Fess Parker became an institution to television fans in the mid-50’s playing Davy Crockett on Disneyland. A decade later, he found even greater success with another show built around a frontiersman, Daniel Boone.
This long-running NBC series was loosely based upon the life of the real Daniel Boone, a pioneer and settler who was instrumental in the settling of the state of Kentucky. Parker starred as the title character, and the show depicted his exploits as he surveyed and explored new territory and had dealings both friendly and hostile with the Indians he met along the way. Boone’s family also came along for the ride—wife Rebecca, son Israel and daughter Jemima.
Daniel’s initial set of friends on the show included fellow pioneer Yadkin, an Indian named Mingo, and tavern-keeper Cincinnatus. Yadkin left the show after its first season and his absence was filled with another, younger pioneer, Jericho Jones. Not much later, Mingo left the show and was replaced with a black Indian character, Gideon. Other additions to the show included Gabe Cooper, a black man who escaped slavery to live with the Indians, and Josh Clements, a fur trapper.
Critics and teachers criticized Daniel Boone for its occasional historical gaffes (i.e.: one episode featuring President George Washington was followed by an episode depicting the Revolutionary War), but it was a hit with kids and Western buffs. It ran for six seasons on NBC before being cancelled in August of 1970. Star Parker also served the show in a production capacity: His Fespar Enterprises co-produced the series with 20th Century Fox Television.
Theme tune lyrics
“Daniel Boone was a man!
Yes, a big man!
With a dream of a country that’d
Always forever be free!”
USA / NBC – Arcola – Fesspar – Fox / 165×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 24 September 1964 – 27 August 1970
Executive Producers: Aaron Spelling, Aaron Rosenberg / Theme Music: The Imperials
Fess Parker as Daniel Boone
Patricia Blair as Patricia Blair
Veronica Cartwright as Jemima Boone
Darby Hinton as Israel Boone
Albert Salmi as Yadkin
Ed Ames as Mingo
Dallas McKennon as Cincinnatus
Jimmy Dean as Josh Clements
Roosevelt Grier as Gabe Cooper
Robert Coogan as Jericho Jones
Don Pedro Colley as Gideon
James Wainwright as Cully
Burl Ives as Prater Beasley