Fess Parker's Death Sparks Nostalgia

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/124913003/124912985" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript

The death of actor Fess Parker on Thursday triggered memories and sadness in baby boomers from all over. They remembered their coonskin caps, their rifles and their imaginary adventures on the frontier.

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

The death of actor Fess Parker yesterday generated lots of memories for baby boomers. He portrayed frontiersman Davy Crockett, whose coonskin cap and movie prop rifle and adventures on the American frontier, captivated young TV viewers from the 1950s. Well, they're all grown now and we found many of them here in Washington, D.C. today, and they had plenty of fond memories to share.

Unidentified Man #1: Yeah. Everybody went out and bought the coonskin cap. He had the old Flintlock muskets, you know, they sold in the stores and everything.

Unidentified Woman #1: The thing that I remember most is the song. Davy, Davy Crockett.

Unidentified Man #2: What was it? Davy Crockett...

Unidentified Man #3: Home of the frontier, something like that.

Unidentified Woman #2: I don't remember it. I just remember the tune.

Unidentified Man #4: Yeah, that was actually, I think, bigger than Elvis because it affected everybody.

Unidentified Man #5: I had a coonskin hat with a tail.

Unidentified Man #6: Some kids wore them to school.

Unidentified Man #7: The tail was snapped on with a little snap. And my brother came and grabbed it and tried to pull it off and the tail went flying one way. And I was wearing just a little round fur hat.

Unidentified Man #8: Woo woo. Everybody took turns being Davy Crockett. You played in the neighborhood with the guys afterschool. Hunt the bars or whatever you were doing.

Unidentified Man #9: Frontier was a large Catholic seminary two blocks away that had a wooded area, and that was the closest we got to the frontier.

Unidentified Man #10: (Singing) Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee.

Unidentified Woman #3: (Singing) Da, da, da, da, da, da, da, da. I can't remember the words.

Unidentified Man #8: Davy Crockett, king of the...

Unidentified Woman #4: (Singing) Davy, Davy Crockett.

Unidentified Man #8: (Singing) King of the wild frontier.

Unidentified Woman #4: King of the wild frontier.

Unidentified Man #8: Et cetera, et cetera, Davy Crockett. Woo woo.

(Soundbite of theme song)

Unidentified Group: (Singing) Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

Baby boomers recalling the Davy Crockett craze of the 1950s. The actor who portrayed him on TV, Fess Parker, died yesterday at age 85. We heard from Cathy O'Neil(ph) of Massachusetts, Thomas Maxwell(ph) of Washington, D.C., Sean Hamlin(ph) of Australia, Ed and Claire Robertson(ph) of Indiana, Jim O'Leary(ph) of Maine, Lawrence Burns(ph) of Tennessee.

SIEGEL: Also, Bill Stiart(ph) of New York. Del and Maryanne Benner(ph) of Pennsylvania. John and Jenny Craigs(ph) of the U.K. Guy and Peggy Fisher(ph) of Delaware, Mike Durning(ph) of New Jersey, Bob Esposito(ph) of New York and Bill Coleman(ph) of Maryland.

(Soundbite of "Davy Crockett" theme song)

Unidentified People: (Singing) Took over Washington, so I heard tell, and patched up the crack in the Liberty Bell. Davy, Davy Crockett, seeing his duty clear. When he come home...

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.