Wednesday, August 16, 2023

FESS PARKER: Giant Ants, Coonskin Caps, and Wine

"Davy Crockett" might have been: "Born on a mountain top in Tennessee", but F. E. Parker, Jr. was born in Fort Worth, Texas, on August 16, 1924.

According to author Tom Weaver, in his "Sci-Fi Swarm and Horror Horde: Interviews with 62 Filmmakers":

The future Walt Disney television star's father was born Fess Parker, named in honor of educator and politician Simon D. Fess of Ohio, but legally changed it to F.E. Parker. That happened when he became a tax collector, because it sounded more official. 

His son, F.E. Parker, Jr., also did a name change around 1937, to Fess Elisha Parker, choosing his middle name, because it sounded rhythmic and matched his middle initial.

The following quotes about his career during the Second World War, come from the "University of Texas At Austin":


World War II broke out, and Parker’s height prevented him from entering Navy flight school. Then he tried for aviation radio gunners school in the Navy. “They threw me out because I was too big. They said, ‘You’ll never get inside the cockpit.’” But because he had gotten Morse code training, he was shipped off to the Marines in Oceanside, Calif., where he trained for beach landings carrying a 50-pound field radio. “We were all just a bunch of kids, happy Jacks,” he remembered. One day, commanders called the group together and split them into two groups. The other group went to Iwo Jima. “They lost 5,000 people just getting off the beach,” he remembers. “I assume someone had said, ‘That guy’s too big.’ I was fortunate all the way through.

They finally did ship Parker out. “I was in the middle of the Pacific when they dropped the bomb.” He went on to the Philippines and crewed on a wooden mine-sweeper charged with cleaning up after the Japanese. “From September ’45 to March ’46, it was just like plowing.”

The following two paragraphs come into play after Fess was discharged in 1946. He used the G.I. Bill to enroll in the private Baptist College, "Hardin-Simmons University" in Abilene, Texas. It was there that he became involved with drama productions.

He survived the war but was nearly killed when he returned home. In 1946, he was driving with his girlfriend in a Model T down an Abilene highway when a drunk driver bumped him from behind, then “pulled up and said a few choice words. I had a little bit of a headache — I had seen a double feature, and I just lost my temper. So I followed the guy. I saw him turn into his house.”

Parker walked up to his car, and they exchanged words again. What he didn’t know was that the driver, a grocery store butcher, was already palming a large knife. Before Parker knew what had happened, the man had stabbed him in the side of the neck, severing 20 veins. The blade had gone under his jawbone, and when Parker wheeled around, the blade had broken. Parker applied pressure and local doctors patched him up the best they could. But today, he carries a deep gouge behind his left jaw, partly hidden by his hair.

In 1947, Fess Elisha Parker, transferred to the "University of Texas Austin" as a history major, but continued in drama productions. In 1950, Fess Parker graduated from "UT" with a bachelor's degree in history. Having one year of eligibility remaining on the GI Bill, he traveled from Texas to California, and enrolled in dramatic arts at the "University of Southern California" and graduated with a master's degree in theater history.

Returning one last time to the "University of Texas Austin's" website:

His height was the subject of one of the most important criticisms he ever got. It was from the director of one of his early stage plays, “She said to me one time, ‘You’re simply too large for the stage.’ And I thought about that. So I decided I would go to film.” When he got there, he found himself in good company: John Wayne, Clint Walker, Jim Arness, who was 6’8″, Chuck Connors — “All these guys were my size. I wasn’t unusual.”

Which brings me to the subject of my article, the motion picture and television work of Fess Parker.

According to only Wikipedia's biography of the actor, without annotation of the source, if you look at the football crowd scenes in producer Walter Wranger's, 1943, motion picture, "We've Never Been Licked", aka: "Texas Aggies", aka: "Texas to Tokyo", aka: "Fighting Command", apparently, there is a visible, uncredited Fess Parker. I could not locate a still of the football game to verify this. 

Also, under any of its four-names, the motion picture does not show on any of the other lists of Fess Parker's motion pictures I located. Probably because he was a unpaid extra, and at 19-years-old, had recently graduated high-school. The question this movie raises, is when did Parker enlist in the Navy? The motion picture was filmed from November 1942 through February 1943, with one location being Texas A&M, at College Station, Texas

However, Fess Parker, is listed as uncredited, for providing the off-screen voice of "Chauffer-Leslie", in James Stewart's, 1950, "Harvey", on several lists of his motion pictures. Which is technically his first actual motion picture

In 1951, he was an extra, with a $52-a-week paycheck for a Los Angeles stage production of Joshua Logan's "Mister Roberts". 

Several lists of Fess Parker's films, overlook that the young actor portrayed the uncredited role of "Uncle Ben", in the Tony Curtis and Piper Laurie, 1952, "No Room for the Groom", seen below on the right:

Those film listers, instead, go right to 1952's, "Untamed Frontier", starring Joseph Cotton, Shelley Winters, and Scott Brady. That has Fess Parker in his first on-screen credited role, portraying "Clem McCloud", seen below center

However, he immediately returned to uncredited film work, portraying "Jim Randolph", in 1952's, "Springfield Rifle", starring Gary Cooper, seen below with Fess Parker.

Five motion pictures followed in 1953, but only two of them gave the actor credit.

The first had Fess Parker portraying baseball player "McDougal", in a family movie starring Dan Dailey, and Ann Bancroft, "The Kid from Left Field", and in the second, he was "Kirby", in the Randolph Scott, Lex Barker, and Phyllis Kirk, western, "Thunder Over the Plains", below.

On March 4, 1954, the young actor moved to television in "The Big Winchester", Season 3, Episode 27, of director, writer, and star Jack Webb's, "Dragnet". Which was followed by two other appearances on television, the first on "Annie Oakley", starring Gail Davis, and the second, as real-life outlaw "Grat Dalton", on televisions "Tales of the Century", starring Jim Davis. All three were followed by a walk-on in the forgotten, filmed in 3-D, Korean War movie, "Dragonfly Squadron".

Which brought Fess Parker to a turning point in his short career.

THEM! premiered in St. Louis, Missouri, on June 15, 1954

Above, one of the United States posters, below, one of the United Kingdom's posters.

"THEM!" was the first of the giant mutated insect invasion. To put it in perspective, I have written an article entitled, "THEM!', 'TARANTULA'. 'THE MONSTER FROM GREEN HELL', THE DEADLY MANTIS', 'THE BEGINNING OF THE END','THE BLACK SCORPION', and 'THE EARTH VS THE SPIDER': As the 1950's Insects BUGGED America!", found with your own can of "Raid", at:

The original story was created by George Worthing Yates, 1955's, "It Came from Beneath the Sea", 1956's, "Earth vs the Flying Saucers", and 1957's, "The Amazing Colossal Man", among other stories and screenplay. My article, "George Worthing Yates: Screenplays from 1927's, 'LIGHTNING LARIATS' to 1962's, 'KING KONG VS GODZILLA", can be read at:

The films four stars were:

James Whitmore portraying "New Mexico Police Sergeant Ben Peterson". Whitmore had just co-starred with Guy Madison, and Joan Weldon, in the cavalry western, 1954's, "The Command". He would follow this picture with the 1954 motion picture version of author Leon Uris's, "Battle Cry".

Edmund Gwenn portrayed "Dr. Harold Medford". Gwenn is probably best known for portraying "Kris Kringle", in 1947's, "Miracle on 34th Street", starring Maureen O'Hara, and John Payne. Prior to this motion picture, he had 5th-billing in the 1954, musical, "The Student Prince", starring Ann Blyth, and Edmund Purdom, with Mario Lanza supplying Purdom's singing voice and billed as such. Edmund Gwenn followed this picture with five appearances on four different television shows.

Joan Weldon portrayed "Dr. Patricia 'Pat' Medford". Weldon had just co-starred with Randolph Scott in 1954's, "Riding Shotgun". The actress was also an accomplished opera singer, and appeared in the musical biography of "Sigmund Romberg", 1954's, "Deep in My Heart", singing "New Moon" with Tony Martin.

Joan Weldon's character is one of several that make-up my article, "Before Gloria Steinem: There Was Feminism In 1950's Science Fiction", not given "The Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval", at:

James Arness portrayed "Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Agent Robert Graham". Science fiction seemed to fit the actor, as in 1951, he was Howard Hawks's, "The Thing from Another World". Arness had just portrayed "Lennie" in John Wayne's, 3-D western, "Hondo". He would next appear on-screen in the Greer Garson, and Robert Ryan, 1954, "Her Twelve Men". On September 10, 1955, James Arness would first portray Marshal Matt Dillon" on televisions "Gunsmoke".

Yes, for those familiar, and those unfamiliar, these four characters fight giant mutated ants from the first Atomic Bomb test at White Sands, New Mexico. However, I am not interested in "THEM", but a small sequence in the motion picture with a pilot. Who was caught between a giant queen ant and her two male consorts and made a forced landing hitting a very old truck.

With 11th credited billing, Fess Parker portrayed "Alan Cotty". On May 8, 1954, Fess Parker had appeared as "Len Clinton - the Texas Sandman", in "Annie and the Texas Sandman", Episode 18, of Season 1, on televisions "Annie Oakley". After this movie, Parker was "The All American", in an episode of that same name, on televisions "My Little Margie", starring Gale Storm and Charles Farrell.

Returning to Fess Parker's role in 'THEM!", the following is an excerpt from my linked article about "Feminism" in 1950's motion pictures:

"Bob" and "Major Kibbee" accompany "Pat" to interview "Alan Cotty", played by Fess Parker, about having his plane forced down by UFO's that looked like Ants. "Kibbee" has the double purpose of being an understanding other pilot and showing Military Involvement. While "Graham" is there to show "Cotty" how strongly the government is involved.
In short, the two men should be backing up "Pat's" questioning, but the 1950's "Norm" is further illustrated. When "Alan Cotty" seems to be ignoring "Pat" and answers her questions directly to the two men. At one point the Southern "Cotty" becomes embarrassed and, like a 1950's gentlemen, apologizes to "Pat" that he's in pajama's without a tie string in front of her.


According to film historian and recognized expert on science fiction motion pictures, the late, Bill Warren, in his "Keep Watching the Skies! American Science Fiction Movies of the Fifties". Walter Elias Disney was interested in casting James Arness as "Davy Crockett", and had a private screening of "THEM!" with his friend Jack L. Warner, at the "Warner Brothers Studio", in Burbank, California. After viewing the movie, Walt asked to have the sequence with Fess Parker repeated several times. The result was he had found the perfect actor to portray "Davy Crockett". 

On September 25, 1954, Fess Parker had the uncredited role of the "Interloper", in the Randolph Scott western, "The Bounty Hunter".


The first episode, "Davy Crockett: Indian Scout", of what would become five television programs, on Walt Disney's "Disneyland"premiered on December 15, 1954.

The Two Leading Actors:

Fess Parker portrayed David "Davy" Crockett of Tennessee. 


Buddy Ebsen portrayed his fictional friend, side-kick, and balladeer, "George 'Georgie' Russell". Ebsen was a song and dance man who performed in movies with Shirley Temple, Judy Garland and Jeanette MacDonald. He started filming as the "Tin-Man" for 1939's, "The Wizard of Oz", but was allergic to the make-up and ended in the hospital. My article, "BUDDY EBSEN: From the 'Baby Astaire's' to 'Davy Crockett", will be found at:

Initially, there were three-programs made:

"Davy Crockett, Indian Scout", premiered as I've mentioned on December 15, 1954.

"Davy Crockett Goes to Congress",
premiered on January 26, 1955.

"Davy Crockett at the Alamo",
premiered on February 23, 1955.

The popularity of the series lead to the three episodes being edited into one feature film, "Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier", released on May 25, 1955. The feature film version was primarily for Foreign Markets, but was also released in the United States.

Everyone was surprised with the sales of "Walt Disney's Official Davy Crockett Indian Fighter Hat", one version of several of "Davy's Coonskin Cap", Disney was merchandising. I had one and was the envy of the other boys on my block.


The sale of the cap and other merchandise, resulted in bringing "Davy Crockett" back to life. For two more adventures against another legendary character, "Mike Fink, King of the River".

Fess Parker was back as "Davy Crockett".

Buddy Ebsen was back as "Georgie Russell", and,

Jeff York portrayed "Mike Fink". York had started on-screen acting in 1937 as Granville Owen, he was born Granville Owen Scofield. For the Anna Neagle and Ray Bolger, 1941, musical, "Sunny", he became Jeff York. York portrayed "Navy Ensign Tony Aiken", in director John Ford's, 1945, "They Were Expendable", he was "Big Joe", in the Bob Hope and Jane Russell, 1948, "Paleface", and basically left motion pictures for television work in 1952.

The Two Mike Fink episodes:

"Davy Crockett's Keelboat Race", premiered on November 16, 1955.

"Davy Crockett and the River Pirates", premiered on December 14, 1955.

As before, these two programs would be edited into the feature film, "Davy Crockett and the River Pirates", released on July 18, 1956.

For those of my readers interested in these television programs, and the merchandising they created for Walt Disney. My detailed article is, "Walt Disney's 'Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier", and will be found at:

Back on July 13, 1955, the "Disneyland" television program showed "The Pre-Opening Report from Disneyland/A Tribute to Mickey Mouse". This was "Uncle Walt", pushing the opening of his dream "Theme Park", in Anaheim, California, also called "Disneyland". 

Among those on the program where members of the "Mouseketeers", less than three-months before the premier of the original "Mickey Mouse Club" on television, Nancy Abbate, Lonnie Burr, Annette Funicello and Jimmie Dodd. 

Along with Peter Lorre, Sammy Davis, Jr., and actor Ronald Reagan. 

would open four-days after this program was televised.

Opening day was also televised, and of course "Davy Crockett" was there, I mean, Fess Parker. Along with Buddy "Georgie Russell" Ebsen. 

"Disneyland 1955" is in no way like "Disneyland 2023", as of this writing. I visited it a few short months after that opening day and for those who are interested. My article is, "DISNEYLAND 1955: A Childhood Memory of WALT DISNEY'S Original 'Magic Kingdom", to be discovered at:

Below, a 1955 publicity shot for both "American Airlines" and Walt Disney's, Buena Vista Productions.

His name was "James J. Andrews", he was a spy for the Union Army and led a raid into Confederate territory. One of the survivors of that raid, who was presented one of the first "Congressional Medals of Honor", was William Pittenger. Pittenger wrote a book about those events he entitled:

THE GREAT LOCOMOTIVE CHASE premiered in New York City, on January 26, 1956

The names are accurate:

Fess (Davy Crockett) Parker, see his above billing on the poster, portrayed "James J. Andrews". Apparently, Walt and company didn't think the audience would recognize the name "Fess Parker".

Jeffrey Hunter portrayed "William A. Fueller". Hunter had just been seen in 1955's, "Seven Cities of Gold", co-starring with Richard Egan, Anthony Quinn, Michael Rennie, and Rita Moreno. He would follow this feature film with the film-noir 1956's, "A Kiss Before Dying", co-starring with Robert Wagner.

Above the real-life adversaries, Fess Parker as "Andrews", and Jeffrey Hunter as "Fueller".

Jeff York portrayed "William Hunter Campbell". York just had an uncredited role in 1955's, "It's A Dog's Life", co-starring Edmund Gwenn and Dean Jagger. He would follow this movie with the next one I will be mentioning.

Above, Jeff York is in the center of the three prisoners.

John Lupton portrayed "William Pittenger". Lupton had just been in the 1956, Mexican production, "Diane de Poitiers", starring Lana Turner, Pedro Armendariz, Roger Moore, and Sir Cedric Hardwicke. He would follow this feature film by becoming "Tom Jeffords", on the television western, "Broken Arrow", from 1956 through 1958. He is seen leaning against the wall on the left of Jeff York, in the above picture.

Above, the first ever presentation of the "Congressional Medal of Honor" is being placed on John Lupton's, "William Pittenger".

Kenneth "Ken" Tobey portrayed "Anthony Murphy". By this motion picture, Ken Tobey had portrayed "Jim Bowie", in "Davy Crockett at the Alamo", and starred in 1951's, "The Thing from Another World", 1953's, "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms", and 1955's, "It Came from Beneath the Sea". My article about the actor and a voice actress who was "Lady" in Walt Disney's "Lady and the Tramp", "My Neighbors Actors Barbara Luddy and Kenneth Tobey", may be read at:

Above, Kenneth Tobey with Jeffrey Hunter. 

Don Megowan portrayed "Marion A. Ross".  By this motion picture, Don Megowan had portrayed "Colonel William Travis" in "Davy Crockett at the Alamo", and the following year portrayed the "Land-Creature", in 1956's, "The Creature Walks Among Us". He would also portray the sheriff in an excellent and overlooked horror movie, 1956's, "The Werewolf", and co-star in a science fiction cult classic, 1962's, "The Creation of the Humanoids". My article is, "DON MEGOWAN: Portraying William Barret Travis and "The Creature from the Black Lagoon", is found at:

Above, Don Megowan is just to the right of Fess Parker. 

Harry Carey, Jr. portrayed "William Bensinger". Carey was a life-long member of "The John Ford Stock Company", and a good friend of John Wayne. Among their movies together are 1948's, "3 Godfathers", 1949's, "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon", 1950's, "Rio Grande", and 1956's, "The Searchers", all directed by John Ford. In 1955, just prior to this motion picture, Carey was "Bill Burnett", the counselor of the "Triple R Ranch", on Walt Disney's "Mickey Mouse Club", mini-series, "The Adventures of Spin and Marty". 

Above, far right, is Harry Carey, Jr., behind John Lupton.

My in depth article looking at the actual raid and both the Buster Keaton and Walt Disney movie versions is entitled, "The Andrews Civil War Raid: 'The Great Locomotive Chase' in Motion Pictures", and can be read at:

On November 14, 1956, on the "Disneyland" television program was "Along the Oregon Trail". Fess Parker joined Walt Disney to narrate a history of the "Oregon Trail" and promote, a typical Disney use of his television program:

WESTWARD HO THE WAGONS! released on December 20, 1956

Note: The lower right corner of this poster had a plug for the "Disneyland" theme park. This poster was used in California, and also, Arizona, and Nevada, because those two-states could easily come to the park.

This was a family western based upon the 1934 novel, "Children of the Covered Wagon", written by Mary Jane Carr. The story of a wagon train to Oregon focuses on the children more than the adult roles.

Fess Parker portrayed "John 'Doc' Grayson". 

Kathleen Crowley portrayed "Laura Thompson". Crowley was mainly a television actress since her first on-screen appearance in 1951. Of her 51-on-screen-roles, before this motion picture, only 8 were motion pictures. However, one was a low-budgeted science fiction starring Richard Denning, that has become a cult feature, 1954's, "Target Earth".

Above, Fess Parker with Kathleen Crowley.

Jeff York portrayed "Hank Breckenridge". Jeff York's next motion picture was Walt Disney's, 1957, "Johnny Tremain".

David Stollery portrayed "Dan Thompson". Stollery started on-screen acting in 1949, but was known to my generation as "Martin 'Marty' Markham", on the "Mickey Mouse Club" series, "The Adventures of Spin and Marty", and "The New Adventures of Spin and Marty". David Stollery was also seen in the series, "Annette", starring "Mouseketeer", Annette Funicello.

George Reeves portrayed "James Stephen". Reeves was still portraying "Superman" on television. "The Adventures of Superman", officially started on September 19, 1952, however, George Reeves had first appeared in the motion picture, "Superman and the Mole Men", released on November 23, 1951. The last episode of "The Adventures of Superman" was "All That Glitters", April 28, 1958. That was also the actor's last on-screen appearance.

Sebastian Cabot portrayed "Bissonette". Cabot was just in an episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", "A Bullet for Baldwin", January 1, 1956. He followed this feature film by portraying "Porthos", in the six-television-episode, Italian production, of author Alexander Dumas', "The Three Musketeers". It was in Italian, but had been dubbed in English for United States television.

The movie also featured some "Mouseketeers".

Doreen Tracey portrayed "Bobo Stephen". After "Westward Ho the Wagons!", she also appeared in the "Mickey Mouse Club" serial, "Annette".

Tommy Cole portrayed "Jim Stephen". Cole would become an "Academy Award" winning make-up artist.

Cubby O'Brien portrayed "Jerry Stephen". O'Brien became the drummer for both Ann-Margaret, and "The Carpenters". He now plays for Broadway productions, such as "Annie Get Your Gun" and "Gypsy". 

Above left to right, Doreen Tracey, Cubby O'Brien, and Tommy Cole.

Karen Pendleton portrayed "Ruth Benjamin". This was her only non-"Mickey Mouse Club" appearance.

Fess Parker never sings in the "Davy Crockett" series, although singer Buddy Ebssen sings variations of what became the hit song, "The Ballad of Davy Crockett", throughout the episodes. Parker would record his own version of the ballad and there would be dueling versions on the "Billboard Charts" at the same time. 

However, in "Westward Ho the Wagons!", Fess Parker does sing as in this scene below.

"B" cowboy singer, motion picture, and television actor, Rex Allen, recorded an album.

The story is Disney family friendly, as a group of families led by "James Stephen's" leave for the Oregon territory. Along the way there will be a change in leadership, as "John Grayson", known as "Doc", because he wants to study medicine, will take over the leadership responsibilities.

After hostile Pawnees drive off most of the horses and they just make it to Fort Laramie. The children of the wagon train make friends with the Sioux children around the fort. The Chief's son is injured in an accident, but is healed by "Doc Grayson". 

The Sioux Chief arranges an escort for the train through Pawnee territory and the film ends with the wagon train arriving in the Oregon territory.

Seen in the above stills of the Sioux, is actor Iron Eyes Cody portraying "Many Stars". Cody was considered the positive image of the Native American in feature films and was honored by many Native American Tribes. However, unknown to everyone he met during his career, he was a fake! The following quote is from my article, "Native American's Hollywood Style", at:
A surprise came to Hollywood and even, sadly, the Native American community, who had honored him for his accomplishments. When "Iron Eyes" Cody passed away on January 4, 1999 and his Birth Certificate was revealed. The man who said he was the son of a Cherokee father and a Cree mother was actually Espera Oscar de Corti an Italian American born April 3, 1904 in Kaplan, Louisiana. For 69 years he had scammed the world into believing he was a Native American and once more most sadly the community who believed in him as their most visible representative.

OLD YELLER premiered both in Los Angeles and New York City on Christmas Day 1957

Note: The lower right-hand corner contains a plug to read the original novel, "Old Yeller", by Fred Gipson. Gipson co-wrote the screenplay with William Tunberg.

Dorothy McGuire portrayed "Katie Coates". She had just co-starred with Gary Cooper in director William Wyler's, 1956, "Friendly Persuasion". She next co-starred with Clifton Webb, in 1959's, "The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker".

Fess Parker portrayed "Jim Coates". 

Jeff York portrayed "Bud Searcy". Jeff York had just portrayed "James Otis" in Walt Disney's, 1957, "Johnny Tremain". He would follow this feature film in four of the six episodes, of 1958's, "The Saga of Andy Burnett". For those of my readers that remember the Walt Disney television series, or are unaware of it. It is part of my article, "Walt Disney Presents: 'The Saga of Andy Burnett', 'The Nine Live of Elfego Baca', 'Texas John Slaughter', 'The Swamp Fox', and 'Daniel Boone", at:


Chuck Connors portrayed "Burn Sanderson". Basically, Chuck Connors was a television actor, of his 52-roles between 1952 and this motion picture, only 14 are in feature films. It wouldn't be until September 30, 1958, that he appeared in "The Sharpshooter", co-starring with ex-Mouseketeer Johnny Crawford, in the first episode of televisions "The Rifleman".

Beverly Washburn portrayed "Lisbeth Searcy". She started on-screen acting in 1950, and was in the cast, with Barbara Billingsley, of the one-season, forgotten, 1955, television series, "Professional Father". Beverly was a television actress, this was her first movie and her next was in 1958, then it wasn't until 1967, before she was seen in her third feature film. However, in 1962, she co-starred in "The New Loretta Young Show", a television series that only ran into 1963.

Tommy Kirk portrayed "Travis Coates". Kirk portrayed "Joe Hardy" on both of the "Mickey Mouse Club" series, "The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure", and "The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Ghost Farm". In 1959, Tommy Kirk was Walt Disney's, original "The Shaggy Dog". He was in Disney's, 1960, "Swiss Family Robinson", in 1961, "The Absent Minded Professor", and portrayed "Grumio", the toy maker's assistant in Disney's, 1961, "Babes in Toyland". In 1964, Tommy Kirk replaced Frankie Avalon in the "Beach Party" entry, "Pajama Party", co-starring with Annette Funicello not as "Dee Dee", but "Connie". For those interested in the "Beach Party" movies, my article is, "The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow Meets the Ghost in the Invisible Bikini: The Story of the Beach Party Movies", so grab your wave at:

Kevin Corcoran portrayed "Arliss Coates". Corcoran started out at 4-years-of-age, in 1954's, "The Glenn Miller Story", starring James Stewart and June Allyson. In 1957, he portrayed "Montgomery 'Moochie' O'Hara" in "The New Adventures of Spin and Marty". In 1959, he also portrayed Tommy Kirk's brother, "Moochie Daniels", in "The Shaggy Dog". In 1960, Kevin Corcoran had the title role in Walt Disney's, "Toby Tyler or Ten Weeks with a Circus", and among his other roles, once again became Tommy Kirk's brother in Walt Disney's, 1960, "Swiss Family Robinson".

Fess Parker is hardly in the picture, the opening and closing, and it is really both Dorothy McGuire's and 6th-billed Tommy Kirk's movie.

"Jim Coates" leaves his family to go collect cattle in Kansas and when he returns his son "Travis" has become a man. 

One day while he's gone, "Travis" encounters a "Yellow Black Mouth Cur", portrayed by Spike, a breed of dog created in the southern United States for hunting. The dog follows "Travis" home, but he doesn't want the dog, and the dog has been raiding the family's henhouse and stealing meat from the smoke house, but "Arliss" convinces his mother to let him keep the "Old Yeller" dog.

"Bud Searcy" and his granddaughter "Lisbeth" come to supper and she tells "Travis" that "Old Yeller" has been stealing from all the settlers in the area. "Travis" scolds' "Yeller", but the two are becoming very close.

Later, "Burn Sanderson", "Yeller's" original owner appears on the ranch, but realizing that the "Coates" family needs the dog more than he does. He agrees to "Arliss's" proposal of trading the dog for "Arliss's" horned frog and a good home-cooked meal.

Later that day, "Burn" takes "Travis" aside and warns him the there's a growing plague of hydrophobia (rabies) spreading in the county.

The family story will proceed to the climax, when their cow, "Rose" has rabies and "Travis" shoots her. As they're burning the body, a wolf attacks and "Old Yeller" goes for it, "Travis" shoots and kills the wolf, but not before it has bitten "Old Yeller" in the neck and his mother states that no healthy wolf would have attacked during a burning.

"Old Yeller" eventually develops rabies and in the heart-rendering sequence, "Travis" must kill the dog he loves.

"Jim Coates" returns to his family and learns what has happened. 

In the end "Travis" finally opens up to "Young Yeller", one of the puppies "Old Yellow" sired, as the puppy steals a piece of meat in the exact way his father did.

Fess Parker would next be seen on the dramatic television anthology series, "Playhouse 90", in "Turn Left at Mount Everest", co-starring with Peter Lorre, on April 3, 1958.

Fess Parker's last motion picture for Walter Elias Disney was:

THE LIGHT IN THE FOREST released on July 8, 1958

Fess Parker portrayed "Del Hardy". 

Wendell Corey portrayed "Wilse Owens". The last episode of Corey's, 1957 through 1958, television series, "Harbor Command", had just been seen on July 4th. He would follow this feature film with an episode of "Alfred Hitchcock's Presents", "Poison", on October 5, 1958.

Joanne Dru portrayed "Milly Elder". Dru had just co-starred with Lee Marvin, in "All I Survey", on the dramatic television anthology series, "General Electric Theater", February 2, 1958. She followed this feature film with 4th-billing in "Adventures of a Model", August 19, 1958, on televisions "Colgate Theatre".

James MacArthur portrayed "Johnny Butler/Lennaqui (True Son)". This was MacArthur's second motion picture and his fifth-on-screen appearance. For Walt Disney he would co-star with Michael Rennie and Janet Munro, in 1959's, "Third Man on the Mountain", in 1960, it was Robert Lewis Stevenson's, "Kidnapped", co-starring with Peter Finch, and also in 1960, James MacArthur joined Dorothy McGuire, John Mills, Janet Munro, Tommy Kirk, and Kevin Corcoran, in "Swiss Family Robinson". Later, from 1968 through 1979, James MacArthur portrayed "Detective Danny Williams", on the original television production of "Hawaii Five-O".

Carol Lynley
portrayed "Shenandoe". She had been seen five-times on television, this was her first motion picture. In 1959, Lynley co-starred with now teenage Brandon De Wilde, he had been the young boy in 1953's, western classic, "Shane", in the very controversial movie about teenage pregnancy, "Blue Denim". Lynley became a major star during the 1960's, and co-starred with Ann-Margaret, and Pamela Tiffin in the updating of the 1954, romance drama, "Three Coins in the Fountain", now called "The Pleasure Seekers". However, she is known for being one-half of the battling "Jean Harlow's", the other was Carroll Baker, to have their biographical film out first. My article is, "Jean Harlow: The 1965 Biographical Motion Picture Race", at:

Above, Carol Lynley and James MacArthur.

The setting is 1764 Pennsylvania, because of a peace-treaty, translated by a scout named "Del Hardy, a young white-boy raised by the Lenni Lenape (the Native-American name, the Delaware's was the white settlers namewill be forced back into the white-man's civilization he does not know.

"Chief Cuyloga", portrayed by Joseph Calleia, orders all white children released under the peace treaty. "True Son" does not want to leave the only family he has ever known, but "Chief Cuyloga" tells him he must. 

The group of white children raised by the Delaware are being led by "Del Hardy" back to the white community. In the case of "True Son", he will be taken to his biological father, "Harry Butler", portrayed by Frank Ferguson, and mother "Myra Butler", portrayed by Jessica Tandy.

On the way, "True Son" starts to eat a poisonous plant and attempts to kill himself, but "Del" and "True Son's" Delaware cousin, who is accompanying the two as far as he is permitted to go, stop him. "John Butler's" father meets them and takes his son home.

Above left to right, Fess Parker, Frank Ferguson, James MacArthur, and Jessica Tandy.

What follows is "True Son" struggling to become "John Butler" in a white-man's world and dealing with an uncle, "Wilse Owens", who from their first meeting, refers to "John" as a "dirty Indian!"

A young woman, of "John's" age, "Shenandoe", is employed by "Uncle Wilse", and is afraid of 
"True Son", because her parents were killed and scalped by Native-Americans. However, over time the two realize they have many things in common and fall in love. 

Another problem for "John Butler" is that "Uncle Wilse" wants "Shenandoe" for himself, and even in a Disney movie, is an obvious racist. 

While, "Del Hardy" meets "Milly Elder", and at one point, he admits to her, the idea of leaving the army and becoming a farmer.

However, both sides threaten the peace treaty, and Delaware's will be killed just because they're native Americans. While in revenge, some white's, including children, will be killed and scalped. "Chief Cuyoga" hates that and puts an end to reprisals. 

Everything will come to a head and get resolved, perhaps, it's a Disney movie, in a fist fight between "John Butler" and "Wilse Owens", witnessed by the community. The fist fight will end in the two shaking hands and "Wilse" remarking that "John is now a white-man".

Next, "Del" and "Milly" are together, and 'Shenandoe" and "John" go off to a local waterfall.

On October 10., 1958, Fess Parker appeared in "The Hasty Hanging", on the "Schlitz Playhouse", The title is misleading as this was a comedy.

THE HANGMAN premiered in New York City on March 5, 1959

This western was directed by Michael Curtiz. Among the other work of Curtiz is the first technicolor horror movie, 1932's, "Doctor X", starring Lionel Atwill and Fay Wray. A year later both actors were back in Curtiz's, the "Mystery of the Wax Museum (the original of 1953', "House of Wax"). In 1938, it was Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, in "The Adventures of Robin Hood", and in 1942, you had both James Cagney in "Yankee Doodle Dandy", and Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in "Casablanca".

Robert Taylor portrayed "Mackenzie Bovard aka: The Hangman". Taylor was just in the 1958, crime film-noir, "Party Girl", and followed this feature film with 1959, "Killers of Kilimanjaro".

Tina Louise portrayed "Selah Jennison". The actress had just co-starred with Richard Widmark and Lee J. Cobb, in 1959's, "The Trap". Louise followed this western with another, 1959's, "Day of the Outlaw", co-starring Robert Ryan and Burl Ives. She was still five-years-away from the first episode of televisions "Gilligan's Island".

Fess Parker portrayed "Sheriff Buck Weston".

Jack Lord portrayed "Johnny Bishop". Lord was just in the "Marriage Crisis", February 15, 1959, an episode of "The Loretta Young Show", and followed this picture with "The Jake Lingle Killing", October 29, 1959, on the television series, "The Untouchables". Three-years-later, Jack Lord would became the first actor to portray "Felix Leiter", opposite the first appearance of Sean Connery as "James Bond", in 1962's, "Dr. No", and he was nine-years away from portraying "Steve McGarrett", on televisions, "Hawaii Five-O",

The screenplay is based upon western writer Luke Short's short story, "Pull Your Freight".

"Deputy Marshal Mac Bovard", "The Hangman", has rounded-up three of four men suspected of robbing a bank that resulted in a murder. Two of the three have been hanged, the third is needed to identify "John Butterfield", a face that "Bovard" has never seen. Due to be hanged, the third man will not reveal the fourths identity, or give a description. "Bovard" knows that "Butterfield" was in the army at Fort Kenton, and goes there for information.

"The Hangman" believes that "Johnny Bishop" is actually "Butterfield", but he is well liked by even the commanding officer at Fort Kenton and the Marshal cannot get confirming information.

The friendly town Sheriff, "Buck Weston", also seems inclined to protect "Bishop", even if "Bovard" can prove he's "Butterfield".

Speaking to 'Butterfield's" former girlfriend, "Selah Jennison", and even offering her the $500 reward money, she refuses to help. She is currently the girlfriend of "Sheriff Buck Weston", who wants to marry "Selah", but as time progresses several things become clear. The first is that "Selah" is no longer "Buck's" girlfriend and is attracted to "Bovard".

The audience and "Selah" learn that "The Hangman" wanted to be a lawyer and was on his way with his brother to California. Their stage was robbed and for no reason his brother murdered. That event turned "Mackenzie Bovard" into "The Hangman".

In the end, "The Hangman" learns that "Bishop" is "Butterfield", but that he admits to holding the horses for the other men. However, he did not know they were going to rob the bank and was not part of the murder. "Mackenzie Bovard", not "The Hangman", deliberately misses shooting "Bishop" and lets him ride away.

"Buck" loses the woman he wanted to marry, and watches "Selah" and "Mackenzie Bovard" get on the stage to California. Where he will study law as he always intended too. 

On March 20 1959, Bob Hope and Rhonda Fleming co-starred in the western comedy, "Alias Jesse James". In which Bob Hope's, "Milford Farnsworth", is mistaken for Wendel Corey's, "Jesse James". 

At the climax, as it looks "Hopeless for Hope" against "Jesse" and his gang. 

Suddenly, Gary Cooper appears in a cameo to help him out.

"Coop" is followed by family friendly television western characters in quick cameo's. Each takes a shot at "Jesse's" gang to help Hope and Fleming.

James Arness is "Marshal Dillion" from "Gunsmoke":

Gail Davis
is televisions "Annie Oakley":

 Hugh O'Brien
is televisions "Wyatt Earp" from "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp":

Roy Rodgers from the "Roy Rodgers Show":

Jay Silverheels appears as "Tonto" from "The Long Ranger":

Ward Bond from "Wagon Train", and:

Fess Parker as "Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier".

THE JAYHAWKERS released October 15, 1959

Jeff Chandler
portrayed "Luke Darcy", the character is considered to be based upon abolitionist John Brown. Chandler had just been seen with Jack Palance in director Robert Aldrich's, 1959, "Ten Seconds to Hell", about ex-Nazi soldiers defusing unexploded allied bombs in post-Second World War Berlin. He followed this feature film with the 1960, western, "The Plunderers". 

Fess Parker portrayed "Cam Bleeker". 

Nicole Maurey portrayed "Jeanne Dubois". French actress Maurey had just co-starred with Sir Alec Guinness and Bette Davis in Daphne du Maurier's, "The Scapegoat", released in 1959. She followed this motion picture co-starring with Robert Taylor, in 1959's, "The House of the Seven Hawks".

This is an excellent and overlooked drama set in pre-Civil War Kansas. 

"Cam Bleeker" led his own raiders in Kansas, but was caught and sent to prison. He breaks out and heads for his home, to find it sold to "Jeanne Dubois" and her two young children.

Outside of the house is the grave of "Bleeker's" wife, she died under mysterious circumstances, and the grave of "Mrs. Dubois's" husband, who was murdered by "Missouri Redleg" raiders just after the family bought the farm six-months prior.

"Mrs. Dubois" can't run the farm herself, could turn "Cam" in for the large reward, but asks instead for him to stay and help her run his old farm. 

However, the local Sheriff discovers "Bleeker" is at his old farm, and government soldiers take "Cam" away. 

"Cam Bleeker" is brought not back to prison, but before "Governor William Clayton", portrayed by Herbert Rudley, and offered a deal for a full-pardon. Anyway "Cam" wants, bring the leader of the "Jayhawkers", "Luke Darcy", a would-be dictator of the state of Kansas, to justice. "Bleeker" isn't interested until the governor reveals it was "Darcy", a known seducer of women, who destroyed "Cam's" wife. "Cam Bleeker" now agrees, but is warned, that "Governor Clayton" wants "Luke Darcy" alive!

"Bleeker" comes upon a hanging party of some of "Darcy's" men and manages to get one away. They head into a town taken over by "Luke Darcy" and "Cam Bleeker" is able to demonstrate his fighting skills and convinces the other to make him a member of his gang.

Above, Jeff Chandler with Henry Silva portraying "Lordan".

"Darcy" at first is wary of the new man, but as his wariness about who "Cam" might be wears off, "Darcy" describes how he goes about his war on Kansas. As he speaks, he reveals what happened to "Bleeker's" wife and other women. "Luke Darcy" tells "Cam Bleeker" that:
To me a woman is like a wine, something to be enjoyed. When it's over and there's nothing left in the bottle, you must throw it away and find another.

During a raid at Knight's Crossing, a town near "Bleeker's" farm, on horseback, one of "Darcy's" men runs over "Jeanne Dubois's" daughter.

"Jeanne Dubois" is enraged with "Cam's" complicity with "Luke Darcy", but the two take her daughter to a doctor and, next, "Bleeker" goes to see the governor to set a trap for the would-be Kansas dictator. "Cam" returns to "Luke" with news of a train loaded with gold heading for Abilene. "Darcy" is told that the gold is worth a million dollars and enough to win a war for Kansas. "Cam's" plan is to have the "Jayhawkers" infiltrate Abilene peacefully, before the train is due in and cover the train stop with hidden "Jayhawkers".

To keep "Darcy" interested, "Cam's" new accomplice is "Jeanne". The men are ready to go to Abilene and "Cam" informs "Luke" and "Jeanne" that it's now time to leave to start our new lives. "Darcy" remarks not to worry about him, he's got what he wants, KANSAS!

However, "Cam Bleeker" knows that "Luke Darcy" has a fear of hanging and decides to break his agreement with "Governor Clayton" and face "Luke" himself. Before he reaches the saloon that contains many of the "Jayhawkers" and now "Darcy". "Lordan" arrives, after finding out about the trap and informs "Luke". As "Cam Bleeker" enters the saloon, "Darcy" tells his men to get out of town and that includes the reluctant "Lordan", who wants to kill "Cam".

"Cam Bleeker" and "Luke Darcy" first get into a fist fight and "Bleeker" wins. As "Cam Bleeker" seems to start to take "Luke Darcy" outside to face the gallows. "Darcy" remarks about the imminent carnival of a hanging. To which, "Bleeker" tells him he talks too much. Instead of a hanging, "Cam" decides on an honest gun duel between the two as the solution to "Luke's" fear.

"Luke Darcy" is killed, but "Cam" wonders, if he didn't miss hitting him deliberately? "Governor Clayton" approaches "Cam Bleeker", who gives him the reason for the gun duel, and gets this reply:

Bleeker, you don't know why you couldn't let him hang, and I don't know why I'm letting you go free. But I've got a feeling we're both right.

On January 18, 1960, Fess Parker married Marcella Belle Rinehart. Over their years together she would also be known as "Marcy Parker". They would have two children, Fess Elisha Parker, III., and Ashley Allan Rinehart.

On April 17, 1960, Fess Parker appeared on the anthology series, the "General Electric Theater". The episode was produced by Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball, entitled "Aftermath". It ran 22-minutes, and was a proposed pilot for a new television series, "The Code of Jonathan West", played by Parker. The program was directed by Jacques Tourneur, producer Val Lewton's, 1942, "Cat People", and 1943's, "I Walk with a Zombie", and 1957's, "Night of the Demon" aka: "Curse of the Demon".

Some lists of Fess Parker's on-screen work, list "Aftermath" twice, once on "General Electric Theater", and for some reason, once as a feature film in starred in.

The actor now was in one of the most realistic Second World War motion pictures made to date and with a very interesting group of actors.

HELL IS FOR HEROES released on June 26, 1962

The feature film was directed by Don Siegel, who six-years-earlier had brought McCarthyism to the science fiction movie screen. Siegel denied he did that, but critics said otherwise about his 1956, "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". In 1958, Don Siegel had cast Audie Murphy in the third filmed version of author Ernest Hemmingway's, "To Have and Have Not", entitled, "The Gun Runners". My look at the Hemmingway story is, "Ernest Hemmingway's 'To Have and Have Not' on the Motion Picture Screen and on Radio", at:

Steve McQueen portrayed "Reese". His television series, "Wanted Dead, or Alive", had its final episode on March 29, 1961, and he had just been seen in the 1961 comedy, "The Honeymoon Machine". McQueen would follow this motion picture with another Second World War picture, 1962's, "The War Lover", and would stay in that war for 1963's, "The Great Escape".

Bobby Darin portrayed "Private Colby". Singer Darin had just co-starred with Pat Boone, Pamela Tiffin, and Ann-Margaret, in the 1962 film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's, "State Fair". Darin followed this feature film portraying an American Nazi who is assigned to an African-American prison psychologist, portrayed by Sidney Poitier, in Stanley Kramer's, 1962, "Pressure Point".

Fess Parker portrayed "Sergeant Pike". 

Harry Guardino portrayed "Sergeant Larkin". He had just been in the post Second World War comedy, 1962's, "The Pidgeon That Took Rome", starring Charlton Heston and Elsa Martinelli, and for the next two-years appeared on different television programs.

Nick Adams portrayed "Homer Janeczek". The last episode of Adams's television series "The Rebel" was on June 18, 1961 and until this motion picture, he was appearing on different television series. He followed this motion picture as one of the young cast members of the 1962 medical drama, "The Interns".

Bob Newhart, was "Introduced" portraying "Private Driscoll". To be fair, Newhart had been appearing as a stand-up comedian on televisions "The Ed Sullivan Show" since October 2, 1960.

James Coburn portrayed "Corporal Henshaw". Coburn had been appearing on different television series since 1953, and along with Steve McQueen, was one of 1960's, "The Magnificent Seven", this was only his second motion picture. After returning to television, in 1963, James Coburn would rejoin McQueen and take part in 1963's, "The Great Escape".

A squad of the 95th Infantry Division must hold a position against an entire German company for 48-hours on the "Siegfried Line". This is not only an excellent war action film, but a character study of each man and how each must interact within the squad, or they all fail.

On October 17, 1939, producer and director Frank Capra, released "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington", starring Jean Arthur, and James Stewart.

One-month shy of 23-years since the motion pictures release, Fess Parker starred in the television series, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington".

James Stewart had portrayed the unmarried "Jefferson 'Jeff' Smith", Fess Parker portrayed the married "Eugene Smith".

Jean Arthur
had portrayed "Smith's Secretary", "Clarissa Saunders", Sandra Warner portrayed "Smith's wife", "Pat Smith". Warner's on-screen career from 1954 through 1967, consisted of only 33-roles. She started out portraying "Twin Stripper #2", in "The Human Jungle", a crime film-noir starring Gary Merrill, Jan Sterling, and Regis Toomey, and ended her career portraying a "Waitress", in the crime drama, "Point Blank", starring Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson, and Keenan Wynn.

"Mr. Smith Goes to Washington" consisted of only 25-episodes and was on television from September 29, 1962 through March 23, 1963.

On November 8, 1963, Fess Parker was 3rd-billed in "Nothing Ever Happens in Linvale", on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour", starring Gary Merrill and Phyliss Thaxter.

Above left to right, George Furth portraying "Charlie", Fess Parker portraying "Sheriff Ben Wister", and Gary Merrill portraying "Harry Jarvis".

Also in 1963, Fess Parker took to the legitimate stage in a traveling production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma", portraying the leading role of "Curly".

Next, was an appearance on the western television series "Destry". It was about the son of "Tom Destry", from "Destry Rides Again", "Harrison Destry", portrayed by John Gavin. Fess Parker was in episode two, "Destry Had a Little Lamb", shown on February 21, 1964. The program only lasted for 11 more episodes.

In 1964, Fess Parker was looking for business and financial partners for his "Frontier Worlds", a "Davy Crockett" style amusement park. Parker had optioned land in northern Kentucky, but the deal fell through. Apparently, also in 1964, the Taft Broadcasting Company, of Cincinnati, Ohio, announced plans to build the "Kings Island" amusement park, less than a two-hour drive from Fess Parker's optioned land. "Kings Island" didn't open until April 29, 1972.

After his April 3, 1964 appearance on Gene Barry's television series "Burke's Law", "Who Killed WHO IV?"

Television audiences saw Fess Parker wearing the familiar coonskin cap, but not as "Davy Crockett", the actor was now:


Season One, Episode One, was entitled "Ken-Tuck-E", first shown on Sepatember 24, 1964. There would be another 164-episodes, ending with "Israel and Love", on May 7, 1970.

Fess Parker's main supporting case included:

Patricia Blair portraying Daniel's wife, "Rebecca Boone", for 118-episodes. In 1956, billed as Patricia Blake, her birth name was Patsy Lou Blake, she was the heroine of "The Black Sleep". A cult low-budget horror entry, starring Basil Rathbone, Akim Tamiroff, Lon Chaney, Jr., Bela Lugosi, and John Carradine. On television she was "Goldy", on "Yancy Derringer", in 1959, and "Lou Mallory", on "The Rifleman", 1962 through 1963.

Darby Hinton portrayed Daniel's son, "Israel Boone", for 110-episodes. He started on-screen in 1962, and was an uncredited "Little Boy", in producer and director George Pal's, Cinerama feature, "The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm". After switching to television in the uncredited role of "Rocky - a little boy", in an episode of the television series "Mr. Ed", in 1963. Darby Hinton stayed with television appearances leading to this role.

Dallas "Dal" McKennon" portrayed the innkeeper, "Cincinnatus", for 81-episodes. Don't know the name? He started out as a voice actor for Walt Disney, as the "Donkey's", in 1940's, "Pinocchio". In 1955, he voiced the dog's, "Toughy" and "Pedro", in "Lady and the Tramp". Dal provided animal voices in 1959's, "Sleeping Beauty", and voiced a bear in 1971's, "Bedknobs and Brooksticks". For Walter Lantz, he was "Buzz Buzzard" and other voices in "The Woody Woodpecker" cartoon series between 1952 and 1972. He was the voice of "Archie" in several animated series and both "Gumby" and "Pokey". Not to forget his live action roles such as "The Projectionist" in director William Castle's, 1959, "The Tingler", or the "First Juror", in Walt Disney's, 1962, "Son of Flubber". 

Ed Ames portrayed "Mingo", for 72-episodes. Pop-singer Ed Ames started out with his brothers as the 1940's singing group "The Ames Brothers". His parents migrated from the Ukraine to Massachusetts. Like many a non-Native American Hollywood actor, see my link under "Westward Ho the Wagons", he portrayed the Native-American, Cherokee, "Mingo", his most known acting role.

Veronica Cartwright portrayed "Jemima Boone", for 37-episodes. Bristol England, born Cartwright started out with an uncredited role in the Robert Wagner, Dana Wynter, and Jeffrey Hunter, 1958, Second World War movie, "In Love and War". Then started making the American television rounds, including the 1962, "Twilight Zone" episode, "I Sing the Body Electric". A short break from TV, and Veronica was "Cathy Brenner", in director Alfred Hitchcock's, 1963, "The Birds". After which, she returned to television. In 1978, Veronica Cartwright portrayed "Nancy Bellicec" in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers", and followed the role by portraying "Lambert", 1979's, "Alien". A change from science fiction happened with 1983's, "The Right Stuff", portraying "Betty Grissom", and then it was back to television.

There were three semi-regulars:

Albert Salmi portrayed "Yadin", for 20-episodes.


Ex-NFL "Giants" and "RAMS" player, Roosevelt "Rosey" Grier portrayed "Gabe Cooper" for 16-episodes.

Country/Western singer Jimmy Dean portrayed "Josh Clements" for 15-episodes.

Others of the over 300-actors that spanned motion picture history, and may have appeared in only one episode in the series were Kurt Russell, Jim Davis, Ted de Corsia, Cesar Romero, Robert Cornthwaite, Jay Silverheels, Forest Tucker, Ida Lupino, who also directed, Torin Thatcher, Burl Ives, Gene Evans, Michael Ansara, Rhodes Reason, Alan Napier, James Doohan, Jeff Morrow, Whit Bissell, John Carradine, Jim Backus, Leslie Nielsen, Lloyd Nolan, Aldo Ray, Barbara Bel Geddes, Shelley Fabares, Ethel Waters and Vincent Price.

Above, actor George Sanders portraying "Colonel Roger Barr", believes he has the drop on Fess Parker, in Season 2, Episode 19, "Crisis by Fire".

Being "Daniel Boone" didn't stop Fess Parker from looking toward other work.

There was a 1926 novel, entitled, "Smoky the Cowhorse", by Will James.

In 1933, Victor Jory portrayed "Clint Peters", in the first film adaptation of the novel. The title was reduced to just one word, "Smoky", and was made by William Fox's, Fox Film Corporation.

In 1946, the now, 20th Century Fox, decided to update the story and Fred MacMurray, portrayed the renamed, "Clint Barkley".

Twenty-years after the Fred MacMurray version, 20th Century Fox decided to make a third version of the novel. On August 3, 1966, Fess Parker was seen as "Clint Barkley"

The main production problem, to cut costs, the studio did not update the story and just remade the 1946 screenplay. Not one word, or scene was changed. The 1946 motion picture screenplay was dated and the picture lost money. To just break even, the picture needed to make $2,100,000, but only cleared $1,675,000.

On March 17, 1970, Season 19, Episode 25, of "The Red Skelton Hour", Fess Parker did a cameo appearance once again as "Davy Crockett". That episode had a typically Red Skelton, comedic title, with apologies to director Raoul Walsh and stars Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, for 1942's, "They Died with Their Boots On".

The episode's title was a mouthful: 


However, Fess Parker was now two appearances away from ending his on-screen career.

CLIMB AN ANGRY MOUNTAIN made for television and first shown on December 23, 1972

The names on the above Warner Brothers DVD collection cover, has moved Stella Stevens's role of "Sheila Chilko", from her actual 6th-billing in the made-for-television movie to 3rd, for more salable name recognition. Barry Nelson's role of "New York Police Detective Frank Bryant", has been moved from 4th-billing to 2nd. While, Fess Parker remains with 1st-billing portraying "Sheriff Elisha Cooper".

The actual 2nd-billing belonged to actress Marj Dusay, portraying "May Franklin". Character actor, Arthur Hunnicutt, had the actual 3rd-billing in this television production, portraying "Sunny".

Otherwise, the picture is a typical story about a pursuit of a Native American fugitive, "Joey Chilko", portrayed by Joe Kapp, by a New York Police Officer. Who needs the help of the local Sheriff to climb Mount Shasta. Of course, the two don't get along over how to accomplish the capture, because the New York Police Lieutenant is completely out of his element and won't admit he needs "Sheriff Cooper's" help.

On March 28, 1974, the pilot for "The Fess Parker Show", premiered, but was not picked up. Fess Parker portrayed "Fess Hamilton", who recently has been widowed and must put up with three festy daughters. 

One has to think this was nothing more than a revision of the old Fred MacMurray television show, "My Three Sons".

According to Fess,

In 1988, Fess Parker purchased the 714-acre Foxen Canyon Ranch in Los Olivos, in the Santa Ynez Valley, of Santa Barbara Country, California:

His plan was to run cattle, plant a few acres of vineyards, and perhaps, someday, establish a small winery. His dream was to a family business that he could pass on to future generations.


Fess Parker more than succeeded in that dream. 

However, after 50-years of marriage, fans, like myself, whose parents bought them one of those first coonskin caps, and followed his adventures first on "Disneyland", and then on the big motion picture screen, lost our, "Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier", and "Daniel Boone", on March 18, 2010. May he Rest in Peace.


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