TV's 'Davy Crockett' dies
Actor Fess Parker parlayed fame into other careers
When he was cast as TV's "Davy Crockett" in the 1950's, actor Fess Parker had $300 in the bank. At the time of his death this week, at age 85, Parker had several successful businesses under his belt.
Fess Parker's fame as the 'King of the Wild Frontier' set off a craze for coonskin caps in the 1950s.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Parker was 29 years old actor in 1954 when Walt Disney cast him to play the lead in a three-part saga about Crockett. The six-foot, six-inch tall Parker was an easygoing man with a Texas drawl who clicked immediately with TV audiences.
His popularity set off a widespread fad for coonskin caps that his character wore. It's estimated that more than 10 million caps were sold in the U.S. during the 1950s. Parker's fame as TV's "King of the Wild Frontier" also sparked off a buying frenzy of toy "Old Betsy" rifles, buckskin shirts, T-shirts ... virtually any item with Davy Crockett's name attached.
"It was an explosion beyond anyone's comprehension. The power of television, which was still new, was demonstrated for the first time," Parker would remark in a later interview.
"Why, by the time the first show finally got on the air, we were already shooting the third one and calmly killing Davy off at the Alamo. It became one of the biggest overnight hits in TV history, and there we were with just three films and a dead hero."
Parker is survived by his wife of 50 years, many children, 11 grandchildren and one great grandchild.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
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