The Baby Boomers have lost four of their ever loving heroes straight out of their childhood within the past week. For example, Davy Crockett died, “the king of the wild frontier,” or should I say, Fess Parker died.
The Baby Boomers have lost four of their ever loving heroes straight out of their childhood within the past week. For example, Davy Crockett died, “the king of the wild frontier,” or should I say, Fess Parker died. He played Davy Crockett in the very popular TV series of the 1950s. We all stopped what we were doing each afternoon when his theme song came on and sang along. “Born on a mountain top in Tennessee, greatest state in the land of the free, raised in the woods so’s he knew every tree, killed himself a bar, when he was only three.” All the guys in the neighborhood wore a coon skin cap, wanted an “Old Betsy” rifle, and a Davy Crockett lunch box. I don’t wear it anymore, but I still have a coon skin cap with the little stripped tail to this day, however, it is not a Davy Crockett coon skin cap. I wish it were, because it would probably be worth some money.
Fess Parker also played Daniel Boone on TV in the late 1960s, but retired from acting and became a developer on California’s Central Coast. He also raised grapes and made award winning wines, which he sold from his Fess Parker Winery.
Parker was 85 and died of natural causes on his wife’s birthday last week. He and Marcella had been married 50 years.
Ace Hardware, football, and Rosie Greer in particular will miss Merlin Olson, who bid us farewell and departed this world. Peter Graves, the star of televisions “Mission Impossible,” also died this week at the age of 83. You may have forgotten, but he was a brother to Matt Dillon, not the current pretty boy actor, but Doc and Miss Kitty’s friend, the Marshal of Dodge City.
I was also saddened that Alex Chilton died of a heart attack in a New Orleans hospital. If Alex’s name doesn’t ring a bell, maybe his song will. As lead singer of the “Box Tops,” his smash hit “The Letter” went straight to the top of the charts in 1966. “Oh, give a ticket for an air-o-plane, ain’t got time to take a fast train, lonely days are gone, I’m ah goin’ home, my babies done wrote me a letter.” Chilton was only 16 years old when he recorded that song.
He was born into this world three days after Christmas, 1950, in Memphis, Tenn. He grew up in a musical family, as his father, Sidney Chilton, was a Memphis jazz musician. Alex learned to sing as a child and brought the house down and excited all his classmates when he won a talent show at the Memphis Central High School. He was immediately recruited as lead singer by a local band named The Devilles because of his different sounding voice. The group got lucky and tied up with the right people, changed their name to the Box Tops, and recorded at the famous Muscle Shoals Studio. The Box Tops went on to have several other major hits, including “Cry like a Baby” (1968) and “Soul Deep” (1969). However, it wasn’t meant to be and the group began to fall apart and disbanded altogether in 1970.
Alex tried over and over again with different groups and different kinds of music, but was never again able to achieve the success he had with the Box Tops. He moved to New Orleans in the 1980s and had minor success with a group called Tav Falco’s Panther Burn, but occasionally had to wash dishes or trim trees in order to feed himself and his family. Chilton was among the thousands evacuated from their homes during Hurricane Katrina in September 2005.
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