Fess Parker

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Fess Parker (1924-2010) talks about his childhood in Texas and his eventual journey to Hollywood after a visit during his military service in World War II. He discusses his early roles in filmed westerns and his early television roles, including Dragnet and Annie Oakley. Parker talks about being hired by Disney in 1954 to play the lead in Davy Crockett, and expounds on the show becoming a pop culture phenomenon, and the impact of the show. He recounts several guest-appearances on shows like My Little Margie, and Playhouse 90, as well as his starring role on Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. He recalls starring in Daniel Boone, and concludes by discussing his retirement, and advice to an aspiring actor. Don Carleton conducted the interview on July 24, 2000 in Los Olivos, CA.

"It's been a formula that I've used most of my life: ignorance plus optimism."

Highlights
Fess Parker and starring in and producing Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and on discussing his role with Jimmy Stewart
07:35
Fess Parker on being cast in the starring role on Daniel Boone
02:45
Fess Parker on meeting Walt Disney and being cast in Davy Crockett
07:57
Fess Parker on promoting Davy Crockett with Buddy Ebsen, and on how children reacted to him as the character
07:12
Fess Parker on ideas he has had to bring back Davy Crockett
09:48
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his experiences during World War II
10:43
On deciding he wanted to be an actor, and on going to college; on acting in college; on deciding to move to Los Angeles, and on meeting actor Adolphe Menjou
17:35

Chapter 2

On being cast on stage in "Mister Roberts"; on his early career in feature films; on his early television appearance on an episode of Dragnet with Jack Webb
15:03
On meeting Walt Disney and being cast in Davy Crockett; on learning about Davy Crockett after he was cast in Davy Crockett; on the challenges of playing "Davy Crockett"
15:11

Chapter 3

On the challenges of playing "Davy Crockett," and on the themes of the show; on the portrayal of Native Americans in Davy Crockett; on Helene Stanley as "Polly Crockett" on Davy Crockett, and on how he played "Davy Crockett"
11:35
On his input into the scripts for Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, and on the accuracy of the shows; on Buddy Ebsen as "George Russel" on Davy Crockett, and the rest of the cast of the show
08:18
On the costume he wore for Davy Crockett, including the iconic coonskin cap, and on the locations; on promoting Davy Crockett with Buddy Ebsen, and on how children reacted to him as the character
08:58

Chapter 4

On being recognized from Davy Crockett; on who Davy Crockett was in real life, and on what the series showed of the man; on Davy Crockett portraying "Crockett's" transition to public life and politics
13:32
On the end of Davy Crockett at the Alamo; on ideas he has had to bring back Davy Crockett; on the merchandizing of the show
15:57

Chapter 5

On the merchandizing of Davy Crockett, and on the music from the show; on his favorite scenes from Davy Crockett, and on the impact the show had on Disney Studios and Disneyland; on the legacy of Davy Crockett, and on his longstanding association with the character
14:19
On the first time he saw television, and on his early experience with the medium; on My Little Margie with Gale Storm, the Playhouse 90 episode "Turn Left at Mount Everest," and the feature film "Westward Ho, the Wagons!"; on starring in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
15:38

Chapter 6

On starring in and producing Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; on guest-starring on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour
11:04
On being cast as "Daniel Boone," and on the cast and crew of the show; on directing Daniel Boone; on how the historical figure Daniel Boone was portrayed on Daniel Boone
10:09
On favorite episode of Daniel Boone, and on the end of the show; on starring in Climb an Angry Mountain, and on an unsold pilot he made
07:17

Chapter 7

On his retirement from acting, and on his activities since; on advice to an aspiring actor; on the fan mail he receives
08:36
On mentors in his career; on how he would like to be remembered
04:28
Shows

Alfred Hitchcock Presents aka The Alfred Hitchcock Hour

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Fess Parker on guest-starring on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour
03:29

Daniel Boone

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Fess Parker on his input into the scripts for Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, and on the accuracy of the shows
04:01
Fess Parker on being cast in the starring role on Daniel Boone
02:45
Fess Parker on the cast and crew of Daniel Boone
03:12
Fess Parker on directing Daniel Boone
02:28
Fess Parker on how the historical figure Daniel Boone was portrayed on Daniel Boone
02:11
Fess Parker on favorite episode of Daniel Boone, and on the end of the show
01:37

Davy Crockett

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Fess Parker on meeting Walt Disney and being cast in Davy Crockett
07:55
Fess Parker on learning about Davy Crockett after he was cast in Davy Crockett
04:46
Fess Parker on the challenges of playing "Davy Crockett"
02:28
Fess Parker on the challenges of playing "Davy Crockett," and on the themes of the show
05:39
Fess Parker on the portrayal of Native Americans in Davy Crockett
02:41
Fess Parker on Helene Stanley as "Polly Crockett" on Davy Crockett, and on how he played "Davy Crockett"
03:15
Fess Parker on his input into the scripts for Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, and on the accuracy of the shows
04:01
Fess Parker on Buddy Ebsen as "George Russel" on Davy Crockett, and the rest of the cast of the show
04:17
Fess Parker on the costume he wore for Davy Crockett, including the iconic coonskin cap, and on where the show was shot
01:46
Fess Parker on promoting Davy Crockett with Buddy Ebsen, and on how children reacted to him as the character
07:12
Fess Parker on being recognized from Davy Crockett
06:06
Fess Parker on who Davy Crockett was in real life, and on what the series showed of the man
05:26
Fess Parker on Davy Crockett portraying "Crockett's" transition to public life and politics
02:00
Fess Parker on the end of Davy Crockett at the Alamo
02:33
Fess Parker on ideas he has had to bring back Davy Crockett
09:48
Fess Parker on the merchandizing of Davy Crockett
03:42
Fess Parker on the merchandizing of Davy Crockett, and on the music from the show
05:47
Fess Parker on his favorite scenes from Davy Crockett, and on the impact the show had on Disney Studios and Disneyland
04:33
Fess Parker on the legacy of Davy Crockett, and on his longstanding association with the character
03:59

My Little Margie

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Fess Parker on appearing on My Little Margie with Gale Storm
02:53

Playhouse 90

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Fess Parker on appearing on the Playhouse 90 episode "Turn Left at Mount Everest"
03:18
Topics

Advice

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Fess Parker on advice to an aspiring actor
03:00

Characters & Catchphrases

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Fess Parker on the costume he wore for Davy Crockett, including the iconic coonskin cap
01:19

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Fess Parker on mentors in his career
02:53

Fame and Celebrity

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Fess Parker on being recognized from Davy Crockett
06:06

Historic Events and Social Change

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Fess Parker on his experience during World War II
02:58

Pivotal Career Moments

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Fess Parker on mentors in his career
02:53

Pop Culture

View Topic
Fess Parker on the costume he wore for Davy Crockett, including the iconic coonskin cap
01:19
Fess Parker on being recognized from Davy Crockett
06:06

Television Industry

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Fess Parker on advice to an aspiring actor
03:00

War

View Topic
Fess Parker on his experience during World War II
02:58

World War II

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Fess Parker on his experience during World War II
02:58
Professions

Actor

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Fess Parker on advice to an aspiring actor
03:00

Performers

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Fess Parker on advice to an aspiring actor
03:00
Genres

Children's Programming

View Genre
Fess Parker on starring in Davy Crockett
15:17
Fess Parker on starring in Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone
28:51
Fess Parker on starring on Davy Crockett
29:29
Fess Parker on starring on Davy Crockett
14:19

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Fess Parker on appearing on the Playhouse 90 episode "Turn Left at Mount Everest"
03:18
Fess Parker on guest-starring on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour
03:29

Comedy Series

View Genre
Fess Parker on appearing on My Little Margie with Gale Storm
02:53
Fess Parker on starring in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
02:10
Fess Parker and starring in and producing Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
07:35

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Fess Parker on starring in Climb an Angry Mountain, and on an unsold pilot he made
05:13

Western Series

View Genre
Fess Parker on starring in Davy Crockett
15:17
Fess Parker on starring in Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone
28:51
Fess Parker on starring on Davy Crockett
29:29
Fess Parker on starring on Davy Crockett
14:19
Fess Parker on starring on Daniel Boone
12:13
People

Walt Disney

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Fess Parker on meeting Walt Disney and being cast in Davy Crockett
07:55

Buddy Ebsen

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Fess Parker on Buddy Ebsen as "George Russel" on Davy Crockett, and the rest of the cast of the show
04:17
Fess Parker on promoting Davy Crockett with Buddy Ebsen, and on how children reacted to him as the character
07:12

Ronald Reagan

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Fess Parker on losing out on a part to Ronald Reagan
03:20

Jimmy Stewart

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Fess Parker on starring in and producing Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and on discussing his role with Jimmy Stewart
07:35

Gale Storm

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Fess Parker on appearing on My Little Margie with Gale Storm
02:53

Jack Webb

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Fess Parker on his early television appearance on an episode of Dragnet with Jack Webb
03:26

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