Sep 26, 2016

Daniel Boone: a Big Man

Daniel Boone was a man --
He was a big man!

Sounds good so far.  When I was seven or eight years old, I was all for watching tv shows about a man, especially a big man.  Especially a big man who was a "dream come-er true-er."  

But Batman was on the other channel.  No kid in his right mind would pick a cowboy over the Dynamic Duo.  I never saw a single episode of Daniel Boone (1965-70) when it originally aired.

I've seen one since, for research purposes. Not a lot of gay content.  Not a lot of cowboy content, either.

1. Daniel Boone (Fess Parker)  is a family man, with wife and kids.  If you have to be a cowboy, at least hang out with other guys.

2. He has a sidekick anyway, Mingo, one of the least convincing Native Americans on tv, actually played by singer Ed Ames (who, although Jewish, became famous for recording the Chrismas song "Do You Hear What I Hear").

3.  It's not even the Old West.  This is Kentucky during the Revolutionary War.

4. While other cowboys were happily displaying monumental physiques, Fess Parker is kept strictly under wraps.  The only cast member to take his shirt off is Darby Hinton, who plays Daniel's preteen son Israel, and his buddy du jour.

Prior to Daniel, Fess Parker had starred in other Disney productions, notably Davy Crockett, Old Yeller, and The Light in the Forest (ignoring the crush of James Mac Arthur).  Afterwards he retired to run a vineyard and give conservative speeches.

Darby Hinton apparently was the first crush of some gay boys of the Boomer Generation, but he didn't have much of a teen idol career (this photo is from Getty Images, not from a teen magazine).

Post-Daniel, he's best known for the sexploitation Malibu Express (1985), as a Magnum P.I. clone who keeps encountering nude women and swishy gay stereotypes while trying to solve a murder.  At least he looks good semi-nude.

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