HATTIE: (In the Studio) Hi. I'm Hattie Bryant. We believe there should be at least a half hour per week on television dedicated to tell the stories about people who create wealth and work and make the world a better place.
HATTIE: Today, we visit with a legend who encourages us to create our own legend. Meet an old friend, Fess Parker. You may remember him as Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone.
Last year, over 60,000 people visited the Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard, located 32 miles north of Santa Barbara, on the Foxen Canyon wine trail.
Guest #1: Do you like that one?
Guest #2: Yeah.
HATTIE: In 1987, Fess Parker and his son, Eli, purchased 714 acres. Eli enrolled in viticultural classes, and this business was born. While Eli focused on the wine making, his dad concentrated on building the winery and visitors center. Total sales reached $5 million last year.
So he really is 6'6". You can tell; I come up to his elbow.
You probably remember Fess Parker when he looked like this when he was on television in the '50s, he was Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier. And from 1964 to 1970 he played the role of Daniel Boone.
FESS PARKER : Here we go. Here you are.
HATTIE: Now Fess Parker tells us about new adventures.(Talking to Fess Parker) Well, thank you so much. The only problem is I'm going to want to drink it.
FESS: That's OK, please, do.
HATTIE: Thank you, thank you.
FESS: I'm planting about 100 acres of this right away. And it's...HATTIE: (teasing) ... for your own personal ...
FESS: (laughing) ... yeah, for my own personal consumption.
HATTIE: When you left acting and when you decided, `OK, I don't want to do that anymore,' why did you go into real estate? How did you get it started? Roll back the clock and tell us about that.
FESS: I think two factors. One, my father always--like most Texans, really put a high premium on real estate. The landed people were the successful people. The second factor was Walt Disney. I was under personal contract to him when he was preparing to open Disneyland. So I met many of the people involved in that massive project. And I understood then that they existed, and how they quietly existed, where they fit into the equation. And when I decided to leave the film business, the land seemed to be the natural place. And it also had an opportunity for a person to be creative, which I felt good about.
HATTIE: So did you save up some money to be able to buy your first piece of land? How'd you get the first piece?
FESS: Well, there's a man who's name is Al Schneider in Louisville, Kentucky (Editor's note: the developer of the Galt Houses). And I met him along the way. And I drove around Louisville with him one day -- he was a developer -- and he pointed out an office building, and he said, `I own that, but I don't have any money in it.'
And then he said, `I built this, and I own that, but I don't have any money in it.' I said, `Well, how do you do that'? And he said, `That's called leverage.' So with that understanding, and using some of my "acting ability" -- smoke and mirrors -- I persuaded some people to finance projects. And I still remember my first significant project was a partnership with three other gentlemen. And we went down to the bank and borrowed $1 million. And I thought, `It's wonderful.'
HATTIE: Wow. `They're going to give us $1 million.' In the real estate development segment of your life, how much would you say was failure, and much was success? And you could say, `Oh, that was a bad decision. I shouldn't have let it go. But I did this, this, this and this.'
FESS: The whole thing is that I came along at a time in California when almost anything that was reasonably put together was likely to be a success.