Monday, August 17, 2015

Happy Birthday, Davy Crockett!

Can you name the US Representative from Tennessee who battled against President Andrew Jackson, then lost a re-election bid so moved to the Mexican state of Tejas to help fight for its freedom? Of course you can!

Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, was born on this date in 1786 in Greene County, Tennessee. In 1826 when he was 40 years old he was elected to the US Congress. He opposed President Andrew Jackson, specifically on the Indian Removal Act. He lost his re-election bid in 1834, retiring from Congress in 1835. He was killed at The Alamo when it was over-run by General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna on March 6, 1836.
Of course, he lives on in popular culture. From 1954-1955 he was the star of five hugely popular Walt Disney television movies starring Fess Parker. At that time, four separate versions of "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" hit the Billboard chart, with the version by Bill Hayes going all the way to Number One. It stayed at the top of the chart for  4 weeks in Spring 1955. Fess Parker's version hit #6, Tennessee Ernie Ford's version hit #4, and Mac Wiseman's version hit #10.
According to legend, composer George Bruns and lyricist Thomas W. Blackburn were asked to come up with an opening theme for the Davy Crockett TV-movies at the last minute. They knocked out "The Ballad...." within 24 hours; it became their biggest hit.
Besides Fess Parker, John Wayne himself portrayed the frontier hero in the 1960 movie The Alamo. In the 2004 remake of this film, Billy Bob Thornton portrayed him.

For a summary of Davy Crockett's life, check out The History Channel page.

And because today is Music Monday, here are the four versions of "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" from 1955. Which is your favorite?

Bill Hayes went all the way to Number One. 

Fess Parker's version 

Tennessee Ernie Ford's version 

Mac Wiseman's version

1 comment:

  1. I cannot let John and Zach watch Fess Parker as Davy Crockett. Daniel Boone is their favorite show and their 10-year-old brains would freak out. They never quite got over seeing "Barney Fife" in the "Apple Dumpling Gang" and "The Incredible Mr. Limpet."