The Swamp Fox: The Birth of the Swamp Fox (1959)

Genres - Adventure  |   Sub-Genres - War Adventure  |   Run Time - 60 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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One of producer Walt Disney's more blatant efforts to duplicate the success of his early TV miniseries Davy Crockett, the eight-part Swamp Fox featured another flamboyant frontiersman hero who wore coonskin-style headgear and whose adventures were introduced with a catchy, memorable theme song. Based on a book by Dr. Robert D. Bass, The Swamp Fox stars Leslie Nielsen as real-life American patriot Francis Marion, a wealthy landowner who during the Revolutionary War led a hardy band of guerilla fighters against the Redcoats and pro-British tories in his native South Carolina. The villain of the piece (at least in the first few episodes) was another actual historical figure, the ruthless Banastre Tarleton (John Sutton), an officer in the British Green Dragoons (Marion and Tarleton later served as the models for the hero and villain, respectively, of the 1999 Mel Gibson film Patriot). In the first episode, Marion is prevailed upon by his friends and neighbors to help free South Carolina from the grip of British rule. His task is made difficult by the fact that his sweetheart, Mary Videaux (Joy Page), is from a pro-Tory family. "The Birth of the Swamp Fox" originally aired as part of the Walt Disney Presents anthology.