I have few vivid memories of my grandfather. One of them is of going to a small carnival in the woods out near his home in Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania. I rode a wooden roller coaster with my dad that day which scarred me for life. But I also got my first and only coonskin cap.
I had just discovered Davy Crockett: King Of The Wild Frontier (1955); I watched this film so many times back then. I read everything that was at my school library on the man and even gave a presentation in second grade as Davy Crockett relating the life of Davy Crockett. Davy Crockett meant so much to me. I wanted to be like him. I wanted to end conflicts with good ole common sense, grin down bears, and give my life for something I believed in (not America, more like an endangered species such as Bison or for Captain Kirk)! Not much has changed.
It’s so rare to find a film for children that actually follows a child’s logic in terms of narrative structure. And when Davy Crockett can’t do that during the original episode breaks, there is an informative and catchy song ripe with puns. It is easy to resent or harbor hostility for the Disney Corporation with all of the shady things they do. Still, now and then, something a little more artful, meaningful can occur.
The day Fess Parker died when I was entering my Junior year of college was extraordinarily tough. He had never been the “cinematic best friend” that Burt Lancaster was, but I still felt somehow close to him. So my dear friend and I shared a bottle of Fess Parker wine and watched Davy Crockett.