Ballad of Davy Crocket parodies

In 1956, a calculated move or two by the Disney company launched a major Davy Crocket fad. Davy Crocket merchandise of every kind was seen for a summer or so, and millions of otherwise rational kids started wearing coonskin caps all over the English speaking world (in her book on British culture, THE LANGUAGE AND LORE OF SCHOOLCHILDREN, Iona Opie notes that home-made caps outnumbered “official” ones by a ten-to-one ratio). The fad ended as quickly as it had begun, leaving in its wake a whole slew of parodies of “The Ballad of Davy Crocket,” some of which had spread through Australia before the real song was even released there. The parodies long outlasted the fad.

Some popular examples:

Born on a table top in Joe’s cafe
dirtiest place in the USA
Killed his father when he was only 3,
polished off his mother with DDT
Davy, Davy Crocket, king of the wild frontier

Australians, possibly not yet aware of who the heck Crocket was, often changed the last line to “The man who is no good.” Other variations had him “killed his pa when he was only four / now he’s looking for his brother in law!”

Others:

Born on a roof top in Battersea
Joined the Teds when he was only three
Coshed a cop when he was only four
and now he’s in Dartmoor forevermore
Davy, Davy Crocket, king of the teddy boy gang

(Teddy Boys were sort of the British version of greasers).

A particular favorite, collected by Sherman from a kid who learned it in the 70s:

Born on a mountaintop in Palestine
raised on gefilte fish and Mogen David wine
he was bar mitzvahed when he was only 9,
but his name wasn’t Crocket, it was Finklestein
David, David Finklestein, king of the wild frontier

Interesting note about Davy Crocket – he really did claim to have killed hundreds of bears. Some contemporaries said they didn’t believe him. They believed he could kill bears, all right, but not that he could count to the hundreds. When writing The Smart Aleck’s Guide to American History, I couldn’t figure out if he was actually that dumb, or if he just acted that way as part of the “just as dumb as you, a real man of the people” image the Whig party wanted for him. There are plenty of politicians around today where I wonder the same thing.

Anyway, the songs long outlived the Crocket fad, and new versions kept appearing. Which ones do you know?

(Visited 1,037 times, 1 visits today)

10 Comments

  1. Rob & Delores

    Variant from the western USA. (I lived in WA, ID, CA & AZ while growing up, so don't recall where I learned it:

    Born on a tabletop in Joe's Cafe,
    dirtiest place in the USA,
    Drinking wine,
    when he was nine,
    Turned out to be Frankenstein.

    Yep, pretty ridiculous, but we were young…

    Reply
  2. Studio 58

    From inner Sydney in the 1960's

    Born on a bottle top in Joes cafe
    dirtiest place in the USA
    shot his mother with a back door key
    and posened his father with a bottle of KB
    Davey, Davey Crocket king of the wild frontier

    (KB is a brand of Aussie beer)

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    I heard this version in the mid 1960s, in southern California:

    Born on a mountain top in Palestine,
    raised on gefilte fish and Manischewitz wine.
    Killed him a bear when he was only nine,
    Who, Davey Crockette? No, Davey Klein.

    Chorus:
    Davey, Davey caught it, and gave it to the whole frontier.

    Reply
  4. Marcus

    Born on a table top in Joe's Cafe
    Dirtiest place in the whole USA
    His father was a bear and his mother was a deer
    And poor little Davy was a bottle of beer.

    Reply
  5. Carol

    Born in an ashcan in Tennessee
    Shot his father with a .43
    Lost his mother at the A & P
    And on the way home took an NFT.

    Davy, Davy Crockett..

    Buffalo, NY, mid 1960's.

    Reply
  6. Bivouac

    I do not see a listing for the Daniel Boone TV Theme on the site, so I will share it here due to similarity to Davy Crocket… but back in elementary school Akron, Ohio around 1967-68, I heard this parody version of the Daniel Boone theme:
    "Daniel Boone was a man,
    Yes a BIG man,
    But the BEAR was BIGGER,
    So he ran like a N_____,
    Up a tree!"

    Reply
  7. johnadamm

    My school had its own variation as I recall, and this was sang loudly during excursions especially where the bus was from the local charter company

    Born on a table in Joe's Cafe
    Dirtiest place in the USA
    Killed his mother with the Mortein Plus
    Killed his father with a Bentleigh Charter Bus

    (Mortein Plus being a popular domestic insecticide at the time in Australia)

    Reply
  8. Angelina Jullie

    I read your blogs regularly. Your humoristic way is amusing, continue the good work!playground surfaces

    Reply
  9. GLG

    Born in a pickle jar in Joe's cafe,
    Dirtiest place in the USA,
    split a pickle, started a war,
    and there ain't no Davy Crockett no more.
    Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier.

    Reply
  10. Lunenburg Larry

    This Davy Crockett parody was popular in Western Massachusetts in the 1950s. It had several more verses, which I don’t recall.
    Born on a tabletop in Tennesee,
    Served 30 years in the penitentiary,
    Tried to escape but he didn’t get far,
    Somebody goofed on the getaway car.
    Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wide back door.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *