By David Flynn
A western TV series that brought viewers back to the early pioneering days of the 18th century was a hit on American television in the late 1960s.
It was a programme that was almost always placed up against tough competition on opposite channels for each of its seasons, but still it built up in popularity. Daniel Boone was one of many westerns that was on television at the time of the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, and flower power.
Actor Fess Parker had made a huge name for himself on the Walt Disney tv series of Davy Crockett in the 1950s. However after the success of Crockett, Parker didn’t get another substantial role from Disney, so he left the company in the early 60s.
In 1964, he was offered the lead role in a revival of the Daniel Boone story (there had been an earlier Disney version with actor, Dewey Martin).
Daniel Boone told the story of a frontier man in Kentucky, USA around the time of the American Revolution (1770s). Boone carried out surveys in the uncharted forests, and encountered unfriendly humans and animals along the way.
Similar to his Davy Crockett character, Fess Parker wore a coonskin cap, while portraying Daniel Boone.
There was a real Daniel Boone and the series managed to stay faithful to the historical figure, although there were many timeline inaccuracies. However, the stories about the early American frontier explorations were exciting and positive.
His wife, Rebecca, was played by Patricia Blair, and his Native American friend, Mingo, was played by pop singer, Ed Ames. The Boones had two children, teenager Jemima, played by Veronica Cartwright, and Israel, played by Darby Hinton.
Daniel Boone premiered in September 1964 at 7.30pm on NBC on Thursday nights. In its first season it was up against sitcoms, The Flintstones and The Donna Reed Show on CBS.