Friday, June 7, 2013

DISNEY'S DAVY CROCKETT TRILOGY

Here's a timeless classic live action Disney show that was very popular in the 50's and instead of reviewing the three episode cut film, I'm reviewing the actual three episodes from the show on the "Walt Disney Treasure Collection" DVD and that show is...



The show was shown on the show "Disneyland" in Frontierland.The show starred Fess Parker as the American Legend Davy Crockett and the show was so popular that kids would wear Coonskin Caps, act like Davy Crockett and sing the catchy theme song. It's one of the best live action shows that Disney has ever brought to an audience and it's still considered a TV classic. To honor this great show, I'm going to review the three popular episodes. So everybody put on your "Coonskin Cap" and let me take you back to the 50's.

THE THEME SONG
 
 First off before I review the episodes, I'm going to talk about the theme song because it's one of the main reasons why the shows so memorable. "The Ballad Of Davy Crockett" is a very catchy song and is one of the best TV theme songs of all time. It's not just the shows theme song, it's also the shows narration. This is one of the rarest times when I ever heard a singing narrator in a non musical show and not only is it fun to sing along too, but it also helps the kids follow through the story and understand it better. The song is so classic and so timeless that it's what keeps the legend of Davy Crockett alive.  

 DAVY CROCKETT INDIAN FIGHTER

 It's The Creek Indian War and Davy Crockett (Fess Parker) along with his friend George (Buddy Ebsen) have volunteered to fight in the war. Davy begins to lead the men in many successful victories and now he has to stop the youngest tribe leader Redstick (Pat Hogan). Can Davy find him and maybe end this war in peace then with violence?

Fess Parker is without of doubt Davy Crockett and no one (Not even John Wayne) can play the character better than him. He's naturally being heroic, he makes the character really lovable and his performance is just down right cool. Our hero Davy Crockett is very smart, he can track down Indians fast, he knows the woods, he always has a plan and he even tries using words instead of violence when he meets our antagonist. He's also very brave and fearless, he doesn't get scared when he's being threaten to be shot by the army for leaving the grounds and he'll experiment on grinning a bear bigger than him to death. Is he a man of action and are the action scenes good. He is if he has too and yes the battle scenes are really good, my favorite is the final showdown between Davy and Redstick.

The supporting characters are really good too. Davy's friend and sidekick George is very lovable, very funny and is the kind of guy you'd want to have as a side kick. I also love that he's played by the comedic actor Buddy Ebsen. Redstick is a really threatening antagonist and I'm glad that he's not really portrayed as much as a villain, like most Indians were portrayed at the time. Then there's Major Norton played by William Bakewell who's a lousy soldier and Basil Ruysdael as General Jackson who looks the historical figure he's playing; and just naturally plays the character. As for Davy's family, well those scenes with him and his wife and sons are really nice and subtle.

This is a really great episode. Ok there are moments that look fake, such as Davy fighting a stock footage Alligator and I find it disappointing that we never see Davy fight the bear but those are just nit picks on TV back when it was a new invention. Yes, there are racial slurs towards Indians but once again that was back when TV and films weren't that politically correct and the time when Indians were mostly the bad guys. Aside from those small flaws, it's really well acted, action packed and is indeed a great start on this short series.

RATING 5/5

 DAVY CROCKETT GOES TO CONGRESS
















Davy tries to find a new place to settle down but first he needs to file a claim. He fights the town bully, becomes a lawman and slowly gets involved into politics. Indians are being treated unfair by the Government and it's up to Davy to take his word into action.

Davy Crockett surprisingly isn't boring in this episode, nor is the episode boring, it's just as enjoyable as the previous one. Davy's speeches are always fun to listen too and not one of them gets boring. His best speech that gives me chills is his speech against the "Indian Bill". Does Davy kick some butt in this episode, absolutely. There's the gun match between him and the town Bully Bigfoot Mason(Mike Mazurki), the big fist fight between him and Mason and he'll even punch out a few politicians that get in his way.  Davy also brings some humorous moments in this episode, my favorite being the reaction on the political mens faces when they see him wearing his regular wardrobe. Davy also has very moving emotional moment when he finds out some tragic news. Fess Parker still does a great portrayal as Davy Crockett.

I enjoy the new characters we meet in this episode, but I really love seeing the old characters the most. George is as fun and loyal as he was in the first episode, General Jackson who later becomes President is just as you remember him and Major Norton is now an Ahole politician. The episode never gets dull or boring and to help kids understand what's going on is the theme song being played throughout the episode. It's just as incredible as the previous episode and for an episode to be focused on Politics on a kids show, it knows how to be educational and not seem boring.

RATING 5/5


DAVY CROCKETT AT THE ALAMO
 
Crockett, Russel, a con artist named Thimblerig (Hans Conried) and a navigating Indian nick named "Busted luck"(Nick Cravat) head to Texas. However, there's a war going on between the settlers in Texas and the Mexicans and the settlers are all at The Alamo to defend their land. Davy Crockett and his companions join in the battle and this is the final chapter to the trilogy and Davy's life.

Davy Crockett is more heroic than ever. He's willing to risk his life for his fellow men, he thinks of ways to fight the enemy, he relaxes the troops in The Alamo and he's always prepared to fight. This is not only my favorite episode, but this is the saddest one because (If you know your history) everyone dies at The Alamo. While watching these cool battle scenes, you're amazed, you're into the action, but you still feel sad inside because you know their fates are all sealed. The scene that always makes me tear up is when Davy plays his guitar singing "Farewell To The Mountains" with all the troops on the night before their final battle. I'm glad they don't show Crockett die at the ending, instead we see him as the last man standing fighting all the Mexicans and we hear the final part of "The Ballad Of Davy Crockett" indicating everyone died but will always be remembered by The Alamo.

The supporting characters are all once again great. George is not only fun to watch, but makes a very brave and risky move, Busted luck is a really cool and fun silent character and Hans Conried (Who did the voice of Captain Hook) is really funny as this con artist. The people who fight at The Alamo especially the second in command and the sick colonel are all memorable and are people you feel for. This is a really actioned pack, but very sad episode as well. It's a great way to end the Trilogy and good way to end a classic show...until two new episodes were made.

RATING 5/5

The "Walt Disney Treasures" DVD contains the episodes uncut and shown as they were originally aired on TV. The DVD also includes the two other episodes after the Trilogy, but I'll review them on a separate review. Bonus features include an Interview with Fess Parker hosted by Leonard Maltin, a look on the Davy Crockett Craze, still galleries and a hidden Easter egg. Overall, this trilogy is unforgettably timeless and just gets better and better. The actions great, the characters are lovable, the story on Davy Crockett is fantastic and the theme song is unforgettable. I have a feeling, the next two episodes are not going to be as good as this trilogy.

RATING 5/5

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