Archive for the ‘Disney’ Category

Daniel B lunchbox

Since starting this blog and allowing myself to really wallow in 50s Westerns, it’s been interesting to note how many of the 50s Western “practitioners” made the move to television in the 50s and into the 60s. For them, it probably wasn’t a real decision — they simply went where the work was.

Daniel Boone (1964-70) is one of the programs that really benefited from the Western pedigree of its cast and crew. Boone was developed to leverage Fess Parker’s incredible popularity as Disney’s Davy Crockett. Fact is, the show was to be about Crockett, but Disney wouldn’t give up the rights.

Parker at Boone Forest

Shout Factory has released the show’s first season in a 6-disc Collector’s Edition — 29 episodes with bonus material. Making your way through the set, you’re immediately struck by the familiar names and faces. This first season, the only one not in color, supplements its regular cast — Parker, Patricia Blair, Albert Salmi, Ed Ames, etc. — with the likes of Claude Akins, Dan Duryea, James H. Griffith, Jay Silverheels, Robert J. Wilke, Michael Pate, John McIntire and Hank Worden. Directors include Joseph H. Lewis, George Sherman, Thomas Carr, Nathan Juran and George Marshall — who all some some outstanding 50s Westerns.  The first episode, “Ken-Tuck-E,” directed by Marshall, was written by Borden Chase and shot by Carl Guthrie. Quite an impressive bunch.

The set looks terrific, with print quality varying a bit from episode to episode — but solid overall. The extra stuff is well done. And as for the shows themselves, I’ve always felt this first season was stronger than what came later. But you know, Parker’s so likable, that hardly seems important. Recommended.

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Raleigh and much of the rest of North Carolina are still reeling from Saturday’s tornadoes. It breaks your heart to see all the destruction and hear of the lives and homes lost, but it’s great to watch people bouncing back, helping each other out and just generally being Good.

With all this going on, I keep thinking about Melody Time (1948), the Disney feature that gave us the “Pecos Bill” sequence — tied with Ichabod And Mr. Toad (1949) for my all-time favorite Disney animated thing. But what Pecos has that Toad lacks is Roy Rogers and The Sons Of The Pioneers, who sing of Pecos showing a tornado just who’s boss:

“Once he roped a raging cyclone out of nowhere
Then he straddled it and settled down with ease
And while that cyclone bucked and flitted
Pecos rolled a smoke and lit it
And he tamed that ornery wind down to a breeze”

Raleigh sure coulda used Bill last Saturday.

The wonderful Pecos Bill record, complete with MP3s and original artwork, was featured as part of the Kiddie Records Weekly project. Here. He’s Week 15. As a kid, I played this LP (a Camden re-issue with Johnny Appleseed on the other side) till the grooves were practically gone. (Explains a lot, I guess.) Go get it, folks!

As a true corrupter of youth, I felt compelled to search out an image of Pecos with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.

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I’m getting tired of writing these posts.

Fess Parker — Walt Disney’s Davy Crockett and later TV’s Daniel Boone — has passed away at 85. Before those iconic roles, he appeared in The Bounty Hunter (1954, starring Randolph Scott) and the giant-ant masterpiece Them! (also ’54). It was in the later picture that Walt first saw him.

Parker was considered for the part in The Searchers (1956) that went to Jeffrey Hunter, but Disney was hesitant to loan him out in the middle of the Crockett craze. Fess told Michael Barrier that story (and others) in an excellent interview.

The title card above is for the feature Davy Crockett, King Of The Wild Frontier (1955), edited from the first three Crockett episodes of Disneyland.

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On vacation in Orlando, Florida. At Disney World last night, I passed by Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn & Cafe. It’s one of WDW’s better quick-service places (though I didn’t eat there this trip). It reminded me just how wonderful the Pecos Bill segment of Melody Time (1948) is. The early scenes — with Roy Rogers and The Sons Of The Pioneers singing “Blue Shadows On The Trail” around the campfire in an animated desert — I’ve always thought were jaw-droppingly beautiful.

However, even as a six-year-old — when I wore out the soundtrack record — I found it weird that a goofy-looking guy like Bill could land a dish like Slewfoot Sue.

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