Under the Radar

Get the Complete 'Daniel Boone' on DVD


Daniel Boone: The Complete Series (50th Anniversary Edition) has just been released on DVD and contains all 165 episodes of the NBC series that ran from 1964-1970 and all through the '70s in after-school reruns. Fess Parker starred as the pioneer legend, with pop singer Ed Ames as his Native American sidekick Mingo.


The show is an amazingly weird comeback for Fess Parker, who was a gigantic star in the 1950s when he played Davey Crockett for a couple of series on the Wonderful World of Disney program. After one big hit movie with Old Yeller, he career had stalled out and he wanted to revive the Davey Crockett character but couldn't secure the rights.

So, Davey's trademark coonskin cap reappears on "Daniel Boone" and the series takes place in a version of Kentucky that looks a whole lot like the San Fernando Valley. Parker had ownership of the show (the new set is licensed from his estate) and made enough off the show to retire and start his own winery and hotel.

The show is allegedly set in the 1770s, but the series plays fast and loose with history, including a notorious episode about a secessions movement led by former Vice President Aaron Burr. Daniel encountered a lot of folks passing through and the show had an enormous list of guest stars that included both old Hollywood movie folks getting a job (George Sanders, Cesar Romero, Gloria Grahame Vincent Price, Ricardo Montalban and Walter Pidgeon) and young actors who would get famous in the '70s and '80s (Kurt Russell, Harry Dean Stanton, Mike Farrell, Claude Akins, Jodie Foster and Barbara Hershey).


The show's formula holds up really well: traveler comes to Boonesborough, traveler isn't quite what they seem at first, Daniel figures out the scheme, traveler is exposed, Daniel was right all along. The DVDs look a million times better than whatever prints they've been showing on MeTV the last few years. The 36-disc box sells for around $110 online and it's one of those manufacture on demand editions.

Daniel Boone is one of those '60s shows that doesn't seem destined for Netflix streaming (cf. Batman, The Beverly Hillbillies, Gunsmoke, Mannix), so this is probably a good bet for anyone who has fond memories of the show.

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