Michael Wallis

  • Aired:  08/11/11
  •  | Views: 48,169

Author Michael Wallis uncovers the reality behind American folk hero David Crockett. (6:54)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK, MY

GUEST TONIGHT BEST SELLING

AUTHOR HIS NEW BOOK IS

CALLED DAVID CROCKETT, THE

LION OF THE WEST.

PLEASE WELCOME TO THE

PROGRAM MICHAEL WALLIS.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> NICE TO SEE YOU.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR

JOINING US.

NOW THIS IS AN EXCITING

NIGHT FOR ME BECAUSE NOT

ONLY DO WE HAVE THE DAVID

CROCKETT BOOK, RARELY I DO

GET A GUEST WHO IS AN AUTHOR,

BE OF GREAT RENOWN PROMOTING

A BOOK AND CAN ALSO PROMOTE

AN ANIMATED FILM.

YOU WERE IN CARS.

>> I WAS, INDEED.

I WAS-- I WAS THE HIGH

SHERIFF OF RADIATOR SPRINGS

LOOKING FOR--

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Jon: UNBELIEVABLE.

>> AND I CAN SEE THAT THERE

ARE A LOT OF TRACTOR TIPPERS

OUT THERE IN THAT AUDIENCE.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> Jon: AWESOME.

DAVID CROCKETT.

DAVID.

>> HE NEVER USED THE NAME

DAVEY FOR HIMSELF.

NEVER SIGNED IT DAVEY.

SO IT WAS DAVID CROCKETT.

>> Jon: AND THAT, AND HE WAS

NOT SHY ABOUT PROMOTING

HIMSELF.

SO HOW DID IT TURN INTO, IS

THAT JUST A CREATION OF

AMERICAN-- IT SOUNDED BETTER

IN THE SONGS?

>> YEAH, AND THEN THE

ALMANACS, AND WITH THE FOLKS

IN GENERAL.

I MEAN THE PEOPLE WOULD CALL

HIM DAVEY CROCKETT, YOU

KNOW.

THAT WAS JUST HIS WAY OF

IDENTIFYING HIMSELF.

>> NOW WHAT I KNOW OF DAVID

CROCKETT IS THIS.

I KNOW HE WAS BORN IN

TENNESSEE.

KILLED A BASH WHEN HE WAS

THREE.

AND THEN I LOSE THE TRAIL.

>> HE WAS ACTUALLY BORN IN

THE STATE OF FRANKLIN BEFORE

TENNESSEE BECAME A STATE.

AND HE HAD NEVER KILLED A

BEAR WHEN HE WAS ONLY THREE

BUT HE WAS A PROFESSIONAL

BEAR HUNTER.

ONE SEASON HE SLEW 105 BLACK

BEARS.

>> SO HE WAS AS MUCH OF A

LEGEND AS HE WAS, AS MUCH

HYPERBOWL AS WAS THERE, HE

ACTUALLY WAS THE REAL DEAL.

>> HE WAS THE REAL DEAL.

THE TRUTH IS ALWAYS BETTER

THAN FICTION.

AND LIKE SO MANY OF BOOMERS,

I GREW UP WITH THE-- PARKER

IMAGE OF CROCKETT.

AND IT WAS ENTERTAINING AND

CHARMING WHEN YOU ARE NINE.

BUT IT WASN'T THE REAL THING.

CROCKETT LIKE SO MANY

FIGURES FROM THE WEST,

OTHERS I HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT,

PRETTY BOY FLIED, BILLY THE

KID, JESSY JAMES, THERE'S

THE REAL MAN AND THEN

THERE'S THE MYTH.

SO THE TWO OFTEN COLLIDE AND

GET TOGETHER.

AND IT HAPPENED DEFINITELY

IN CROCKETT'S OWN LIFETIME.

>> THAT'S WHAT WAS SO

SURPRISING IS THAT I DIDN'T

REALIZE THAT CROCKETT IN HIS

LIFETIME WAS SUCH A RENOWNED

FIGURE AND THAT HE ACTUALLY

ATTENDED A PLAY THAT WAS

ABOUT HIM.

AND I GUESS IT WAS IN 1831.

AND HE --

>> IN WASHINGTON, D.C..

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

AND HE OF COURSE SERVED

SUCCESSFULLY IN CONGRESS FOR

SEVERAL TIMES.

AND HE WENT TO SEE THIS PLAY

CALLED, AND THAT'S WHAT I

USE FOR MY SUBTITLE, THE

LION OF THE WEST.

AND HE KNEW IT WAS LOOSELY

BASED ON HIM SOW WENT INTO

THE THEATRE WITH HIS

ENTOURAGE.

THEY SEATED HIM IN THE FIRST

ROW.

EVERYONE WAS WONDERING

WHAT'S CROCKETT GOING TO DO.

WILL HE GET UP AND PUMMEL

THE ACTOR PLAYING HIM OR YOU

KNOW, WHAT WILL DO.

WELL, THE FACTOR JAMES --

ACTOR JAMES HACKETT CAME

LEAPING OUT ON THE STAGE IN

AN ALMOST BURR LESSING OVER

THE TOP FRINGED OUTFIT NOT

WITH A RACOON CAP ON BUT

WITH A BOBCAT HAT.

AND HE WAS CALLED NIMROD

WILDFIRE.

(LAUGHTER)

SO I WOULD HAVE PUMMELED

HIM.

>> Jon: I THINK MAYBE.

BUT CROCKETT DIDN'T.

>> NIMROD MADE A BIG

SWEEPING BOUGH.

THERE WAS A HUSHED SILENCE.

CROCKETT STOOD AND MAKE A

BIG SWEEPING BOUGH BACK.

REALITY-- AND MYTH MET RIGHT

THERE.

>> Jon: IT'S AN AMAZING

STORY.

I WONDER IF HE WENT BACK

AFTERWARDS AND SAID LET'S

TALK ABOUT THE NAME NIMROD.

(LAUGHTER)

>> Jon: LET'S SEE IF WE CAN

CHANGE THAT AROUND.

NOW OBVIOUSLY FOR ME THE

MYTHOLOGY OF DAVEY CROCKETT

CEMENTS ITSELF AT THE ALAMO.

BUT EVEN THAT STORY, YOU

KNOW, HE IS SAID TO HAVE

INVENTED TEXAS.

DID HE GO THERE, THE IDEA IS

HE WENT DOWN THERE TO FIGHT

FOR LIBERTY IN TEXAS.

>> HE WENT DOWN THERE TO

REBUILD HIS CAREER.

HE HAD BEEN VOTED OUT OF

CONGRESS LARGELY BECAUSE HE

STOOD UP AGAINST HIS

PRESIDENT AND FORMER

POLITICAL MENTOR ANDREW

JACKSON OVER THE ISSUE OF

INDIAN REMOVAL.

THE TRAILS OF TEARS THAT

LEAD TO WHERE I NOW LIVE,

OKLAHOMA.

AKA INDIAN TERRITORY.

CROCKETT HAD SEEN THE

HORRENDOUS ATROCITIES OF THE

CREEK WAR.

HE WANTED NO MORE OF THAT HE

SAID TO JACKSON YOU'VE

MESSED WITH THESE PEOPLE

ENOUGH.

LET THEM BE.

AND HE WAS THE ONLY MEMBER

OF THE TENNESSEE DELEGATION

TO VOTE AGAINST THE BILL.

HE STOOD UP TO HIS PARTY, TO

HIS CONSTITUENTS.

WE NEED MORE PEOPLE LIKE

THAT IN CONGRESS.

>> I THINK SO.

>> I WOULD THINK SO.

>> SO HE WENT DOWN TO TEXAS.

>> AND HE WENT DOWN TO

TEXAS.

>> SO JACKSON FOUND THE

CANDIDATE TO RUN AGAINST

HIM.

AS CROCKETT LIKED TO POINT

OUT, A ONE LEGGED MAN.

THEY VOTED HIM OUT.

AND THAT'S WHEN HE FAMOUSLY

SAID MANY TIMES AD NAUSEAM,

YOU ALL CAN GO TO HELL.

I'M GOING TO TEXAS.

>> AND HE WENT DOWN THERE

BECAUSE HE WAS GYPSY FOOTED

AND HE WANTED TO LOOK AT NEW

TERRITORY AND REBUILD HIS

CAREER AND HE WANTED TO HUNT

EVERY DAY.

HE TOOK WEEKS TO GET DOWN

THERE.

HE WAS CHASINGĂ‘i BISON,

LOOKING FOR HONEY TREES.

THEY THOUGHT HE WAS DEAD HE

FINALLY GOT DOWN THERE AND

SAID I WOULD REALLY LIKE

THIS LAND AND HE SAID YOU

CAN HAVE IT BUT YOU NEED TO

SIGN UP FOR OUR MILITIA.

THESE TEXTANS WERE REVOLTING

AGAINST THEIR OWN COUNTRY.

THEY WERE IN MEXICO.

THEY WERE IMMIGRANTS THAT

CAME INTO OLD MEXICO, INTO

THE STATE OF TEJAS BUT THEY

STILL KEPT COMING.

HENCE THEY WERE ILLEGAL

IMMIGRANTS.

>> OH MY GOSH.

IF ONLY SANTA ANNA HAD BEEN

ABLE TO BUILD THAT DANG

FENCE.

>> WELL, SLAVERY WAS ABOLISHED

IN MEXICO.

SO THAT'S-- AND THEY WERE

LARGELY SLAVES.

>> Jon: WE WERE HOPING IN

SOME WAYS TO PRESERVE

SLAVERY.

>> WE WANTED A PLANTATION

SYSTEM IN TEXAS, OF COURSE.

SO CROCKETT, YOU KNOW,

UNBENOENS TO HIM, SIGNED UP

FOR THE MILITIA.

THEY SENT HIM TO THE BAT

ERRED MISSION IN SAN ANTONIO

AND AT 49 YEARS OF AGE THE

CURTAIN FELL ON CROCKETT AND

NIMROD.

>> Jon: IT'S A A MAGNIFICENT

STORY AND HIS THREE IS SO

MUCH MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN ANY

FICTION COULD BE.

>> IT'S THE BEST.

>> Jon: I LOVE IT.

DAVID CROCK SET ON THE BOOK

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