All The Rage

The Image staff muses on the culture of
keeping up appearances

« Previous Post | All The Rage Home | Next Post »

Doffing the coonskin cap in honor of Fess Parker

March 18, 2010 |  3:39 pm

Rage_browne Over here at Rage Central, we're doffing the coonskin caps of our collective childhood to mark the passing of actor Fess Parker, who passed away today at the age of 85.

As the LAT obituary points out, in his role as Davy Crockett, the actor/future hotel developer and wine maker, touched off a merchandising frenzy that moved some 10 million coonskin caps since the character first appeared on TV in 1954. (Two of those belonged to a younger version of this Rager and his brother -- luxe editions from our grandparents, with red, silk quilted linings).

The strange cap eventually transcended the character itself, becoming a sartorial symbol of boyhood gone by and a instant trigger for whole generations of nostalgic longing. (See 1983's "Christmas Story," for example.)

And it was just in February that we remarked on the abundance of raccoon fur on the runways of New York Fashion Week, including a pillbox cap with a dangling raccoon tail we spotted at Thom Browne's show.

And, although Parker's reign as the King of the Wild Frontier was well in the rearview mirror by the time this Rager was in short pants, we have to 'fess up that when we heard the news of Parker's passing, a little bit of our childhood high-tailed it out of the building too.

-- Adam Tschorn

Photo: The coonskin cap popularized by Fess Parker''s Davy Crockett character half a century ago, continues to influence fashion, such as this pillbox hat with a dangling racoon tail that appeared in Thom Browne's fall/winter 2010 runway collection during New York Fashion Week in February. Credit: Peter Stigter and Jonas Gustavsson / For The Times

Follow All the Rage on Facebook and Twitter.