Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A Memory of Fess Parker

Fess ParkerLast March, an OCThen reader submitted a memory of meeting Fess Parker, the actor of the Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone television shows...

I saw in the newspaper today of the passing of Fess Parker and it brought back memories of meeting him in the 1960s.

At that time I was working for an FBO at what was then Orange County Airport, and on this day I was in the office when a single engine piper taxied up and parked on our transit line. The pilot got out and started walking up to the office. I noticed the rotating beacon on his aircraft was still on so when he walked into the office I said to him "You're going to have a dead battery when you come back."

He was kind of taken back by my comment and said, "Why is that?" I said, "You left your master switch on", as I pointed out to his aircraft with the beacon going round and round. He replied, "Oh wow thanks so much", as he rushed back out to turn it off. At that point it still didnt register who he was but he had a pony tail and was probably 6ft 6 inches tall and I thought he looked like the oldest hippie I had ever seen (this was the late 60s remember).

He came back in and said "Thank you so much for catching that, you saved me a lot of trouble." It was then that I reconized the voice and face as Davy Crockett.

An FBO, by the way is a Fixed Base Operator, similar to a service station for aircraft.


  1. I remember Fess Parker. He came in our store, The Grant Boys. in Costa Mesa to buy a sleeping back for his boat. What was funny he tried them on. He stood there and stepped in them to find one that was long enough for him. This was at the middle of the Davy Crockett era, so it caused quite a stir amongst the customers and staff. Mike Grant,

  2. I grew up in the day wearing a Davy Crockett, thank the Lord my mother never had the mind to snap a photo but all of us, four brothers, had one.
    My memories of Fess Parker where here in Orlando when he started his winery. As a winesalesman each of us had the duty to have Fess in our car for a "ride along". He was a big fellow tall and wide even in his 60's. Being with him all day long, I began to hear the same words spoken to him over and over and over throughout the day. What is worse they where the words I first uttered after I shook his hand.
    "I grew up with you".
    "Iloved Davy Crockett".
    "I loved Daniel Boone". (depending on the age)
    "I still have my coonskin".
    and much more. What I saw was a genuinely gracious man answering some of the very same questions each time while doing his best to speak about his winery. He was one of the nicest and most gracious gentlemen I have beena around with an enormous amount of patience.

  3. Fess Parker was a regular customer at my Grandparents Resturant, "JIM'S Drive Inn" on PCH in Laguna Beach, Ca. in the 1950's-mid 1960's. D.L.

  4. All the great ones are gone. Captain Kangaroo, Sheriff John, Engineer Bill, Walt Disney and now Fess Parker! They all taught us values that we could take with us the rest of our lives. Fess portrayed two of the best pioneer Americans, Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, on camera. I still try to practice one of the greatest sayings attributed to Davy Crockett, "Be sure you're RIGHT, then go ahead!"

    I used to belong to the Fess Parker Winery and would go to their annual barbecue where I would see Fess, his wife, their children and grandchildren. It was a lot of fun with good food, good wine and live entertainment. We'd usually stay in the Fess Parker in and would see Fess and his wife eating dinner there. What great times. Fess, you'll be missed. I hope you're entertaining the rest of the crowd in heaven. You're in good company.

  5. Gary, not so quick. Sheriff John is still with us and enjoying his retirement in Boise, ID. I met Fess at his winery on my 50th birthday. A true gentleman and nice as one can be. He'll always be the consummate Davy Crockett.

  6. Worked at the Santa Barbara Sears during college in the early seventies. Frequently on a Saturday morning you would find Fess Parker browsing in the tool/hardware department. We were careful never to interject ourselves into his morning -- but an excited little ripple would always go through the staff who all grew-up on Davy Crockett. Those that waited on him, always found him to be delightfully low key, unassuming and gracious.


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