Daniel Boone Days are here again!

This weekend (Sept. 4-5) marks the second annual Daniel Boone Days festival in my lovely hometown of Boone, NC. From the looks of it, the festival has really taken off since last year — they’ve attracted some big names and the schedule is “jam packed with activities for all ages and tastes, including children’s music and games, living history, arts & crafts, food & drink, dancing, poetry, storytelling and live performances.” The festivities kick off Friday with the Dr. Edwin Arnold Daniel Boone Symposium today (full disclosure: Dr. Arnold, a.k.a. “Chip,” is my dad, and he was heavily involved with organizing the first festival last year).

It’s a good bet that if Hugh Morton were still around, he’d be in Boone with his cameras this weekend. (In particular, he would NOT miss an opportunity to photograph the setting of a new World Record for the “Most People Dressed Like Daniel Boone at One Time”!).

Like many who live in the Western part of our state, Morton clearly had a Daniel Boone fascination. Besides developing a Boone exhibit for Grandfather Mountain’s Nature Museum, he photographed Boone’s Horn in the West outdoor drama from its early days, when Ned Austin played the famous pioneer (see above), and took many a portrait of Glenn Causey (below), the actor who took over the role in 1956 and played it for the next 40 years! (FYI, the portrait of Horn author Kermit Hunter on the “Horn History” web page is also a Morton image).

Morton also photographed the graves of Boone’s parents in the Joppa Cemetery near Mocksville, as well as Asheville’s competing Daniel Boone drama Thunderland, including the mysterious portrait below, taken circa 1952. (Does anyone know who this is? Thunderland author Hubert Hayes? Composer Lamar Stringfield?)

Hope those attending this weekend’s festivities in Boone will report back! I myself am headed to the opposite end of the state for one last salty taste of sand and surf, before the delicious crisp of fall sets in for good . . .

7 thoughts on “Daniel Boone Days are here again!

  1. “Hugh Morton’s North Carolina” has a funny story about Hugh and Glenn Causey almost being arrested in Washington while Hugh was taking pictures of “Daniel Boone” in a park there.
    And, of course, everyone knows that D,Boone didn’t wear a coonskin cap. (He does now!)Darby Hinton who played Boone’s son in the TV series visited Grandfather Mt. I’m sure you have seen the pictures. Seems like Fess Parker was there, too.

  2. In Hugh Morton’s 2003 book, “Hugh Morton’s North Carolina,” there are two pictures of Glenn Causey (pages 91 & 159), and there is also a picture of Dr. Kermit Hunter on page 131.

    As for the unknown man in image #3, could it be “Thunderland” producer Robert Porterfield, or Director Montgomery Hare? In 1952 Porterfield would have been 47, and Hare would have been 43.

    Here is an image of a Porterfield bust for comparison:

    http://galen-frysinger.org/us/barter08.jpg

    I haven’t found an image of Hare, but in his papers at Yale there are four folders of “Thunderland” material (229-232).

    http://webtext.library.yale.edu/xml2html/beinecke.hare.con.html

    Perhaps there might be a playbill for “Thunderland” in the Institute of Outdoor Drama archive at UNC. Playbills usually show pictures of cast and crew.

    http://outdoordrama.unc.edu/

    In 1952, Composer Lamar Springfield would have been 55, and author Hubert Hayes would have been 51.

    Hayes’ papers are at Duke and Boxes 4-16 and 54 contain “Thunderland” material:

    http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/rbmscl/hayeshubert/inv/

  3. I am sorry I don’t know whether image #3 is Bob Porterfield or not, although I should, but Hugh knew him well. In fact, he was asked to speak at Bob’s memorial service. Gregory Peck, one of Bob’s Barter Theater successes, also spoke, so no one even heard Hugh’s great Porterfield story, as far as I know. So I’ll share it with you now…. Bob was (barely) eligible for the Draft in WWII, so he dutifully appeared to be inducted. Among the Sargent’s questions was, “What are your interests?” “Watercress and horses.” Bob replied, and quite soon thereafter found himself shoveling manure at Fort Sill, OK, home of the last calvery unit in the U.S. Army. He wrote a very funny account of his plight to another of his successdful Barter Theater alunmi, George C. Scott. Scott, aide to someone important whom I have forgotten, happened to be waiting in the hall outside President Roosevelt’s office when he read Bob’s letter. He laughed so hard that his senior asked, “What’s so funny?” and Scott handed him the letter to read. While that gentleman was laughing, Bernard Baruch (sp?) came out of the President’s office and the letter was passed on to him. “Franklin has got to see this!” he said, and they all went into Franklin’s office. President Roosevelt got a huge kick out of it and said, “This man is in the wrong place. Where should he be?” The upshot was that the President wrote a short note requiring Bob’s transfer to whatever the name of the unit was where films were made for the War Effort. (Hugh always knew the name, sorry I don’t.) Anyway, Bob got called in to see the General who commanded Fort Sill and when he reported to that amazed Gentleman the first question he was asked was, “Who in the hell are you?”

  4. This man looks younger than 55 or even 43, to me. I think we can rule out Stringfield and Bob Porterfield based on age and appearance (thanks for the great Porterfield story, Julia!). It could be that he’s an actor or even a lowly script boy. I looked at this insert from the Asheville Citizen-Times, which had lots of pictures of the actors (but not the crew). I can say almost certainly that this is not the man who played Daniel Boone.

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