From The Morton Blog

DVD Reissue: All Six Seasons of Daniel Boone: The Complete Series

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The year was 1964. Fess Parker, already famous at the time for his Walt Disney-produced portrayal of Davy Crockett, donned a coonskin cap yet again for NBC’s Daniel Boone TV series. Having failed to pry the rights to Crockett away from Disney, NBC loosely adapted the Boone legend to fit Parker’s established persona. The gambit worked and the series wound up running for six seasons, spanning 1964-1970, racking up a total of 165 episodes. The hour-long family drama took considerable liberties with the facts of the legendary American frontiersman’s life, but the show nonetheless captured the hearts of its target audience and now holds a deep nostalgic pull for those who grew up with it (whether during the original broadcast period or via reruns).

Now 20th Century Fox has made the complete series available as a 36-disc, manufactured-on-demand DVD release. The upside is that anyone looking for an economical way to own all 165 episodes needs to look no further. The series was previously available in the form of individual season sets via Goldhil Home Media, though those DVDs have since gone out of print. The downside, for some consumers, is the use of DVD-R technology. Some folks feel that MOD product is high undesirable, with a more “disposable” feel.

It’s true that the MOD releases from Fox are generally pretty basic in terms of packaging and artwork. Plus the original Goldhil DVDs had 5.1 surround mixes and extra features. The only audio option on the Fox set is 2.0 and there are no extras. (Unfortunately, without immediate access to any of the Goldhil discs I can’t offer a visual quality comparison.)

Daniel Boone display (380x152).jpgGuest appearances in one-off or recurring roles abound, including Kurt Russell (five episodes), Cesar Romero (three episodes), Burl Ives (two episodes), Yaphet Kotto (two episodes), James Doohan (two episodes), Ricardo Montalban, Barbara Hershey, Vincent Price, Leonard Nimoy, and many others (many of whom have slipped into obscurity or were never big names to begin with).

All things considered, if Daniel Boone is a show that means something to you, or perhaps if you have a grade-school aged child who you’d like to see become more interested in early American history, the price tag for the new set is certainly fair. The adventures of Fess Parker (who appeared in all 165 episodes) as Boone, “the rippin'est, roarin'est, fightin'est man the frontier ever knew” (according to the theme song), are going to be somewhat mild for modern viewers not reared on this stuff. Patricia Blair (who passed at age 80 in 2013) portrayed Mrs. Rebecca Boone, while Darby Hinton played one of Boone’s children, Israel (he had ten, although that number is not represented in the series). Veronica Cartwright, all of 11 years old at the time, played Boone’s daughter Jemima during seasons one and two before being discarded.

Shop around a bit and this set can easily be had at a price that averages out to less than 20 bucks per season. There are plenty of vintage TV buffs likely to be happy this Christmas if Daniel Boone: The Complete Series ends up under their tree.

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Chaz Lipp writes for The Morton Report.

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