Daniel Boone- Review of a Classic Television Show

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An American Hero

The wild frontier of America long before it was settled was rough and terrifying to those who tried to conquer the untamed land. Our history books only begin to tell the story of those brave people who led the way. Back in the late 1700s during the Revolutionary Wartime lived a man talked about for his bravery as he made his way across the great Mississippi Valley and settled in a place called Kentucky. His name was Daniel Boone. Daniel Boone was born in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania. His family traveled to North Carolina when he was sixteen. He got married at twenty three and raised ten children. At the age of thirty five he headed to the Kentucky wilderness with his brother and a friend, John Finley. He battled the British, Native Americans and the elements of a dense wilderness all while trying to protect his pioneer family. He blazed the way for thousands to follow him through the Cumberland Gap from Virginia on into Kentucky. They called it the Wilderness Trail. What a man. What a big man. Daniel Boone certainly deserved his spot in the history books.

Bringing History to Life With a Bit of Fiction

What better a story line for a television show than a true hero exploring the wilderness and saving a town so named for him (Boonesborough)? Perhaps a little fiction mixed in with what history knows about him would keep an audience entertained. After all it was based on a true story. In 1964, Daniel Boone was aired on NBC. Heroism brought to an all time high as a bit of facts became the setting for a great story to unfold. Daniel Boone (Fess Parker), his wife Rebecca (Patricia Blair), his teenage daughter Jemima (Veronica Cartwright) and younger son Israel (Darby Hinton) became America’s frontier family for a full hour every week. Toss in some sidekicks like Yadkin (Albert Salmi), Cincinnatus (Dallas McKennon) and Mingo (Ed Ames) and the drama soars to bring us a little bit of history which fascinated many not so inclined to be interested in the history lesson before. Who is to say the writers aren’t right on target with some of their storyline? So what, if the real life Daniel Boone was not known to wear a coon skin cap as some of the history books tell, perhaps this added bit of information made for a better character reference. After all when we think of coon skin caps, we may just remember Daniel Boone.

Daniel Boone: 1964-1970

Daniel Boone’s pilot, Ken-Tuck-E, begins with Daniel and his friend Yadkin being sent by George Washington to find a site for a fort in the wilderness of Kentucky. This was years before Kentucky became a state. The two battle Shawnee and Cherokee along the way. Mingo, a Cherokee brave becomes Daniel's friend after Daniel helps defend him from Shawnee. Mingo helps Daniel find a good spot for the fort. This leads way to the friendship Daniel had with not only the Cherokee companion he depended on, but it also brought light to his relationship with other native nations both good and bad.

The last episode leaves us with, Israel and Love in 1970s season six. Israel falls in love with a girl named Brea. Brea’s father was a man who has taken to drink after losing interest in his once skilled craft as a wood carver. This made for a touching way to see these adventures to a close. Six seasons of watching Israel grow up into a fine young man gave a family tie in drama so salt by for a general audience.

Six Seasons of Family Entertainment

Six seasons of action packed hour long adventures bringing a new aspect to the way we view history. Fiction perhaps dominated real happenings, but most were welcome as we viewed each episode with a feel of closeness to America’s past. Perhaps if all American legends were viewed as adventures in the comfort of our own living rooms our love for knowing America’s history would be wide spread.

As with most of the classic television shows, Daniel Boone, was well liked by both young and old. It was a western in its own rights even though the subject never got any further west than the Mississippi Valley. The wilderness was the backdrop of many fine western sagas.

Many of the fine cast of Daniel Boone is no longer with us and yet we honor them still today for giving us a glimpse of their talents in films. Channels like Retro TV are still airing the show and DVDs are available. This year the Memphis Film Festival will honor this classic with two of its cast members there to represent Daniel Boone. Veronica Cartwright and Darby Hinton will be making appearances and autograph signings. This is a chance to meet the children stars of the show.

http://www.memphisfilmfestival.com/

Lyrics by Vera Matson, Music by Lionel Newman


(Copyright 1964, 1966 Twentieth Century Music Corporation, New York, NY)

Daniel Boone was a man,
Yes, a big man!
With an eye like an eagle
And as tall as a mountain was he!

Daniel Boone was a man,
Yes, a big man!
He was brave, he was fearless
And as tough as a mighty oak tree!

From the coonskin cap on the top of ol' Dan
To the heel of his rawhide shoe;
The rippin'est, roarin'est, fightin'est man
The frontier ever knew!

Daniel Boone was a man,
Yes, a big man!
And he fought for America
To make all Americans free!

What a Boone! What a doer!
What a dream come-er-true-er was he!

Daniel Boone was a man!
Yes, a big man!
With a whoop and a holler
he c'd mow down a forest of trees!

Daniel Boone was a man!
Yes, a big man!
If he frowned at a river
In July all the water would freeze!

But a peaceable, pioneer fella was Dan
When he smiled all the ice would thaw!
The singin'est, laughin'est, happiest man
The frontier ever saw!

Daniel Boone was a man!
Yes, a big man!
With a dream of a country that'd
Always forever be free!

What a Boone! What a do-er!
What a dream-come-er-true-er was he!


Fess Parker will always be remembered for his role as Daniel Boone. Here’s a link to a memorial site of interest: http://www.fessparker.com/html/american_hero.html

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Comments 4 comments

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Nice review of the TV show Daniel Boone.Boone is part of our folklore as well as a historical person.


Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 4 years ago from Potter County, Pa. Author

Thanks, dahoglund. I think they should make more shows about someone in our history books.


DREAM ON profile image

DREAM ON 4 years ago

I grew up watching him as a young boy in reruns.Years later when off the air he was really missed.Thanx for the great information and you brought back my fun childhood.


Diana Lee profile image

Diana Lee 4 years ago from Potter County, Pa. Author

Childhood memories are dear to me and these old classics always send me back to recall them. Thank-you, Dream on.

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