Davy: Product of the wild frontier

Pop Culture

March 03, 2002|By Knight Ridder / Tribune

AUSTIN, Texas -- From coonskin caps to lunchboxes and cap pistols, Davy Crockett memorabilia has made the Alamo hero and American frontiersman the country's greatest pop culture symbol, right?

It is an arguable position, but at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, a new exhibit could sway the most ardent objector. The exhibit, Sunrise in His Pocket: The Life, Legend and Legacy of Davy Crockett, opened this weekend and will run through Aug. 18.

It is a collection of bona fide Crockett artifacts, including a flintlock rifle and pages of personal letters. But the biggest celebration of the Tennessee mountain man turned Texas freedom fighter is the overwhelming display of Crockett merchandising.

The primary display shows a child's room literally strewn with Crockett goodies. An oak bedstead is carved with a Crockett figure, as is a chest of drawers. There are T-shirts and bandanas, TV trays, Alamo play sets and a large, painted toy chest. Items cascade off the bed and onto the floor. The wallpaper, the curtains and bedspread are all Crockett-themed.

A lot of the memorabilia belongs to Dr. Murray Weissman, a New Jersey physician and avid Crockett collector. The rest is the property of Paul Hutton, the guest curator for the exhibit and a professor of history at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

"This is the story that hooked me on history," said Hutton "I was in England when the Disney series came out, but I had a "Davy Crockett at the Alamo" comic book, and I finally got to see the TV shows when we moved back" to Texas.

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