In 1955 my hero was Davy Crockett. Back then I even thought I knew the words to the Disney TV theme "The Ballad Of Davy Crockett" by Bill Hayes. My version went something like this: "...Born on a mountain top in Tennessee, greatest state in the land of the free. Killed him a 'bar' when he was only three. Ran around the woods in his coonskin BVDs!..." Hey, I was only five years old. The days of the coonskin craze have long passed. So, imagine my delight when I found Bob Thompson's new biography Born On A Mountaintop: On The Road With Davy Crockett And The Ghosts Of The Wild Frontier in our Marketplace.
Bob Thompson, former feature writer for the Washington Post, has an easy-going writing style. Thompson explores the many myths and magic of the Davy Crockett lore. Reading this book is like watching a bloodhound tracking a scent...no stone is left unturned.
One chapter outlines why Walt Disney chose Fess Parker to star in his TV studio's project after viewing a scene from the 1954 film Them. There is discussion about why it took so long for John Wayne to complete his 1960 film The Alamo. And of course there is the comparison between Wayne's interpretation of Davy Crockett and Billy Bob Thornton's, as viewed in his 2004 release of The Alamo.
In a lot of ways Davy Crockett helped perpetrate many of the popular myths about his life. One notion that is still controversial today is how he died at the Alamo. If he was alive today, he most likely could add "spin doctor" to his resume.