Daniel Boone, Television Style

by Guy Belleranti
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A number of legendary figures from history have been depicted in television programs. One of them was Daniel Boone.

Running from 1964 to 1970 on NBC, the television series Daniel Boone featured Fess Parker in the title role. A decade earlier Parker had played the part of folk hero Davy Crockett. Now, as Daniel Boone he was once again portraying a legendary figure. The program was popular among the boys, with many singing along to the lyrics "Daniel Boone was a man, yes a big man..."

Daniel Boone's producers and directors definitely tried to recapture Parker's Davy Crockett popularity. His Daniel Boone character even wore the same style coonskin cap despite the fact Boone is said to have never worn such a cap. Indeed, many liberties were taken at the expense of historical accuracy, but then that's true with most television and movie productions.

Daniel Boone may not have been the smash that the earlier Davy Crockett was, but the program was still pretty successful as is demonstrated by its six year 165 episode run. All in all it was an entertaining family drama, and Parker's Boone displayed integrity, honesty and courage.

Daniel Boone was set in the 1770's just before and during the time of the American Revolution. Much of the action centered in and around Boonesborough, Kentucky (an actual place founded by the real Boone).

In addition to Parker, other cast members included:

Ed Ames as Boone's college educated American Indian friend Mingo. Ames had previously made a name for himself on stage and as a part of the singing Ames Brothers.
Patricia Blair as Boone's wife, Rebecca
Darby Hinton as son, Israel

Veronica Cartwright played Boone's daughter Jemima for a while, vanishing from the series sometime during the second season. Also appearing in the first season was Albert Salmi as Boone's friend Yadkin. And when Ed Ames left the program after season four, actor and former NFL star Roosevelt "Rosey" Grier made a number of appearances as a former slave named Gabe Cooper.

Other recurring characters included Dal McKennon as tavern keeper Cincinnatus (1964-68), Robert Logan as Jericho Jones (1965-66) and Jimmy Dean (founder of "Jimmy Dean Pure Pork Sausage") as trapper Josh Clements (1968-70).

Some of the guest stars included Walter Pidgeon, George Kennedy, Burl Ives, Cesar Romero, Michael Ansara, Slim Pickens, Jay Silverheels (Tonto on The Lone Ranger) and a teen-aged Kurt Russell.

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