By David Bennett
Note: My original dulcimentary on this topic was posted in September 2013. On 26 February 2015 Margie told me about 2nd Daniel Boone episode that features Daniel playing a mountain dulcimer and I have added that information at the end of this dulcimentary on Fess Parker and his mountain dulcimer:
Most of you will remember the television show, Daniel Boone, staring Fess Parker, which ran from 1964 to 1970. The show’s release was on 24 September 1964.
Be sure to read part of the article I included below from September 5, 1964 telling about the start of the show and Fess Parker’s personal mountain dulcimer he brought “out of the Smoky Mountains” ten years before the show was made.
I’m also including a couple of screen captures (below the article) and a link to the (short) video from the very first episode in which Daniel Boone is playing his dulcimer with a noter and turkey quill, and singing. The mountain dulcimer itself does not show up until about the 0:55 mark. It’s not a long video.
My understanding is his mountain dulcimer was featured in several episodes, and from what I’ve read in at least one episode he plays his mountain dulcimer with other instruments including a fiddle.
St. Petersburg Independent, Saturday, September 5, 1964 page 5-B
Boone In Boom, Kentucky In Malibu
HOLLYWOOD- Daniel Boone tossing hatchets, flicking a giant bull whip and rolling on the forest tanbark wrestling Indians is NBC’s early Thursday night hour taste treat for the kiddies, this fall beginning Sept. 24.
Daniel is none other than Fess Parker, the six-foot-five Texan, better known as Walt Disney’s “Davy Crockett,” the coonskin cap John Wayne of TV land…
…Not much has been overlooked on the series. Fess even strums a dulcimer, an ancient guitar type instrument which he picks with a turkey bone. “I call it ‘The Ole Sweet Talker,'” says Fess. “I use it when Mrs. Boone gets her dander up, or when I want to sing a lullaby to the kids.”
The dulcimer is Parker’s idea and he brought the instrument out of the Smoky Mountains ten years ago. The dulcimer, coonskin caps, turkey bones, hatchets, bull whips, Boone T-shirts, Booneburgers, Boone every-thing-you-can-dream-of in the way of merchandise items are ready to go right now.
The complete article is available on-line at http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=7jxQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=3lYDAAAAIBAJ&pg=3146%2C868815
A portion of the video from Episode 1, Season 1 showing Daniel Boone playing his mountain dulcimer: http://youtu.be/wIx1yn2EWDk
Update 27 February 2015:
Last night Margie told me she saw a re-run of the Daniel Boone Show Fess Parker playing a mountain dulcimer in episode 52 (or episode 139 depending on which list you look at), titled “A Pinch of Salt” which aired on 1 May 1969.
In the episode Daniel Boone is playing a friend’s dulcimer (though in reality I suspect they are the same dulcimer that belonged to Fess Parker).
We’re not sure what tune Daniel/Fess is playing but to me it sounds a bit like “Rosin the Beau.” Any ideas?
In the dialog the lady says of her dulcimer her Pa “brought it from England fourty years ago.” Keep in mind the show takes place in the 1770s. I’m sure Ralph Lee Smith and others (like me) would dispute the accuracy of that statement. But it is Hollywood (which is the worst place in the world to learn history) and not many people knew any real dulcimer history in the 1960s, if they even knew what a mountain dulcimer was. Even so, I think it is great that the makers of the Daniel Boone television program included a mountain dulcimer in at least two episodes!
Thanks again to Margie for bring this latest find to my attention.
David Bennett <><