A look back at the classic Fess Parker show

Fess Parker shot to stardom in 1950s Disney TV movies as Davy Crockett, the hero of the Alamo who, according to legend (and his hit theme song), ”kilt him a [bear] when he was only 3.” Several years later, Parker put on his famous coonskin cap again as Daniel Boone, another frontier hero with a catchy signature tune (”Daniel Boone was a man/Yes, a biiiig man…”). When the Revolutionary War-era Kentuckian wasn’t surveying the land, he tussled with hostile natives, pirates, and other ne’er-do-wells. His companions included college-educated Cherokee Mingo (crooner Ed Ames, who showed off his tomahawk-throwing skills in a side-splitting Tonight Show moment with Johnny Carson in 1965), his wife, Rebecca (Patricia Blair), daughter Jemima (Veronica Cartwright), and fugitive slave Gabe Cooper (gridiron great Rosey Grier). The 1964-70 NBC adventure also boasted first-rate guest stars; among those who appear in this month’s TV Land episodes are Vincent Price, Jim ”Mr. Magoo” Backus, The Addams Family‘s Ted ”Lurch” Cassidy, Ricardo Montalban, and a very young Kurt Russell. Take your faux coonskin cap out of the closet and enjoy.