Thursday, March 18, 2010
goodbye to the king of the wild frontier
Fans and Disney-philes around the world are saddened to learn that actor Fess Parker has passed away today at the age of 85. First reports say he died of natural causes. Parker was well known to generations of Disney fans and the very first generation of Mouseketeers especially, as Davy Crockett in the episodes first serialized on the early Disneyland television series, then later blended together and released as feature films. Disney has released several DVD versions of the Davy Crockett series.
It is significant the impact the actor and the role had on a generation and in American cultural history. The very "coonskin" cap Parker wore in the series became a phenomenom with children across the United States, and helped to cement one of television history's longest running series: Disneyland He also was a figure on The Mickey Mouse Club series, as Parker appeared in some early episodes as himself and in character. Visitors around the globe are familiar with Frontierland and the Mike Fink's Keelboats which came directly from the Davy Crockett series as well. Parker had a profound influence on his young fans and if he did nothing else would still be considered a legend. In fact, Disney named him a "Disney Legend" in a ceremony in 1991.
Parker appeared in several other shows- most notably in the 1964-1970 series about another American frontier legend, Daniel Boone. The show fan on TVLand not too many years ago, and I remember watching and enjoying it very much and some seasons are available on DVD. Parker also appeared in several feature films including another popular Disney film, Old Yeller. Parker retired from acting in the 70s and invested in several Real Estate ventures and eventually opened a sprawling Doubletree Resort and a successful Winery, both in California.
Fess Parker- you will missed and you will be remembered by a generation- and introduced to growing generations of Disney fans the world over.
Now and then, for no good reason, life will haul off and knock a man flat.