The entertainment community is mourning yesterday’s passing of actor Fess Parker (1924-2010), best known for his portrayals of manly pioneers Davy Crockett and (most relevant to the Morton collection) Daniel Boone. According to Entertainment Weekly‘s Ken Tucker,
In his prime, Parker was a big, rangy man who grew up in a small farm in Texas; his voice retained a warm Texas twang. He shot to a singular pop-culture fame in 1954, when Walt Disney’s Disneyland series broadcast “Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter.” With his buckskin jacket, long rifle, slow drawl, and his coonskin cap, Parker was an immediate sensation. Kids could not get enough of his unique mixture of warmth, toughness, humor, and taciturn wisdom.
After his Crockett years, Parker went on to embody the role of Daniel Boone from 1964 to 1970. When I saw Turner’s article, I couldn’t help but steal the embedded YouTube video he included, of the opening credits of “Daniel Boone”:
In July or August of 1966, Parker paid a visit to Boone, NC’s own “Horn in the West” outdoor drama, and of COURSE, Hugh Morton was present with his camera. (Parker is shown below with Horn actor Glenn Causey; more images of his visit can be viewed here).
Parker and the Horn crew apparently took a trip up Grandfather Mountain during this same visit (more images can be viewed here). You may also recall from a previous post that Parker’s TV son “Israel” (Darby Hinton) also visited Grandfather — whether it was at the same time as Parker, I can’t say.
If anyone knows additional details from these events, please share!
14 thoughts on “Daniel Boone was a man. Yes, a big man!”
Vera Matson certain was a masterful lyricist. I think my favorite line is this:
“What a Boone! What a doer! What a dream come-er-true-er was he!”
In the top photo, the Daniel Boone on the left is actor Glenn Causey, who was the original Daniel Boone for “Horn in the West.” As I recall, he was a big man as well. That Fess Parker is a bit taller than Causey in the photo is a testament to his stature.
Thanks Marie! But I think the *original* Daniel Boone for Horn was actually Ned Austin; he played Boone for the first three years of the drama: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ned_Austin
See Morton photos of Austin as Boone here.
See Morton photos of Glenn Causey as Boone here.
News today that Stewart Udall has also died; he was the last surviving member of JFK’s cabinet, and Morton photographed him several times in his role as Secretary of the Interior, especially as related to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
At the time that Fess Parker visited Boone, he was on a promotional tour for a feature film called “Smoky” about a man who tames a wild stallion. As a horse person I remember a local man riding his black horse up the top of Grandfather Mountain so that Parker could do a press conference and photo shoot. The fellow’s truck would not pull a loaded horse trailer up to the summit, so the horse had to carry himself. He really broke a sweat!
Darby Hinton was not in town at the same time. Tweetsie Railroad would hire Darby to come stay for about a month each summer to do personal appearances at the park. I am sure he came for at least two summers.
The actor to the right of Fess Parker is Charlie Elledge who played Preacher Sims. The character on the far right is Dr. Stuart, but I do not remember the actor’s name.
In addition to the Fess Parker story and the Stuart Udall story, there have been four other Hugh Morton related stories in the news recently:
(1) New policy at Grandfather Mountain for feeding bears.
(2) The N.C. Press Association has named “Greensboro News & Record” photographer Jerry Wolford the Hugh Morton Photographer of the Year.
(3) The current issue of “Tar Heel Monthly” magazine is dedicated to UNC Basketball’s 100-year Anniversary Celebration. Needless to say, it’s filled with great Hugh Morton images.
(4) The current issue of “Carolina Alumni Review” has a cover story about digitizing the University’s archives.
Dr. Stuart is Bill Ross.
Catherine Morton/Cathy is right on all counts as to the actors; I played bit parts during one summer in that era and knew those people as fellow actors. Charlie’s wife was also in the cast, and David French, who was on ASU’s staff, directed Horn for a while. Until now I did not know of Glenn’s passing.
Yes, the actor portraying Dr. Stuart was William “Bill” Ross, who taught for many years at Watauga High School. The WHS auditorium in the former high school was named for him. I have not been in the new high school, but I presume the name carried over.
The actor on the far right is Bill Ross. He was a professor at ASU I think.
Ross was at the high school; Nea Austin original Boone.
Sorry, that’s Ned Austin.
The local man of whom Catherine Morton is speaking was Baxter Norris and the horses name was Shadow. He was accompanied that day by his father Earl Norris and Preacher Crump . I have a couple of photographs from that day of Fess Parker, Earl Norris, Baxter Norris and Shadow, as well as one of Fess Parker riding the horse with the crowd in the background. If you would like a copy of the photographs just email me.
I was on stage at Horn in the West when Fess Parker came out to greet the audience with his signature musket and Daniel Boone attire. He parted his legs planted the musket stock on the ground with hands on barrel and spoke “If I had my druthers” yes, the crowd exploded. It was the largest crowd we had that season.
A great honor to have been on stage with him.