August 16, 1927
Disney Legend Fess Parker is Born
Although it didn't happen on a mountaintop in Tennessee, it was on this day in 1927 that Fess Parker was born in Fort Worth, Texas, a man who would become synonymous with the "king of the wild frontier." And incidentally, tomorrow marks the birthday of the real-life Davy Crockett, whom Fess portrayed beginning in 1954. While he had a successful film and television career, including several movies for Disney, as well as great success with his Fess Parker Winery, it was his role as Davy Crockett that started a national craze and for which he is best remembered. From pajamas to lunchboxes to coloring books, Fess as Davy was everywhere. Replicas of his trademark coonskin cap were the most popular of the merchandise, and Fess' original coonskin cap remains on display at the Disney Archives. Shortly before he passed away, Fess published a letter for his fans on his website that acknowledged how grateful he was for his life well lived and the millions of fans who appreciated his talents. "From the moment Davy Crockett was released, my life changed in ways I could never have imagined and I can honestly tell you that I have never once taken the experience for granted," he said. "For the better part of 55 years I have been on the receiving end of the experience of a lifetime and I am grateful for your continued appreciation and enjoyment of the films and support of our family projects."