Skip to content
About these ads

Fess Parker’s broad shoulders have a frontier to win. And some Indians to slay. – Walt Disney’s Davy Crockett, Indian Fighter

April 15, 2012

If there was one man who was tailor-made for tall tales, it was Davy Crockett. The rugged bear-killing martyr of the Alamo, whose sartorial sense would one day inspire such artistic treasures as “Apes in Coonskin Caps,” stands at the forefront of American icons. It’s therefore no surprise that the fine folks at Disney — soulless succubi that they are — would at one point sink their corporate hooks into his meaty patriotic flanks. And so they did, casting the monumental Fess Parker (who’d go on to play Crockett frontier predecessor Daniel Boone a lot more — quite a two-fer, one that indirectly gave Johnny Carson one of his greatest Tonight Show moments) in the title role for a brief series of wildly successful teleplays in the 1950s. If nothing else, we can thank it for the Bieber-esque frenzy that made those trademark chapeaux all the rage.

This Dell comic (Four Color #631, for those keeping score at home) was just riding that wave, and “Indian Fighter” roughly adapted the first of those popular Crockett serials.

There was a time when every kid learned the Davy Crockett bio-song. I don’t know if that’s still the case. It definitely was for my father’s generation, and it was for mine too. Now, though… If it isn’t, here’s a refresher course (art: John Ushler):

The story follows Crockett and a pal as they join up with regular military forces to fight Indians that have attacked an outpost. Tonally, it’s a lot like the Hopalong Cassidy book that we looked at here a few months ago. Both have the good vs. evil dynamic of pristine white pioneers against savage, sinister Native Americans, a narrow, myopic, but once popular worldview that makes audiences in this century cringe. Nowadays we only allow “Redskins” to be tossed about casually on NFL Sundays. Way back when, it was kosher for a kid’s comic:

Andrew Jackson, the most powerful enemy that the American Indian has ever known, is also featured in these pages, as the head of the troops that Crockett more or less joins up with. Old Hickory is all the “The only good Indian is a dead Indian!” that the most cynical of revisionist historians would imagine him to be:

That right there is Jackson’s “Richards…Bah!” Dr. Doom moment.

(A side note: I recall seeing Jackson’s uniform from the Battle of New Orleans over in the Smithsonian. It gives you an appreciation for all he did, good or ill, because you can’t imagine how he walked around. HE WAS THE SKINNIEST HUMAN BEING IN HISTORY. Seriously. His chest was about the size of my calf muscle.

Aside over.)

Perhaps Jackson’s presence helps Crockett seem like more a middle of the road character. Though he kills his share of, yes, “Redskins,” by the end, when locked in mortal combat with Chief Red Stick (also a genuine historical figure from the Creek War), he’s the one to make peace:

What, no “White man speak with forked tongue”?

Once again, a cynic would say that of course it’s the white man who’s big-hearted enough the literally bury the hatchet. But hey, at least he buried it, you know?

Fess Parker was no Olivier. His performances as both Crockett and Boone are stiff as a rifle’s barrel, but he brought an earnest charm to his characters, and gave them both a larger than life goodness. Both roles gave audiences no-warts versions that couldn’t possibly have any basis in reality, but that’s what you got in that genre in that era. This comic, with its rough approximation of the events in the serial, which were themselves a rough approximation of history, fits right in with the hagiography. There are no shades of gray with Crockett, just a good guy who’s pure as the driven snow — even if we today might not think so. Take that for what it’s worth, inaccurate or no.

About these ads
4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 9, 2012 3:04 pm

    Let me guess, you’re a genuine dyed in the wool liberal moron, no? This article is so full of PC crap and left wing BS that it makes me sick.

    Actually, the Crockett telefilms were very well done, inspiring, and entertaining. The Disney Company, then and now, is a great organizations that creates of a lot of great family entertainment and contributes to a lot of charities. It’s not “soulless.” You’re the soulless one, with your snarky, hateful, mocking and sanctimonious blog. But oh, I forgot, Disney is a CORPORATION, you’re a leftie and to lefties corporations are the font of all that is evil and foul because they have lot’s of many, and um, are big, and um dammit, it’s the Saintly and Pure Government that is supposed to have all the money and control everything!

    I notice, also, that lefties like you complain about depictions of all Native Americans as evil and all whites as bad, but have no problem perpetuating the popular myth today that all native Americans were peace and nature loving saints and all white settlers evil homicidal maniacs who did nothing but kill Indians all day. Talk about rank hypocrisy.

    And Redskin is NOT an inherently racist or even negative term, anymore than Paleface is.

    “Both have the good vs. evil dynamic of pristine white pioneers against savage, sinister Native Americans, a narrow, myopic, but once popular worldview that makes audiences in this century cringe.”

    Bullcrap, the story is nothing of the sort. The Native Americans, even Red Stick, are neither savage nor sinister, nor are all the white characters depicted as pristine. Fact is, there are a mixture of both good and bad people on both sides throughout the telefilms, in fact, white guys are much more sinister and savage than the Indians on the whole!

    “Old Hickory is all the “The only good Indian is a dead Indian!” that the most cynical of revisionist historians would imagine him to be:”

    Oh, this is rich. First off, because it comes in a post which is rife with cynicism (including revisionist) and second because Andrew Jackson hating Indians is NOT revisionism, but a cold hard fact. Jackson was the Hitler of Native American history. I guess the reason people like you (libtards) try to deny it because Jackson was a big figure in Jackass Donkey Party history, and no Democrat was EVER racist or bigoted or nasty or evil. They were all virtual saints! (Giggle, snort.)

    “Once again, a cynic would say that of course it’s the white man who’s big-hearted enough the literally bury the hatchet. But hey, at least he buried it, you know?”

    Give me an f’ing break. Nothing is ever PC enough to the likes of you, is it? Nope, the white guys aren’t allowed to be depicted positively at all. Never mind that Red Stick shows compassion and BURIES THE HATCHET TOO despite being hunted like an animal, nope, because Crockett did it first the story is still bigoted and RAAAAAAACIST. Never mind that the story clearly shows that many Indians did bury the hatchet and sign a peace treaty, and that Red Stick was unusual in not doing so. Never mind that Red Stick’s initial distrust of the White Man was shown to be justified. Nope, because the story depicts Crockett as being a good guy too, it must be condemned!

    BTW, Crockett is not without your precious liberal ‘shades of grey’ in the story. He has moments where he is disrespectful toward Jackson and he is even crude sometimes. So you even got that one wrong.

    Two words sum you up, sir: Amazing Idiot.

  2. June 9, 2012 3:06 pm

    Let me guess, you’re a genuine dyed in the wool liberal moron, no? This article is so full of PC crap and left wing BS that it makes me sick.

    Actually, the Crockett telefilms were very well done, inspiring, and entertaining. The Disney Company, then and now, is a great organizations that creates of a lot of great family entertainment and contributes to a lot of charities. It’s not “soulless.” You’re the soulless one, with your snarky, hateful, mocking and sanctimonious blog. But oh, I forgot, Disney is a CORPORATION, you’re a leftie and to lefties corporations are the font of all that is evil and foul because they have lot’s of many, and um, are big, and um dammit, it’s the Saintly and Pure Government that is supposed to have all the money and control everything!

    I notice, also, that lefties like you complain about depictions of all Native Americans as evil and all whites as good, but have no problem perpetuating the popular myth today that all native Americans were peace and nature loving saints and all white settlers evil homicidal maniacs who did nothing but kill Indians all day. Talk about rank hypocrisy.

    And Redskin is NOT an inherently racist or even negative term, anymore than Paleface is.

    “Both have the good vs. evil dynamic of pristine white pioneers against savage, sinister Native Americans, a narrow, myopic, but once popular worldview that makes audiences in this century cringe.”

    Bullcrap, the story is nothing of the sort. The Native Americans, even Red Stick, are neither savage nor sinister, nor are all the white characters depicted as pristine. Fact is, there are a mixture of both good and bad people on both sides throughout the telefilms, in fact, white guys are much more sinister and savage than the Indians on the whole!

    “Old Hickory is all the “The only good Indian is a dead Indian!” that the most cynical of revisionist historians would imagine him to be:”

    Oh, this is rich. First off, because it comes in a post which is rife with cynicism (including revisionist) and second because Andrew Jackson hating Indians is NOT revisionism, but a cold hard fact. Jackson was the Hitler of Native American history. I guess the reason people like you (libtards) try to deny it because Jackson was a big figure in Jackass Donkey Party history, and no Democrat was EVER racist or bigoted or nasty or evil. They were all virtual saints! (Giggle, snort.)

    “Once again, a cynic would say that of course it’s the white man who’s big-hearted enough the literally bury the hatchet. But hey, at least he buried it, you know?”

    Give me an f’ing break. Nothing is ever PC enough to the likes of you, is it? Nope, the white guys aren’t allowed to be depicted positively at all. Never mind that Red Stick shows compassion and BURIES THE HATCHET TOO despite being hunted like an animal, nope, because Crockett did it first the story is still bigoted and RAAAAAAACIST. Never mind that the story clearly shows that many Indians did bury the hatchet and sign a peace treaty, and that Red Stick was unusual in not doing so. Never mind that Red Stick’s initial distrust of the White Man was shown to be justified. Nope, because the story depicts Crockett as being a good guy too, it must be condemned!

    BTW, Crockett is not without your precious liberal ‘shades of grey’ in the story. He has moments where he is disrespectful toward Jackson and he is even crude sometimes. So you even got that one wrong.

    Two words sum you up, sir: Amazing Idiot.

  3. June 9, 2012 3:09 pm

    Let me guess, you’re a genuine dyed in the wool liberal moron, no? This article is so full of PC crap and left wing BS that it makes me sick.

    Actually, the Crockett telefilms were very well done, inspiring, and entertaining. The Disney Company, then and now, is a great organizations that creates of a lot of great family entertainment and contributes to a lot of charities. It’s not “soulless.” You’re the soulless one, with your snarky, hateful, mocking and sanctimonious blog. But oh, I forgot, Disney is a CORPORATION, you’re a leftie and to lefties corporations are the font of all that is evil and foul because they have lot’s of money, and um, are big, and um dammit, it’s the Saintly and Pure Government that is supposed to have all the money and control everything!

    I notice also that lefties like you complain about depictions of all Native Americans as evil and all whites as good, but have no problem perpetuating the popular myth today that all native Americans were peace and nature loving saints and all white settlers evil homicidal maniacs who did nothing but kill Indians all day. Talk about rank hypocrisy.

    And Redskin is NOT an inherently racist or even negative term, anymore than Paleface is.

    “Both have the good vs. evil dynamic of pristine white pioneers against savage, sinister Native Americans, a narrow, myopic, but once popular worldview that makes audiences in this century cringe.”

    Bullcrap, the story is nothing of the sort. The Native Americans, even Red Stick, are neither savage nor sinister, nor are all the white characters depicted as pristine. Fact is, there are a mixture of both good and bad people on both sides throughout the telefilms, in fact, white guys are much more sinister and savage than the Indians on the whole!

    “Old Hickory is all the “The only good Indian is a dead Indian!” that the most cynical of revisionist historians would imagine him to be:”

    Oh, this is rich. First off, because it comes in a post which is rife with cynicism (including revisionist) and second because Andrew Jackson hating Indians is NOT revisionism, but a cold hard fact. Jackson was the Hitler of Native American history. I guess the reason people like you (libtards) try to deny it because Jackson was a big figure in Jackass Donkey Party history, and no Democrat was EVER racist or bigoted or nasty or evil. They were all virtual saints! (Giggle, snort.)

    “Once again, a cynic would say that of course it’s the white man who’s big-hearted enough the literally bury the hatchet. But hey, at least he buried it, you know?”

    Give me an f’ing break. Nothing is ever PC enough to the likes of you, is it? Nope, the white guys aren’t allowed to be depicted positively at all. Never mind that Red Stick shows compassion and BURIES THE HATCHET TOO despite being hunted like an animal, nope, because Crockett does it the story is still bigoted and RAAAAAAACIST. Never mind that the story clearly shows that many Indians did bury the hatchet and sign a peace treaty, and that Red Stick was unusual in not doing so. Never mind that Red Stick’s initial distrust of the White Man was shown to be justified. Nope, because the story depicts Crockett as being a good guy too, it must be condemned!

    BTW, Crockett is not without your precious liberal ‘shades of grey’ in the story. He has moments where he is disrespectful toward Jackson and he is even crude sometimes. So you even got that one wrong.

    Two words sum you up, sir: Amazing Idiot.

    • June 9, 2012 3:28 pm

      Hey, thanks for stopping by! And taking time to post your comment thrice! Having voted for a number of conservative Republicans (IS YOUR MIND BLOWN?), I’ve never had the pleasure of being called a liberal moron before, so this was new to me. Suddenly the comments section here looks as coherent as that of a political article on Yahoo. My advice? Learn to distinguish observation from endorsement.

      And please, lighten up. This is a blog about comic books, not a state paper.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: