Fess Parker the popular star of the Disney's wildly popular DAVY CROCKETT and TV's DANIEL BOONE , has died at the age of 85 of natural causes. Fess Parker's character became such a hit in the 1950's that Disney was able to market more than $300 million of DAVY CROCKETT merchandise in 1955 such as raccoon skin style "coon skin" hats and other merchandise. Fess Parker's characters were pure marketing gold for Disney, and the largest movie or TV related merchandising bonanzas for that time. Kids in the 50's wanted to own all things DAVY CROCKETT in those days.
Fess Parker's DANIEL BOONE TV series was also a huge hit, and ran six seasons from 1964 until 1970. Popular singer Ed Ames played the Native American sidekick, Mingo, in most of the series. For the Fall 1965 season, the series was broadcast by NBC in their new "living color" system. During the 1969-70 season, former NFL football great, Roosevelt Grier, made a series of regular appearances in the series as a new character.
Fess Parker seemed a natural actor for both the DAVY CROCKETT and DANIEL BOONE roles. He was one of the greatest Western style actors of all time. During the 50's and 60's, Westerns were wildly popular, and Fess Parker's roles as an early pioneering type of Western actor seemed tailor-made for audience tastes in those days.
Life for Fess Parker after DANIEL BOONE involved developing a top-notch family vineyard winery with fine quality wines sold in better wine shops. Fess Parker continued to sell coon skin caps as well.
Interestingly, the real life Daniel Boone actually disliked coon skin caps, and instead wore felt hats. However, coon skin caps were once very popular among White settlers to the United States as hunting caps. Originally, the coon skin cap was a Native American Indian clothing item, however White settlers loved the style and quickly adopted it for themselves.