The “Ballad” of Fess Parker
You may not know him as Fess Parker, but you most certainly know him as Davy Crockett: king of the wild frontier.
Fess Parker was born in Forth Worth, Texas on August 16, 1924. Fess got a degree in Law and Business Administration at the University of Texas and graduated in 1950. He moved to Los Angeles to become an actor and studied drama at USC. His film debut was in a movie called “Untamed Frontier.” Little did he know that a few years later, he’d be living in that frontier for quite some time.
Fess was signed to a studio contract in 1954 after Walt saw him in the sci-fi film “Them!” During his contract he started in frontier-facing Disney films such as “Westward Ho the Wagons!” “The Great Locomotive chase,” “Old Yeller”, and “The Light in the Forest”.
However, his most famous role was that of Davy Crockett. He appeared as Davy for a three-part television show: “Davy Crockett Indian Fighter,” “Davy Crockett Goes to Congress”, and “Davy Crockett at the Alamo”. Then when Disneyland opened in July of 1955, he became a celebrity over night by being broadcast over the grand opening’s live TV special.
Fess went on to become “Daniel Boone” in the television series of the same name. He starred as Boone for six years before retiring in 1973 from the entertainment industry. Nevertheless, Fess was still active in new frontiers. He founded the Fess Parker Family Winery and Vineyards located in Los Olivos, California. He always kept a special part of his heart for Disney though. He was named a Disney Legend in 1991 and was honored with a window at Disneyland Park on December 15, 2004 during the 50th anniversary of the premiere of the Davy Crockett television show that got him started all that time ago.
Fess died in March 2010, but remains the king of Frontierland and symbol of adventure for the world that aims to go into new places for that adventure.
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(via Disney Parks Blog)
We’re continuing the Main Street USA window series at Disneyland in the new year in hopes it’ll give you new or greater appreciation for the people that helped make the Disney magic we see every year! Click HERE to see previous window stories.