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Paul Kyriazi

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Disney's Davy Crockett: Fess Parker's Business Advice
By Paul Kyriazi
Last edited: Monday, February 09, 2015
Posted: Thursday, September 20, 2012

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Davy Crockett takes care of business.

If you're a Disney fan, then you know Fess Parker as Davy Crockett or his later TV series Daniel Boone that ran six years. Parker said;
"I was warned that many actors spent their money recklessly. It was pointed out to me, by my agent, that Buster Keaton had his own movie studio and living in a palace, but ended up living in a little bungalo in the San Fernando Valley, raising chickens in his backyard. He was just as happy, but in a different status.This was a cautionary tale for me. It's one thing to create a lifestyle, but you have to be sure that you can continue that lifestyle."
Parker began his career as an extra in the play 'Mister Roberts' starring Henry Fonda and then to a 1-day part in the science fiction movie, 'Them'. According to Parker:
"Walt Disney went to see 'Them' to decide if the star, James Arness, was right for the role of Davy Crockett. But he saw my one scene and decided to cast me. Disney told me, 'I was impressed with that scene because you portrayed a man that was unswerving in his belief in what he saw (flying ants) despite the forces of authority against him'."
Parker went on to star in more Disney movies, then TV's Daniel Boone for six years. Next came a failed movie in 1973 and a failed 'Fess Parker Show' pilot for TV. Parker said, "When they have to sell a show with your name, that's the end."
Turning down the title role of 'McCloud', Parker retired from the film industry. About making a comeback, Parker said, "When you take yourself out of competition, you're out. You're out of people's minds." That makes a good case for staying in the competition by constantly being productive in your chosen field.
Parker went on from small real estate deals to larger ones. With some Disney contacts he tried to open a Davy Crockett theme park in Kentucky. Parker said:
"I made a mistake and told the competition about it and they began building Kings Island Amusement Park just two hours away, so my financing dried up. I was out of my league without a business background. I also failed when I sold my 452 acres of land which very quickly became the heart of Silicon Valley. It's now worth a million dollars an acre, the worst business decision of my life. But you move on.Then I bought 32 acres next to the ocean in Santa Barbara and built my first hotel. And then came my winery in Los Olivos."
When asked to give advice for upcoming actors, his answer sounded like good advice for anyone with a dream. Parker said;
"You have to have abandonment of reason and be in a zone where reality doesn't exist. You have to be willing to endure disappointments and have a real commitment. You'll often have to forgo a social life because you can't afford to do anything but eat."
When asked about how he handled going from acting to real estate developing to wine making, Parker said;
"I approach a challenging situation with 50% optimism and 50% ignorance. And that makes it fun."
About Walt Disney, Parker said;
"Disney was a hard working man. Approachable, no pretence, warm. He treated everybody very well. He was a perfectionist, workaholic, loved what he was doing. He could look at a project, do cuts and additions and make it come alive."
I'm a big fan of Fess Parker and I stayed a few times at Fess Parker's Doubletree Hotel and always hoped to see him there. Finally on my fifth visit there, eating lunch with my parents I told them, "I've given up looking for Fess."
That same day I was lounging in my room, something possessed me to go to the lobby and check my email at the computer there, which I had just done an hour ago. In the huge lobby I always took the same course, but this time decided to go a different way.
As I did, two men walked in my path catching up with me. One of them was Davy Crockett. I didn't want to disturb him. I just enjoyed walking with him until I went to the computer area and he went to the restaurant. I could see him sitting there and wondered what made me leave my room and cross the lobby in a new path? Miracles happen, if you listen to 'the calling'.
Also on this site: Fess Parkers's Unproduced Davy Crockett Sequel
(He wrote the screenplay. Buddy Ebsen agreed to do it.)
More success strategies in: How to Live the James Bond Lifestyle - KINDLE - Read 30 sampel pages.

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Coming Nov. 6th: SPECTRE. Be living the life by then.

Web Site My site with the 22 stars I directed.

Reader Reviews for "Disney's Davy Crockett: Fess Parker's Business Advice"

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Reviewed by Edward Phillips
I recall seeing Fess Parker in a TV interview in which he told of his business deal of working for a piece of the movie profits. But they never made a profit according to "creative" bookkeeping he didn't understand. Today, big stars like Tom Hanks work for a percentage of the gross take, and make big bucks regardless of what the CPAs say.
Reviewed by Paul Kyriazi
John, Walt Disney viewed THEM to check out James Arness for Davy Crockett, but then saw that on scene of Fess Parker and hired him. That shows to do a good job on every project, no matter how small. You never know when Walt will see it and hire you. (or Oprah).
Reviewed by John Martin
I remember seeing him as the Pilot in the hosptial scene in THEM. I also remember seeing a young Clinton Eastwood wearing glasses, a lab coat and having two or three lines in The Creature From the Black Lagoon. Good Article, Paul.

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