Today, were going to take you back a few years to a time when nearly every American boy and girl (and quite a few boys and girls from elsewhere around the world) used to think wearing coonskin caps was “neat-o” and “groovy” and the “bees knees” (or whatever they said back then). So, who do we have to thank for this fad? Why, the same person who was responsible for most other fads at that time – from mouse ears and coonskin caps being stuck on our heads to “M-I-C, K-E-Y, M-O-U-S-E” and “It’s a small world after all” being stuck in our heads (you’re welcome!) – good ol’ Walt Disney, that’s who you thank.
Of course, people were wearing coonskin hats way before Uncle Walt came along. Traditionally, they started out being worn by Native Americans to keep their heads warm and when the Europeans began settling places like Tennessee and Kentucky where they adopted them and wore them as hunting caps. This is why you’ll see early depictions of frontiersmen like Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, and explorers like Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame wearing the coonskin cap. (Daniel Boone however, never wore a coonskin hat. He preferred felt hats or hats made of beaver.)
You see, in 1954, Disney started airing the series “Davy Crockett” starring Fess Parker as the legendary woodsman on their Disneyland television program. The show became so popular with the kids that it not only turned Davy Crockett into a national folk hero, but because he wore a coonskin cap, it also saw a spike in sales of coonskin caps bought by boys (and probably some tomboys as well who wore the “Polly Crockett” hat) who wanted to be just like Davy (or Polly). Disney later continued the trend in their Daniel Boone series (1964-1970) again with Fess Parker playing the role of the titular character and again, with the titular character wearing a coonskin cap (though as we mentioned, Daniel Boone never wore a coonskin cap, but the kids loved it, so…).
Anyway, as a result, you would be hard-pressed to find a boy in America or the United Kingdom who didn’t sport the Davy Crockett look from 1954 to the end of the decade when the hats were in vogue among the youth of that time. In fact, at one time, over 5,000 coonskin caps were being sold throughout the country and abroad. However, lest you worry about the raccoon population declining during that time, the caps were actually a skull cap lined with faux raccoon fur with a tail attached to the back. (The Polly Crockett version was actually made of all-white faux-fur).
Nevertheless, coonskin caps in the pop culture of American history don’t stop with Disney or Davy Crockett or even Daniel Boone:
- Uncle Fester from 1964 ABC-TV series The Addams Family, would sometimes wore a “skunkskin” cap (a coonskin cap dyed black with a white strip running down the middle of both the crown and its tail).
- The 1983 film A Christmas Story shows the town bully, Scut Farkus, wearing a coonskin cap.
- The founder of the fictional Springfield in The Simpsons, Jebediah Springfield, is depicted in his statue as wearing a coonskin cap.
- In the Lil Abner comic strip Senator Jack S. Phogbound dons a coonskin cap.
And cartoon politicians aren’t the only politicians to don the coonskin cap.
During his successful 1948 campaign for election to the United States Senate, Estes Kefauver started wearing the coonskin cap after rival Tennessee politician E.H, Crump called him a coonskin communist. During a speech in Memphis, he would declare: “I may be a pet coon, but I’m not Boss Crump’s pet coon.” he would wear it in every campaign afterwards including when he ran for Vice President alongside Adlai Stevenson in 1956.
And finally, in 1994, Florida politician Lawton Chiles put on a coonskin cap while celebrating his gubernatorial re-election victory over Republican Jeb Bush, recalling a campaign statement in which Chiles had predicted victory by saying “the old he-coon walks just before the light of day.”
If you’re waxing nostalgic about your Davy (or Polly) Crockett days of your youth, you can still find the faux-fur hats at and of our Stuckey’s locations. While you’re there, don’t forget to get few pecan log rolls (now available in a bigger 10 oz, 10 inch size) for you and the folks back home. (Be careful with them around your new coonskin cap, though. Do you know how hard it is to get faux fur out of all those delicious little nooks and crannies? )
Visit stuckeys.com for more on how you can order our Stuckey’s pecan log rolls and other fine pecan candies and Stuckey’s merchandise directly to your home and check out the Pecan Blog Roll for more nostalgic drives down memory lane.
Whether your next road trip is by car or by rail, it’s not really a road trip without taking Stuckey’s along. From our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls to our mouthwatering Hunkey Dorey, Stuckey’s has all the road trips snacks you’ll need to get you where you’re going.
For all of the pecany good treats and cool merch you’ll need for your next big road adventure, browse our online store now!
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