Born on a Mountaintop in Tennessee
Greenest State in the Land of the Free
Raised in the Woods so he Knew Every Tree
Kilt him a “B’ar” when he was only three.
Davy, Davy Crockett
King of the Wild Frontier
People of today’s generation have no concept of the impact that Davy Crockett had back in the 1950s. Star Wars and Harry Potter don’t come close. Not everybody saw those films, but everybody saw Davy Crockett. He took America by storm.
It all began on December 15, 1954 when Walt Disney aired “Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter” as part of the hugely popular Disneyland Series. Americans, especially kids, were glued to the set with TV Dinners on the TV trays. Davy (Fess Parker) and his sidekick, George Russell (Buddy Ebsen), fought Indians in various skirmishes under the command of General Andrew Jackson. In this episode, Davy kills a bear armed while armed only a knife. He quickly became the stuff of legend.
Later, Disney aired “Davy Crockett Goes to Congress” and “Davy Crockett at the Alamo”. The ratings for these episodes were 100%. If you had a TV, you watched. Several feature films also starred Fess Parker as the backwoods American hero, and America flocked to the silver screen as well.
Davy Crockett was such a hot commodity that Disney made a veritable fortune by licensing sales of Davy Crockett paraphernalia ranging from bubble gum cards to coonskin caps to pajamas and clothing. Unfortunately for Fess Parker, his contract did not include any royalties – a multi-million dollar oversight.
We all know how Davy met his fate at the Alamo alongside George and Sam Bowie, but on TV, he was still fighting Santa Anna’s Mexican troops as the final episode ended. Deep down, we all knew that somehow Davy Crockett would find a way to escape.