Fifty-five years ago, today, the action–adventure series Daniel Boone debuted on NBC. Produced by 20th Century Fox Television, it starred Fess Parker, Patricia Blair, Darby Hinton, Veronica Cartwright, Ed Ames & Dallas McKennon. Country singer Jimmy Dean was a guest star for fifteen episodes from 1968-1970 and NFL football player Rosie Greer had regular appearances from 1969-1970. The show’s first season was in black & white.
Daniel Boone was one of two significant historical figures played by Fess Parker. He previously appeared as Davy Crockett in a series of episodes of the Walt Disney anthology television series […]. Efforts had been made to secure the rights to Crockett from Walt Disney but, Disney refused to sell, so, the series wound up being about Boone instead. In contrast, Parker’s Boone was less of an explorer and more a family man than Parker’s Crockett. Parker as Crockett also generally wore a light beard, whereas his Boone was predominantly clean-shaven.
The series is set in the 1770s and 1780s, just before, during and after the American Revolution and, mostly centered on adventures in, and about, Boonesborough, Kentucky. Some aspects of the show were less than historically faithful, which, at one point, led the Kentucky legislature to condemn the inaccuracies. The series’ story line does not follow historical events. Instead, story lines run back and forth concerning historical events.
[Ed Ames] role as Mingo led to a famous tomahawk-throwing demonstration on The Tonight Show, that was rerun on anniversary clip shows for decades afterward, in which Ames threw a tomahawk at a target of a man and the hatchet landed between the cutout’s legs, much to host Johnny Carson‘s amusement.
♦ According to an interview with Veronica Cartwright, she left the series because the producers wanted to have her character of Jemima Boone involved in more mature situations, such as budding romantic relationships. Patricia Blair did not like this because it made her feel too old, so she threatened to leave the series if Cartwright was not let go from the series.
♦ Israel Boone was one of seventy-two killed at the Battle of Blue Licks, one of the last battles of the Revolutionary War, on August 19, 1782. He was twenty-three. His father Daniel was there and saw his son killed. Coincidentally, Darby Hinton, who played Israel, was born on the 175th Anniversary of Israel’s death, August 19, 1957.
♦ [The] Boones [actually] had ten children […].
♦ Unlike Fess Parker [6’5″ 1/2], the real Daniel Boone was only about 5’8″.