08 May 2012

Mickey Mouse, alias Davy Crockett

As a child of Fort Wilderness, some of my earliest memories of Mickey Mouse are of the main mouse capped in a cookskin, looking for all the world like a pintsized version of Davy Crockett himself, Fess Parker. Decked out in complete western wear and carrying a musket, Mickey Crockett was front and center of the campground’s longtime sign. The sign was constructed out of what appeared to be a slice of a massive tree carved with Fort Wilderness’ name and the image of Mickey Mouse. In fact, the Frontierland costumed Mickey Mouse even had his picture taken with the sign was upon a time.

The musket and coonskin cap clad Mickey Mouse could be found everywhere at campground. Mickey Crockett adorned patches, magnets and matchbooks, and was visible all the way down to the brown paper bags used to sell package groceries and souvenirs in the trading posts. As the years went by, the rifle was replaced with a guitar, banjo, or walking stick for a more politically correct mouse. The cap and fringed western gear stuck around until the most recent redesign of resort souvenirs. Now Mickey Mouse can be seen with a backpack ready for a walk in the woods, the walking stick is optional, as is the inclusion of the floppy fisherman’s hat. Fort Wilderness, however, was not the first time Mickey Mouse donned the famous frontiersman’s cap.

There were many instances of animated shorts in which Mickey could be seen wearing the coonskin cap, such as in 1951’s R’coon Dawg. While the entire outfit may not have always been present, it was clear that Mickey was ahead of the nation on the Davy Crockett craze that consumed boys young and old beginning in 1955.

Mickey Crockett was available for photographs or autographs on very rare occasions, not just at Fort Wilderness but also within the Magic Kingdom. As mentioned before, with the Fort Wilderness sign, this version of the big cheese did like to have his taken by the Walt Disney World photography corp. One such instance came in 1977 and placed the coonskin cap wearing Mickey Mouse in the front of the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes. The great part of the photo is that not only do you see Mickey Crockett and the Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes, but also the Robert F. Irvine riverboat and a look at a much less congested Frontierland in the background.

Mickey Crockett, and yes that is the name I gave to him as a child, was a huge part of my childhood at Walt Disney World and Fort Wilderness. His smiling face on the sign was, in general, the first face I saw every trip to Walt Disney World and it let me know I was about to set off on a great adventure. Plus, he’s just a cool looking incarnation of Mickey Mouse!


Gator Chris said...

What a fabulous image.

I miss the musket-toting Mickey Crockett. Another vanished piece of my childhood.

Unknown said...

We also miss Mickey Crockett. We hadn't been to Fort Wilderness in many years, and were so disappointed this year when we saw that yet another cherished childhood memory had vanished.