Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Seven-Inch-Vinyl Exerpt: Chapter Thirteen: "King of the Wild Frontier"

(From the unpublished novel Copyright 2010 Donald Riggio)

At seven-thirty, the ABC television network broadcast another weekly installment of Walt Disney’s Disneyland, a popular show that premiered in October.
The current king of animation and creator of Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney, made a move into television production as a way of financing his pet project, Disneyland, a huge amusement park he planned to open in southern California
On this night viewers watched the image of Disney behind his desk. In the background, a bouncy tune began to play. Disney’s image faded into a series of hand drawn sketches resembling the panels of a comic book. The lyrics of the song described the illustrations. They told the tale of Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier. Crockett was a simple backwoodsman from Tennessee. He fought Indians, served in Congress and would go to his death in a desperate battle at a place called The Alamo. Disney told his viewers that this would be the first of three installments, entitled “Davy Crockett: Indian Fighter”.
Leo hardly took notice but Marlena was transfixed. So were thousands of other viewers.
By the time the second and third episodes of the Davy Crockett saga aired in February of 1955, the entire country was caught up in a “Davy Crockett” marketing frenzy. Consumers spent millions of dollars on toys, books, clothing; anything that could be linked to the television hero.
“We’re selling fur coats now?” Leo asked Joseph when he arrived at the store to find him unpacking one of five large cardboard boxes, which contained dozens of furry looking items. He picked one up and examined it. “Or rats, maybe? They have tails. They could be rats.”
Joseph took the item and placed it on his boss’s head.
“They’re coonskin caps, Davy Crockett caps. All the kids want one.”
Boys and girls everywhere played frontiersman games in backyards, vacant lots and city streets. They all wanted to look like their favorite hero. The demand for raccoon fur had jumped from 25 cents a pound to $8.00 a pound.
“So we sell hats instead of records?” Leo asked, unaware of how silly he looked.
“No. We sell records, too.” Joseph reached down and handed Leo a 45 record in a paper sleeve. “This one is headed up the charts like a rocket.”
Leo read the sleeve. The record was called, “The Ballad of Davy Crockett,” sung by Bill Hays.
Walt Disney realized that since Crockett’s story unfolded over three separate segments airing nearly a month apart, he needed some way to tie them together so they would flow easily from one episode to the next. What better way than to have a catchy little tune, with several verses, to remind viewers of what transpired before?
“Coonskin caps?” Leo complained. “I beg of you, Joseph, really?”
Leo missed the attention he was getting from a small child, browsing through the store with his mother. When the boy of about seven saw the hat on Leo’s head, he wandered away from his mother’s side. He stood next to Leo, staring up at him.
“Mister,” the wild-eyed youngster asked him, “Is that a Davy Crockett hat?”
Leo looked at him. “Why, yes it is, sonny.”
“Mommy! Mommy!” The boy hurried off yelling to his mother. “Look, they sell Davy Crockett hats here! Can I get one, Mommy, please?”
Leo took the hat off his head. “We can get more of these, right?”
Joseph had a big smile on his face. “Yes, Leo we can get all we could possibly need.”

Rock and Roll quote of the day: "Chapter one says to love her, you love her with all your heart. In chapter two you tell her you're never,never never,never,ever gonna' part. In chapter three remember, the meaning of romance. In chapter four you break up, but you give it just one more chance." From" Book of Love" By: The Monotones

1 comment:

  1. This was fun. Marketing and TV shows go way back.

    I like the way you include a rock and roll quote at the end of your posts. Nice touch.