David "Davy" Crockett (August 17, 1786 – March 6, 1836) was an American frontiersman who went on to live a full life in both war and politics. He served in the Creek Indian War, then was elected to the Tennessee state legislature, and eventually to the House of Representatives. There, he opposed many of the bills by Andrew Jackson, particularly the Indian Removal Act, resulting in the end of his political career. As a result he left for Texas, where he died in the battle of the Alamo in 1836.
That's more or less the Cliff Notes version of his life, which was embedded in American popular culture. His exploits became exaggerated beyond what he did, including claims that he killed a bear at age three. He also published his own autobiography, which can be found here.
The most famous interpretation of him probably came from Davy Crockett (1954), a five-part serial on the Disneyland television program, featuring Fess Parker in the lead role. He was also played by, among others, John Wayne in The Alamo (1960) and Billy Bob Thornton in The Alamo (2004).
Tropes frequently associated with Davy Crockett:
- Action Politician: He was both a soldier and a legislator.
- Actually Pretty Funny: In 1831, a satirical play opened in New York called "The Lion of the West" and featured its main character as Nimrod Wildfire, a parody of Davy Crockett. Crockett not only watched the play but enjoyed it and embraced the Nimrod character.
- Beam Me Up, Scotty!: Many of the speeches and sayings attributed to Crockett, including his "Not Yours To Give" speech and his claim about his father licking every man in Kentucky, are now considered apocryphal at best.
- Bolivian Army Ending: Or at least that is the most popular version of the story, although there is a fair amount of witness testimony indicating that Crockett (and a few other defenders of the Alamo) were captured alive only to be murdered on the orders of the Mexican commander; Disney played with this when they revisited Crockett in 2004's The Alamo.
- Do Not Call Me "Paul": Inverted. Despite popular media giving him the affectionate nickname "Davy", it's known that in real life he usually preferred to be called "David".
- Iconic Outfit: Popular media almost always depicts Crockett wearing a raccoon hat and said hat has become as associated with the character as Sherlock Holmes with his deerstalker hat. The reality was that he most likely NEVER actually wore a raccoon hat. Where did it come from? The hat was worn by Nimrod Wildfire, a fictional character meant as a parody of Crockett from the 1831 play "The Lion of the West". Over the years, fact and fiction blended, giving this signature hat to Davy Crockett.
- Extreme Mêlée Revenge: Crockett was at the scene of one, with the infamous President Andrew Jackson. An assassin by the name of "Richard Lawrence" attempted to assassinate him, but his guns couldn't fire, and Jackson noticed. Needless to say, Crockett attempted to lift Jackson off of Lawrence as he was beating the everloving shit out of him with his cane. And he succeeded.
- Large and in Charge: As portrayed by the lanky, 6'5" Fess Parker. The real Crockett was stocky and 5'8" - slightly above average height for his time. And while not unpleasant looking, he was not exactly the Hollywood leading man type, being a hard living kind of guy.
- Living Legend: Was this by the time he went to Washington to serve in Congress. Any story he appears in will make note of his Famed In-Story status. This isn't helped by the fact that Crockett himself never let the whole truth get in the way of a good story.
- Mountain Man: One of the major Trope Codifiers
- Tall Tale: Davy Crockett has become accrued with legends that sometimes stray into Tall Tale territory.
- What Beautiful Eyes!: Believe it or not, he was known to have very attractive blue eyes.