wrote from his website, Fess was a gentleman and a great man….one worthy of being a hero and one we would be proud of our sons to pattern their lives after… I read Davy Crockett’s autobiography he wrote shortly before the Alamo, and honestly, Fess was very much like Davy….we will miss him greatly and are blessed he shared his life with us. God speed.

Andrew

As a young boy growing up in Australia I would rush home after school to turn on the television to watch Daniel Boone…
I was not familiar with possums, the river boats, coon skin caps or where Tennessee was located and always wanted to try possum stew and visit Tennessee. He was a hero, someone to mentor after and all my friends wanted to grow up and be just like Daniel Boone.

I moved to the United States when I turned 21 and was fortunate to visit the winery and visit Disneyland to see the famous Frontier Land where I could get a glimpse of how Daniel Boone might have lived, and yes I bought a Coon skin Cap.

Great child hood Memories – My thoughts and prayers go out to his family!

Thank you for sharing your gracious thoughts Leonard

Andrew

Paul

One of my favorite childhood memories.He was Daniel Boone.

Nathan

I am glad to see a great show still on the air even if it is retro tv I have allways liked Mr. Parker as Daniel Boone!!! The show had a good point and any age could watch it without fear not like today!!! Your interview is just the way we all think of him humble honest and showing us what a man needs to be!!! He will be missed we need more like him!!! Peace and prayers to his family .

Bobby Hogerheide

Fess Parker emulized what it is to really be a true American Icon and Hero.None could of played the part of Daniel Boone better than Fess Parker. I salute you Fess with my very own coon skin tail. Thank you for your contributions to us all, ,that made watching your show a national treasure to the young at heart.

Rick Sheldon

I was a Crocketteer in my youth with coon skin cap rifle, knife and set of buckskins. I was so imprinted with Davy (Fess Parker and Buddy Ebson) that when my grandsons turnes 8 2 years ago I played the Davy Crockett DVD for both of them.
I am happy to report that Davys still lives in young boys heart .
Both grandsons have pictures of Fess Parker in there bedrooms and copy of Ole Betsy on the wall…Both want a coon skin cap still…. Its up to us that loved him so much to keep him alive dust off those VHS tapes or DVD of Davy CROCKETT King of the Wild Frontier – sit down and watch with your grandkids…you’ll be pals for life…..one of those movies that never gets old….I got the special released Tin box set when I have grandsons they always ask to watch Davy or River Pirates or Keel Boat race…Up to us who loved him so much to keep that spark burning….

Wren 'Davy's Number One 'Girl' Fan'

Dear Leonard…I hope you will understand what I am saying when I tell you that when I discovered your article on Fess Parker I felt ever so much better. I, like so many others, have felt a real sadness since learning that Fess left us. I knew that your article would be …..exactly what it was…respectful, caring, ‘informed’. I appreciate your sharing your visit with Fess and his wife, Marcy….at his home and winery. I was a little girl in the mountains of Kentucky in 1955 and “Davy Crockett” was indeed a hero to children there at that time…..so when I went to my first movie and met “Davy” in the flesh with the wonderful music and excitement of the story….it was a serious “moment” in my life…and you as a boy at the same time would know exactly was I’m talking about. There was a gentle kindness even as Fess Parker brought Davy to life…..and also later as Daniel Boone……..so that was the man himself. Again, I appreciate you sharing your visit with him with the rest of us.
By the way, guess what the very first thing was that I bought for my grandson when he was born? A Coonskin Cap !!!

BIG ROBB 2321

FESS PARKER WAS A GREAT PERSON TO LOOK UP TO

George Roy

I was young (now 73) when I enjoyed watching Fess Parker as Daniel Boone. One of my favorite programs at the time.

Ed Chadd

When I saw that Fess Parker had passed away, I almost cried. He was truly one of my heroes. I have often wondered about Mr. Parker over the years, I am sorry I had to here about him in passing or as my grandfather and other oldsters would say. he has crossed the river.
Fess Parker will be greatly missed.

Ed D.

It takes a wonderful man makes for wonderful memories as noted by Leonard.

I remember the the television phenomenon of Davy Crockett so impressive that many kids had a coonskin cap HAIRCUT, tail and all!

It was nice to know that Fess Parker found his own business instincts brought him great personal success for himself and his family. He lived a great life we can admire as much as the legend he portrayed on the screen. R.I.P.

Ed D.
Age 63, Lakewood, NJ

Gerald Robbins

What an incredible loss to the acting world, and to generations of children who grew up from the 1950’s with the passing of Fess Parker!! He gave so much joy to me and to all children of the mid 1950’s and early 60’s through his sensitive, profoundly human and witty portrayal of two great American heroes, Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. When I was a boy, it was such an event of importance to anticipate watching the Disneyland TV show especially knowing that Fess Parker and Buddy Ebsen would provide me and all young fans with such exciting entertainment, and, at the same time be such incredible role models for all of us children in those years. The coonskin cap and what it symbolized, as exemplified by Fess Parker’s wonderful interpretation of Crockett as the hero he presented to us in the series and movie, gave us all a sense of some of the best human values: courage, kindness, sensitivity, humanity, honesty, and integrity. It is wonderful to know that the actor was as genuine as the characters he portrayed. We can only thank and praise Fess Parker and Walt Disney in our memories, for having contributed to the precious innocence and joy of our childhood through the influence their Davy Crockett phenomenon bestowed on us at what was, for a short while, a magical time for all children in the United States.

Don Warnock

Greatest Guy I ever met,I was in BanMeThuot Vietnam in 1967 & 1968.
I met Mr Parker while there as a Military Policeman with the 504Th Military Police.
He came to visit our compound which was at the Grand Bungalow,Supposed to have been Teddy Roosevelt’s old hunting lodge.Anyway I had the pleasure of escorting him around,picture’s with him and he slept in my bunk that evening,he wanted to get away from all the Officers for awhile.
When he left he wrote a nice note to my wife and took one of my M.P. arm band’s and had all of us M.P.’s only 10 of us sign it in the white letters and told us he was centering it on his wall in his den.
I emailed him one time to invite him to my reunion and he sent a note back that he had prior obligation’s but would have been there if he could,he remembered our meeting in Vietnam.
I was really saddened to here of his passing, My prayers are with his family. I really wanted to meet him again.

Ron Volbrecht

Leonard;

I used to have the 78 Records set that was produced for the Davy Crockett TV series. I remember Buddy Ebsen who played in the series as well. He almost played a part similar to his later to be Beverly Hillbilly role. Anyway, I always though Fess was a terrific actor and I often wondered if he did a lot of research for the part. I slways wondered how much of the legend was true. As far as the bear killing and such. I’m sure Bill Hayes was always grateful to him as well for his wonderful hit record.

Bruce Whalen

What a great piece on Mr. Parker. Like you, I have nothing but great memories of Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. Now, fortunately I am am able to pass that enjoyment onto my son who loved the movies with Fess and Buddy Ebson. Thanks for the childhood memories fess. RIP

Barbara from New Jersey

Thank you Leonard…Yes we must be the same age. This was a lovely and heartfelt tribute. I am glad you were able to get to know Mr. Parker a little bit as it helps us understand the special nature of this man. He is one of the GREATEST Generation, just like my parents and I value all they have taught me. Here’s hoping we practice some of their valuable advise before it’s too late. As a laughable post script, I sang the entire song of Davy Crockett on a NY city bus back in 1956 and the bus driver nearly drove off the road. I was three.

Socrates

I am 42 years old, and I remember Fess Parker as Daniel Boone. This was a tv series in spanish played in my country Ecuador. From a personal perspective I considered that His role was a learning experience in terms of honesty,fairness and values.

Ron Lipton

I loved this man, admired his work, and his portrayal of Davey Crockett and his one of a kind personality made all his fans adore him. What a kind gentleman.

I am so sorry to hear of his passing, he was a very special TV movie icon to me.

As a lifelong friend of Jim Arness another TV hero, R.I.P. Fess,
blessings,

Ron Lipton
Retired Police Officer
Former Pro boxing referee

Susan Arnett

I was 5 or 6 years old….and Fess Parker was at a local t.v.station in Birmingham, Alabama where my family was visiting my an aunt, uncle and cousin…………..soooo…..we begged to go to the tv station to see him………..

he was a Big man….and took us kids on his lap………he keep asking all ahead of me………..do you bite your fingernails? I was sick with worry…cause I DID…………but when it came my turn……he asked me if I liked Milk……….I hated Milk…I wanted …to Die…cause I hated milk too…….but (i recall whispering to him) Please don’t ask me that….he didn’t and all went well…God bless him….what an American Hero to us babyboomers….Susan Ridgeway (Arnettt)

thank you Fess. for a Memory I still Can’t forget

Steven R. Isham M.A., L.B.S.W.

This is just another part of America that is passing away now. We will miss the special parts of history like Davy Crockett as people forget what others have sacraficed to make this country free.

Barbara

Geez…always thought I would marry a guy like Damiel Boone…thought all good guys looked like Fess Parker……rest in peace…..

jerry

By reading this article it made me feel good to know, that you are a true gentleman
I had the cap,gun , and all there was of Davey Crockett, and this article was great to read.

All my best to you Leonard.

Jerry L of Tampa florida

Karen

I had a terrific crush on Fess Parker when I was nine. My mother said she heard he was a good man. My sympathy goes out to his family.

SueB

What a loss of a great man. I grew up watching Daniel Boone & Davy Crocket, I think he was my first real crush. Him and Mingo too.
He will be missed and I look forward to visiting his winery someday.

jack

i grew up with this guy he was great .

Rebecca

Thank you for your tribute to Fess Parker. I remember listening and singing my heart out along with my Davey Crockett “King of the Wild Frontier” record over and over. It was a song that made me feel proud to be an American. Back then the actors were heros. They gained recognition by working hard and doing “the right thing.” They would never stoop to get their faces on the cover of a papparazzi magazine. “Reality’ actors of today may get immediate fame, but they will never get the same kind of healthy respect that I have for actors like Fess Parker, who truly deserve it. He will live on as a legend.

Chris Gaugh

Great information Leonard. Thank you for bringing back the memories!

tim parker

daniel boone was a man yes a great man!

Stephen

Thanks for writing this. I’m just one of the zillions of kids that admired Fess. The nice things you all have said about him give a little hope that there really were and are people we can look up to…

John & Joyce Lettau

Have visited your winery and had lunch on the veranda of your hotel in Los Olivos tho’ have never had the privilege of meeting you.
You gave much of yourself to our community – so thank you Davy Crockett , Daniel Boone and Mr. Fess Parker. You have enhanced our lives all along the way!. Sending sympathy to your family — they have wonderful memories.
John & Joyce Lettau
Santa Maria, Ca.93454

Nick

When I was a very small boy of 4 we had an aunt visit us with her six year old son. When they left they left behind, as a gift, a Davy Crockett bedspread. My brother an I shared it and then one day we got new bedspreads. Never thought of it ever again.

UNTIL I was visiting my mother’s sister at a summer home she owns on the island of Kalamnos near Corfu and next to Skorpios. This in 2004. 48 years later.
There in the guest bedroom, on the bed, was that missing Davy Crockett bedspread. What had happened was that my mother had shipped it to Greece when my Aunt’s son was born in 1962.
Greece was a very poor country then and the many packages my mother sent to her family were very much appreciated.

Well, that cousin of mine became a Davy Crockett and Daniel
Boone fan- as they showed these series in Greece in the 60’s &
seventies. And to this day treasures that gift. It was laid out for the guest of honor- me-

So “Hands across the water, Mr. Parker!”

You will be missed throughout the world.

Rest in Peace.

Jay Larkins

A very nice tribute to a beloved actor and a true gentleman. I had hoped to see you talk about it on ET, but alas, it was not to be again. I appreciate your memories of an actor that was loved by all of us young boys in the great state of Tennessee. I hope to see you again soon on ET.

Richard Sauerheber

As a kid, my favorite show was the Disney weekly when it ran Crockett at the Alamo. In second was the keel boat race episode with Mike Fink. I got to meet Fess Parker in Mammoth when on a weekend ski trip. I adjusted skiing activities to go see Mr. Parker/Davy signing bottles of wine you could purchase at a grocery store from his winery. I had no idea how tall he was until then. And he chatted about the Old Yeller cast and how they used to have reunions for many years afterward. How we will miss him so much! I don’t know how anyone could be more just and kind than he. God bless him and his family. I still love watching the DVD’s of these shows. The more recent Alamo movies were not anything as well done as his 1 hour show in my opinion. The broad view of the event was clear and concise and it spurned me to visit the real Alamo in San Antonio to see Crockett’s Betsy rifle there and to read many books on the subject–the bigger the book, the better. Fess was the perfect match for Crockett and did a superb job. I still marvel that Crockett left Congress even though he was so popular with the people, and as luck would have it got involved, being the servant he was, in defending San Antonio with his life. Fess Parker rocks forever.

Richard Sauerheber
San Marcos, CA

C. Thomas Dillon, Capt.

Like the author, I had a cap, a belt buckle, even a toy replica of the gun made by my uncle who hand made flintlock and cap lock black powder guns of the Crockett/Boone era!
I too, went to see everything that came out about Davy Crockett as a boy. Later, I also watched the Boone series later on and I remember several movies that he was in.
As I became older and interested in ‘old movies’ I found many of the western and war movies that he also appeared which were quite good but belied the ability that my have been tapped had he had the chance for them that Disney denied him. This is too bad because I feel that he may have even won an academy award having been offered the chance of the right movie.
Unfortunately I never had the opportunity to meet Fess Parker but I’m sure that he was everything he said and more. HAPPY JOURNEY FESS PARKER ONE OF MY FAVORITES STARS OF CHILDHOOD…until we meet in another life, safe journey!

Karen W.

I use to watch the shows of his all the time. My husband did too. I didn’t know that he was still alive. I’ve got an autogragh picture made out to me and a lunch box. Thanks for letting us viewers remember the pass.

Teresa

I remember watching Daniel Boone when I was young. I watched it every week, and loved it. Fess Parker was a great man.

Sallly

Leonard, such a wonderful memorial. I agree with every word … Fess Parker (Davy Crockett) was my hero, and still is. I constantly search for the series and anything that Fess Parker did … just good old American movies. So disappointed when VAULT Disney was no longer available. Watched those movies ALL NIGHT LONG!!

THANK YOU for the memories.

Sincerely … Sally

alan g.

Fondly recall him as Davy Crockett, Buddy Ebsen as his sidekick,watching every episode as a young kid. A class guy..Losing the childhood idols , even 55 years later, always makes me feel a bit more like the senior citizen I’ve become.

Ronald L. Brewer

I`m 60 years old. I cried yesterday when I heard that Fess Parker had passed. He was one of the great role models we had back in the 50s. The young people today are so unfortunate to live in such a cynical world and not have people like ” Davey Crockett ” to look up to and emulate. God rest his precious soul.

billybalut

I grew up watching every Davy Crockett show that was ever made. Roy Rogers and Dale Evans-Sky King-Hoppa-long all were shows that kept us entertained as kids and they are all gone now. Thank goodness we can still find them sometimes on TV. They had a lot of meaning to our generation and always had a positive message. You don’t see anything like that today and thats to bad. Fess Parker was always one of my favorites and I hope that his family knows just how much he influenced us baby boomers. So long Fess you will always be the King of the wild frontier to me. Aloha and Mahalo

Gary davidson

To this day I still know every word to the Davy Crockett theme song. I think Fess Parker was my very first hero and I can remember eagerly waiting for the episodes of Davy Crockett to come on TV. I’ve respected this man all of my life . For someone to make that kind of impression on a young boy and still be remembered fondly for over 55 years tells you something about the man himself. It’s so sad to hear of his passing…… We’ll all miss you Davy Crockett.

buck and cody

“DAVY- DAVVVY CROCKET KING OF THE WILD FRONTIER…….

Ted Saulino

Leonard–thank you for briginning back menories of my younger years and to learn that Fess Parker was a positive force during his life.

Frank

I still remeber the Davy Crockett show….but more than that, I remember the day my dad came home with a real Davy Crockett outfit for me, I was 5 or younger, and the hat was soooooo real….can’t remember how my parents got me to take it off and just how long that took!

One by one we are loosing the great people and Fess Parker was definately included here! R.I.P.

Betsy

Sixteen years ago, during a terrible ice storm, my husband and I drove 45 miles from Boulder to The Fort restaurant in Morrison, Colorado, to participate in a wine-maker dinner with Fess Parker. My husband was a noted food writer and I was showing an obvious baby bump. To our surprise, the Fort’s owner, Sam Arnold, seated us directly across the table from Mr. Parker, which stunned us. I have never been comfortable with famous people, yet we didn’t want to let Sam down. Besides, this is West where folks like us are friendly even if we are completely out of our element.

The conversation turned out to be a feast for our ears. Fess Parker was delightful and we talked about wine making, food, Disney, life and values. Please note the wines were knockouts and we were impressed with the talent he was developing at his winery.

I believe few actors are as charming and humble in person as they are on screen. But the guy I had seen for years on the Wonderful World of Disney was enchanting. He was realistic and he was lovely. Thanks, too, to the late Sam Arnold and his family.

I know Fess Parker’s family will be grieving — and my heart goes out to them for the loss they will be feeling for a long time.

Dave

Anyone remember when Fess Parker played another Walt Disney series called Andy Barnett and the the theme song
” Andy’s on the move and Andy can’t rest, Andy Barnett he is a
traveling west” Just wondering .

dot uchima

i was a preteen when fess parker hit the screens as “davy, davy crockett, king of the wild frontier!” like you, i idolized him as well…as a young girl, i thought i was in love!!! We kids thoroughly enjoyed watching him on TV here in Hawaii, and the boys proudly wore their coonskin cap out at play…daily! thx for sharing your memories of him.
dot

MANNY G.

MY GOD THE CHILDHOOD MEMORIES WILL ALWAYS BE IN MY HART. I WAS FIVE YEARS OLD WHEN I GOT MY COONSKIN HAT AND RIIFLE AND POWDER HORN MY CONDOLENCE TO THE PARKER FAMILY . DANIEL BOONE FOR EVER.

Dora

As a child, I remember receiving a coonskin cap at Christmas with my Brother and Sister also receiving them. We couldn’t wait to watch Davy Crockett on TV and wear our new coonskin hats. Now we were part of the Davy Crockett craze!. What a wonderful show and memory. Innocent, family oriented and always teaching us the right way to act in life.
What a class act. Too bad the new Hollywood can’t take some lessons from your excellent example. Thanks for all of your great memories and your wonderful Fess Parker wine! You will be missed. RIP

TONY STEIN

iN 1955 i WAS A REPORTER FOR THE eGVANSVILLE, iNDIANA, cOURIER. pARKER MADE AN APPEARANCE AS CROCKETT SOMEWHERE ALONG THE oHIO rIVER AND ABOUT 1,000 KIDS SHOWED UP. i WAS TO INTERVIEW HIM AFTER AND HE SIGNED ABOUT UMTEEN HUNDRED AUTOGRAOPHS BEFORE WE GOT INTO HIS LIMO. jUST BEFORE WE PULLED AWAY, A BOY ABOUT 10 RUSAHED OUT OF THE CROWD YELLING “dAVY, YOU FORGOT ME.” pARKER LEANED OUT AND SIGNED WITH A FLOURISH. tHEN WE DROVE OFF, ME HOLDING dAVY cROCKETT’S COONSKIN CAP WHILE “dAVY” CALLED HIS STOCK BROKER ON A CAR PHONE TO CHECK THE MARKET

Barry Paris

Dear Leonard & Alice: Long time, (you) no hear (from me). I’m finally moved to write due to your perfect Fess Parker tribute… I was 11 when Davy came out—and changed my (Pittsburgh fantasy) life. For the better…

A thousand memories, but I’ll leave you with this one. When we moved to Kansas in 1961, my aunt was charged with disposing of “the junk” in our Pittsburgh house. Among the things junked: my COMPLETE sets of both the orange AND the (harder-to-get) green Crockett bubblegum cards, which it had taken me about 2 years to assemble. They would now be worth about $3 million. In my mind. But you get the idea.

I tell you this because I think of you & Alice as my cinematic co-shrinks: It’s my Rosebud. The source of my Mystery—and all my neuroses . I’m sorry to burden you with this, but there it is.

And here I am—thinking of Fess & Davey & the both of you, with LUV.

xoxo,
Barry Paris

Alicia

When I heard the news that Fess Parker died…I said “No…really?” I grew up watching Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. I still remember most of the Davy Crockett song too.

I remember watching the movie “Old Yeller”…that was a good movie…they don’t make them like that anymore!

My sympathies to his family and God bless!

Dennis A

I enjoy your article about Fess Parker, the human being. Thank you

Jacquelin

One of my biggest thrills as a 19 year old was meeting Fess Parker. My family and I flew from
Delaware to California to see my brother before he shipped out to Viet Nam in 1967. We were driving to Yosemite National Park and we pulled into a gas station. We were having trouble with the car my brother owned, overheating. As we pulled in I noticed this man that
looked so familiar but I didn’t know anyone else in California except my brother. I said to my Dad, look I think that is Fess Parker. Well, typical tourist, Daddy run across the parking lot yelling to Mr. Parker. He was so so nice to us. He come over to the car and stuck his head in the car window and said to my Mom, where are you all from. My sister and I were thrilled because he let my dad take a picture of us with him. What a wonderful and thoughtful person he was. I am 62 years old and this has always been a special memory
for me.

Gary Arthur

I loved the adventure in Davy Crockett, and Fess played it so well. I think people have always associated Crockett with Fess, the action hero. But now that the great man is dead it may be time to remind everyone what a scoundrel and low life the real Davy Crockett was. Only “Hollywood” could turn a scoundrel into a hero.

Paul Puckett

Leonard,

Thanks for the memories. Coonskin cap, real fringed buckskin suit and moccasins, powder horn, toy musket and rubber scout knife, etc…I had it all. Living in a house in a new development in the 50’s in Rome, Georgia, I had ample piney woods to launch my explorations. Performing the Davy theme song led to a twenty-year career in music…singing and playing the guitar. However, although this piece is about Fess, let’s not overlook Davy’s sidekick Georgie Russell. Georgie, played by Buddy Ebsen, of Beverly Hillbillies fame, had a long career in showbusiness before and after the Disney productions. The exchange between these two best friends was all important in the success of the Davy Crockett series. The wholesome relationship helped to set an example for friendships that exist with today’s “baby-boomers”. Members of my 1963 high school graduating class still enjoy monthly dinners together. We all have fond memories of Fess Parker.

Paul Puckett
paul@paulpuckett.com

Joanne

Thank you for the very nice article. I remember the whole family gathering around the TV to watch both shows when I was young. He was a good man and taught good values. I look at my nieces and nephews now and consider the influences they have and shudder to think how the world has changed. Thank you for the look back.

Westley Dye

While Fess (David Crockett) Parker is a very fond memory from my childhood days and I’m sure Mr. Parker was nice man, Americans should study the real history of the early statesman David Crockett. TV is just entertainment but history is the real foundation of our country. This man was a remarkable person in that he represents what I feel is the true basis for America’s values. He was simple, fair and honest and if shown he was wrong by the people he represented he would admit his mistakes and make the right changes. He valued the Constitution for what it is, the blueprint for a free and fair nation. Not to be manipulated, modified and misread to further peoples own agendas, reelection or theft of the treasury. Please take democracy seriously, it’s not a spectator sport. Again I’m sorry to hear of the passing of Mr Parker but let it spark an interest in reality and history.

Wes Dye

Elizabeth

I’m 57 and proud to say that when I was little I had a coonskin cap too. I mentioned at a recent suborbital spaceflight conference that I did not grow up imagining myself as a space pioneer but a “queen of the wild frontier.”

George

Daniel Boone will never die either !

Mary Mondo

We have some Crocketts in our family tree and we couldent ask for a better person to represent Davie Crockett Fess Parker

Barry Thompson

I can still remember his favorite saying, If you think your right, then go ahead.

David Roos

So sad.

Raven Whitehawk

I remember a few years back, that I was walking on the property of the Fess Parker Winery. I looked over toward the vines and saw Fess Parker walking with his dog. He stood tall and erect and wlaked with a determined stride. Not hunched over and shuffling through the dirt. A wide straw hat sat askew of his head and he looked over. I waved. He grinned and waved back. As Daniel Boone was a boyhood hero and I remember seeing Davy Crockett, Fess Parker is a hero to me as well. He was pals with my mother and father. They had gone to court on his behalf a few times dealing with the permit issues for building projects he wanted for Santa Barbara. I will always have fond memories of Fess Parker and Daniel Boone with his screen friend Mingo.

George

Mr Parker was a GREAT adventure and character actor. He, long ago, earned his place as a TV hero, but Davy Crocket will NEVER die, NEVER.

Charlotte King

I can still remember watching spell bound the first show that Disney did on Davy Crockett. The theme song was so unique and catchy that it stuck in my 9 year old mind and thats all I could hum or sing for days on end.

It was not long after that they began selling the memorabilia an and my brother and I fought constantly over the one coon skin cap we had. Then there were the decals to iron on the teeshirts. I remember how much trouble I was in for plugging in the iron and using it by myself. But I had my Davy Crockett tee shirt and I ended up with the coon skin cap which I gave to my youngest son, some 20 years later when he discovered Davy Crockett.. he ran home to tell me about it and was so surprised I ( a mom ) would know such things. I will miss Fess Parker, for the man he was and the honest, and courageous man he portrayed in both TV and movies.
I would agree with what another person posted, we are better for having known and grown up with a real Hero.. we could all look up to.
Thank you Davy ( Fess Parker ) for making my childhood a bit brighter and for all the great memories.

One final thing, Leonard, can you get permission to post a link for to his theme song so we can all listen to it one more time?
I know I would love to hear it again.

Trevor

I’m a little young to have been around in the heyday of Mr. Parker
but as a kid growing up watching shows with my father that he used to watch as a kid, I always loved Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. I can say that it is Mr. Parker’s acting that got me interested into not only reading about the men he protrayed but also interested into reading in general. I can proudly say that I am the owner of a coon-skin cap.
Thank you, Mr. Parker for some great childhood memories.

Carl Nowell

When Disney released the Limited Edition of Davie Crockett I grabbed the last Silver Can available at the time. I am ever so happy. I watch the entire series time after time.
It may not be up to what folks like today but when I was a kid Davie Crockett was my hero as he stood for what was right for everyone, not for just a few.
Fess Parker will never be forgotten.

Richard Carlan

As a baby boomer (born in 1946) Davey Crockett was my hero. Fess Parker was Davey and Daniel Boone. As a teacher for 30 years when I would see a drawing of the real Davey Crockett or Daniel Boone it just wasn’t right. Fess Parker fit the bill a lot better. As a 63 year old grandfather it’s amazing that there is still such a closeness that Fess Parker had on a generation.

Ben Romero

I was a lifelong fan of Mr. Fess Parker. I think I watched everything he ever filmed and in my youth, ofthen listened to a record album of songs from Westward Ho the Wagons. This great man will be missed by many. I’m grateful for the memories.

Harold

I was stationed at the Los Angeles Air Force Station in 1967-1969, In 1968 I had to report to the infirmary for routine physical. The infirmary was above the NCO club so, I arrived early and dicided to have a beer. Who should walk in a sit down next to me, Fess Parker. Even at age 20 I was thrilled to meet him. He was such a gentlemen and so friendly. He was heading upstairs for a physical in order to do some USO tours in South East Asia. I had a coon skin cap and wore it proudly as a boy. He was an icon and true American Hero on and off the TRV screen. His wine is excellent as well. May God give his family peace at this time.

frank williamson

I too was mesmerized by Fess Parker as a child. To me, he WAS Davey Crockett!

I just want to add…remember his series side kick…Buddy Epson?

Carol Stout

This article sure brought back the memories. I loved Fess Parker as Davy Crockett and as Daniel Boone. I didn’t know about his winery and other interests but I had wondered about him over the years. I am sorry to hear that he has passed on. Another great actor is gone now.

unclemax

Another piece of my childhood gone.How sad.
R.I.P.,Mr. Parker

John Eudy

Leonard….tears have fallen from my eyes…i grew up watching Fess Parker play Ole Daniel Boone…i never missed a single episode of the series and every movie he made….this was in a time that the stories werent filled with sexy and violence…..you know there was some violence…not like today…it was clean wholesome entertainment…he will surely be missed by a lot of us who are 50 something….not too many men like Fess Parker anymore….Leonard…you did good man….you did him real good…so long Daniel….hope to see you on the other side….thanks

Mark Llewellyn

My Dad who is now 93, still tells the story of me walking across a football field at half time in my Davy Crockett outfit including coon skin cap and the band started playing the Davy Crockett Theme Song. I merely turned toward the band and removing my hat took a bow. Yeah, I guess you could say he had an influence on me.

Barbara Novotny

My grandchildren, Asa 14 and Chloe 5 will be heartbroken when their mother tell them that Fess Parker has died. They have all of his tapes and Chloe was and is planning on singing the Davy Crockett song for their home school talent. See even has the outfit. Their dream was someday meeting Fess Parker. He will be miss by children and adults.

JEFF

SPENT HUNDREDS OF SUNDAY NIGHTS WATCHING —–GREAT SHOW AND GREAT GUY—-RIP

Jeanne

One of my first memories is singing the Ballad of Davy Crockett in a school talent show, wearing a cookskin hat, the suit and playing a Mickey Mouse guitar. Fess Parker was a hero to so many of my generation and he will remain a cherished memory.

Jm C.

When I was 5 years old Fess Parker made me want to be Davy Crockett or Daniel Boone. Now at 50 years old I still want to be Davy or Daniel. Fess was always my favorite.

Cheryl Harwood

Back when Fess Parker was promoting his Davy Crockett movies, I was a little kid…My Dad was working security at McCreless Mall where on saturday mornings upstairs they showed free movies for the kids while the parents shopped…My Mom took us up there so we could meet “Davy Crockett” which was real exciting…even for my Mom…You see, he kissed her hand and she said she’d never wash her hand again..

RECENTLY 45

WHEN I WAS A SMALL CHILD, MY MOM TOOK ME AND MY BROTHER AND SISTER UP TO MCCRELESS MALL IN SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS TO MEET FESS PARKER…IT WAS SO EXCITING MEETING “DAVY CROCKETT”, NOT ONLY FOR US KIDS BUT FOR MY MOM TOO…MY DAD( WHO WAS WORKING SECURITY UPSTAIRS IN THE MALL WHERE THEY SHOWED MOVIES FOR FREE WHILE THE PARENTS SHOPPED) INTRODUCED MR. PARKER TO MY MOM AND HE KISSED HER HAND..SHE SAID SHE’D NEVER WAS HER HAND AGAIN…I REMEMBER HIM AS A VERY NICE MAN AND A GREAT ACTOR…MY PRAYERS ARE WITH HIS FAMILY…WE HAVE LOST A GREAT HERO (DAVY CROCKETT) FOR A SECOND TIME…

Frank Harris Horn

The first time, I saw Fess Parker on TV was back in the 1960s on the series, Daniel Boone. Although I remembered watching the show during my childhood years, I still remember him in that particular role. Many children growing up in the 1950s always remembered Parker as Davy Crockett on Walt Disney’s Disneyland TV show back then, and I’m Glad to hear that the Davy Crockett movie is now part of the Walt Disney Treasures DVD series. One day, it will become part of my collection. Thank you very much, Leonard for these fond memories.

Larry M

Leonard: I had the honor of meeting Mr. Parker while I was serving in Vietnam in 1968. He was on a hand shaking tour and came to my unit in the Big Red One. At the time I was assigned to a high security area. The CO failed to advise me that a civilian would be entering the area, Mr. Parker entered and found himself staring down the barrel of my M-16. He never flinched, just gave me that big smile of his and asked me how I was doing and thanked me for serving my country. He was a true gentleman in the best of ways. I will miss him. I has the pleasure of sharing this story with his grandaughter in Oct. of 2008 at a wedding reception at his winery.

DiddleDoodad

I grew up watching Fess as Davey Crockett, and to a lesser extent, Daniel Boone. Disney showed the Crockett movies in parts, and it was so exciting to try to anticipate how Crockett would get out of the latest jam. My favorite part was where he used a magnifying glass to amaze some Indians; wouldn’t you know it-the sun got covered with clouds! Eventually it came back out, and he proceded to set a chief’s feather headdress on fire. Wow! That really saved the day! But you knew he’d be in another scrape the very next week. It kind of ruined it for me when he was killed at the alamo, though; I had begun to think of him as invincible. Thank you, Mr. Parker, for reminding us what a real American hero is like.

Sn0burd

The 1950s was a wonderful time to grow up, and Fess Parker was a big part of it. It was a simple time with little controversy. Most people were MUCH happier than they are now. I guess that’s because most people agreed on things and didn’t sue their neighbors or want to mooch off the government.Families were stable with far less divorce. Men and women knew and accepted their roles happily. How things have changed!

carl

Leonard,
Great article I remember as a young boy watching Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone. How simple life was and still the enjoyment and memories last a lifetime. What happened to shows like that, no swearing, sex scenes or anything off color and still great entertainment I sure long for the good old days and wish my children had the pleasure of watching actors such as Fess Parker. Big shoes to fill once there gone all you have are the memories of yesteryear. They truly were the wonder years. RIP Fess……

warIII

yes I was A fan of fess Parker as Davy Crockett(and I am A distant Relative Of the real Davy Crockett) , But I love fess parkers role. My brother Lee always watched the series and cried when the Alamo was over ran by the Mexican and the song about Davy Crockett was singing. We also watch Him as Daniel Boone along with my sisters Ann and Ruth when we got home from school. We will all miss him so much. My father is the same age now as fess parker and we don’t know how much longer he’ll be around , but he will meet fess parker and john wayne up above soon. we all had coonskin caps and I gave one each to my son Rob 26Years old Now and My daughter Kimberly who is 23 years now

David E

I was saddened to hear the news about Fess Parker. I had thought about writing him at his winery many times because I was named after Davy Crockett. That’s because when I was born the biggest thing in the country was The Davy Crockett. Just before my father died I rented the Davy Crockett DVD and had it on. I brought it to his house and he said, you were named after him. I said I know that’s why I rented it. My Dad was dying of cancer at the time.

GAIL

we have truly lost a great actor, and friend in Mr. Parker. I had the pleasure of watching him through the Davy Crockett and the Daniel Boone series as well. He was always honest and you learned alot from his character. I wish there were more shows like his around. He will be truly missed. I’m glad that he had a better personal life because he gaves us so much in his acting.

Don

As a kid whose father was stationed on Okinawa in 1968, I will never forget that Fess Parker took the time to come visit our school. At a time when the military was not respected like it is today, his visit meant the world to us. He was a class individual and I always appreciated that he took the time to come half way around the world to spend time with us. Too bad that most of Hollywood did not follow his example.

Jim

I was a young boy in elementary school when the Davy Crockett series aired on television. Walt Disney could have searched the world over and he would have never found a better twosome than Fess Parker and Buddy Ebsen for their roles in Davy Crockett. They were two of my boyhood heros. I only wish such wholesome programming was out there for young people now. Crockett personified individualism, self-reliance, confidence, honesty, and dedication to family and country. He was the living embodiment of Americanism and a hero to millions of all ages.

E A Tucker

Mom said one of the first songs I ever sang was ” Davy Davy Crockett King of the Wild Frontier.. and that I had a coon skin cap,,, Rest in Peace Fess Parker, I apparently loved you well
Thank you Mr. Maltin for keeping the good names of the “real stars” of Hollywood alive.

Alan Shaw

I grew up in the early 50’s, watching Walt Disney, Mickey Mouse Club, and others. I loved Annette, dreamed I was either Spin or Marty, hoped to have a dog like Old Yeller, and imagined that I was Davy Crockett. My parents bought me a coonskin cap, a flintlock rifle, AND, a fringed leather jacket. Great memories, and to think, all the kids have now is The Simpsons! Sad.

Myra

I was such a tomboy growing up and was always pretending to be Davy Crockett or Daniel Boone.Fess Parker was part of my childhood. I don’t recall any gossip or anyone saying a bad word about this great actor. How many stars can you say that about?Thank you Mr.Parker for bringing entertainment into living rooms for the whole family !

rich ramsell

He will be missed –fess hadnfell from my mind for many years but when I was young he was my hero—and to hear of his passing saddens me.He was a great american

tim whitfield

Hi
I have watched every movie that he has made, I love the shows when I was just a kid. in the sixthies. H e was my idol and tryed to go threw life with his standards which help me alot. The man will be mist. I am 55 years old and loved watching the programs. I just don’t know say what he really meant to me. Thanks Tim

Mark Hancock

I remember watching his shows all too well….and owning a coon skin hat too. Worn all the time. He’ll be missed dearly and will never be forgotten as one of my all time favorite heroes of the pioneers. He was a true TALL man of the era. Stood for peace, justice and man-kind. God Bless… Mr Parker. Rest in peace!

margaret mead

When my nieces were young and attending catechism classes Fess Parker influenced them greatly — to the extent that they asked me one day, “Aunt Margaret, Was Davy Crockett one of the saints or one of the angels?” In any event, I’ll bet they are all up there together now!

Mike Stone

I grew up watching Daniel Boone , Fess Parker was great american actor , I rank him with John Wayne .
I remeber seeing Kurt Rssel , Jodie foster , Rosie Greer , Ed ammes ,and many , many more talent that rose up to be great actors from this show .
The stories were of value , lessons were learned , and it was clean , not to mention full of true AMERICAN history

Greg

Great show Davy Crockett with Fess Parker; never missed the
show with all of it’s adventure. Later in life my career would
span over three decades as a professional stuntman because
of shows like Davy Crockett. Fess Parker was a great human being and a wonderful personality.

Richard Bean

Hello

I grew up loving the show Daniel Boone when I was around 6 years old (1965-66) in Montana. I loved watching Fess Parker in Daniel Boone.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and his grandchildren

Richard Bean
Visalia, California.

J R

Davy Crockett was my hero as a kid. I still have a Davey Crockett wall lamp, a faded Davey Crockett blanket, and believe it or not, an original stand-up movie poster of Fess as Davey, which was displayed outside of the theater of our town when the movie played there. My grandfather was a dentist, who’s office was above the theater, and he surprised me with the poster. It’s now warped, and split in half, but I can’t tell you what it meant when he and my mother gave it to me.

Skip Kraemer

One of my favorite old photographs from Vietnam, is of Fess Parker shaking my hand, on a far forward fire base in 1968. He was more interested in meeting the troops than telling any stories about Hollywood. I will never forget his sincere eyes and the care he used in greeting the guys in my platoon. He was honestly concerned about each one of us, and told us to keep our spirits up, and that everyone was greatful for what we were doing.
I was a big, healthy young soldier. But my hand disappeared in his. Truly a big man in many ways. Rest In Peace, Fess Parker.

Mike Morris

In 1967-68, I was a 19-year-old rifleman in an Army infantry platoon in Vietnam. We were located in northern coastal I-Corps, a very hostile place at the time, and our firebases were frequently (constantly) under attack. One night we came in from a patrol and the sergeant asked if we would like to meet a “real Hollywood star.” It was Fess Parker! He was wonderful to each of us, generous with his time and genuinely concerned for us (filthy, haggard, weary) grunts. He was very brave to venture so far from the security accorded to most visiting dignitaries in wartime Vietnam. That was the only time anyone ever visited my outfit in the year I was in-country.

John Mayville

Fess Parker/Davy crockett was my hero. I could sing every word of the Davy Crockett Ballad and did over and over. In the summer of my 10th year, I donned my new coonskin cap and carried my plastic flintlock muzzleloader (the exact type that killed the b’ar in the song.) I absolutely refused to take off the coonskin cap and wore it every waking moment, even if it was 85 degrees outside. Even wore it to church, much to the chagrin of my parents. My mother was so embarrassed, she finally told me that my hair would fall out if I didn’t take off the cap. I truly did NOT want to be bald at 11 years old, so I hung up the cap just before school started that year. When my mother passed away (she saved EVERYTHING) , I found my plastic flintlock neatly stored away in the box it came in. Fess Parker was MY hero, too, Leonard!!

JOHN B

As a 10 year old, I was also tuned in every week to watch Davy. A few years back, I finally got to visit San Antonio and visited the Alamo and all the memories came back to the great series starring Fess and Buddy. Each year at the end of February until March 6th, I display the flag of the Alamo.
I also remember how thrilled I was when my uncle brought me a coonskin cap up-grade for my birthday. Originally, I had the type with the “bald” center on top. I saved all my bubblegum cards from the series, too
May he rest in peace with ol’ Betsy at his side.

Jim

I remember every sunday watching the wonderful world of Disney on tv. And, every sunday I was hoping that Davy Crocket was going to be on. My grandma had an old coonskin cap that was my dad’s when he was little and I would wear it. I loved it every time I watched a movie that Fess starred in, he always gave me the feeling that he was a man of integrity and I would have loved to meet him as much as I would have loved to meet John Wayne. I put them both in the same category. I got a little tear in my eye when I read of his passing in the paper this morning. Noone could ever play Davy Crockett or Daniel Boone the same.

James Nottingham

R.I.P. FESS LOVED YOUR MOVIES I WAS PLEASED TO MEET YOU IN CA 2 YEARS AGO STILL REMEMBER WHAT YOU SAID (LOVE WHAT YOU DO OR DONT DO IT AT ALL) GOODBYE FESS. WE ALL LOVED YOU

Mike K.

If you remember him as I do — He was the KING of the wild frontier–
Thank you FESS!!!!!!

Joe

As someone in my mid-60’s, I grew up with Fess Parker as both Davy Crockett and Dan’l Boone. What a sharp pain I experienced yesterday when I heard of his passing. Too bad the young ones today don’t have the opportunity to have someone of his stature to look up to. Thank you Fess Parker and may God take you into his kingdom.

Maija

As a baby boomer I am sitting here crying and feeling so sad ovver the loss of Fess Parker. What a man! He was Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, and he was a good actor, but one of the finer men, so I have heard.
Thank you Leonard Maltin for writing this about your memories of Fess .

My heart goes out to his family. He will be greatly missed by millions of babyboomers too!!
Thank you, Maija

Maria GIavanna

Years ago when I was very young. I had very good taste in men. I say this because I adored Fess Parker and carried his picture around with me.
Despite my sister and brother harassing me about having to watch Davy Crockett, I knew what “real LOVE” was because HE was the man I was going to grow up and marry. I must have been all of 5 years old.!
I have been married and divorced twice.
I guess I never did find quite as good a man as Fess Parker.!
SO many wonderful memories.
My sincerest sympathy to his family.
May God keep him close always.

Ramona Herrera

I remember as a child watching Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. It was my favorite show. Later in years I was blessed to go to school and graduate with his daughter Ashley. Our Graduation Party was at his house and I remember he was tall, distinguished and very polite. Over the years I recall my memories of him and his family. My prayers go out for them in this time of sorrow. May God watch over you.

Fran Madole

Thank you for the wonderful article on Fess Parker. My husband was quite sad learning that one of his boyhood heros had passed away. I’m glad he lived a long productive life long after hanging up the coon skin cap.

Bruce Bailey

My wife and I have spent many afternoon with Fess at his winery in Santa Unez. We enjoyed the personal tours he gave us on many occasions. We have his wonderful personality in our hearts and will miss him.
He was a gentleman though a Big Big Man

Steven

Fess Parker was awesome, you could watch a rerun of Daniel Boone and it gave you a comfortable feeling, put you at ease. If only for a little while, its as good as it can be.

Elaine Gallagher

Fess Parker was my first movie star crush. I was almost 2 years old and my mom took me to see Davy Crocket and at the top of my voice I sang out DAVY! DAVY CROCKET! King of the wild frontier! One cranky old man yelled out “Shut that kid up” but the rest of the movie goers rallied to my defense and cried out “No. let her sing” I really don’t remember but mom has told me the story enough times that Fess Parker will always have a spot in my heart. When I hear the song, I feel like a little kid.

Pete L.

I met Fess at the winery in 1996. He was very cordial to me and my mom who died 6 months later. She told me how she always had a feeling that he was a gentlemen. She was right!

Lisa Hoover

My daughter had the opportunity of a lifetime to spend two summers in California working on a ranch owned by Fess Parker and ran by his grandaughter Katie. Mr. Parker took my daughter with his family to dinner at his lovely hotel several times and made her feel very welcomed. She admired him
greatly. My daughter is a kindergarten teacher and she loves to tell her kids how she met Daniel Boone. She grew up loving the show Daniel Boone because it was her grandfathers favorite show. When I had to call her and let her know that he had passed, I knew that she would be greatly saddened. Our hearts and prayers go out to the family.

Emilie Leming

What a guy… my husband and I will always have fond childhood memories of Fess Parker. The way we feel cannot just be summed up in just a couple of lines. He was a hero of our childhood and we are the better persons for having had his influence on our growing up.

brian

I enjoyed watching Fess Parker in Daniel Boone. I still watch it today on Retro TV. I realy get a sense that Fess Parker was like Boone in the way that he was honest and fair. His portrayal was excellent.
Sometimes the stories were abit outlandish,but Mr. Parker always made them believable.
It is a sad day ,but I am celebrating Mr. Parkers life.
A real big man.

GARY C

AS A BIG FAN OF FESS PARKER FROM DAVY CROCKETT TO DANIEL BOONE HE PLAYED THE PARTS WITH ALL HIS HEART.
NICE GOING LEONARD WOULD HAVE LOVED TO BE WITH YOU AND YOUR WIFE WHEN YOU VISITED FESS.
TAKE CARE

Bruce Dettman

Leonard,

I don’t know if you recall my name but we corresponded off and on for a number of years about your books and other cinema-related matters.

I wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your piece on Fess Parker. I am still reeling at the news of his passing. It is, of course, nearly impossible to convey to anyone under fifty his importance and enormous impact on early TV or how prodigious the DAVY CROCKETT craze was.

On a personal note, about fifteen years ago, after having read a piece I wrote on the Crockett series, he called and invited me to meet him at his winery near Santa Barbara. What a thrill it was to meet my boyhood hero! You couldn’t have found a nicer, more generous and courteous guy. That day will always be fixed in my mind.

On a different but related note, Beverly Washburn (who was actually in OLD YELLER with Fess) has written a short book called REEL TEARS (due to her industry-wide reputation for crying at the drop of a hat) about her highly prolific acting days in Hollywood on TV and the big screen. It’s a charming and unassuming look at being a child actor with none of the usual horror stories attached.

I’ve reviewed it for two publications.

Would you like a copy of this? I think you’d appreciate its honesty.

In any case, thanks much for the salute to Fess.

Bruce Dettman
San Francisco

Cheryl

Very nice tribute, speaking as another boomer. There’s a b&w photo of me as a 5 yr old girl, in my Easter dress and coonskin cap on the porch. That was a Crockett cap.
By the time of Daniel Boone series, I was a teenager. Babysitting one evening, I arrived as the show was going off, and mentioned to my charges that I was a descendant of Daniel Boone (true).
Naaaah! They scoffed. Daniel Boone’s real name is Fess Parker!

Dana C

Great stories Leonard. I mainly remember Fess from the Daniel Boone series. I visited his winery once too. My friends and I were hoping he would show while we were there, but no luck. Anyway, it’s nice to hear about his earlier years. Thanks for sharing your memories of the man.

Tony

Nice piece, Leonard. Brought back the memories…

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