Almanac: Davy Crockett

And now a page from our Sunday Morning Almanac: Aug. 17, 1786, 228 years ago today . . . day one for the future king of the wild frontier. For that was the day Davy Crockett was born in Greene County, Tennessee.

He grew up to become a bigger-than-life outdoorsman, Indian fighter, and even a member of Congress, in no small part because of his own tireless efforts at self-promotion.

Crockett's death at the Alamo in 1836 further fueled the legend, which got a second wind more than a century later.

The 1950s Disney TV series starring Fess Parker sparked a Davy Crockett craze.

"The Ballad of Davy Crockett", with its somewhat fanciful lyrics, became a hit.


And everywhere, kids could be seen wearing the trademark Davy Crockett coonskin cap -- and it wasn't just kids. Tennessee's Democratic Senator at the time, Estes Kefauver, famously campaigned while wearing a coonskin cap.

And though Fess Parker was the first modern day Davy, he was hardly the last.

John Wayne portrayed a coon-skinned straight talking Crockett who battled the Mexicans to his very last breath in the 1960 film "The Alamo".

While in the 2004 version, Billy Bob Thornton played a capless and more conflicted Crockett whom the Mexicans executed after the battle.

The exact circumstances of Crockett's death at the Alamo are not known, but that hardly matters.

To Tennesseans and Texans and Baby Boomers the land over, Davy Crocket remains just what the song says: "the man who made himself a legend forever more."